An expert in automatic control and the design of control systems, Takahashi taught at Berkeley from 1957 until his retirement in 1979. He specialized in automobile control systems and computer software for automatic control.
He was the author of three books in Japanese and main author of two books in the United States on automatic control. Up until the time of his death he served as a senior technical consultant with Mikuni/Berkeley Research and Development, of Richmond.
Born in Nagoya-shi, Japan, in 1912, Takahashi graduated from Tokyo Imperial University (now the University of Tokyo) in 1935, and returned to finish his doctorate in mechanical engineering in 1946. In the interim he served as an assistant design engineer with the Japanese Government Railways and as a professor at Yokohama Technical College and Nagoya Imperial University. He taught at Tokyo University from 1944 until he came to Berkeley.
In 1994 he received one of Japan's sought-after biannual awards from Japanese Emperor Akihito, the "Third Class Order of the Sacred Treasure," for his service to Toyohashi Technical and Scientific University, where he served as a professor from 1979 until 1982.
Among other awards he has received are an honorary degree in 1978 from the University of Grenoble in France, and the Oldenburger Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In 1994 he received the first Koseki-Sho (which means award for lifetime achievement) from the Japan Society of Measurement and Automatic Control.
He was an honorary member of both the Japanese Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Japanese Society of Automatic Control, and a lifetime fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Takahashi is survived by his wife, Kuwako; his son-in-law, James Earle Canfield, and granddaughter Maya Canfield, both of Grand Rapids, Mich.; sister-in-law Hisako Yasuda of Tokyo; and niece Mari Kohjima of Rancho Palos Verdes.
A memorial service was held Nov. 3. The family requests no flowers, but donations in honor of Yasundo Takahashi may be made to the Alta Bates Comprehensive Cancer Center c/o Alta Bates Foundation, 2850 Telegraph Ave., 6th Floor, Berkeley, CA 94705.