He was President of Friends of UTokyo, Inc. (FUTI), New York from April 2011 till September 2015, and is currently Chair of its Advisory Committee. He also serves on the Board of Directors, Armstrong Memorial Research Foundation, Inc. .
Hisashi Kobayashi was born in Tokyo, Japan. The mathematician Shoshichi Kobayashi (1932-2012) was Hisashi's elder brother.
Hisashi studied at the University of Tokyo, and completed a Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering in electrical engineering in 1961 and 1963, respectively. He was a recipient of Sugiyama Schloarship (1958–61) and RCA David Sarnoff Scholarship (1960). He worked as a radar system designer at Toshiba, Kawasaki in 1963-65.
Kobayashi came to the United States as a recipient of the Orson Desaix Munn Fellowship of Princeton University and completed a PhD degree in electrical engineering in 1967.
He worked for the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center at Yorktown Heights, New York, for fifteen years (1967–1982). He was a research staff member in its Applied Research Department from 1967–1970. He worked on seismic signal processing, data transmission theory, digital magnetic recording, and image compression algorithms, and then became Manager, Senior Manager, and Department Manager in its Computer Science Department from 1971–1982.
He was a visiting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (1969–1970), University of Hawaii (1975), Stanford University (1976), Technical University of Darmstadt (1979–1980), and Free University of Brussels (1980).
He was appointed the founding director of the IBM Japan Science Institute (later named as IBM Tokyo Research Laboratory) in 1982, and served in that position until 1986, when he joined Princeton University's faculty as Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), and the Sherman Fairchild University Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
He was Dean from 1986–1991, and was responsible for establishing multiple interdisciplinary and/or inter-institutional centers and programs in academic disciplines as material science, opto-electronics, earthquake engineering, surface engineered materials, discrete mathematics for computer science, and plasma etching.
After finishing his tenure as Dean, he was an NEC C&C visiting professor at the RCAST (Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology), the University of Tokyo (1991–1992). Since the fall of 1992 until June 2008, he assumed a full-time research and teaching position at Princeton University's Department of Electrical Engineering.
He was a BC ASI Visiting Fellow at the University of Victoria in Canada from 1998–1999.
He retired from Princeton University in June 2008.
In 2005, Kobayashi received, with Dolivo and Eleftheriou, the Eduard Rhein Foundation's Technology Award for their pioneering contributions to PRML (Partial-Response, Maximum-Likelihood), which allowed dramatic increases in the storage capacity of computer hard disks.
In 2012 Kobayashi received NEC Foundation's C&C Prize for his "pioneering and leading contributions both to the invention of high-density and highly reliable digital recording technology and to the creation and development of a performance-evaluation methodology for computer and communication systems."Probability, Random Processes and Statistical Analysis (2012), coauthored by Brian L. Mark and William Turin, Cambridge University Press.
System Modeling and Analysis: Foundations of System Performance Evaluation(2009), coauthored with Brian L. Mark, Pearson/Prentice Hall.
Modeling and Analysis: An Introduction to System Performance Evaluation Methodology(1978)，Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.