Danielle C. Tarraf

Photo of Danielle Tarraf
Senior Information Scientist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Boston Office


Ph.D. in mechanical engineering (control theory), MIT; S.M. in mechanical engineering, MIT; B.E. in mechanical engineering, American University of Beirut


Danielle Tarraf is a visionary leader, technologist, and strategist with over 15 years of professional experience spanning strategy consulting, research, and venture capital. Since joining RAND in 2016, her work has focused on advising senior DoD decision-makers on technology strategy in the context of national security and global competition. Since 2018, Tarraf has also been building a portfolio of funded projects aiming to position RAND in the AI sphere. She recently led a high-visibility congressionally-mandated study to assess the DoD's posture in AI and provide recommendations. Tarraf has also contributed to a variety of projects including cybersecurity, nuclear deterrence, autonomous systems, and persistent logistics. She formerly served in a liaison role for RAND Arroyo, and currently serves on the Pardee faculty.

Tarraf started her career in academia, where she founded and directed a research lab focused on advancing state-of-the-art at the intersection of control theory, automata theory and reinforcement learning. As an Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty at JHU, Tarraf was honored with two prestigious national awards, the NSF CAREER award and the AFOSR YIP award. She was also competitively selected twice for faculty fellowships at the Air Force Research Lab and received the JHU Alumni Excellence in Teaching Award.

Tarraf serves as a judge for the IBM Watson AI Xprize and is a senior member of IEEE. She received her B.E. from AUB, her S.M. and Ph.D. from MIT, and was a postdoctoral scholar at MIT and Caltech.

Selected Publications

D. C. Tarraf (editor), Control of Cyber-Physical Systems, Springer, 2013

D. Fan and D. C. Tarraf, "Output observability of systems over finite alphabets with linear internal dynamics," IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 63(10), 2018

D. Fan and D. C. Tarraf, "Finite uniform bisimulations for linear systems with finite input alphabets," IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 62(8), 2017

M. C. Tsakiris and D. C. Tarraf, "Algebraic decompositions of DP problems with linear dynamics," Systems & Control Letters, 85, 2015

D. C. Tarraf, "An input-output construction of finite state rho/mu approximations for control design," IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 59(12), 2014

D. C. Tarraf and D. Bauso, "Finite alphabet control of logistic networks under discrete uncertainty," Systems & Control Letters, 64, 2014

D. C. Tarraf, "A control-oriented notion of finite state approximation," IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 57(12), 2012

D. C. Tarraf, A. Megretski and M. A. Dahleh, "A framework for robust stability of systems over finite alphabets," IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 53(5), 2008

Honors & Awards

  • Young Investigator Award, Air Force Office of Scientific Research
  • CAREER Award, National Science Foundation


Arabic, French


  • Digital concept of a brain, photo by Vertigo3d/Getty Images

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