In Memory of Professor Emeritus David Q. Mayne

David Mayne

With great sadness, the University of California, Davis, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering announces the passing of Professor Emeritus David Q. Mayne. A luminary in control systems engineering, Mayne's legacy encompasses distinguished scholarship, pioneering research and dedicated mentorship.

Mayne was born in Germiston, South Africa. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. After completing his undergraduate program, he served as a lecturer at his alma mater’s electrical engineering department for nine years, during which he also worked as a research and development engineer at the British Thomson-Houston Company in Rugby, England, for two years.

In 1959, he became a lecturer at the Imperial College London, where he earned both his Ph.D. and Doctorate of Science degrees and eventually attained the rank of professor. From 1989 to 1996, he was a professor at the University of California, Davis, before returning to Imperial College London as a researcher.

His research spanned optimization, model predictive control, nonlinear control and adaptive control, contributing significantly to the development of algorithms for complex non-differentiable optimization problems. These advancements have been pivotal in engineering design, particularly in the creation of linear and nonlinear control systems. In addition, Mayne pioneered differential dynamic programming, or DDP, one of the oldest trajectory optimization techniques in optimal control literature. 

His work on global semi-infinite optimization provided solutions to critical challenges in control design and has practical applications in fields like autonomous vehicle navigation for cars and drones. Mayne authored over 350 papers and co-authored seminal books on differential dynamic programming, such as "Model Predictive Control: Theory, Computation, and Design," which has been cited 5,600 times. He wrote the book with Professor James Rawlings from UCSB, who Mayne also worked with on a notable paper published in Automatica that has received 9,900 citations.   

His accolades include an honorary Doctor of Technology degree from the University of Lund, an honorary professorship from Beihang University, the Sir Harold Hartley Medal from the Institute of Measurement and Control and the Heaviside Premium (received twice) from the Institution of Electrical Engineers. He was also awarded the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Control Systems Award in 2009 and the International Federation of Automatic Control High Impact Paper Award in 2011. Mayne was a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the International Federation of Automatic Control.

Dr. Mayne's contributions to the field of control systems engineering will be remembered and revered by many. His dedication and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the academic and engineering communities.

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