Alan Willner, professor in the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering and the Steven and Kathryn Sample Chair in Engineering, received a 2012 USC Associates Award for Creativity in Research at a ceremony held in April 2012. The award is the highest honor the university faculty can bestow on its members for distinguished intellectual and artistic achievements.
Creativity in research includes the written publication of ideas, artistic creation, and artistic performance and may stem from a single brilliant idea or from a significant body of work that forms a coherent whole. Creativity in research leads to major impacts on a discipline, on the interface between different disciplines, or on the creation of viable new areas of scholarly inquiry.
Willner is a fiber optics pioneer whose work has provided major enhancements in the development and performance of optical communications systems, particularly wavelength division multiplexed systems.
He serves as the Associate Director for the Center for Photonics Technology and was an Associate Director for Student Affairs for the Integrated Media Systems Ceneter (IMSC), the USC NSF Engineering Research Center in Multimedia. He is also Member of the Defense Science Research Council, a 16-member advisory body for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. He has served on numerous scientific advisory boards for companies and has advised several venture capital firms.
Professor Willner’s current research is focused on improving the quality, speed and accessibility of data transmitted over optical fibers. His findings have contributed to the creation of the dispersion compensator product line and are used by major corporations worldwide. Additional biographic information is at http://csi.usc.edu/faculty/willner.html.