ALAN E. WILLNER, Co-Chair, is currently the Steven and Kathryn Sample Chaired Professor of Engineering in the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering, Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California (USC). Professor Willner received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Columbia University, in 1988 and an Honorary Doctorate from Yeshiva University in 2012. He was a postdoctoral member of the technical staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories and a member of the technical staff at Bellcore. At USC, he is the associate director of the Center for Photonics Technology and was an associate director for student affairs for the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center in Multimedia. Professor Willner is a member of the Defense Sciences Research Council, has served on many scientific advisory boards for small companies, and has advised several venture capital firms. Professor 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, Packard Foundation Fellowship, Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, National Science Foundation National Young Investigator Award, Fulbright Foundation Senior Scholar Fellowship, Optical Society of America (OSA) Forman Engineering Excellence Award, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Photonics Society Engineering Achievement Award, OSA Leadership Award, and 2001 Eddy Paper Award from Pennwell Publications for the Best Contributed Technical Article. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, IEEE, OSA, and SPIE. He was an invited foreign dignitary representing the sciences for the 2009 Nobel Prize Ceremonies in Stockholm. His professional activities have included serving as president of the IEEE Photonics Society (formerly the Lasers and Electro-Optics Society, or LEOS), co-chair of the Science and Engineering Council of the OSA, vice president for technical affairs of IEEE Photonics Society, Photonics Division chair of OSA, editor-in-chief of the OSA Optics Letters, editor-in-chief of IEEE/OSA Journal of Lightwave Technology, editor-in-chief of IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, chair of the IEEE TAB Ethics and Member Conduct Committee, and general and program co-chair of the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics. Professor Willner has 975 publications, including 1 book, 24 U.S. patents, 18 keynote or plenary talks, and 16 book chapters. His research is in optical communications, optical signal processing and networks, fiber optics, and optical technologies.
ROD C. ALFERNESS (NAE) is the dean of engineering at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Prior to this position, he was the chief scientist at Bell Laboratories, Alcatel-Lucent. His previous positions were with the Bell Laboratories as the research senior vice president and the optical networking research senior vice president. Dr. Alferness also was the chief technical officer and advanced technology and architecture vice president of the Optical Networking Group, Lucent Technologies. Prior to that role, he was head of the Photonics Networks Research