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Alan Willner Elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

The fiber optics innovator is one of four USC faculty joining the roster of AAAS Fellows in 2011
G. Hayes
January 19, 2012 —

Election to the rank of Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science comes in recognition of "meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications." The Viterbi School's Alan Willner, named an AAAS Fellow this fall along with three of his USC faculty colleagues, has added significantly to both the literature of optical communications and its most practical applications.

The selection committee cited Willner, the Steven and Kathryn Sample Chair in Engineering, a professor of electrical engineering systems in the Ming Hsieh Department (EE), for his "key contributions to the development of fiber optics communications technology and techniques, which have enabled major improvements in the performance of wavelength division multiplexed systems."

Willner's research is focused on enhancing the quality, speed and accessibility of data transmitted over optical fiber. His research has spawned modules that have been deployed in many commercial 40-Gbit/s systems worldwide, including those by Alcatel-Lucent, AT&T, Ciena, Cisco, Comcast, Opnext and Siemens.

Willner's considerable slate of major honors also includes this year's IEEE Photonics Society Engineering Achievement Award and the 2010 OSA Paul Forman Engineering Excellence Award. He was elected an International Fellow of the United Kingdom's Royal Academy of Engineering in 2010. (In 2011, the only International Fellow elected from the United States was Nobel Laureate and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.) Alan is also a Fellow of the IEEE, OSA and SPIE.

"Alan Willner has an outstanding record of accomplishments in optical communications, fiber optics and related photonic technologies," said EE Systems Chair Alexander A. (Sandy) Sawchuk. "Our faculty join me in celebrating his election and its affirmation of the importance of his research."

Willner and his newly elected classmates Donal Manahan (USC Dornsife College, Biological Sciences); Anthony Michaels (USC Dornsife, Marine Environmental Biology); and Mathew McCubbins (USC Marshall School of Business), will be inducted at the AAAS annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia in February 2012.