Sachit Butail, Ph.D.

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Office Location: EB 148
Office Phone: 815-753-9987


  • Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering, University of Maryland (2012)
  • M. Eng. in Systems Engineering, Cornell University (2005)
  • B.E. in Mechanical Engineering, Delhi University, New Delhi, India (2000)

Research Interests

  • Dynamical systems
  • Robotics
  • Complex systems
  • Collective behavior
  • Bioinspired autonomy
  • Pattern recognition

Selected Projects

  • Causal Relationships Underlying the Collective Dynamic Behavior of Swarms, funded by New York University

Selected Publications

  • V. Mwaffo, S. Butail, and M. Porfiri. In-silico experiments of zebrafish behaviour: modelling swimming in three dimensions. Scientific Reports, 7(39877), 2017.
  • S. Macri, D. Neri, T. Ruberto, S. Butail, V. Mwaffo, and M. Porfiri. Three-dimensional scoring of zebrafish behavior unveils biological phenomena hidden by two-dimensional analyses. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 2017.
  • V. Mwaffo, S. Butail, and M. Porfiri. Analysis of pairwise interactions in a maximum likelihood sense to identify leaders in a group. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 4:35, 2017.
  • S. Butail, V. Mwaffo, and M. Porfiri. Model-free information-theoretic approach to infer leadership in pairs of zebrafish. Physical Review E, 93(4) 042411, 2016
  • T. Bartolini, V. Mwaffo, A. Showler, S. Macrì, S. Butail and M. Porfiri. Zebrafish response to 3D printed shoals of conspecifics: the effect of body size. Bioinsipiration & Biomimetics, 11(2):026003, 2016
  • V. Mwaffo, R. P. Anderson, S. Butail, and M. Porfiri. A jump persistent turning walker to model zebrafish locomotion. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 12(102): 20140884, 2015.
  • S. Butail, F. Ladu, D. Spinello, and M. Porfiri. Information flow in animal-robot interactions. Entropy (Special issue: Information in Dynamical Systems and Complex Systems),16(3): 1315–1330, 2014.
  • S. Butail, G. Polverino, P. Phamduy, F. Del Sette, and M. Porfiri. Influence of robotic shoal size, configuration, and activity on zebrafish behavior in a free-swimming environment. Behavioural Brain Research, 275:269–280, 2014.
  • A. Chicoli, S. Butail, Y. Lun, J. Bak-Coleman, S. Coombs, and D. A. Paley. “The effects of flow on schooling Devario aequipinnatus: school structure, startle response and information transmission. Journal of Fish Biology, 84(5): 1401–1421, 2014.
  • S. Butail, E. M. Bollt, and M. Porfiri. Analysis and classification of collective behavior using generative modeling and nonlinear manifold learning. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 336(7): 185–199, 2013.
  • S. Butail, T. Bartolini, and M. Porfiri. Collective response of zebrafish shoals to a free-swimming robotic fish. PLoS One, 8 (10): e76123, 2013.
  • S. Butail, N. C. Manoukis, M. Diallo, J. M. C. Ribeiro, and D. A. Paley. The Dance of Male Anopheles gambiae in Wild Mating Swarms. Journal of Medical Entomology, 50(3): 552–559, 2013.
  • S. Butail and D. A. Paley. Three-dimensional reconstruction of the fast-start swimming kinematics of densely schooling fish. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 9(66): 77–88, 2011.

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College of Engineering and Engineering Technology
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