• Technical Conference:  30 March – 03 April 2025
  • Exhibition: 01 – 03 April 2025
  • Moscone Center, San Francisco, California, USA

02 February 2022


Manya Ghobadi Named Inaugural Jane Simmons Memorial Speakership Recipient

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Awarded Inaugural Jane M. Simmons Memorial Speakership

WASHINGTON - The Optica Foundation is pleased to announce Manya Ghobadi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as the inaugural recipient of the Jane M. Simmons Memorial Speakership.

Ghobadi is an assistant professor at MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Before joining MIT, she was a researcher at Microsoft Research and a software engineer at Google. As a computer systems researcher, she has worked on topics including optical networks, data center networking, transport protocols, and network measurement.

“I am extremely honored to be receiving the Jane M. Simmons Speakership award. Jane's pioneering work at the intersection of industry and academia paved the way for my current efforts and those of many colleagues,” said Ghobadi. “I am confident in optical networks making a lasting impact on emerging applications, such as machine learning, and this award enables me to follow that vision.”

The speakership is named after a pioneer in optical communications Jane Simmons who worked in the optical network field for almost three decades. Simmons left a lasting legacy as a visionary researcher, pragmatic practitioner and inspiring teacher. Through her leadership, the nation saw the first commercial deployment of a national-scale all-optical network.

“Naming this speakership after Dr. Jane Simmons is a fitting tribute to her unmatched contributions to optical network architecture, design, and planning,” said Jun Shan Wey, Verizon Communications Inc., and OFC steering committee member. “We are pleased to select Dr. Ghobadi for this honor.”

Ghobadi received her bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Sharif University of Technology, Iran, and studied computer science at the University of Victoria, Canada, earning her master’s degree in 2007. She received her Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Toronto, Canada in 2013.

Her research interests include large-scale reconfigurable networks, high-performance cloud infrastructure, networks for machine learning, hardware-software co-design, data center networks, network optimization, and optical networks.

About The Optica Foundation

The Optica Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation established by the Optical Society (OSA) in 2002 to carry out charitable activities that support the society’s mission of promoting the generation, application, archiving and worldwide dissemination of knowledge in optics and photonics. The Foundation helps cultivate the next generation of leaders and innovators in the optics and photonics community as they move through advanced degree programs and become active members of research, engineering and business communities around the globe. The Foundation also works to secure OSA Awards and Honors program endowments. For more information, visit osa.org/foundation.

About Optica

Optica (formerly OSA), the society advancing optics and photonics worldwide, is dedicated to promoting the generation, application, archiving and dissemination of knowledge in the field. Founded in 1916, it is the leading organization for scientists, engineers, business professionals, students and others interested in the science of light. Optica’s renowned publications, meetings, online resources and in-person activities fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate scientific, technical and educational achievement.