Professor Michael Yoeli, 1917-2013

Prof. Michael Yoeli was born in 1917 in Piotrków, Poland. In 1935 he graduated high school in Vienna, and on the very same year he came to Israel. In the years 1935-1939 he studied mathematics in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

In 1938 he started working in the Communication Office of the British mandate, and in 1948 he was made head of the development department of telephone systems in Israel. In 1952 he started teaching Switching Theory as an adjunct lecturer at the Technion, and in 1955 he was appointed lecturer in the Electrical Engineering department.

In 1960 Yoeli finished his Ph.D. studies at the Technion. In 1960-61 he spent a year in the Electrical Engineering department in Syracuse University in the USA and spent the summer in the IBM Research Center in Poughkeepsie. In 1961 he was appointed senior lecturer and in 1965 he was promoted to associate professor in the Technion EE department. During that time he spent a year in the Military Center for Mathematical Research in Madison, Wisconsin, and then spent the following year as a researcher in the Mathematics Department of the Stanford Research Center in California.

In 1968 Yoeli was promoted to full professor in the EE department at the Technion. In the short period between 1955-1968 Prof. Yoeli has advanced from a junior lecturer to full professor, who was well known in the international professional community and was invited to the best research centers. A fruitful combination of a precise mathematical approach with engineering understanding was foundational for this success. Prof. Yoeli had focused on key problems in his research fields, and took a significant part in their impressive development in the 1960s.

During his years at the Technion, Prof. Yoeli was considered one of the best and most appreciated teachers, mostly due to his thoroughness and the clarity of his talks, his ability to incorporate contemporary research material in his teaching, and his serious, dedicated and open-minded approach. Yoeli also proved to be a very successful advisor for graduate students, showing a special ability to direct the young researchers right to the root of the problem, sparing them aimless wandering down dead-end paths. During these years Prof. Yoeli lead the teaching of digital computers at the Technion.

In 1969 Prof. Yoeli was one of the founders of the Computer Science department. His wide knowledge, experience and judgment were vital for the young department, and he spared no efforts to promote and encourage its development. In the years 1973-1975 he served as the dean of the CS department.

Yoeli’s research during the 1970s focused on various topics in computer science theory, such as Cascade Theory, and a-synchronic switching systems.

He later focused mainly on the research of Petri nets, parallel systems and VLSI. He has achieved very impressive results in these fields, which received world-wide recognition from researchers in USA and Europe. Among other projects, he had also published a book with Prof. John Brzozowski from Waterloo University in Canada.

Prof. Yoeli was invited to conduct his research in various universities and research centers abroad, such as the Automation and Data Processing Center in Bonn, the Computer Science Department in Waterloo University in Canada, the IBM Research Center in Yorktown Heights, the Computer Science Department in Uppsala University in Sweden and many more. He was invited to give guest lectures in many places in the USA, Europe and even Japan. Prof. Yoeli held the Bank Leumi Chair.

In 1985 he retired, but continued his research and publishing papers. His last book was published when he was 91.

Prof. Yoeli left behind a wife, three children and five grandchildren. He passed away at the age of 96.