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Engineering Professor Tenured

Berkeley Scientist Specializes in Study of Intelligent Systems

By Alessandra M. Galloni

S. Shankar Shastry, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, has accepted a tenured post in the Division of Applied Sciences.

Sastry, who accepted the offer Monday, will join the faculty of Engineering Sciences next semester. This year, he will teach the undergraduate course Engineering Science 156, "Signals and Systems."

"I am really excited to have the possibility to be able to teach technology to the best undergraduates in the country," Sastry said Thursday.

"It's great that he's coming," said Wang professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Roger Brockett. "We're very lucky...he's one of the bright stars in the field."

Sastry's research has focused on the engineering of intelligent systems--from vehicle highways to robotics to the human body.

At Berkeley, where he has taught for 11 years, Sastry has built a support lab for the study of robotics. One of his latest projects has involved examining the transportation infrastructure of the country as an intelligent vehicle system.

Sastry said he is very interested in applying his studies to society. That is why, he said, he tries to complement theory with visual examples and practical applications in the classroom.

"Blackboard and chalk is good, but you need to be able to enhance it with tools," Sastry said.

Professors in the department said they are pleased Sastry can bring this sort of technological application to undergraduate courses, such as Engineering Sciences 156.

"It's a very important course," said Brockett. "It has a strong theoretical component...but several possibilities have come along for joining the math with computers and visualization."

Sastry also places much emphasis on the relationship between engineering and other fields.

"The barriers are being broken down between engineering and other things, such as public policy and economics," said Sastry. "Engineering is a more collective endeavor."

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