Dahleh is appointed to William A. Coolidge Professorship

May 30, 2014

Prof. Munther A. Dahleh is appointed to the William A. Coolidge Chair

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Department Head Anantha Chandrakasan announced today the appointment of Professor Munther A. Dahleh to the William A. Coolidge Professorship at MIT.

William A. Coolidge, a Harvard College graduate (1924) and founder and chair of the National Research Corporation, was a devoted member of the MIT Corporation (from 1948 as a term member to his appointment as a Life Member Emeritus in 1976). The professorship was established in 1988 in recognition of Mr. Coolidge’s years of thoughtful advice and generosity to MIT.

A star in his research field, Munther Dahleh has driven new problem areas in large-scale, heterogeneous, interconnected systems. He is an exceptional teacher and mentor. He has also made outstanding contributions to service in the past few years as the Associate and Acting Director of LIDS, Associate Head of EECS, and currently as the Acting Director of ESD, and Director-designate of a potential new organization that would incorporate the people and programs of ESD, LIDS, and a significant new initiative in statistics.

Prof. Dahleh’s research is broadly in the area of systems and control, with specific interest in distributed systems. He was already recognized early in his career as an exceptional talent in this field, particularly through his ground-breaking theoretical work in robust feedback control and his practical applications in autonomous systems, automotive systems, and neuroscience. These accomplishments led to his winning the prestigious Donald P. Eckman Award in 1993, for the best control engineer under the age of 35.

Prof. Dahleh has made foundational contributions in at least three areas of control: (a) robust control theory, especially through the l ’-optimal control paradigm; (b) fundamental performance limitations for feedback control in the presence of communication constraints; and (c) learning and control in networked environments. His contributions with his students and collaborators in these areas were recognized by three Axelby Outstanding Paper Awards for papers in the IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control.

In his current research, Prof. Dahleh focuses on the foundational theory necessary to understand systemic risk in interconnected systems. He is also involved in a number of related application domains, including transportation systems, financial systems, the future power grid, and social networks. His work draws from various fields including game theory, optimal control, distributed optimization, information theory, and distributed learning. His collaborations include faculty from all five schools at MIT.

Munther Dahleh is an outstanding teacher and has made important educational contributions. He was recognized with the MIT Graduate Council Teaching Award (1995). He has been the lead instructor in 6.003 Signals and Systems and 6.041 Probabilistic Systems Analysis, and has helped create subjects that span traditional areas, including 6.435 Statistical Inference and Systems Identification. In collaboration with Prof. Asu Ozdaglar he developed 6.207 Networks, which is jointly listed with economics.

As EECS Associate Head (2011¬–2013), Prof. Dahleh helped develop strategic hiring directions for EECS, created a more unified EE structure, and in collaboration with Professor Leslie Kolodziejski solidified guaranteed support for all incoming EECS graduate students. He has also done a tremendous job in his current role to define the vision for a new entity combining ESD, LIDS and Statistics. He currently serves as the chair of the Committee on Discipline, and has contributed deeply to the MIT student community.