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Zurich professor takes major US award

An emeritus mathematics professor of the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), Rudolf Kalman, has won a major engineering prize in the United States.

Kalman has been awarded the Charles Stark Draper prize by the National Academy of Engineering in Washington.

The prize is a $500,000 (SFr558,300) annual award that honours engineers whose accomplishments have significantly benefited society.

Kalman was the inventor of the Kalman filter, a mathematical technique that can from incomplete information optimally estimate and control the state of a changing, complex system over time.

A statement from the academy said the filter had revolutionised the field of control theory and had become pervasive in engineering systems.

Kalman was head of the federal institute’s centre for mathematical theory from 1971 until he retired in 1997.

The prize is named in honour of Draper, known as the “father of inertial navigation” and founder of the Draper Laboratory

It will be presented at a gala dinner in Washington on February 19.

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