In 1987, Jeff Trinkle received a PhD from the Department of Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a research assistant in the GRASP Laboratory. Since 1987, he has held faculty positions in the Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering at the University of Arizona and the Department of Computer Science at Texas A&M University. From 1998 to 2003 he was a visiting research scientist at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque New Mexico. He moved to Rensselear Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, in 2003, where he served as Chair of the Computer Science Department until 2009. He is now Professor of Computer Science, Professor of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering, and Director of the CS Robotics Lab.
Trinkle's primary research interests lie in the areas of robotic manipulation and multibody dynamics. Under the continuous support of the National Science Foundation since 1989, he has written many technical articles on theoretical issues underpinning the science of robotics and automation. One of these articles was the first to develop a now-popular method for simulating multibody systems. Variants of this method are key components of several physics engines for computer game development, for example, NVIDIA PhysX and the Bullet Physics Library.
Trinkle is the recipient of the 1985 IBM Graduate Research Fellowship, the 1989 Research Initiation Award from the National Science Foundation, the 1994 Texas A&M Center for Teaching Excellence Award, the 1998 Plank Company Faculty Fellowship, the 2004 Kayamori Best Automation Paper of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, and the 2009 Humboldt Research Prize. He spent the 2009-2010 academic year as a Humboldt Fellow at the Institute for Mechatronics and Robotics at the German Aerospace Center and the Institute for Applied Mechanics at Technical University of Munich. In 2010 he became a fellow of the IEEE for his research contributions to robotic grasping and dexterous manipulation. From 2014 to 2016, Dr. Trinkle served as a program officer for the National Robotics Initiative at the National Science Foundation.