October 27, 2008

Mahajan honored for intelligent systems work

by Tim Crosby


CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A Southern Illinois University Carbondale researcher has won an award for his contribution to intelligent systems design.

Ajay Mahajan, professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Energy Processes in the College of Engineering, received the 2008 Honorary Award from the Model Identification and Intelligent Systems Technical Committee, a part of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The award honored him for his work in the technical area of intelligent systems.

“I am particularly pleased and honored in receiving this award, as Dr. Dev Garg, for whom the award is named, has been a mentor figure to me for years,” Mahajan said. “Dr. Garg has worked at MIT, was a National Science Foundation program manager for years and now works at Duke University. He is one of the most respected figures in the controls and intelligent systems community, and has remained very active in the community.”

MIIS is one of five technical committees in the Dynamic Systems and Control Division of the ASME. It provides a forum to analyze and discuss technical developments, stimulate collaboration and discussion and generally improve and increase research and engineering education. The division’s mission includes improving and researching modeling, design and control of the physical systems related to machine controls, as well as many other aspects. The division is one of 34 technical divisions in the ASME.

MIIS presents two honorary awards: one for technical aspects of intelligent systems and one for modeling and identification. The group presents one of the awards every other year to researchers who contribute significantly to its mission and areas of expertise and education.

Marco P. Schoen, chair of the MIIS technical committee, said Mahajan is well deserving of the award.

“It is a great pleasure for me to see this award going to (him), since I have had the fortune to observe him from near and afar in his work,” Schoen said. “His contributions to this field and to this community are of great significance and have inspired not only a new generation in Intelligent Systems research, but also current practitioners such as myself.”

Feng Lin, chair of the awards subcommittee for the MIIS, said its members unanimously selected Mahajan for the honor.

“Dr. Mahajan is a great ambassador for intelligent systems,” he said.

Mahajan is an expert on intelligent systems, working on projects for NASA, Formula One racing companies, the U.S. Air Force, Army and the Department of Homeland Security. He also has conducted research and development for companies such as Caterpillar Inc., Medtronic and others, winning the top prize in NASA’s Tech Briefs 2007 Create the Future Design for his real-time ultrasonic neuronavigation system for brain surgeons.