Vadim I. Utkin

Vadim I. Utkin


Saturday, October 30, 1937

Passed away: 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Vadim Utkin, in full Vadim Ivanovich Utkin, joined the Institute of Automation and Remote Control (IARC), the USSR Academy of Sciences, after graduation from Moscow Power Engineering Institute in 1960. Utkin and S.V. Emelyanov became the pioneers of using sliding modes for the benefit of control systems and were awarded the Lenin Prize for the corresponding research in 1972. Sliding modes are the boundary operation modes of systems with discontinuous control; beforehand, they were generally considered the main threat to the existence of control systems. Sliding modes and variable structure systems proposed by Utkin and Emelyanov endowed closed loop systems with unique and efficient properties that traditional control methods could not provide.

However, all these discoveries happened later. Utkin’s early biography at IARC was typical for a talented and well-educated person. (As a matter of fact, his famous father, Ivan V. Utkin, for many years was Chairman of the Institute’s local union committee and Head of the Postgraduate Studies Department.) By 1964, Vadim Utkin defended his candidate’s dissertation (Variable Structure Systems to Control the Forced Motion of Dynamic Objects); by 1971, he completed his doctoral dissertation (Sliding Modes and Their Application in Control Problems). Many ideas from the doctoral dissertation were published in the monograph Teoriya sistem s peremennoi strukturoi (Theory of Variable Structure Systems), Moscow: Nauka, 1970 (coauthors S.V. Emelyanov, V.A. Taran, N.E. Kostyleva, A.M. Shubladze, V.B. Ezerov, and E.N. Dubrovskii). Moreover, those ideas underlaid the subsequent cycle of research works for which Emelyanov and Utkin were awarded the Lenin Prize (1972). At that time, Utkin was only 35 years old.

In 1973, Utkin became Head of the Laboratory of Discontinuous Control Systems for many years until 1994. (This Laboratory is still active and is headed by Anton V. Utkin, his namesake.) Simultaneously, Vadim Utkin was engaged in intensive teaching as Professor at the Institute of Steel and Alloys (since 1975) and Professor at Moscow Polytechnic Institute (since 1977). He supervised graduate and postgraduate students, many of whom later became candidates and doctors of sciences. He was invited as visiting Professor to universities in Japan, Italy, Germany, and the USA. One such trip determined his job. From 1994 to the last days of his life, Utkin was Full Professor at Ohio State University, the USA.

Utkin authored 6 monographs and over 300 papers with more than 10 500 citations (WoS h-index 39). Under his supervision, 23 candidate’s dissertations and PhD theses were defended.

Utkin’s research areas were as follows:

  • mathematical modeling of dynamic variable structure systems;
  • sliding mode control systems: conceptualization, mathematical apparatus, analysis, and design methods;
  • decomposition and invariance principles in control systems design;
  • application of the theoretical results mentioned above to industrial processes, electric motors and generators, internal combustion engines, gantry robots, power semiconductor converters, and other devices.

Utkin was always interested in applied problems and implementing theoretical results. From 1975 to 1978, he supervised the Soviet-Yugoslavian project on creating control systems for various electric motors. While working in the USA, Utkin took part in developing control systems for flexible industrial systems and robots, including car assembly lines (Ford). This list is far from complete.

Despite working abroad for the last 28 years, Utkin never broke his ties with Russia and the Institute that raised him and formed his scientific path. He liked to recall the IARC’s unique and creative atmosphere, which promoted many scientific “feats” and discoveries of the Institute over the years. According to Utkin, the Institute was a beautiful kingdom with absolute democracy because anyone could become king (queen) when getting closer to the scientific truth than the other inhabitants.

Utkin’s research works received recognition from the global scientific community. He was a plenary speaker at several international congresses and symposia. For many years, Utkin worked in governing bodies of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) and was Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Chairman of the IEEE Technical Committee on Variable Structure and Sliding Mode Control (TCVSSMC) since 2000. He was a member of the editorial boards of several international peer-reviewed journals in automatic control and a member of many international scientific societies.

Utkin was Professor and held honorary doctorates from the University of Sarajevo (1978) and Rovira and Vergil University (2010). He was Foreign Member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ANUBiH, 2008) and Foreign Member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences (Academia Mexicana de Ciencias, 2014). For his pioneering research and further development of sliding mode theory, he was awarded the Rufus Oldenburger Medal (2003) from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Humboldt Award (2005) from the German Government.

Utkin’s main books are as follows:

  1. Road Map for Sliding Mode Control Design, Springer, 2020. — 141 p. (coauthors A. Poznyak, Yu.V. Orlov, and A. Polyakov);
  2. Sliding Mode Control in Electro-Mechanical Systems, Taylor & Francis, 1st ed., 1999. — 325 p.; 2nd ed., 2009. — 503 p. (coauthors J. Guldner and J. Shi);
  3. Sliding Modes in Control and Optimization, Communications and Control Engineering, Springer, 1992. — 286 p.;
  4. Teoriya beskonechnomernykh sistem upravleniya na skol’zyashchikh rezhimakh (Theory of Infinite-Dimensional Sliding Mode Control Systems), Moscow: Nauka, 1990. — 133 p. (coauthor Yu.V. Orlov);
  5. Mul’tipleksory i protsessory teleobrabotki dannykh ES EVM (Multiplexers and Front-End Processors for ES EVM), Moscow: Radio i Svyaz’, 1987. — 232 p.;
  6. Skol’zyashchie rezhimy v zadachakh optimizatsii i upravleniya (Sliding Modes in Optimization and Control Problems), Moscow: Nauka, 1981. — 368 p.;
  7. Sliding Modes and Their Application in Variable Structure Systems, 1st ed., Mir Publishers, 1978. — 259 p.;
  8. Skol’zyashchie rezhimy i ikh primenenie v sistemakh s peremennoi strukturoi (Sliding Modes and Their Application in Variable Structure Systems), Moscow: Nauka, 1974. — 272 p.;
  9. Teoriya sistem s peremennoi strukturoi (Theory of Variable Structure Systems), Moscow: Nauka, 1970. — 592 p. (coauthors S.V. Emelyanov, V.A. Taran, N.E. Kostyleva, A.M. Shubladze, V.B. Ezerov, and E.N. Dubrovskii).

Many of these books are presented in the Institute’s database:Уткин+В.И.

The list of journal papers by Utkin is available at Math-Net.Ru:

1. V. I. Utkin, Yu. V. Orlov, Control Systems with Vector Relays, Avtomat. i Telemekh., 2019, 9,  143—155    Autom. Remote Control80:9 (2019), 1671—1680.    
2. V. I. Utkin, Brief Comments for the Continuation Method by A. F. Filippov for Solution Continuation on a Discontinuity Set, Avtomat. i Telemekh., 2015, 5,  165—174    Autom. Remote Control76:5 (2015), 863—871.    
3. V. I. Utkin, A Conditionally Stable System with Variable Structure in a Work of A. M. Letov, Avtomat. i Telemekh., 2011, 11,  140—142      Autom. Remote Control72:11 (2011), 2348—2350.    
4. Yu. V. Orlov, V. I. Utkin, Principles of the Control of Infinite-Dimensional Dynamical Systems on Sliding Modes, Dokl. Akad. Nauk SSSR283:5 (1985),  1116—1119.      
5. V. I. Utkin, S. V. Drakunov, Stochastic Regularization of Systems with Discontinuous Controls, Dokl. Akad. Nauk SSSR272:5 (1983),  1069—1072.      
6. D. B. Izosimov, V. I. Utkin, On Equivalence of Systems with Large Gains and Systems with Discontinuous Controls, Avtomat. i Telemekh., 1981, 11,  189—191.  
7. V. I. Utkin, Principles of Identification Using Sliding Modes, Dokl. Akad. Nauk SSSR257:3 (1981),  558—561.      
8. S. A. Grishin, V. I. Utkin, On Extending the Definition of Discontinuous Systems, Differ. Uravn.16:2 (1980),  227—235.      
9. D. Izosimov, B. Matich, V. I. Utkin, A. Shabanovich, Application of Sliding Modes in Problems of Electrical Machine Control, Dokl. Akad. Nauk SSSR241:4 (1978),  769—772.  
10. B. Z. Golembo, S. V. Emelyanov, V. I. Utkin, A. M. Shubladze, Application of the Variable System Structure Methods in Problems of Adaptive Filtration and Differentiation, Dokl. Akad. Nauk SSSR226:5 (1976),  1034—1037.  
11. B. N. Petrov, S. V. Emelyanov, V. I. Utkin, Principles for the Construction of Invariant Automatic-Control Systems with Variable Structure, Dokl. Akad. Nauk SSSR154:6 (1964),  1294—1296.    
12. S. V. Emelyanov, V. I. Utkin, Application of Automatic Control Systems of Variable Structure for the Control of Objects Whose Parameters Vary over a Wide Range, Dokl. Akad. Nauk SSSR152:2 (1963),  299—301.

The list of his papers in Avtomatika i Telemekhanika can be found at:

For their English versions, see the microfilm collection of Automation and Remote Control (1956—1994):
and the journal page at SpringerLink (2001—2022):

His publications can be found at:

Also, see the Wikipedia page devoted to Utkin:

Scopus Author ID: 7101693028