Prof. Alan Eli Willner

Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professorial Chair
Distinguished Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering
(Joint Appointment with the Dept. of Physics & Astronomy in the USC Dornsife College)
University of Southern California

PDF version of my full resume.

PDF version of my one page biographical sketch.

Optical Communications Laboratory

The Optical Society (OSA) A. Willner President's Message

OSA Optics & Photonics News (OPN) Career Focus Articles by A. Willner

IEEE Photonics Society (formerly called LEOS) A. Willner President's Column

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Alan Willner received a Ph.D. (1988) in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University and a B.A. (1982) in Physics and an Honorary Doctorate (Honoris Causa, 2012) from Yeshiva University. Prof. Willner was a Postdoctoral Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Labs and a Member of Technical Staff at Bellcore. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and the Andrew & Erna Viterbi Professorial Chair in the Ming Hsieh Dept. of Electrical & Computer Eng. of the Viterbi School of Eng. at the Univ. of Southern California; he also has a joint appointment with Dept. of Physics & Astronomy of the Dornsife College. Prof. Willner has been a Visiting Professor at Columbia Univ., Univ. College London, and Weizmann Institute of Science. He has been a Member of the U.S. Army Science Board, a Member of the Defense Sciences Research Council (16-member body that provided reports to DARPA Director & Office Directors), and a member of many advisory boards. He was also Founder & CTO of Phaethon Communications, a company whose technology was acquired by Teraxion, that created the ClearSpectrum® dispersion compensator product line which is presently deployed in many commercial 40-Gbit/s systems worldwide.
Prof. Willner has received the following honors: Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, International Fellow of the U.K. Royal Academy of Engineering, Presidential Faculty Fellows Award from the White House, Ellis Island Medal of Honor, IEEE Eric Sumner Technical Field Award, Packard Foundation Fellowship in Science & Engineering, John Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, U.S. Dept. of Defense Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship, Fellow of National Academy of Inventors, Institution of Eng. & Tech. (IET) J.J. Thomson Medal, Thomas Egleston Medal for Distinguished Engineering Achievement (highest eng. award from Columbia Eng. Alumni Association), Optica (formerly Optical Society (OSA)) Paul Forman Engineering Excellence Award, IEEE Photonics Society Engineering Achievement Award, National Science Foundation National Young Investigator Award, Fulbright Foundation Senior Scholar Lecture & Research Fellowship, Honorary Professor of Huazhong Univ. of Science & Technology, Civilian Service Commendation Medal (US Dept. of the Army), IEEE Photonics Society Distinguished Lecturer Award, SPIE President’s Award, IEEE Photonics Society Distinguished Service Award, USC Associates Award for University-Wide Creativity in Research (highest USC research award), USC Associates Award for University-Wide Excellence in Teaching (highest USC teaching award), OSA Robert Hopkins Leadership Award, USC Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award (for significant scholarly work), Member of European Academy of Sciences and Arts, USC Senior Engineering Research Award, USC Best Engineering Teacher Award, 2001 Eddy Paper Award from Pennwell Publications for Best Contributed Technical Article (across all 30 magazines in Pennwell’s Advanced Technology Division), IEEE Globecom Best Paper Award, and Edwin Howard Armstrong Foundation Memorial Award for highest-ranked EE Masters student at Columbia University. He is a Fellow of AAAS, APS, IEEE, IET, OSA, SPIE, and AAIA, and he was a Fellow of the Semiconductor Research Corporation. Prof. Willner was an invited foreign dignitary representing the sciences for the 2009 Nobel Prize Ceremonies in Stockholm.

Prof. Willner’s activities include: Co-Chair of U.S. National Academies’ Study on Optics & Photonics, President of the OSA, President of the IEEE Photonics Society (formerly LEOS), Co-Chair of OSA Science & Engineering Council, Vice-President for Technical Affairs of IEEE Photonics Society, Editor-in-Chief of OSA Optics Letters, Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE/OSA Journal of Lightwave Technology (JLT), 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, Photonics Division Chair of OSA, Chair of IEEE TAB Ethics and Member Conduct Committee, Chair of the National Photonics Initiative, General Co-Chair of the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, Program Co-Chair of OSA Annual Meeting, General Chair of IEEE Photonics Society Annual Meeting, Program Chair of Telecommunications Engineering at SPIE’s Photonics West, and Chair of the Unclassified Technical Program for IEEE MILCOM.

Prof. Willner has >1700 publications (h-index ≥85, >39,000 citations, Google Scholar), including 1 book, ~10 edited books, ~46 US patents, ~54 keynotes/plenaries, ~25 book chapters, >430 refereed journal papers, and >300 invited papers/presentations. His research is in optical technologies (e.g., communications, signal processing, networks, and subsystems).