Congratulations and Goodbye to Xianhe

Well done to Dr Xianhe Yangzhang, a member of the Optical Networks Group at UCL, who has successfully defended his PhD thesis. In this Q+A we learn what’s next for Xianhe and discover his top tip for an online viva.

Congratulations on passing your viva! How do you feel, and how did you celebrate?

Thank you very much! I felt very relieved. My girlfriend and I went to our favourite restaurant in London (L'Escargot) and had a great night out.Xianhe viva tweet

Any top tips for an online viva?

Suit up to show respect and boost your confidence. This is easier for a remote viva because you can wear pajama pants, and nobody will know!

What’s been your favourite moment from the last four years?

When I catch someone new to the group who can’t pronounce my name and tries to hide it, that’s a lot of fun. Tea break in the afternoon is also my favourite.

What’s your advice to new members joining the team?

Learn to use version control tools, such as Gitlab, as soon as possible.

Finally, what’s next for you?

I will be joining Huawei’s Research and Development in Beijing.


Xianhe joined the Optical Networks Group in September 2016 and worked within the COIN project (Coding for Optical communications In the Nonlinear regime - a predecessor project to TRANSNET).

The project received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie-Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No.676448. His thesis is titled ‘Study of nonlinear optical fibre communications’ and was supervised by Prof Polina Bayvel and Dr Domaniç Lavery.