Distinguished Professor, Electrical Engineering, IIT Hyderabad
Mathukumalli Vidyasagar was born in Guntur, India on September 29, 1947. He received the B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, in 1965, 1967 and 1969 respectively. Between 1969 and 1989, he was a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Marquette University, Concordia University, and the University of Waterloo. In 1989 he returned to India as the Director of the newly created Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR) in Bangalore, under the Ministry of Defence, Government of India. Between 1989 and 2000, he built up CAIR into a leading research laboratory with about 40 scientists and a total of about 85 persons, working in areas such as flight control, robotics, neural networks, and image processing. In 2000 he moved to the Indian private sector as an Executive Vice President of India's largest software company, Tata Consultancy Services. In the city of Hyderabad, he created the Advanced Technology Center, an industrial R&D laboratory of around 80 engineers, working in areas such as computational biology, quantitative finance, e-security, identity management, and open source software to support Indian languages. In 2009 he retired from TCS and joined the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering & Computer Science at the University of Texas at Dallas, as a Cecil & Ida Green Chair in Systems Biology Science. In March 2010 he was named as the Founding Head of the newly created Bioengineering Department, a position that he relinquished in July 2013. In January 2015 he received the Jawaharlal Nehru Science Fellowship and divided his time between UT Dallas and the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad. In January 2018 he stopped teaching at UT Dallas and now resides full-time in Hyderabad. He continues his association with IIT Hyderabad. Since March 2020, he is a SERB National Science Chair, one of four in India.
His research interests are in the broad area of system and control theory, and its applications. In the recent past he has been interested in the area of compressed sensing, that is, finding sparse solutions to large under-determined problems. At present he is exploring whether ideas from statistical learning theory can be applied to problems of reinforcement learning. On the applications front, he is interested in applying ideas from machine learning to problems in computational biology with emphasis on cancer.
Vidyasagar has received a number of awards in recognition of his research contributions, including Fellowship in The Royal Society, the world's oldest scientific academy in continuous existence, the IEEE Control Systems (Technical Field) Award, the Rufus Oldenburger Medal of ASME, the John R. Ragazzini Education Award from AACC, and others. He is the author of thirteen books and more than 150 papers in peer-reviewed journals.