One of the most distinguished alumni of the Department of Electrical Engineering, Rudi E. Kalman (Eng.Sc.D., '57), received the Egleston Award (November 2005) from the Columbia Engineering School Alumni Association for Distinguished Engineering Achievement.
Kalman graduated from the systems and control group led by Professor J. F. Ragazinni (adviser) that included J. E. Bertram, G. F. Franklin, B. Friedland, E. I. Jury, R. J. Schwartz, and L. Zadeh, whose achievements have had an unparalleled influence on the development of electrical, mechanical, and aeronautical engineering.
With the invention of the Kalman filter, a breakthrough in signal processing and navigation, Kalman became a household name in electrical, mechanical, and aeronautical engineering, as well as mathematical statistics and beyond. He is regarded as the foremost pioneer of the modern mathematical foundations of systems and control theory. The fundamental concepts of controllability and observability, the separation between control and estimation for the linear quadratic regulator, all concepts that he developed, are considered pillars of modern systems and controls.
From Columbia, Rudi went on to hold positions at RIAS, Stanford, the University of Florida and ETH, Zurich. He is a member of three American national academies: science; arts and science; and engineering. He is also a foreign member of the French, Russian, and Hungarian academies of science. He holds many honorary doctorates, and he is a recipient of the IEEE Medal of Honor, the IEEE Centennial Medal, the Kyoto Prize in High Technology, the Steele Prize of the American Mathematical Society, and the Bellman Prize.