Stanford electrical engineering Professor Thomas Kailath honored for lifetime achievement by Marconi Society

Engineering Professor emeritus THOMAS KAILATH will be given the Marconi Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his many transformative contributions to information and system science, as well as his sustained mentoring and development of new generations of scientists.

Kailath is the sixth scientist to be honored with a Marconi Society Lifetime Achievement Award. The society is dedicated to furthering scientific achievements in communications and the internet.

Thomas Kailath
Thomas Kailath (Photo credit: Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service)

“The award is being conferred on Kailath for mentoring a generation of research scholars and writing a classic textbook in linear systems that changed the way the subject is taught and his special purpose architecture to implement the signal processing algorithms on VLSI (Very Large-scale System Integration) chips,” the society said.

Kailath’s research and teaching at Stanford have ranged over several fields of engineering and mathematics, with a different focus roughly every decade

His research during the 1960s led to prize-winning papers on an algorithm for exploiting the availability of noiseless feedback and major new results and techniques in signal-detection theory. In the 1970s, his work resulted in the influential textbook Linear Systems (1980). Extensive contributions to estimation and control resulted in another major textbook, Linear Estimation (2000).

In the 1980s, his research groups focused on multiple antenna signal processing, the design of VLSI arrays for signal processing, and the development and application of the concept of displacement structure to the design of fast algorithms for many problems in engineering and mathematics.

In the 1990s, they made notable contributions to smart antenna technology for wireless communications and to resolution enhancement techniques for optical lithography in semiconductor manufacturing. Over this period, he also made well-recognized contributions to stochastic processes, operator theory and linear algebra.

Kailath’s entry into different fields was supported by his success in attracting an array of doctoral and postdoctoral students from around the world. In 2005, to celebrate his 70th birthday, several of his students endowed an annual Kailath Lecture and Colloquia.