Colloquia & Guest Speakers

Dr. Alan Willner

Dr. Alan Willner

Steven and Kathryn Sample Chair in Engineering and Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Monday, November 29, 2021
3:30 p.m.–4:40 p.m.

Bausch & Lomb Room 109 or Remote Zoom

Recorded Talk



Alan Willner received the Ph.D. (1988) in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University, as well as a B.A. (1982) in Physics and an Honorary Degree (Honoris Causa, 2012) from Yeshiva University. Prof. Willner was a Postdoctoral Member of the Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories and a Member of Technical Staff at Bellcore. He is currently the Steven and Kathryn Sample Chaired Professor in Engineering in the Ming Hsieh Dept. of Electrical Engineering of the Viterbi School of Engineering at the Univ. of Southern California. Prof. Willner has been: a Visiting Professor at Columbia University, the Univ. College London, and the Weizmann Institute of Science; and a Visiting Scholar at Yeshiva University. He is a Member of the U.S. Army Science Board, was a Member of the Defense Sciences Research Council (a 16-member body that provided reports to the DARPA Director and Office Directors), has served on many scientific advisory boards for small companies, and has advised several venture capital firms. Additionally, Prof. Willner was Founder and 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's professional activities have included: Co-Chair of the U.S. National Academies Committee on the Optics and Photonics Study, President of The Optical Society (OSA), President of the IEEE Photonics Society (formerly LEOS), Co-Chair of the Science & Engineering Council of the OSA, Vice-President for Technical Affairs of the IEEE Photonics Society, Photonics Division Chair of OSA, Chair of the IEEE TAB Ethics and Member Conduct Committee, General & Program Co-Chair of the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO), Program Co-Chair of the OSA Annual Meeting, General Chair of the IEEE LEOS Annual Meeting, Program Chair of Telecommunications Engineering at SPIE's Photonics West, Chair of the Unclassified Technical Program for IEEE MILCOM, Elected Member of the Board of Governors for the IEEE Photonics Society, General Co-Chair of the IEEE Photonics Society Topical Meeting on Broadband Networks, Steering Committee and Technical Committee Member of the Conference on Optical Fiber Communications (OFC), and Member of the US Advisory Committee for Int'l Commission for Optics (activity of the National Academies, IEEE, OSA and SPIE). Prof. Willner was an invited foreign dignitary representing the sciences for the 2009 Nobel Prize Ceremonies in Stockholm.

Prof. Willner's editorial positions have included: 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), Guest Editor of JLT and JSAC for the Joint Special Issue on Multiple-Wavelength Technologies & Networks, and Guest Editor of IEEE J. of Quantum Electronics Focus Issue on High-Capacity Optical Transmission Systems.