Professor Miroslav Krstic at the University of California San Diego is the inaugural recipient of the A.V. “Bal” Balakrishnan Research Award for Scientific Excellence in Research in the Mathematics of Systems.
The award was established by the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California through a gift from Sophia Balakrishnan, honoring the memory of her late husband. He was a distinguished researcher and pioneer in distributed parameter systems and aeroelasticity. The award is open to nominations from the control systems, communications, signal processing, mechanics, and mathematical areas of aerospace engineering.
In addition to his role as professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego, Krstic also serves as senior associate vice chancellor for research for UC San Diego.
Krstic was chosen as the inaugural recipient of this award, in a competitive nomination pool, for his transformational contributions to partial differential equations control, nonlinear delay systems, extremum seeking, adaptive control, stochastic nonlinear stabilization, and their industrial applications – including everything from stabilizing stop-and-go motion in congested traffic to estimating the state of health of batteries for electric vehicles and mobile phones.
Krstic opened up a whole new area of research in control theory by reviving what are known as extremum seeking algorithms. His advances made it possible to better conduct chemical analysis of rocks on the Mars rover Curiosity. They also have helped achieve a 200-fold increase in area density in the microchips that run smartphones, resulting in a multi-billion dollar impact for the semiconductor photolithography industry.
He is an expert in controls who has received several lifetime achievement recognitions. In 2021, he received the Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award; in 2019, the Reid Prize from the Society for Industrial Mathematics and the Nonlinear Control Systems Award from the International Federation for Automatic Control; and in 2017 the Oldenburger Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Krstic also is Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, the International Federation of Automatic Control, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the UK’s Institution of Engineering and Technology, as well as associate fellow of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
“Control systems arise both in engineering systems, such as maximizing the power output of wind turbines, and in biological systems, in which feedback ensures survival, from cells to organisms, in addition to governing the slow dynamics of evolution,” Krstic said.
In the Office of Research Affairs, Krstic oversees the Organized Research Units, the proposal development services, the academic review of research scientists, relationships with national labs, and initiatives with several federal research agencies.
The Balakrishnan Award comes with a $10,000 honorarium. Krstic will receive the prize and present a lecture at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering in Fall 2022.