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Plenary Speakers

Prof. Dr. Didier Queloz

Full Professor, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Public Nobel Prize Lecture: The Exoplanet Revolution

Sunday, 18 September, 18:00 – 19:00, Room San Francisco, Congress Center Basel

The wealth and diversity of planetary systems that have now been detected modified our perspective on planet formation as a whole and more specifically our place in the Universe and the possibility of rarity of planetary systems similar to our own. It is also an opportunity of historical perspectives to look for signs of life on these new worlds as a way to explore our own origins. I will introduce the audience with the challenges of early discoveries and recent progresses in this new field of research and will touch upon the emergence of a new paradigm for the origins of life on Earth.

Didier Queloz was at the origin of the ”exoplanet revolution” in astrophysics when in 1995 during his PhD with his supervisor they announced the first discovery of a giant planet orbiting another star, outside the solar system. This seminal discovery has spawned a revolution in astronomy and kickstarted the field of exoplanet research. Over the next 25 years, Didier Queloz' scientific contributions have been essential towards advancing detection and measurement capabilities of exoplanet systems with the goal to retrieve information on their physical structure and to better understand their formation and evolution by comparison with our solar system. More recently, he is directing his activity to the detection of Earth-like planets and universal life. In the course of his career, he developed astronomical equipments, new observational approaches and detection algorithms. He participated and conducted programs leading to the detection of hundreds of planets, including breakthrough results. He participated to numerous documentaries, movies, articles, TV and radio interviews to share excitement and promote interest for science in general and particularly topics about exoplanets and life in the universe.

Dr. Elisabetta Rugi Grond

Chief Executive Officer, Thales Alenia Space Switzerland, Switzerland

Optical communications in space: challenges and opportunities

Monday, 19 September, 09:20 – 09:50, Room San Francisco

The first activities in the field of optical communications for space applications are more than 25 years old. Nevertheless the use of this technology is still limited. Why? What has been done and what are todays fields of application and trends for the use of optical communication in space? What are the challenges and the opportunities? Many aspects such as standardization, interoperability, complexity, costs and business cases are driving the developments and the implementation of this technology in present and future space programs. A long term vision for a new era of space missions!

Elisabetta Rugi Grond has been working in the development of instruments for Science and Earth Observation and has been focusing on optical communication since the mid '90. In 2016, she became CEO of Thales Alenia Space in Switzerland after serving as General Manager of Optoelectronics and Instruments Business Unit at RUAG Space. Nowadays, Thales Alenia Space is active in developing optical communication payloads and, particularly in Switzerland, the focus is on products for inter-satellite links in constellations and for direct to Earth applications. Elisabetta Rugi Grond is holding a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from University of Pisa and is, amongst other appointments, member of the Swiss Federal Commission for Space Affairs, Conseillere du commerce extérieur de la France and industry representative in the steering committee of Swiss Space Innovation.

Dr. David F. Welch

Chief Innovation Officer, Infinera, United States of America

Scenarios of future innovations in the network

Monday, 19 September, 09:50 – 10:20, Room San Francisco

Breakthrough innovations have allowed advancements in scale and cost in the networks. Improved materials, device concepts, impairment mitigations, and basic network structure have all enabled the network to scale in capacity while simultaneously and necessarily simplifying. Another series of radical innovation and rearchitecting of the network will be needed to accommodate the continued increasing scale, the movement of data centers to the edge, the expansion of the on-network devices and the variability of latency requirements, all while reducing the overall power required to run the network. The demands of the future networks and some thoughts on what will be required to address them will be discussed.

"Innovation has been the primary enabler for scale and cost in the network; what are the innovations of tomorrow?"

David F. Welch, Ph.D. co-founded Infinera in 2001, and serves as Chief Innovation Officer and on the Board of Directors. He holds over 130 patents in optical transmission technologies, and has authored over 300 technical publications. In recognition of his technical contributions to the optical industry, he was awarded the OSA’s Adolph Lomb Medal, Joseph Fraunhofer Award and John Tyndall Award, the IET’s JJ Thompson Medal for Achievement in Electronics, and the IEEE Ernst Weber Managerial Leadership Award. A Fellow of the OSA and the IEEE, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2016. Dr. Welch holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Delaware and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University.

Dr. Christoph Glingener

Chief Executive Officer, ADVA, Germany

Never say never again

Monday, 19 September, 11:00 – 11:30, Room San Francisco

We work in an optical networking industry driven by pure innovation and built on highly precise science. We are the foundation of today’s modern world. But considering our creativity and ingenuity, we sometimes dismiss an idea or a technology only for it to become a mainstay. In this keynote, Dr. Christoph Glingener reflects on some of the key technical advances that weren’t always obvious and became some of the industry’s biggest successes with widespread adaptation. If you learn only one thing in this talk, it’s that in optical networking, never say never again.  

Dr. Christoph Glingener is a networking industry pioneer and spend most of his career on innovative optical connectivity solutions. Since 2006, he’s been responsible for steering ADVA’s product innovation. As Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Christoph Glingener oversees the company’s research and development program and directs its global operations. He’s focused on shaping ADVA’s product strategy, building a unified development operations team and propelling its leadership in optical networking, edge cloud and synchronization. Before joining ADVA, Dr. Christoph Glingener held senior positions in academic and corporate organizations, including Marconi Communications (now Ericsson) and Siemens Communications (now Infinera). He holds a Diploma and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the Technical University of Dortmund, Germany.

Dr. Mark G. Thompson

Chief Technologist, PsiQuantum, United States of America

Path to a useful quantum computer

Monday, 19 September, 11:30 – 12:00, Room San Francisco

Quantum computing will have a profound impact on mankind’s ability to process information, and will enable an increase in computational power at an unimaginable scale, for solving problems across climate, healthcare, energy, agriculture, transportation, manufacturing and beyond. However, to-date no quantum computer has outperformed even relatively modest high performance computers (HPC) at commercially useful tasks. Quantum error correction and scaling to millions of physical qubits are required for commercially relevant quantum computing. Of the various technological approaches being pursued, photons are unique in offer a path that overcomes the scaling challenges of manufacturability, cooling power, control electronics and quantum interconnects - through leveraging established CMOS manufacturing and silicon photonics. In this plenary talk, Dr Thompson will give an overview of PsiQuantum's approach to quantum computing, outlining the principles of photonic quantum computing, introducing the integrated quantum photonic circuit and highlighting the path to large-scale quantum computing. 

Mark Thompson is co-founder and Chief Technologist of PsiQuantum - a quantum computing company pioneering the development of large-scale fault tolerant quantum computers. Thompson has over 20 years' experience in the fields of integrated photonics and quantum technologies, having previously worked at Corning, Bookham Technology and Toshiba, and held research fellowship at the University of Cambridge and Professorship at the University of Bristol. In 2013 at the University of Bristol, he established the world's 1st PhD training center in Quantum Engineering (QECDT), and in 2016 the 1st quantum technology incubator and entrepreneurship training center (QTEC) dedicated solely to supporting quantum-technology startups. He has been awarded prestigious UK and European fellowships and prizes (including UK-EPSRC fellowship and EU-ERC starter grant), has more than 150 publications and patents, and founded two startup companies in quantum technologies.