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Rudolf E. Kálmán

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Title: Rudolf E. Kálmán  
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Subject: Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology, Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award, Yu-Chi Ho, Hungary, Observability
Collection: 1930 Births, 20Th-Century American Mathematicians, 21St-Century American Mathematicians, American Electrical Engineers, American Inventors, Columbia School of Engineering and Applied Science Alumni, Columbia University Alumni, Control Theorists, Eth Zurich Faculty, Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, Foreign Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Hungarian Electrical Engineers, Hungarian Emigrants to the United States, Hungarian Inventors, Hungarian Mathematicians, Ieee Centennial Medal Laureates, Ieee Medal of Honor Recipients, Living People, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Alumni, Members of the French Academy of Sciences, Members of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Members of the United States National Academy of Engineering, Members of the United States National Academy of Sciences, People from Budapest, Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award Recipients, Stanford University Faculty, Systems Engineers, University of Florida Faculty
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Rudolf E. Kálmán

Rudolf Emil Kálmán
Born (1930-05-19) May 19, 1930
Budapest, Hungary
Residence United States
Nationality Hungarian-born
American citizen
Fields Electrical Engineering;
Applied Engineering Systems Theory
Institutions Stanford University;
University of Florida;
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Alma mater

Massachusetts Institute of Technology;

Columbia University
Doctoral advisor John Ragazzini
Notable awards IEEE Medal of Honor (1974)
Rufus Oldenburger Medal (1976)
Kyoto Prize (1985)
Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award (1997)
National Medal of Science (2008)
Charles Stark Draper Prize

Rudolf (Rudi) Emil Kálmán[1] (Hungarian: Kálmán Rudolf Emil; born May 19, 1930) is a Hungarian-born American electrical engineer, mathematician, and inventor. He is most noted for his co-invention and development of the Kalman filter, a mathematical algorithm that is widely used in signal processing, control systems, and Guidance, navigation and control. For this work, U.S. President Barack Obama awarded Kálmán the National Medal of Science on October 7, 2009.


  • Biography 1
  • Work 2
  • Awards and honors 3
  • Selected publications 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Rudolf Kálmán was born in Budapest in 1930. After emigrating to the United States in 1943, he earned his bachelor's degree in 1953 and his master's degree in 1954, both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in electrical engineering. Kálmán completed his doctorate in 1957 at Columbia University in New York City.

Kálmán worked as a Research Mathematician at the Research Institute for Advanced Studies in Baltimore, Maryland from 1958 until 1964. He was a professor at Stanford University from 1964 until 1971, and then a Graduate Research Professor and the Director of the Center for Mathematical System Theory, at the University of Florida from 1971 until 1992. Starting in 1973, he also held the chair of Mathematical System Theory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, Switzerland.


Kálmán is an electrical engineer by his undergraduate and graduate education at M.I.T. and Columbia University, and he is noted for his co-invention of the Kalman filter (or Kalman-Bucy Filter), which is a mathematical technique widely used in the digital computers of control systems, navigation systems, avionics, and outer-space vehicles to extract a signal from a long sequence of noisy and/or incomplete technical measurements, usually those done by electronic and gyroscopic systems.

Kálmán's ideas on filtering were initially met with vast skepticism, so much so that he was forced to do the first publication of his results in mechanical engineering, rather than in electrical engineering or systems engineering. Kálmán had more success in presenting his ideas, however, while visiting Stanley F. Schmidt at the NASA Ames Research Center in 1960. This led to the use of Kálmán filters during the Apollo program, and furthermore, in the NASA Space Shuttle, in Navy submarines, and in unmanned aerospace vehicles and weapons, such as cruise missiles.

Awards and honors

Kálmán is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a foreign member of the Hungarian, French, and Russian Academies of Science. He has been awarded many honorary doctorates from other universities. In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[2]

Kálmán received the IEEE Medal of Honor in 1974, the IEEE Centennial Medal in 1984, the Inamori foundation's Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology in 1985, the Steele Prize of the American Mathematical Society in 1987, the Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award in 1997,[3] and the National Academy of Engineering's Charles Stark Draper Prize in 2008.

Selected publications

  • Kalman, R.E. (1960). "A new approach to linear filtering and prediction problems" (PDF). Journal of Basic Engineering 82 (1): 35–45.  
  • Kalman, R.E.; Bucy, R.S. (1961). "New Results in Linear Filtering and Prediction Theory" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-04-08. 


  1. ^ National Science Foundation – The President's National Medal of Science: Recipient Details: RUDOLF E. KÁLMÁN
  2. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2013-01-27.
  3. ^ "Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award".  

External links

  • The Kalman Filter website
  • Kyoto Prize
  • For Kálmán's PhD students see Rudolf Emil Kálmán on the Mathematics Genealogy Project page.
  • .  
  • Biography of Kalman from the IEEE
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