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     Volume 4 Issue 15 | October 2, 2004 |

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A Young Innvator in Communications Technology

Srabonti Narmeen Ali

For Aref Chowdhury (Rubel) three years as a researcher at Bell Labs was not just another job, it was a life-altering experience through which he earned acclamation throughout the scientific world. On September 20, 2004, MIT's magazine, Technology Review named Chowdhury one of the top 100 young innovators of the world. Innovators under thirty-five were nominated for their help in transforming the nature of technology and business in industries such as biotechnology, computing and nanotechnology.

The list was chosen by a panel of judges who include senior executives from institutions such as Cambridge University, Cornell University, Hewlett-Packard, General Electric, Harvard Medical School, IBM, Microsoft, MIT, North-western University, Singapore Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotech-nology, Georgia Tech, Wharton and Xerox.

Chowdhury, along with his 99 other counterparts will be honoured on September 29-30 at Technology Review's Emerging Technologies conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States, in which discussions on the technological innovations that have the potential to fuel new economic growth and change the future will take place.

Chowdhury has a bachelor's degree in Engineering, with Honours in Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics and Statistics from the State University of New York, Stonybrook, and a Ph.D in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While he was there Technology Review recognised Chowdhury's work on nonlinear photonic crystals, where he designed and fabricated nonlinear photonic crystals that could be used to switch date between individual wavelengths of light when routing information optically.

Bell Labs is the Research and Development division of Lucent Technologies, which designs and delivers the systems, services and software that drive next-generation communications networks. It has played a pivotal role in inventing and perfecting key communications technologies, including transistors, digital networking and signal processing, lasers and fiber-optic communications systems, communications satellites, cellular telephony, electronic switching of calls, touch-tone dialing and modems.

Chowdhury's field is nonlinear optics and biochemical detection research. His work in nonlinear optics, a field critical to improving long-haul optical transport networks, focuses on minimising distortions due to nonlinear effects in optical signals. Using a technique called optical phase conjugation, Chowdhury and his colleagues are able to correct errors in optical communications by reversing the distortions that occur every time, as signals speed through the network. The world has the potential to increase the efficiency and reliability of optical communications.

Says Chowdhury, "Pulses of light interact with each other in two ways in an optical network either within the same channel, with other pulses of the same frequency or between channels with other frequencies. Both of these interactions have the potential to cause distortions. To improve optical networks, we need to better understand these interactions and their implications."

"It is a great honour to be recognised, but a lot of the credit goes to my research colleagues," says Chowdhury on the prestigious title he has been given. "I feel very lucky to work with world-class scientists here at Bell Labs on research that can positively impact Lucent and beyond."

Director of Quantum Information and Optics research at Bell Labs, Dick Slusher says, "Aref is representative of the caliber of a scientist hard at work on problem solving, significant research challenges here at Bell Labs. He joins a great group of Bell Labs alumni that have won this award in previous years and we applaud his accomplishments."

Aref Chowdhury's accomplishments serve as a source of inspiration for not only young innovators, but also young Bangladeshi's everywhere. He is living proof that hard work and slow, but steady determination will eventually win the race. His work is not only praised by his immediate colleagues and coworkers, but has been recognised internationally as a means to change and transform the future of science and technology, thereby impacting the world we live in positvely.




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