Deborah Estrin to Hold Chair in Computing Networking, Eli Yablonovitch Named Opto-Electronics Chair

By Marlys Amundson

Vijay K. Dhir, dean of the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, has announced that electrical engineering Professor Eli Yablonovitch has been selected to hold the Northrop Grumman Opto-Electronics Chair in Electrical Engineering and computer science Professor Deborah Estrin has been named to the Jonathan B. Postel Chair in Computer Networking. The announcement was made on May 26.

“We are tremendously fortunate to have faculty of such high caliber at the School,” says Dhir. “I am pleased to be able to recognize and reward their seminal contributions to optical electronics and networking through these endowed chair positions.”

An endowed chair is one of the highest honors a university can bestow on a member of its faculty. Such an appointment honors a professor’s exceptional achievements in research and education, and provides funds to support new work in the future.

The Northrop Grumman Opto-Electronics Chair in Electrical Engineering honors a faculty member of significant stature in opto-electronics who will extend the tremendous research strides made by Northrop Grumman researchers in that field.

The Jonathan B. Postel Chair in Computer Networking was established by his former colleagues to honor and recognize Jon Postel’s extraordinary achievements in the networking field over the course of his 30-year career. While a graduate student at UCLA, Postel was a programmer on the early ARPANET team, and helped create the precursor to the Internet. A three-time graduate of the School (’66, MS ’68, PhD ’74), Postel went on to become a leading spokesman and architect of systematic organization in the rapidly growing online community prior to his death in 1998.

Yablonovitch, a member of UCLA’s electrical engineering faculty since 1992, is widely known for research that led to an entirely new field of science and engineering – photonic crystals. He is director of the UCLA for Nanoscience Innovation for Defense and co-director of the National Science Foundation-sponsored Center for Scalable and Integrated Nano-Manufacturing.

“This recognition is appreciated, and is timely, since optics and electronics are about to merge into a fully integrated silicon opto-electronics technology,” says Yablonovitch.

In 2003, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for introducing photonic band-gap engineering and applying semiconductor concepts to electromagnetic waves in artificial periodic structures, and to the National Academy of Sciences.

Yablonovitch received his PhD in applied physics from Harvard University in 1972. He worked for two years at Bell Telephone Laboratories, and then became a professor of Applied Physics at Harvard. In 1984, he joined Bell Communications Research, where he was a Distinguished Member of Staff, and also Director of Solid-State Physics Research.

Estrin, who joined the UCLA Computer Science Department in 2000, is Director of the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS), an NSF Science and Technology Center. CENS is a major research enterprise developing wireless sensor systems and applying this revolutionary technology to radically transform critical scientific and societal applications.

“I am humbled by this honor from my peers and colleagues. Having worked with Jon Postel for many years as a researcher in his Computer Networks division, and as a member of the larger Internet research community, the Chair is particularly meaningful,” says Estrin.

In 2003, Estrin was named one of Popular Science’s Brilliant 10, an annual list of young scientists conducting groundbreaking work, for her research in embedded sensor networks and its applications in environmental monitoring.

She received her PhD in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985. Before joining UCLA she was a member of the University of Southern California Computer Science Department.

Main Image: Professor Eli Yablonovitch(left), Dean Vijay K. Dhir, Professor Jason Speyer, and Professor Deborah Estrin.