A.V. Balakrishnan earned his M.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering and his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Southern California in 1950 and 1954, respectively. Prof. Balakrishnan has been with the University of California, Los Angeles, since 1961; he has been a Professor of Engineering since 1962 and a Professor of Mathematics since 1965. He was Chair of the Department of Systems Science in the (then) School of Engineering from 1969-1975. Since 1985, he has served as the appointed Director of the NASA-UCLA Flight Systems Research Center. Dr. Balakrishnan also lends his expertise to industry and the government, including Optimization Software, Inc., NADC US Navy, and the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. Professor Balakrishnan holds patents on the "modes of interconnected lattice trusses using continuum models, and "laser beam log amplitude temporal scintillation spectrum due to crosswind". He has received honors and awards from the International Federation of Information Processing Society (1977), NASA (1978, 1992,1995, and 1996), and, in 1980, the Guillemin Prize in recognition of the major impact that his original contributions have had in setting the research direction of communications and control. Most recently, Prof. Balakrishnan has been selected as the 2001 awardee for the Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award, which is the highest recognition of professional achievement for US control systems engineers and scientists. He has published over 200 papers, and has authored or edited over 10 books. Prof. Balakrishnan is a Lifetime Fellow of IEEE, a member of the International Scientific Radio Union, the Chair of the IFIP Technical Committee 7 and of Working Group 7.1, and the President of the ComCon Conference Board.
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. Original obituary written by Vijay K. Dhir, Dean, UCLA Samueli School of Engineering