Thursday, 13. November 2008 13.11.08 14:16 Age: 9 Jahre

Timo Pfau, PACE PhD student and a member of the team that won the Innovation Award

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Timo Pfau is a doctoral student with the International Graduate School in Paderborn. He was lucky enough to start his PhD research just half a year after the awarded work in optical communications kicked off at the University. Most parts of his PhD thesis, which is almost completed, are direct results of the research that won the innovation award. “During the first conference I attended we already published some of the research that we are now being recognized for. There was a huge response.”
The work concerns a new kind of optical receiver that delivers significant advantages and a much better performance than earlier receivers, but that is quite complex. The complexity is the reason it had not been realized in real time so far. This is research that could be applied in optical backbone networks, the networks that connect cities and continents and transfer huge quantities of data via fiber-optic cable. Our research quadruples the data capacity of these cables, making them about 1000 times as fast as the average phone cable to private homes.

For Timo the reason to study in Paderborn was the possibility of completing a PhD in three years, an option provided by the Paderborn Institute for Advanced Studies in Computer Science and Engineering (PACE). “I completed my studies in optical communications and wanted to continue research in this area. Optical communications is a relatively young field, meaning there are large developments to be made and not just incremental small steps.” Timo says he chose to continue with a PhD because he found research to be the most rewarding part of his previous studies.
Paderborn provides a top-notch research environment in optical communications. The high level of research conducted here means the opportunity to attend conferences is better and the quality of the publications is superior to other universities. “In the end this also helps you to find a better job after completing your PhD”, says Timo. “I didn’t have to apply for any jobs. Employers found me.” He will start work at one of the most renowned telecommunications research institutes in the USA next year to continue his research in this area. An additional advantage is that his career can still progress in both directions: academia or industry.
The Paderborn research group is actively looking for new PhD students in optical communications, as there is a lot of work to be done, both in the more theoretical areas of algorithms for example, as well as in simulations in the lab. Prospective students definitely need to be team players. Timo: “This type of research is always the result of teamwork. You will see for example that all of our publications have multiple authors. You cannot realize these types of results on your own.”

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