Athanasios Papoulis

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Athanasios Papoulis, circa 1989

Athanasios Papoulis (Greek: Αθανάσιος Παπούλης; 1921 – April 25, 2002) was a Greek-American engineer and applied mathematician.


Papoulis was born in Turkey in 1921, and his family moved to Athens, Greece in 1922. He earned his undergraduate degree from National Technical University of Athens. In 1945, he stowed away on a boat to escape the impending Greek Civil War and settled in the United States. He earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania. He married Caryl Engwall in New York, New York in 1953, and had five children: Irene, Helen, James, Ann, and Mary. In 1952, after teaching briefly at Union College, he became a faculty member at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now Polytechnic Institute of New York University), where he earned the distinction of University Professor.[1]


Papoulis contributed in the areas of signal processing, communications, and signal and system theory. His classic book Probability, Random Variables, and Stochastic Processes[2] is used as a textbook in many graduate-level probability courses in electrical engineering departments all over the world.

Two classic texts aimed at [engineering] practitioners were [first] published in 1965... [One was] Athanasios Papoulis' Probability, Random Variables, and Stochastic Processes... These books popularized a pedagogy that balanced rigor and intuition.[3]

By staying away from complete mathematical rigor while emphasizing the physical and engineering interpretations of probability, Papoulis's book gained wide popularity.


Athanasios Papoulis specialized in engineering mathematics, his work covers probability, statistics, and estimation in the application of these fields to modern engineering problems. Papoulis also taught and developed subjects such as stochastic simulation, mean square estimation, likelihood tests, maximum entropy methods, Monte Carlo method, spectral representations and estimation, sampling theory, bispectrum and system identification, cyclostationary processes, deterministic signals in noise (part of deterministic systems and dynamical system studies), wave optics and the Wiener and Kalman filters.




  1. ^ Announcement of Death.
  2. ^ Athanasios Papoulis and S.Unnikrishna Pillai, Probability, Random Variables and Stochastic Processes, 4th edition, McGraw Hill, 2002.
  3. ^ R.J. Marks II, Handbook of Fourier Analysis and Its Applications, Oxford University Press, (2009) p. vi
  4. ^ A. Papoulis, "Generalized Sampling Expansion," IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems, v.24, Nov. 1977
  5. ^ R. F. Hoskins and J. De Sousa Pinto, "Generalized Sampling Expansions in the Sense of Papoulis," SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, Vol. 44, No. 3 (Jun., 1984), pp. 611-617
  6. ^ J.L. Brown and S.D.Cabrera, "On well-posedness of the Papoulis generalized sampling expansion," IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems, May 1991 Volume: 38 , Issue 5, pp. 554-556
  7. ^ A. Papoulis, "A new method of image restoration," Joint Services Technical Activity Report 39 (1973-1974).
  8. ^ R. W. Gerchberg, Super-resolution through error energy reduction. Opt. Acta 21, 709-720 (1974).
  9. ^ A. Papoulis, "A new algorithm in spectral analysis and bandlimited extrapolation," IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems, CAS-22, 735-742 (1975)
  10. ^ Peter A. Jansson, Deconvolution of Images and Spectra, Second Edition, Academic Press, (1996) pp.490-494
  11. ^ R.J. Marks II, op.cit., pp. 477-482
  12. ^ R.J. Marks II, Ibid, p. 223
  13. ^ Athanasios Papoulis, Signal Analysis, McGraw-Hill (1977)

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