Close this search box.

January 2024

Perry Small Headshot

With great honor and excitement, I have been appointed the role of President for the years 2024-2025. I extend my deep appreciation to René-Jean Essiambre, of Nokia Bell Labs, for his unwavering dedication and exceptional leadership as President during 2022-2023. Under his guidance, our Society navigated the complexities of returning from the global pandemic, ensuring the continuity of our mission, and the well-being of our members. I look forward to working together in partnership as he becomes Past-President.

As we start the New Year, we have much to look forward to as a collective Society. I have given considerable thought to how we further position our work and mission in order to broaden our equitable reach in the photonics community for years to come. Below are a few of my goals and considerations as your President.

Group Members1
My students1
[Caption for Photos Above] President Shum’s current students and lab group at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), China.

Navigating the Challenges: A Resilient Photonics Community

The challenges of the past years have highlighted the resilience of our photonics community. Despite the hurdles posed by the pandemic, we have shown that innovation knows no bounds. The power of our cooperative expertise has illuminated a path forward, inspiring us to explore new horizons in photonics. Together with a dedicated team of volunteer leaders and the indispensable support of our Society staff, my primary goal is to serve you, our valued members, and to uphold the standards of excellence that define our Society.

Welcoming New Faces: Strengthening Our Society

I am delighted to welcome four newly elected members to the Board of Governors: Elected Members, Laurent Schares, TD Subash, Takuo Tanemura, and Winnie Ye; Vice-President of Conferences, Christina Lim; Vice-President of Professional & Technical Development, Aref Chowdhury; and Vice-President of Publications, Pat Iannone. Their expertise and dedication will undoubtedly enhance our Society’s impact and outreach.

Upcoming Opportunities: OFC 2024 and Beyond

The next Optical Fiber Communication Conference, OFC 2024, is set to take place from March 24 to 28, 2024, in San Diego, California. This hybrid event promises a blend of in-person and virtual attendance, which maximizes engagement. The expanded program includes symposia, special sessions, short courses, demo zone, exhibition programs, and special events, catering to both in-person and online participants. As a Society, we look to further support the conference’s growing exhibition needs and technical topics.

A new component example of the conference is a live interoperability demonstration conducted by leading optics companies running over a system, called OFCnet. OFCnet offers live high-speed optical network facilitates booth-to-booth fiber connectivity for on-site optical demonstrations and connects CENIC (the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California) to the OFC exhibition.

Digital Evolution: Society’s Online Presence

In a significant development, our Society launched a new website in March, transitioning from to for consistency and to better leverage the IEEE brand. Our responsive website aims to provide enhanced functionality, seamless connectivity, and an improved user experience. The Society’s online presence will enhance our community’s access to webinars and eCourses as well as foster better connectivity among chapters, members and the industrial community. In the coming months, there will be a new Industry Menu, led by the Society’s Industry Engagement Committee, that features: exhibitor news, product showcases, photonics cluster profiles, Standards Industry Connections, and entrepreneurship skills trainings.

Global Perspectives: Navigating Publication Challenges

The evolving landscape of global publications, especially in light of China’s Journal Excellence Action Plan, poses new opportunities. As we assess the impact on our publications, rest assured that we are committed to keeping you informed of any developments that may shape our contributions.

Future Plans: Charting a Course for Excellence

Looking ahead, I am excited to share my plans for advancing the IEEE Photonics Society, such as encouraging the formation of Student Chapters in remote sections. It is paramount that our mission includes fostering connections for the next generation of photonics professionals. I will actively encourage the establishment of more student chapters to provide valuable opportunities for membership growth and collaboration.

Planning will be put towards creating more Senior Member and Fellow networking opportunities. Often the contributions of our Senior Members are overlooked within the membership pipeline, though many of our Senior Members serve as our centered leaders of strategic committees and working groups. I plan to implement professional advancement efforts to recognize their invaluable contributions and spearhead initiatives to create tailored events that cater to senior members’ specific interests and professional development needs.

To recognize excellence within our ranks, I will champion efforts to promote the elevation of Senior Members to Fellow status, by improving the nomination process experience and acknowledging marginalized members’ significant achievements and expertise.

To enrich our Society, I also aim to attract more individuals from the industry to join our ranks as members. Their diverse perspectives and practical experience will contribute significantly to our collective knowledge.

OGC 2023, and IEEE technically co-sponsored conference.
Photonics Lab
Photo from SUStech’s Photonics Lab.

Envisioning Tomorrow: A Bright Future for Photonics

In conclusion, I foresee a forthcoming year where, together, we surmount the challenges presented by the pandemic and resume customary social interactions. As President, I eagerly anticipate meeting many of you at conferences and associated events, gaining insights into your needs and goals, as we lead the IEEE Photonics Society towards a brighter future.

Here’s to an exciting journey together!

Warm regards,

Perry Shum, Ph.D.
President (2024–2025)
IEEE Photonics Society