He received the B.S. degree in EE from the University of Melbourne, Australia, 1957, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in EE from the UC Berkeley, 1959 and 1961, respectively. Since 1961, he has been on the faculty of UC Berkeley, where he is, at present, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, as well as Professor in the Graduate School.
He is the author or co-author of over 200 papers, as well as four books; Theory of Mathematical Programming and Optimal Control (with M. Canon and C. Cullum, 1970), Notes for a First Course on Linear Systems (with E. Wong, 1970), Computational Methods in Optimization (1971), and Optimization:Algorithms and Consistent Approximations (1997). In addition, he translated from Russian the book Absolute Stability of Regulator Systems by M. A. Aizerman and F. R. Gantmacher (1964), and, with L. A. Zadeh, he co-edited "System Theory" (1969).
He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1968 - 1969 at the Institut Blaise Pascal in Paris, France, and a United Kingdom Science Research Council Senior Postdoctoral Fellow at Imperial College, London, England, in 1972, 1976, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1988, and 1990. He is a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), a member of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) and a member of the Mathematical Programming Society.
- E. Polak, Optimization: Algorithms and Consistent Approximations, Springer Series in Applied Mathematical Sciences, Vol. 124, New York, NY: Springer-Verlag, 1997.
- E. Polak, Computational Methods in Optimization: A Unified Approach, R. Bellman, Ed., Mathematics in Science and Engineering, Vol. 77, New York, NY: Academic Press, 1971.
- E. Polak and G. Ribiere, "Note on the convergence of methods of conjugate directions," Revue Francaise d'Informatique et de Recherche Operationnelle, vol. 3, no. 16, pp. 35-43, Jan. 1969.
- N. O. Da Cunha and E. Polak, "Constrained minimization under vector valued-criterial in finite dimensional spaces," J. Mathematical Analysis & Applications, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 103-124, July 1967.
- M. Canon, C. Cullum, and E. Polak, "Constrained minimization problems in finite-dimensional spaces," SIAM J. on Control, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 528-547, Aug. 1966.