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Office of the President, UTA



January 20, 2021

Dear UTA Faculty, Staff, and Students,

It is with great sadness that I share with you the recent passing of Professor of Electrical Engineering Kamisetty R. “K.R.” Rao.  Dr. Rao was one of our current longest-serving faculty members, having joined UTA in 1966. He died January 15 in the hospital after a short illness.

Dr. Rao was world-renowned for his research in mathematical computer techniques. In 1974, he was credited with co-inventing Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) that is the heart of digital signal processing and communications. Over his 54 year tenure at the University of Texas at Arlington, he wrote multiple research papers, authored or coauthored multiple books in the field of digital signal processing and image processing. He also conducted multiple workshops and seminars in addition to visiting professorships at universities all over the world. He was also an inspiration to his students, having served as a mentor to more than 100 master’s and doctoral students during his tenure at UTA.

He earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Madras, a Master of Science in electrical engineering and a Master of Science in nuclear engineering from the University of Florida, and a Doctor of Philosophy in electrical engineering from the University of New Mexico.

I would like to share the reflections of some of Professor Rao’s colleagues:

Professor of Electrical Engineering and Associate Chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering Jonathan Bredow: “The gist of his research work was mathematical computer techniques (coding) to reduce the amount of computer memory needed to store sound, video, and images. For example, we take for granted routinely watching videos from the internet on our smart devices. This wouldn’t be possible without coding that also reduces the amount of cellular bandwidth needed to transmit these videos. So, his work was of major impact.”

Associate Professor Emeritus and Graduate Advisor of Electrical Engineering William E. Dillon, P.E. (Ret): “He was one of the first to reach out to make me feel welcome in the department. UTA gained much recognition from his research and publication accomplishments. Losing this fine scholar and friend is difficult for us.”

Professor of Electrical Engineering, IEEE Fellow, and Texas Instruments Distinguished University Chair in Nanoelectronics Robert Magnusson: “Professor Rao was a humble gentleman, but was a powerhouse in the fields of digital signal processing and image processing—pillars of modern technology that we enjoy every day. Very few academics have produced such impactful works.”

Please join me in sending the UTA community’s condolences to Professor Rao’s family, friends, and colleagues. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.

Service arrangements will be announced when additional information is available.

Most sincerely,

Teik C. Lim, Ph.D.
Interim President




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