David Schneider

David R. Schneider

Senior Lecturer
Systems Engineering
Master of Engineering Programs Director for Systems Engineering
Systems Engineering


David R. Schneider graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in chemical engineering in 1999, attended Columbia University Film M.F.A. Program in 2001, and earned his Master’s and Ph.D. from Cornell University in mechanical engineering with a concentration in controls & dynamics in 2007. David has taught at both Cornell and Columbia University. His most prominent research is his creation of the G*TA (G-Star-T-A) task allocation algorithm and his work as program manager of the Cornell RoboFlag program, with notable applications including AFRL UAV controls and NASA/NOAA unmanned boat designs. With a strong focus on education, David's endeavors have included the creation of the Cornell Cup: Innovative Embedded Design National Competition with co-founder Intel and now primary sponsor Arm; leading Cornell University Sustainable Design (CUSD); and the broader impacts video game creation for the NSF Expeditions in Computing Grant on Computational Sustainability.

As Director of M.Eng. Studies for Cornell Systems Engineering, David also created the first experience in the world recognized by the systems engineering professional society INCOSE as knowledge exam equivalent, and the only person to have created now two experiences earning this honor. Additionally, David created and runs the systems engineering courses for Lockheed Martin’s largest Engineering Leadership Development program.

David has led the efforts to make Cornell the first university to officially partner with Make: and is a leader in the Higher Education Maker Alliance working with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He has also led with Make: the re-creation of the national entrepreneurial competition "Pitch Your Prototype" and is a leading faculty member behind the American Society of Engineering Education, Community Engaged Division Film Festival national competition. David was also a screenwriter for Walt Disney Attractions Television Production.

Research Interests

David Schneider's research has traditionally focused on the realm of NP-Hard Computer Science Problems and Controls for Robotic Systems in both centralized & decentralized and autonomous & semi-autonomous systems. Aside from his work at Cornell, David also values his time dedicated to this area while at NASA Goddard as a team lead in Code 88 Advanced Automations & Architectures. He now seeks ways to apply this research towards sustainability through programs like the NSF Expeditions in Computing Grant on Computational Sustainability, Cornell University Sustainable Design (CUSD), and the Advancements in Systems Engineering project which seeks to use Systems Engineering approaches to develop and prove the value of new government policies surrounding sustainability.

David is also dedicated to STEM and particularly engineering education with publications in journals such as the International Journal of Engineering Education - Active Learning Special Edition. His latest research in this area is to develop means of teaching core systems engineering methodology to students of all college disciplines and even to high school students in ways that also aid teachers in empowering ways of meeting the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core requirements.

David has received numerous recognitions for his work in this area, including recognition from the Obama White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where his work was cited as one of seven university efforts in the White House Fact Sheet of Making in 2015 and again in 2016 as one of nine university efforts out of 1,500 university and K-12 efforts seriously considered.

Teaching Interests

David Schneider has dedicated much of his career towards the improvement of engineering education. In addition to mentoring typically over 200 students every semester on many of the projects listed above, David has taught courses such as Model Based Systems Engineering, Engineering Project Leadership, and Creativity in Engineering. Through the Cornell Cup, David has also developed in conjunction with the Cornell team's students, a series of systems engineering professional design guides that target identified nationwide curriculum gaps. To aid in this instruction, David has led the development of the ModBot modular robotic system which has represented solution techniques to these issues through imaginative robotic examples that have varied from autonomous omni-directional rovers, to humanoid robots that can play RockBand the video game with 98% accuracy on expert, to droids inspired by R2-D2 and C-3PO, to even a model Disney-styled theme park ride.

David is currently leading new initiatives in computational thinking education for middle/high school students including developing a robotics platform that has been already externally licensed. For his efforts in this area, David was invited to be a part of the kickoff of the Obama CS4All initiative.

As a member of the Cornell Faculty Institute for Diversity, David also leads the largest and most diverse student team on campus, Cornell University Sustainable Design (CUSD). He also co-founded the NASA Robotics Alliance Cadets program with Mark Leon, NASA AMES Director of Education and David Lavery, NASA Program Executive of Planetary and Solar Exploration.

Selected Publications

  • Schneider, David R., M. Leon, C. van der Blink, N. Ahmed, D. Shah, K Lee.  2008. "Active Learning and Assessment within the NASA Robotics Alliance Cadets Program." International Journal of Engineering Education 24 (6):  1091-1102.
  • Campbell, M., F. Bourgault, S. Galster, David R Schneider.  2007. "Probabilistic Operator-Multiple Robot Modeling Using Bayesian Network Representation." April (2nd Quarter/Spring).
  • Schneider, David R., M Campbell.  2005. "Real Time Optimal Task Allocation in Highly Dynamic Environments." Orlando, FL November.
  • Schneider, David R., A. Hoffman, C. Edmunds, B. Medina, J Hosler. 2005. "Adaptive Sensor Fleet Development of Inexpensive Multi-Agent Robotic Testbeds Using the NASA Multi-Purpose Exoterration for Robotic Studies".  
  • Schneider, David R., M Campbell. "Real Time Guaranteed Optimal Task Allocation using Non-MILP Methods." IEEE Transactions on Robotics.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Creator of the Intel-Cornell Cup , Innovative Embedded Design Competition
  • First Faculty Member of the Higher Education Makers Alliance to be Highlighted on MakeSchools.org
  • Featured in Greenbuild 2012 Opening Plenary Talk 2012
  • 1st Ever Winner of the American Controls Conference Interactive Session 
  • NASA Space Grant Graduate Fellowship (NASA) 
  • National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship 


  • B.S. (Chemical Engineering), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1999
  • M.S. (Mechanical Engineering), Cornell University, 2005
  • Ph.D. (Mechanical Engineering), Cornell University, 2007