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Kumar receives honorary doctorate from ETH Zurich

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By Kim Gudeman, Coordinated Science Laboratory
December 8, 2008

  • Professor P.R. Kumar received Doctor Honoris Causa from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
  • Kumar does research in control theory, wireless networks, sensor networks and network embedded control systems.

ECE Professor and Coordinated Science Laboratory (CSL) researcher P. R. Kumar received a Doctor Honoris Causa from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich). He was one of seven recipients of the award, which recognizes extraordinary scientific work or significant achievements in science, education, a field or in synthesis between research and practical work.

Kumar, the Franklin W. Woeltge Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, accepted the award at a November 22 ceremony in Zurich. Kumar was recognized for his “pioneering contributions in the fields of adaptive control, manufacturing systems and wireless networks.”

P. R. Kumar
P. R. Kumar

“Professor Kumar is world-renowned for his research on control theory, wireless networks, sensor networks and network embedded control systems,” said ECE Professor William Sanders, acting director of CSL. “We are so pleased that ETH Zurich has recognized his enormous contributions with this distinguished award.”

In his distinguished career, Kumar has studied stochastic control and randomized strategies in zero-sum dynamic stochastic games; adaptive control; dynamic systems in scheduling large manufacturing plants; simulated annealing method for global optimization; and wireless networking.

More recently, with his students, he has studied in-network computation in sensor networks, and the role of time in networks, in particular clock synchronization and quality of service. In addition, he and his students are working on developing software architecture for the third generation of control systems: networked embedded control systems. He is investigating hybrid systems with logical and differential dynamics, such as fully automated traffic systems.

Kumar is also a faculty researcher with the Information Trust Institute and an affiliate in the Computer Science department. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the India Institute of Technology in Madras (1973) and master’s and doctoral degrees in systems science and mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis (1975 and 1977, respectively). He joined the Illinois faculty in 1985.

Among his other honors and recognitions, Kumar has received the Donald P. Eckman Award of the American Automatic Control Council (1985), the IEEE Field Award for Control Systems (2006), and the IEEE Communications Society Fred W. Ellersick Prize (2007). He is a Fellow of IEEE and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Editor's note: media inquiries should be directed to Brad Petersen, Director of Communications, at bradp@illinois.edu or (217) 244-6376.

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