Prof. Alan E. Willner

Steven and Kathryn Sample Chair in Engineering
University of Southern California



PDF version of my full resume.

PDF version of my one page biographical sketch.


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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 (now Telcordia). He is currently the Steven and Kathryn Sample Chaired Professor of Engineering in the Ming Hsieh Dept. of Electrical Engineering of the Viterbi School of Engineering at the Univ. of Southern California. At USC, he is the Associate Director for the Center for Photonics Technology. Prof. Willner is a Member of the Defense Sciences Research Council (a 16-member body that provides 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, he was Founder and CTO of Phaethon Communications, a company 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/awards: International Fellow of the U.K. Royal Academy of Engineering, Presidential Faculty Fellows Award from the White House, IEEE Eric E. Sumner Award, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, David & Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship in Science & Engineering, National Science Foundation National Young Investigator Award, Fulbright Foundation Senior Scholar Research and Lecturing Fellowship, Optical Society of America (OSA) Paul Forman Engineering Excellence Award, IEEE Photonics Society Engineering Achievement Award, SPIE President's Award, IEEE Photonics Society Distinguished Lecturer Award, IEEE Photonics Society Distinguished Service Award, USC Associates Award for University-Wide Creativity in Research (highest university research award), OSA Robert Hopkins Leadership Award / New Focus Prize, USC Associates Award for University-Wide Excellence in Teaching (highest university teaching award), USC/TRW Best Engineering Teacher Award, USC/Northrop Outstanding Junior Engineering Faculty Research Award, 2001 Eddy Paper Award from Pennwell Publications for the Best Contributed Technical Article (across all 30 magazines in Pennwell's Advanced Technology Division) and Edwin Howard Armstrong Foundation Memorial Award for the highest-ranked EE Masters student at Columbia University. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, IEEE, OSA and SPIE, 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 professional activities have included: Co-Chair of the U.S. National Academies Committee on the Optics and Photonics Study (also called Harnessing Light II), President of the IEEE Photonics Society (formerly LEOS), Co-Chair of the Science & Engineering Council of the OSA, Vice-President for Technical Affairs of IEEE LEOS, 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, General Co-Chair of the OSA Optical Amplifier Topical Meeting, Elected Member of the Board of Governors for the IEEE LEOS, General Co-Chair of the IEEE LEOS Topical Meeting on Broadband Networks, Steering Committee and Technical Committee Member of Conference on Optical Fiber Communications (OFC), and Member of US Advisory Committee for Int'l Commission for Optics (activity of the National Academies, IEEE, OSA and SPIE). He has been elected Vice-President and President of OSA for 2014-2016.

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.

Prof. Willner has 1000 publications, including one book, 6 edited books, 24 U.S. patents, 20 keynotes/plenaries, 19 book chapters, 300 refereed journal papers, and 200 invited papers/presentations. His research is in optical technologies, including: communications, signal processing, networks, and fiber optics.