OSA | Living History

Kim Roberts

OSA Awards & Distinctions



Kim Roberts is a passionate evangelist of new optical and high-capacity packet technologies and holds the distinction of being Ciena Corporation’s (previously Nortel’s) leading inventor. Kim holds more than 150 patents with many more pending.

Kim has been a major force in the field of digital signal processing (DSP) for optical transmission systems, and played a key role in virtually every optical innovation developed by Nortel. These range from the Superdecoder (the use of electronic signal processing of optical signals), the OC-48 regenerator, and the original OC-192 (10-Gbit/s) system, to terrestrial optical amplifiers and the revolutionary WaveLogic-1  precompensating transmitter. Building on these breakthroughs, Kim helped develop the DSP-assisted coherent transceivers that are at the heart of coherent 40, 100, and 400 Gb/s optical systems that are deployed around the world. Today Kim is Vice President of WaveLogic Science at Ciena, leading an R&D team focused on pushing the optical boundaries even further in terms of speed, distance and cost.

In recognition of the pioneering role he has played in the industry, Kim was named an IEEE Fellow and a Nortel Fellow. He received the Outstanding Engineer medal in 2008 from IEEE Canada. He received the 2019 John Tyndall Award “for pioneering contributions to the development of practical coherent communication systems.”

Kim holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis on mathematics, and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering on the topic of processing of brain signals, both from the University of British Columbia.

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Document Created: 9 Nov 2020
Last Updated: 9 Nov 2020