Wah: Franklin W. Woeltge Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Professorship: Franklin W. Woeltge Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Franklin W. Woeltge was born on August 16, 1903, in St. Louis, the son of Frank and Laura Woeltge. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1926 with a B.S. in electrical engineering. While a student at the university, he was a member of the Alpha Beta Chapter of Theta Xi, which he in 1922, the year the fraternity was established. He also participated in the Electrical Engineering Society, the American Institute of Electrical Engineering, and the University of Illinois Band.

Mr. Woeltge worked as an engineer in the Avionics and Space Division of Emerson Electric, retiring in 1963. He was an avid reader, dancer and follower of the stock market.

He died on December 3, 1998, at the age of 95, leaving behind no family. Yet the years that he spent at the University of Illinois - the only period in his life when he lived outside of St. Louis - clearly meant a great deal to Mr. Woeltge. In his will, he made a substancial bequest to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, making possible the establishment of the Franklin W. Woeltge Professorships.

Faculty: Benjamin W. Wah

Benjamin W Wah
Benjamin W Wah

A member of the faculty since 1985, Dr. Benjamin W. Wah holds joint appointments as Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Research Professor in the Coordinated Science Laboratory. His research activities are in optimization and search, computer networks, and multimedia signal processing. Professor Wah pioneered the theory of extended saddle points that is now used throughout the world and developed its statistical generalization that has been applied to many problems in industry. He is also well known for his work on computers for artificial intelligence processing.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and of the Society for Design and Process Science. He received the R. T. Yeh Lifetime Achievement Award from SDPS in 2003, the IEEE Millennium Medal in 2000, and the IEEE Computer Society Technical Achievement Award in 1998, and was a University Scholar from 1989 to 1991. He is cofounder of the IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering and was its editor-in-chief from 1993 to 1996. He was the Fujitsu Visiting Chair Professor of Intelligence Engineering at the University of Tokyo in 1992 and McKay Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1994. He served as the IEEE Computer Society President in 2001.

Born in Hong Kong, Professor Wah received his B.S. in 1974 and M.S. in 1975 in electrical engineering from Columbia University, and his M.S. in 1976 and PhD in 1979 in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley. He and his wife, Christine, have two daughters, Catherine and Elaine.