Professor Alan Willner of the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering has been named the recipient of the IEEE Photonics Society 2011 Engineering Achievement Award. This award recognizes an exceptional engineering contribution that has had a significant impact on the development of lasers or electro-optics technology or the commercial application of technology within the past 10 years. It highlights significant engineering contributions resulting in the development of a new component, a new processing technique, or a new engineering concept with significant effect in bringing a new technology to the market, improving the manufacturability of a component or device, or creating a new technology that greatly accelerates or stimulate research and development.
Alan is cited "for technical advances in optical fiber communications technologies that have enabled significant improvements in the performance and reliability of wavelength-division-multiplexed systems." The award presentation will be made at the 2011 IEEE Photonics Conference (IPC) in Arlington, Virginia, USA on 10 October, 2011.
Alan Willner received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University, and is currently the Steven and Kathryn Sample Chaired Professor. He has served on many scientific advisory boards for small companies, and has advised several venture capital firms. He was Founder and CTO of Phaethon Communications, now acquired by Teraxion. He has received many honors and awards, among them: International Fellow of the U.K. Royal Academy of Engineering; Presidential White House Faculty Fellow Award; the David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship in Science and Engineering; National Science Foundation National Young Investigator Award; Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) Lasers and Electro-Optics Society (LEOS) Distinguished Lecturer Award; IEEE LEOS Distinguished Service Award; USC Associates Award for University-Wide Excellence in Teaching, OSA Leadership Award / New Focus Prize; and the USC/Northrop Outstanding Junior Engineering Faculty Research Award.
He has participated in numerous professional activities, including: President of the IEEE Photonics Society (formerly LEOS), Co-Chair of the Science and Engineering Council of the OSA, Vice-President for Technical Affairs of IEEE LEOS, Photonics Division Chair of OSA, General and Program Co-Chair of the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO), and service as meeting and program chair for many conferences. He also has been Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE/OSA Journal of Lightwave Technology (JLT), Editor-in-Chief of OSA Optics Letters, Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, Associate Editor of the IEEE Journal of Selected Areas in Communications Series on Optical Networks (now IEEE/OSA JOCN), and has been editor of many other publications.
Prof. Willner has more than 875 publications, including one book, 25 U.S. patents, 17 keynotes/plenaries, 16 book chapters, 245 refereed journal papers, 175 invited papers/presentations, and 350 refereed conference proceedings. His research is in optical communications, optical signal processing and networks, fiber optics, and optical technologies.
Alexander (Sandy) Sawchuk, Chair of the Ming Hsieh EE-Systems Department, said: "the faculty of our department join me in congratulating Alan Willner for his receipt of the IEEE Photonics Society 2011 Engineering Achievement Award. It is a notable recognition of the impact and significance of his research in fiber optic technology, optical communications, and related fields."