P. R. Kumar obtained his B.Tech. degree in Electrical Engineering (Electronics) from I.I.T. Madras in 1973, and the M.S. and D.Sc. degrees in Systems Science and Mathematics from Washington University, St. Louis in 1975 and 1977, respectively. From 1977-84, he was a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. From 1985-2011, he was a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois, where he remains a Franklin W. Woeltge Emeritus Professor. Currently he is at Texas A&M University where he is a University Distinguished Professor, Regents Professor, and O’Donnell Foundation Chair I.
Kumar has worked on problems in game theory, adaptive control, simulated annealing, machine learning, queueing networks, manufacturing systems, scheduling wafer fabrication plants, wireless networks and network information theory. His current research focus includes renewable energy, power systems, security, privacy, automated transportation, unmanned aerial vehicle traffic management, millimeter wave 5G, and cyber-physical systems.
Kumar is a member of the National Academy of Engineering of the USA, the World Academy of Sciences, and the Indian National Academy of Engineering. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule) in Zurich. He received the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal, the IEEE Field Award for Control Systems, the Donald P. Eckman Award of American Automatic Control Council, the Fred Ellersick Prize of IEEE Communications Society, the Outstanding Contribution Award of ACM SIGMOBILE, the Infocom Achievement Award, and SIGMOBILE Test-of-Time Paper Award. He is an ACM Fellow and a Fellow of IEEE. He is an Honorary Professor at IIT Hyderabad, and Franklin Woeltge Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT Madras, the Alumni Achievement Award from Washington University in St. Louis, and the Daniel C. Drucker Eminent Faculty Award from the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois.