何毓琦的个人博客分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/何毓琦 哈佛(1961-2001) 清华(2001-date)

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1959-2009 of R&E and the 48th IEEE CDC

已有 7950 次阅读 2009-12-17 14:17 |个人分类:生活点滴|系统分类:人物纪事

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1959-2009 of R&E and the 48th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control


The first paper of my ph.d thesis was written and submitted in 1959 (see http://www.sciencenet.cn/m/user_content.aspx?id=250198 ).  My most recent paper was published July 2009 ( Chen Xi , Y.C. Ho, and Bai Hongxing, Complete Coverage and Point Coverage in Randomly Distributed Sensor Networks, AUTOMATICA 2009); the  most recent technical book in 2007 (Y.C. Ho, Q.C. Zhao, and Q.S. Jia. Ordinal Optimization – Soft Optimization for Hard Problems Springer, 2007); and the popular science book , (Blog Articles on Science and Life. Tsinghua University Press, Nov. 2009) one month ago. Thus, I can honestly claim that I have actively engaged in R&E for the past 50 years.

The year 2009 is also auspicious for me for additional reasons: I turned 75 – a major milestone in one’s life; my 50th wedding anniversary came and went http://www.sciencenet.cn/m/user_content.aspx?id=264064 ; My textbook , Applied Optimal Control  A SCI Classic (as the most referenced text on the subject) celebrated its 40th publication year still going strong without a revision. My friends in China and former students from all over organized a birthday celebration and a one day workshop on control and optimization in my honor in conjunction with the 48th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control in Shanghai, China, December 15-18, 2009. http://www.ieeecss.org/CAB/conferences/cdc2009/index.php?page=home As I mentioned before this is THE international conference of our field. http://www.sciencenet.cn/m/user_content.aspx?id=50878. It has a US$800,000 budget and some 2000 attendees over a four day period. For me, it was a festive two days personally.
The most gratifying and overwhelming part of the celebration was the one day workshop featuring nine of my former students (approximately one fifth of my lifetime output of ph.ds), each a well accomplished scholar in their own right giving 30 minutes talks about their research works under the title of Five Decades of Ho-ntrol and Ho-ptimization (control and optimization). http://www.ieeecss.org/CAB/conferences/cdc2009/index.php?page=workshops#Cassandras
I was gratified that each of them independently attributed much of their successes to two things they learned from me which I myself have written in these blog pages during the past 2.5 years:
1.     You can explain anything to anybody in any amount of time at his/her appropriate level
2.     One month after you give a good talk, few will remember what you talked about without reinforcement, but they will remember you years later as a good speaker
As proof it was one of the best workshop in content, presentation, and attendance  I and others have attended. I was totally absorbed and interested for the entire 9 hour day and overwhelmed by the efforts of the speakers. I suppose that the fact once again these great scholars have to perform before their old teachers and each other had something to do with “rising to the occasion”.
The birthday party the previous evening was also most moving involving an international cast of friends including many in China and former students all over the world. It was supported by the following organizations :
Department of Automation, Tsinghua University
School of Electronic and Information Engineering, Xian Jiaotong University
Department of Automation, Shanghai Jiaotong University
School of Information Sciences and Engineering, Northeastern University
Department of Control Sciences and Engineering, Zhejiang University
The Key Lab for Systems and Control, Institute of Systems Science, AMSS, CAS
The Key Lab for Complex Systems and Intelligence Sciences and the State Key Lab for Pattern Recognition, Institute of Automation, CAS  
And I was showered with gifts and spoken greetings by many at the party as well as a specially published celebration volume of written greetings from friends and former students, many of which brought back sweet memories and tears of gratitude and joy. Here below is my “thank you” remarks at the party
I am a Lucky Guy (by Y.C. Ho)
This is all right!
To hear all these kind words and good things said about me and have this surprise of a wonderful book of greetings, my Father, if he is here, will be very proud. My Mother in addition will believe that I deserve every word in it. But seriously, to have your life reviewed and passed before your eyes as I sat here this evening, I fully appreciate that remark made famous by the American comedian, Steve Martin: I am a lucky guy! Or as the late Senator Ted Kennedy said, I lived in blessed times. To have avoided the hardship of WWII and Korea by being too young but then to come of age just at the dawn of the modern age of my field when things were easier and opportunities were everywhere are privileges of being born at the right time. But I also had a great Mother who sacrificed her own happiness by sending her only child 8000 miles away from home alone at the tender age of 15 so that I’ll have a head start in life and be able to take advantage of the opportunities the US has to offer. This is a debt I can never repay. Although I did not fully realize at the time when I was smitten by love, for the past 50 years, every day I increasingly come to appreciate that I married an ageless, talented and good woman. Among other things I couldn’t do without her, she raised three children who gave us no grief but only joy and parental pride. In fact three of them just threw a fabulous party for my wife and I on our golden wedding anniversary two months ago in Boston. Parents will kill for such love from their children. http://www.sciencenet.cn/m/user_content.aspx?id=263414
Professionally, after a very satisfying and fulfilling life, being able to “retire” to a second and third career in which I am doing exactly what I please on my own terms are hardly things everyone enjoys and no one can plan but only hope for. Finally, to be endowed with the right genes to be still healthy enough here to enjoy this occasion and to hear these warm greetings delivered by friends all over the world in person, instead of during Eulogies, are more than anyone can ask for. God may become jealous. Thus let me not dwelling too long on my good fortune and conclude quickly by saying something that has been said billions of times before. But I say this in the sincerest form possible: To the country of my birth, and the country of my choice, and to friends all over the world and their warm greetings, to all my students who make me look good, and last but the most especially to the organizers and supporters of this event Thank you very much. You know I shall die a very happy man.


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