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In Memoriam: A.V. Balakrishnan

Professor A.V. Balakrishnan

A.V. Balakrishnan, distinguished professor emeritus and research professor of electrical engineering, passed away Tuesday morning, March 17. Bal, as he was known to everyone, was a member of the UCLA faculty for more than 50 years. Bal grew up in Chennai, India. He earned his B.Sc. and an M.A. from the University of Madras. After moving to the U.S., he earned an M.S. in electrical engineering in 1950, and his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1954, both from USC. Following his Ph.D., Bal was a project engineer at the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), taught at USC and UCLA; and was a researcher at Space Technology Laboratories in Redondo Beach. He joined UCLA Engineering at the associate professor level in 1961. Over Bal’s long and distinguished career here, he supervised 54 master’s students; 18 Engineer degree recipients and 54 Ph.D. graduates, many of whom went on to careers in academia and industry. And he was the author of two books. Bal was a teacher and scholar of the highest order. He published singled authored papers, while encouraging his students to publish their work under their own names. Twice he served as chair of the Department of Systems Science. He also held an appointment in Mathematics. For several years, he was the director of the Flight Systems Laboratory at UCLA that was supported by NASA. Bal was named a Fellow of IEEE in 1966 and a Life Fellow in 1996. He received the NASA Public Service Medal in 1996; the Richard E. Bellman Award in 2001 from the American Automatic Control Council (AACC) for distinguished achievements in control theory; and the Distinguished Alumni Award in Academia from USC Viterbi in 2004. Bal had a highly distinguished career here at the school, teaching thousands of students stochastic processes, linear systems and optimal control. He will be missed.