Dr. C. D. Johnson and his wife LaRue

Dr. C. D. Johnson and his wife LaRue with his 40-year service plaque at the 2004 Service Awards Luncheon.


A distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering who was expert in the field of control systems and dedicated 50 years of service to educating generations of engineers at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a part of the University of Alabama System, has died.

Dr. C. D. with Von Braun

In 1965, Dr. C. D. Johnson briefs Dr. Wernher von Braun on his minimax control technique for load-relief control of the Saturn V Launch Vehicle.


Dr. Carroll "C. D." Johnson died on April 13. He retired from UAH on 2013, but had continued to be active in his discipline.

"C. D., as he was known to all of us, was a giant in the field of control systems," says Dr. Shankar Mahalingam, dean of the College of Engineering. "He was world renowned for his disturbance-accommodating control theory, which he developed and applied to aerospace systems of interest to many companies and government agencies in the north Alabama region."

Dr. Johnson came to UAH in 1963 and soon established himself as an outstanding educator and mentor, Dr. Mahalingam says. "He coauthored over 200 scientific papers and impacted the education of tens of thousands of engineering students at all levels."

Since 1963, Dr. Johnson was actively involved in the development of new approaches to the design of high-performance stabilization, set-point regulation, servo-tracking, guidance laws and adaptive control systems for rockets, missiles and other dynamical systems that must operate in environments with uncertain, persistently-acting disturbances and parameter variations.

His research efforts led to the development of a wide variety of new control techniques and theories, including the theories of subspace-stabilization control, disturbance-accommodating control, Chebyshev-minimax control, optimal bang-bang control, optimal linear-saturating control and optimal disturbance utilizing control.

Dr. Johnson’s research also led to the development of linear adaptive control, inter-sample control for discrete-time systems, "smart" active-control of vibrations and structures, inverse system realization methods, new methods for real-time system identification and deconvolution, singular-solution methods in optimal control, optimal real-time allocation of scarce resources and exact time-varying eigenvalue methods for linear time-varying dynamical systems.

Dr. Johnson received his BS (1956) and MS (1958) from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and his doctorate (1963) from Purdue University.

"C. D. will be missed by his current and former colleagues and students across UAH," Dr. Mahalingam says. "I am truly grateful for his mentorship of generations of electrical and computer engineering and College of Engineering students, as well as other faculty across our campus and beyond."



Dr. Shankar Mahalingam

Jim Steele