March 24, 2015

A.V. Balakrishnan, distinguished professor emeritus and research professor of electrical engineering, passed away on Monday, March 16. He was 92.

Bal, as he was widely known, was a member of the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science faculty for more than 50 years. Over his long and distinguished career 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.

He greatly valued his role as advisor and friend, and often spoke of how proud he was of his students.

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 (1950) and his Ph.D. in mathematics (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.

Bal was a teacher and scholar of the highest order. He published single-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, which 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.