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Home : Volume 22 : Fall 1995 :
Distinguished Service Award for Mathukumalli Vidyasagar

Mathukumalli Vidyasagar

Mathukumalli Vidyasagar
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Former child prodigy Mathukumalli Vidyasagar was one of the youngest people ever to earn a degree from UW-Madison. He entered 12th grade as a 13 year old in Columbia, Missouri. He entered the University of Missouri before he was 14. He transferred to the UW-Madison and earned his BS at age 17, his MS at 19 and his PhD at 21; all in electrical engineering.

Vidyasagar spent 1969 teaching at Marquette University and then took a position at the Sir George Williams University (now known as Concordia University) in Montreal, Canada to be closer to his family. In 1972-73, he was a visiting professor at the University of California-Berkeley where he collaborated with Professor C.A. Desoer on a book about feedback systems which soon became a standard in the area of control. Vidyasagar followed this with a second book on non-linear systems analysis, also considered an outstanding book in its field.

In the early 1980s, he focused on multi-variable control, essential in the design of airplanes, robots and other high performance systems. His ground-breaking work and invention of an analogous, time-domain technique led him to write a book on the subject.

He left the area of study by giving a plenary talk at the 1985 IEEE Conference on Decision and Control. Some at the time disagreed with his suggestion that the community should be working more on other kinds of control problems, such as hybrid systems. Nine years later, Vidyasagar was largely vindicated. Today, many IEEE conferences devote entire sessions to hybrid systems.

In the mid-1980s, Vidyasagar started working in robotics. He co-authored a paper on robust control of robots that led him to his current position as Director of The Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Bangalore, India.

In his free time, Vidyasagar enjoys reading poetry and spending time with his wife Valluri Shakunthala and their daughter Aparna.

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Date last modified: 29-Nov-1995

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