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Prof. Vladimír Kučera from the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics of Czech Technical University in Prague (CIIRC CTU) has become the winner of the National Government Award, Czech Head. He received the most prestigious Czech scientific award from the Government of the Czech Republic for his lifetime contribution to the development of automatic control theory on a global scale upon a proposal of the Council for Research, Development and Innovation at the Czech Head gala dinner on 5 December.

The scientific contribution of Professor Vladimír Kučera is seen primarily in three groundbreaking results that have advanced the world science in the field of automatic control. These are the original synthesis of discrete control circuits, also known as the method of polynomial equations; the Youla-Kučera parametrization of stabilizing controllers; and non-interactive control of complex systems, known in literature as "decoupling": a problem that was formulated 80 years ago and could not be solved.

The Youla-Kučera parametrization is the most important result of Professor Kučera’s work, which started a completely new direction of research in the theory of automatic control. It is not only widely cited, a query in Google search captures tens of thousands of references, but also used in applications we encounter every day. These include multi-purpose control systems, typically optimal control, robust control, fault suppression, vibration damping, closed-loop control system identification, adaptive control, and control that switches stabilizing controllers when environmental influences change or tolerates random faults in the control circuit. Recently, their use, for example, for safer control of autonomous vehicles has become increasingly important.

"Discovering a new finding with many citations and applications is a success, but the greatest success is the result that the scientific community names after the author," says Prof. Vladimír Kučera. "I have received many awards, but I value the Czech Head the most. It is also an encouragement to me for further creative work," he adds.

Professor Vladimír Kučera has been Deputy Director of the CIIRC at CTU since 2015. Previously, he worked as Director of the Masaryk Institute of Higher Studies at CTU, Dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at CTU, and Director of the Institute of Information Theory and Automation of the Czech Academy of Sciences. In all of these positions, he made a significant contribution to the development of these institutions. Vladimír Kučera is also a very popular lecturer, he has been lecturing for decades at CTU and other institutions. He has participated as the principal researcher or co-researcher in projects funded with a total of more than 1.1 billion crowns.

"Professor Vladimír Kučera was at the inception of the CIIRC CTU and since the beginning he has supported our institute not only with his academic achievements, which I consider truly exceptional in the world context, but also in terms of management. He has taught several generations of his followers and helped Czech science to gain respect abroad. I am honoured to have such a colleague," says Prof. Vladimír Mařík, Scientific Director of the CIIRC CTU.

Photo, source: BcA. Ondřej Kalmán