Alampallam V Balakrishnan

December 4, 1922March 17, 2015

I am deeply saddened to report to you that A.V. Balakrishnan, distinguished professor emeritus and research professor of electrical engineering, passed away Monday night. Bal, as he was known to everyone, was a member of the UCLA faculty for more than 50 years. 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 in 1950, and his Ph.D. in mathematics in 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. Over Bal’s long and distinguished career here, 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. And he was the author of two books. Bal was a teacher and scholar of the highest order. He published singled 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 that 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. Bal had a highly distinguished career here at the school, teaching thousands of students stochastic processes, linear systems and optimal control. He will be missed. A memorial service has been scheduled for March 31 at Pierce Brothers Westwood Memorial Park and Mortuary Vijay K. Dhir Dean


  • Funeral Service Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Alampallam V Balakrishnan

have a memory or condolence to add?

Phani Yannam

September 22, 2015

Bal holds a special place in my life. I was his last Master's student at UCLA. So many great memories I had with Bal and his family. I just can't believe that he is no more. He was definitely the most humble and a very great human being I have ever met.
Grandson !

Balakrishna Subramaniam Sharma

May 18, 2015

I have heard of him but never met him He was the uncle who was bright and successful. My dad met him in 1965 on a trip to USA. We have a few photos to show from that visit. I am named after him. May his soul rest in peace.

Pat Kumar

April 15, 2015

My wife Usha and I fondly remember him staying at our house when he came to the U of MN to give a seminar. He thoroughly enjoyed the special south indian food that my wife had made. We made some cassettes of his favorite music. Though he was highly accomplished in his research, he remained a humble person. We miss him and pray for strength to his dear family to bear this loss.

Elliot Axelband

March 30, 2015

I have very fond memories of Bal. As a Ph.D. student at UCLA I switched advisors after he agreed to become my advisor after attending several of his classes where I was profoundly impressed by the clarity and depth of his thinking. As I got to know him better I also impressed by his high personal and moral standards. At my thesis defense the head of the Math Department whose first name was Angus and who was also a highly qualified faculty member and excellent teacher said my thesis could have qualified as a math thesis. This was quite a compliment, much appreciated by Bal, who was responsible for guiding me through the Ph.D. process and a consequence of that guidance. Bal, to this day, is the best academic mentor I ever had.

Elliot Axelband, Ph.D. 1966