In Memoriam

  • Kenneth R. Laker

    Kenneth R. Laker


    Dr. Kenneth Robert Laker, 76, of Yardley, PA, passed away on August 2, 2023. Ken was born on September 10th, 1946. You'd never guess it, but he was born at just 3 pounds next to his twin brother Richard. Despite starting so small, his presence grew to be larger than life. His stories and laughter filled every room he entered until his passing, and he will forever fill the hearts of his family and friends, especially Mary Ellen, who he married 55 years ago. His three sons, three daughters-in-law & four grandchildren - John & Alice, Melanie and Jack, Chris & Jacqueline, Brian & Karen, Georgia and Lucia, and the extended family and friends he loved so much.

    You'd never guess it, but Ken was dyslexic and struggled in school. But his resolve and perseverance (and his supportive bride to whom he always shared so much credit) got him through Manhattan College and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from NYU. He continued on to write several text books, teaching students and colleagues across the world in classrooms at Oxford, MIT, National University of Singapore, and his post for 35 years as the Alfred Fitler Moore Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He was also proud to serve as President of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), helping over 400,000 fellow members from 190+ different countries improve their shared profession. During his career, Dr. Laker started a semiconductor company, served on several corporate boards, and authored patents at Bell Labs, now AT&T. He also served his country as a Captain in the United States Air Force.

    You'd never guess it, but Ken battled several illnesses since originally being treated for prostate cancer 8 years ago, but he always fully embraced life with unyielding positivity. He started painting in 2020 and loved creating watercolor masterpieces with his wife, grandchildren & art class friends.

    As a serial storyteller, he was always quick to share his infectious love for movies, audiobooks, sports, music, and a great meal. He traveled near and far staying close to family and friends, while also soaking up football games, Johnny Mathis concerts & the latest box office hit, and he always looked forward to planning the next adventure with the love of his life, Mary Ellen. He was a great teacher, friend, grandpa, dad, and husband. We'll miss him so much.

    May you embrace your days as fully and love as deeply in celebration of Ken Laker's wonderful life. 

    Memorial retrieved from Fitzgerald-Sommer Funeral Home.

  • Chung Laung Liu headshot

    Chung Laung Liu


    Illinois Computer Science is deeply saddened to note the passing of Professor Emeritus and former Associate Provost Chung Laung (Dave) Liu.

    Professor Emerita Jane W.-S. Liu said he died peacefully on Nov. 7 after a brief illness. He was 86.

    A pioneer in the fields of electronic design automation (EDA) and real-time systems, Liu joined the Illinois CS faculty in 1972, serving as an associate provost from 1995 to 1998. He then led National Tsing Hua University as its president from 1998 to 2002.  His brilliance, warmth, and selfless mentorship will be greatly missed.

    The department has posted a remembrance about Liu here.

    Friends and family have created a website to remember Liu at:

    Instead of flower baskets or monetary gifts, the family has asked that donations be made to the three schools where he attended and worked.  Those who wish to make a donation to Illinois CS in Liu’s memory may do so through the department’s giving page. Donations will go towards a scholarship named in his honor.  To send a gift by check, send it to University of Illinois Foundation, P.O. Box 734500, Chicago, IL 60673-4500, payable to "University of Illinois Foundation."  Please include a note designating the gift for the C.L. (Dave) Liu Scholarship in the UIUC Computer Science Department.  

    Obituary courtesy of  University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign - The Granger College of Engineering - Computer Science


  • Charles A. Desoer headshot

    Charles A. Desoer


    Professor Desoer was born on Jan. 11, 1926, in Brussels, Belgium. During the German occupation of Belgium in World War II, he fought with the Belgium Resistance and, following the liberation, joined the Belgium Army. He obtained a radio engineer degree from the University of Liege in 1949 and then moved to the United States, where he earned a Sc.D. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1953. In 1976, the University of Liege awarded him an honorary Sc.D.

    In 1953, he began his career at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey, primarily working in the field of network theory. He left there in 1958, joining the faculty at UC Berkeley as a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences. He continued to serve the campus as professor emeritus after his retirement in 1993.

    Professor Desoer’s work contributed to substantial progress in the analysis, design and control of linear and nonlinear circuits and systems. These advances led to the burgeoning growth of control applications and benefited the aerospace, transportation, process control and other essential sectors of industry.

    His series of seminal textbooks in circuits and control systems are widely regarded as classics in the field and have set a high standard for their clarity of thought and presentation, as well as a deep commitment to intellectual elegance.

    Professor Desoer passed away in 2010.

    Selected Publications

    • C. A. Desoer and E. S. Kuh, Basic Circuit Theory, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1969.
    • L. A. Zadeh and C. A. Desoer, Linear System Theory: The State Space Approach, W. Linvill, L. A. Zadeh, and G. Dantzia, Eds., McGraw-Hill Series in System Science, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1963.

    Awards, Memberships and Fellowships

    Obituary courtesy of Berkeley Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences