Keun Yeong Cho

Keun Yeong ChoThe Marconi Society, the world’s leading organization devoted to honoring and encouraging scientific contributions in the field of communications and the Internet, has announced that Keun Yeong Cho, a graduate researcher at Korea Advanced Insitute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is one of three winners of its 2012 Paul Baran Marconi Young Scholar Awards. The awards are given to young researchers (no older than 27 at the time of the award—the same age as Marconi when he completed the first radio transmission) who are on track to become leading innovators contributing to the advancement both of science and humanity.

Cho, 27, who has been in the Integrated M.S. & Ph.D. program at KAIST since 2006, received his Bachelor of Science Summa Cum Laude in Electrical Engineering at Yonsei University in Seoul. His research has focused on Wavelength-division-multiplexed passive optical networks (WDM PON), long considered an ultimate solution for the broadband optical access network, working to overcome deployment cost limitations due to the installation and maintenance of necessary wavelength-specific lasers.

“While many research institutes have investigated the cost effective technologies worldwide, [Cho’s] new idea of automatic polarization stabilization technique, avoiding conventional polarization diversity technique, gives very simple configuration of the coherent receiver and stable operation of the whole system in realistic circumstance using installed fibers,” said Dr. Masatoshi Suzuki, Executive Vice President, Managing Director at Japan’s KDDI R&D Laboratories Inc., who worked with Cho for four years on a collaborative research project on future optical access network technologies. “I have confidence that Mr. K. Y. Cho is one of the top-ranking students in the field of optical access networks, especially future WDM-PON technologies.

“Keun Yeong Cho has demonstrated the capacity to become a scientist who might well be worthy of the Marconi Prize in the future,” said Robert Tkach, Chairman of the Young Scholar selection committee and a 2009 Marconi Prize Winner. “He stood out in an extraordinarily strong field of nominees.”

This marks the fifth year that Young Scholars Awards have been granted by the Marconi Society, which is best known for its annual $100,000 Marconi Award and Fellowship given to living scientists whose scope of work and influence emulate the principle of “creativity in service to humanity." The scholars program was launched with a generous donation from 2007 Marconi Fellow Ronald L. Rivest, an MIT professor who co-founded RSA encryption, the major encryption system used worldwide to make Internet transactions secure. It was renamed the Paul Baran Marconi Young Scholars Program in 2011 in honor of Baran, a Marconi Fellow famous for helping devise the technical inner-workings of the Arpanet, the government-sponsored precursor to the Internet.

In selecting its scholar recipients, the Marconi Society looks for those who not only have shown extraordinary early promise, but whose research already has been published and made an impact. As Marconi Society Chairman Emeritus Robert Lucky noted, “The selection committee looks for candidates who show the potential to win the Marconi Prize -- the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in communications science -- at some point in the future. As a point of reference, Marconi Fellows have been at the forefront of every modern advance in telecommunications and the Internet.”

The other two winners are Stanford graduate student Aakanksha Chowdhery and Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs research engineer Guilhem de Valicourt, Ph.D. The three will be honored at the Marconi Society’s annual Awards Dinner in Irvine, CA on September 6th, 2012, which also honors Dr. Henry Samueli, Broadcom co-founder and 2012 Marconi Prize Winner. The Young Scholar Awards include a financial stipend and an invitation and travel funds to attend the annual Award Dinner. For more information, please visit