Promotions for two UCL TRANSNET members

Congratulations are in order for Zhixin Liu and George Zervas, both of whom have been successful in the latest round of academic promotions at University College London.

Dr George Zervas has been promoted to Professor of Optical Networked Systems, whilst Dr Zhixin Liu has been promoted to Associate Professor. Both George and Zhixin are based at UCL in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering; their promotions are effective from 1 October 2021.

About Zhixin

Dr Zhixin Liu received his PhD in Information Engineering from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2012. Upon graduation, he received the Hong Kong Creative Fund and co-founded a technology start-up. In 2013, he joined the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton and became a Senior Research Fellow in 2015. In 2016, Zhixin joined the Optical Networks Group at UCL as a Lecturer.  

Zhixin’s research focuses on investigating devices and subsystems for enabling larger data transmission capacities with a simultaneous reduction in power consumption and system complexity. His research interests include:

  • optical transceivers for short and medium reach optical communication
  • optical-assisted signal processing
  • integrated photonic systems

Zhixin has been a co-investigator on the TRANSNET Programme since 2018 and is principal investigator on several other projects including PhotoDAC and Photonic-assisted Real-time Oscilloscope, funded by EPSRC and the Royal Society, respectively. Earlier this year he also received an EPSRC Impact Accelerator Award to develop a frequency comb prototype that will radically enhance the scalability of data centres.

The best part of academic life for Zhixin is getting to work with talented researchers in the lab. As an engineer, he believes it's important to see the practical application of his research. He says: “Sometimes researchers are categorised as theoreticians or experimentalists, but we do both, starting with fundamental analysis and then linking theory and simulation to practical experiments and even industrial considerations. Growing an idea from scratch on a paper to experimental setup and prototype is super satisfying.”

A lifetime professional goal for Zhixin is to help others achieve more than they think is possible. His proudest moments often stem from the achievements of his students and post-docs, many of whom have published in top journals, won international and national awards, and received offers from world-leading research institutes whilst under his supervision. He believes it's essential to "work with the right people on a subject that truly interests you" to lead a fulfilling career as an academic – that, and good planning!  

About George

Dr George Zervas received his PhD in optical networks from the University of Essex in 2009. He then held the positions of Research Associate and subsequently Research Fellow as a member of the High-Performance Networks group at the University of Essex. He was appointed Lecturer in 2011. In 2012, George moved to the University of Bristol where he was a Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer before joining the Optical Networks Group at UCL in 2016. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2018.

George’s research focuses on making next-generation data centres more scalable and sustainable by replacing electronic networks with optical fibre systems. His research interests include:

  • optical network technologies and control
  • data centres (cloud) and high-performance computing
  • Reconfigurable computing and programmable hardware
  • Optics and networks for AI/ML and AI/ML for optics and networks

George has been a co-investigator on the TRANSNET Programme grant since 2018. He was recently awarded a five-year EPSRC Fellowship to design and build powerful, more efficient and greener data centres of the future.

 Congratulations George and Zhixin, from all the TRANSNET team!

The full list of 2020-21 academic promotions can be viewed on the UCL website