Di Che Honored with 2018 Marconi Society Young Scholar Award

University of Melbourne PhD’s breakthrough work on coherent optical short-reach communications cost-effectively transforms existing infrastructure to increase speed and reduce power consumption

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, September 11, 2018

Dr. Di Che, Marconi Young ScholarThe Marconi Society, dedicated to furthering scientific achievements in communications and the Internet, has selected Dr. Di Che to receive a 2018 Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar Award. The 27-year-old University of Melbourne researcher, whose undergraduate degree was earned at University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, was honored for his work on short-reach optical links for applications like data center inter-connectivity and optical access networks.

Che’s advisor, Professor William Shieh, says, “Di has conducted breakthrough work on coherent optical short-reach communications that significantly and cost-efficiently increases the capacity-distance product. Some of his original work on the novel digital optical subsystems, such as the complex direct modulation of semiconductor lasers and the Stokes vector direct detection, have created new research directions which are being intensively investigated in recent top-tier conferences like Optical Fiber Communication Conference (OFC) and European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC).

“Short-reach optical links are still dominated by old-generation optical transceivers,” says Che. “This is a big obstacle when upgrading the multiple-layer optical transport networks comprehensively –- our goal is to upgrade these links with cost-efficient solutions, spreading the benefit of the technology evolution of digital coherent communications over the past decade to the entire network architecture.”

The current 4G and the upcoming 5G mobile networks deliver more and more data traffic wirelessly. Fiber optics, deployed underground and undersea like bowls of spaghetti, underpin the global internet in obscurity. A critical task is to aggregate huge amounts of wireless data traffic from multiple end users to the fiber-based core networks reliably and to transfer large volumes of data among massive network nodes with low latency.

“For example,” Che says, “Internet companies like Google and Facebook build data centers all around the world to support their huge data transfers for products like YouTube videos and Facebook Feeds to end users. These network interconnects require a massive number of optical transceivers. Consequently, new-generation transceiver subsystems should be developed with low cost and power consumption while simultaneously improving the interconnect capacity by advanced digital coherent technology. Our proposed digital subsystems can be applied to upgrade the optical transceivers for a wide range of applications, like the data center interconnect mentioned above, metropolitan area networks, optical access networks, wireless data convergence, and so on.”

It was a biography of Thomas Edison that inspired Che’s interest in science. Reading it during a summer vacation from primary school, he was fascinated with the innovative ideas Edison applied to reshape modern life. It convinced him that “an engineer could do really amazing things.”

Che is now moving into the next phase of his career, having joined Nokia-Bell Labs to continue telecommunications and photonics research. He’s looking forward to the opportunity to broaden his horizons and learn how lab research can be turned step by step into real solutions that empower industry and develop commercial products that can be implemented around the world.

Che says the Marconi Society Young Scholar award is “a wonderful recognition of my work during the past six years in Melbourne, and a precious gift at this turning point of my career. I feel very fortunate to have been selected among so many outstanding young scholars around the world in the field of photonics and telecommunications. Further, I really appreciate that the Marconi Society offers me such precious opportunities to build connections with many academic and industry legends of our field.”

“The remarkable thing about our Young Scholar program is that it has, from the start, attracted nominations of the best and brightest young researchers from across the globe,” says Vinton Cerf, chair of The Marconi Society. “We are proud to welcome into our group extraordinary individuals like Di who are not only advancing our industry, but inspiring and mentoring others to benefit humanity.”

Young Scholar candidates are nominated by their academic advisors. Winners are selected by an international panel comprised of engineers from leading universities and companies and receive a $5000 prize plus expenses to attend the annual awards event. Three other Young Scholars were also selected this year.

All will receive their awards October 2ndin Bologna, Italy, at the same event where Akamai Co-founder F. Thomson Leighton, a key contributor to the development of content delivery networks, will be honored with the $100,000 Marconi Prize.

About the Marconi Society

Established in 1974 by the daughter of Guglielmo Marconi, the Nobel Laureate who invented radio, the Marconi Society promotes awareness of key technology and policy issues in telecommunications and the Internet and recognizes significant individual achievements through the Marconi Prize and Young Scholar Awards. More information may be found at www.marconisociety.orgSubscribe. Follow: LinkedIn,Twitter and Facebook