Elijah Polak received the B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Melbourne, Australia, in 1957 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, both in Electrical Engineering, from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1959 and 1961, respectively.

From 1957 to 1958 he was employed as an Instrument Engineer by Imperial Chemical Industries, Australia and New Zealand, Ltd., in Melbourne, Australia. He spent the summers of 1959 and 1960 as a Summer Student with I.B.M. Research Laboratories, San Jose, California, and the Fall Semester of 1964 as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology.   Since 1961, he has been on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, where he is at present Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences as well as Professor in the Graduate School.

He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1968 - 1969 at the Institut Blaise Pascal in Paris, France, and a United Kingdom Science Research Council Senior Post Doctoral Fellow at Imperial College, London, England, in 1972, 1976, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1988, and 1990.

His research interests lie in the area of optimization-based computer-aided design, with applications to electronic circuit design, control system design, and structural design; optimization algorithms, and systems theory.

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 is a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a member of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics and a member of the Mathematical Programming Society.

He is an Associate Editor the Journal of Optimization Theory and Applicationsand of the Journal of Computational Optimization and Applications.