Awarded annually, the medal recognises individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. Born in 1935 to a Malayalam-speaking Syrian Christian family who hailed from Kerala, Kailath has authored several books including well-known Linear Systems.
After graduating from the University of Pune in 1956, Kailath received his Master's degree and his doctorate degree in 1961, both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was the first India-born student to receive a doctorate in electrical engineering from MIT. Kailath joined Stanford University as Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering in 1963 and was promoted to Professor in 1968, and was appointed the first holder of the Hitachi America Professorship in 1988. He is also known for his contributions to the information and system sciences. He was conferred with the Padma Bhushan award in 2009 by the Indian government for his contribution to science and engineering.