Sanjoy Mitter, a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (after the end of his tenure), died on June 26 at the age of 89. An expert in the theoretical foundations of systems, communications and control, Mr. Mitter has contributed to important engineering applications. His most notable work is control and pattern recognition of interconnected power systems.
Sanjoy Mitter was born in 1933 in Calcutta, India, into a prestigious family of jurists. His paternal grandfather, Sir Vinod Mitter, was a member of the Judiciary Committee of the British Privy Council. His paternal great-grandfather was Sir Ramesh Mitter, the first Indian Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court in the 19th century. His maternal grandfather, Sir C.C. Gorse, was a judge of the Calcutta High Court and served as acting chief justice on several occasions.
He was born to his father, Subod Mitter, and his mother, Protiva Mitter (née Gorse). Subodh Mitter left his judicial line to become an electrician and businessman. Sanjoy followed suit, graduating with a BA in Mathematics from Calcutta in 1954, a BA in Electrical Engineering from the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London in 1957, and a BA in Electrical Engineering from the Imperial College of Science and Technology in 1965. I got my Ph.D.
His career began with a four-year stint as a development engineer at Brown Boveri & Co. in Baden, Switzerland, before moving to the Battelle Memorial Institute in Geneva and then as a Central Power Research Fellow at Imperial College. From 1962 he served on the board until 1965, after which he taught at Western Reserve University, where he taught from 1965 until 1969, when he joined the Department of Electrical Engineering at MIT as a visiting associate professor. joined. In 1970 he became Associate Professor and in 1973 Professor.
MIT remained Mitter’s home throughout his subsequent career. MIT has arguably left his deepest and most lasting imprint on hundreds, if not thousands, of students, mentors, colleagues and friends. Institute. However, his travels also included multiple stays at other colleges. From his 1986 to his 1996 he was a professor of mathematics at the Scuola Normal School in Pisa, Italy, and a visiting post at Imperial College, London. University of Groningen (Netherlands). Inlia, France. Tata Fundamental Research Institute, India. ETH, Zurich, Switzerland; and several other American universities and institutions, such as the University of California, Berkeley and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
A true citizen of the world, Mitter was fluent in French and German as well as English. His first wife, Adriana Mitter Facchini, was from Milan, Italy. Their marriage lasted until her death in 2008 and spanned Cambridge, Massachusetts and Florence, Italy, where they maintained two homes. Irvin Schick, co-editor with Theoldor E. Jaferis of the influential System Theory, Modeling, and Control: A Tribute to Sanjoy Mitter (Springer Science+Business Media, 2000), notes in the preface to the text: I wrote:[Sanjoy and Adriana’s] As with the exact location of a subatomic particle, it can only be stated probabilistically where it is at any given time. ”
At MIT, Mitter was the founding co-director of the Center for Intelligent Control Systems (CICS). The center later merged with the Institute for Information and Decision Sciences (LIDS), which is now the MIT Schwartzman University of Computing. Mitter is now widely called information and decision science, including innovations in communication networks, numerical algorithms for control design and large-scale optimization, nonlinear estimation, statistical signal and image processing, and emerging fields such as He has overseen many fundamental advances in his field. robust controls. From 1986 until 1999 he worked with Robert Gallagher as co-director of his LIDS, where his laboratory developed neurodynamic programming and made significant advances in coding and information theory, large-scale statistical inference, and estimation. I have seen it contribute to
The animation principles that made CICS (and later LIDS) a hotbed of innovation were arguably interdisciplinary approaches embedded in the fabric of the lab. Cornell University electrical and computer engineer Peter Doerschuk ’77, EE ’79, SM ’79, PhD ’85 wrote in a letter supporting the CICS effort: “I believe there are three important aspects of him. [Mitter’s] Center leadership: (1) a broad view of what intellectual fields belong to the Center, (2) a willingness to take risks, and (3) a willingness to pursue curiosity-driven activities. ”
In a similar letter, Pietro Perona, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computational and Neural Systems at Caltech and Director of the NSF Engineering Research Center for Neuromorphic Systems Engineering, referred to his time at LIDS as a visit to the Renaissance. For example, he said: The atmosphere I encountered in Professor Mitter’s group at LIDS was completely new to me, unique and precious. I likened it to the Renaissance court atmosphere of the 1500s in small city-states such as Urbino and Mantua. At its core, the Enlightened Prince Sanjoy Mitter will provide funding, inspiration, moral support and aesthetic norms. The courtiers, graduate students and postdocs, all of whom are undoubtedly first class, are given intellectual freedom, encouragement, and resources to follow their curiosity, addressing a wide variety of issues (speeches, speeches, vision). , probabilistic representations of geometric objects, variational problems, handwriting, etc.), any investigation should be intellectually and analytically rigorous, addressing the fundamental problems underlying all problems in computational perception. We have a common requirement to aspire to…”
Mitter’s interdisciplinary approach to intellectual inquiry is arguably the result of many months and, in some cases, years as his advisor, Tom Baran, now co-founder and CEO of Fathom Optics. Influenced by a near-encyclopedic memory of articles, books, and other scholarly material encountered many years ago. “Many of my great conversations with Sanjoy begin with questions like, ‘So, how’s your PhD research going?’ and the exact years of publication are all recalled from his memory, going back to the 1970s, 1960s and beyond. ”
Mitter’s eerie memories are tempered by great personal warmth and conversational flair, all of which made him a popular mentor. Dr. Paul Peter Sotiriadis (2002), Director of the Institute of Electronics and ECE Professor at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, paid tribute to Mr. Mitter. exceptional human. His groundbreaking work in mathematical systems and control theory left a lasting impact. Throughout my time at MIT, his unwavering support, guidance, and inspiring teachings have been invaluable to me. I was honored to have him on my PhD committee. ”
Frank Moss SM ’72, PhD ’77, co-founder of Bluefin Labs and former director of the MIT Media Lab, paid tribute to Mitter’s kind personality. A great conversationalist with a deep intellect and a sharp wit. A rarity at MIT then and now. Nearly 40 years later, from 2006 to 2012, when I was Director of the Media Lab, I ran into him on campus several times. He greeted me warmly as if no time had passed. ”
Michael Warren, 69, MA, 71, PhD, 74, recalls Mitter’s near-infinite curiosity. “He was an inspirational man and always a fine gentleman. He was as comfortable discussing economics and politics as he was about systems theory.” Gordon Kaufman, also professor emeritus of statistics at MIT Sloan School of Management, agrees, calling Mitter “one of the last surviving members of a generation of intellectual princes at MIT.” . He was old-fashioned, polite, knew how to listen, and was loved by his students. We have been best friends for 50 years, sharing fine wine and gastronomic adventures in France and the occasional mathematical moment here in the US. Sanjoy was a strategic thinker who was not afraid to tackle big intellectual problems. ”
That intellectual fearlessness has produced a body of work that has earned Mitter international acclaim. Mr. Mitter received many awards and honors, among which he was a member of the IEEE and he was a member of the IFAC. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (1988). He received the IEEE Control Systems Award (2000). He was elected as a foreign member of the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti (2003). He received the AACC Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award (2007). IEEE Eric E. Sumner Award Winner (2015). He was selected as a Foreign Fellow of the National Academy of Engineering of India in 2015.
After the death of his first wife, Adriana, Mitter reunited with and married his surviving childhood friend, Rekha Ghosh. Mitter’s distinguished extended family includes his younger brother Pronobu Mitter, niece Anjali Mitter Duva and nephew Siddhartha Mitter.
In addition, Mitter is survived by a large network of friends, students and mentees who considered him like family. As news of his death spread, dozens of academic institutions around the world sent messages of condolences and personal tributes. “He was Uncle Sanjoy to our children and grandchildren (minus the newest born in May),” said Peter Falve, Professor Emeritus of Applied Mathematics at Brown University and a LIDS research affiliate with Mitter. reminiscing over 50 years of friendship. “He spent many Thanksgivings, Christmases, birthdays, and came to see our family.
Kaufmann agrees, alluding to Mitter’s influence with devastating simplicity: He’ll miss him when he’s gone. ”