William A. Gruver

SFU announces the passing of William (Bill) Almer Gruver, professor emeritus in the School of Engineering Science, on Feb. 29, 2016 at his home.

Gruver had a long and successful career in industry and academia both in the U.S and in Canada. After obtaining his PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, he worked at DLR Space Research Center, and was a Humboldt Senior Scientist Fellow at the Technical University in Darmstadt, Germany. A few years later, he moved to IRT Corporation in San Diego, a tech company, and was also Director at the Center for Robotics and Manufacturing Systems at the University of Kentucky.

He moved to B.C. and joined SFU on July 1, 1992. He was excited to work again with students and pursue his research interests in robotics. Gruver stayed with SFU until 2006 when he retired as professor emeritus.

“Bill was a long-time colleague and greatly devoted to his work,” said Kamal Gupta, director, School of Engineering Science. “Even after retirement, he continued to work tirelessly and I would bump into him in the school corridors - gentle welcoming smile on his face and we would chat about his various exploits including his choir activities, of which he was very proud.”

Gruver received prestigious awards recognizing his work, including an IEEE Fellow and Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada, Norbert Wiener Award and GE Management Award, among many others.

He published 235 technical papers and four books on the theory and applications of robotics and manufacturing automation, distributed intelligent systems, control systems, and optimization. 

On behalf of the School of Engineering Science, we send our condolences to his family and wish him peace in his resting place.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Dr. William A. Gruver Engineering Science Memorial Award at SFU or the Christ Church Cathedral Vancouver Music Endowment Fund.

Professor Emeritus, School of Engineering Science


Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, USA, 1970

M.S.E.E., Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, USA, 1966

D.I.C., Automatic Control Systems, Imperial College, UK, 1965

B.S.E.E., Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, USA, 1963

Research interests

  • Distributed intelligent systems
  • Manufacturing automation
  • Robotic systems
  • RFID systems

Teaching interests

  • Linear systems
  • Sensors and actuators
  • Feedback control
  • Intelligent systems

Selected recent publications

  • K. Akbari Hamed, N. Sadati, W. A. Gruver, and G. A. Dumont, “Stabilization of periodic orbits for  planar walking with non-instantaneous double support phase," IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part A: Systems and Humans, IEEE Xplore, October 2011.
  • R. W. Brennan, W.  A. Gruver, and K. H. Hall (eds), “Industrial applications of holonic systems,” special issue of the IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part C: Applications and Reviews, January 2011.
  • E. Chen, V. Gusev, D. Sabaz, L. Shannon, and W. A. Gruver, “Dynamic partial reconfigurable FPGA framework for agent systems,” 5th International Conference on Industrial Applications of Holonic and Multi-Agent Systems, Toulouse, France, August 2011.
  • C. Ng, Z. Alibhai, D. Sabaz, O. Uncu, and W. A. Gruver, “Framework for developing distributed systems in a peer-to-peer environment,” Proc. of the 2006 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Taipei, Taiwan, October 2006.
  • N. Sadati, G. A. Dumont, K. A. Hamed, and W. A. Gruver, Hybrid Control and Motion Planning of Dynamical Legged Locomotion, book to appear in Series on Systems Science and Engineering, IEEE Press, 2012.