Description of Research Accomplishments

(adapted from ICO Newsletter, January 1999)


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Haldun Ozaktas has made contributions to several areas of optical information processing and in particular to the development of the fractional Fourier transform and its applications.

With the development of the fractional Fourier transform, the common frequency domain is seen to be merely a special case of a continuum of so-called fractional domains, a concept that is elegantly related to the notion of space-frequency distributions. Every property and application of the common Fourier transform becomes a special case of that for the fractional transform. In every area in which Fourier transforms and frequency-domain concepts are used, there exists the potential for generalization and improvement by using the fractional transform. In particular, the fractional Fourier transform has been found to have several applications in analog optical information processing, allowing a reformulation of Fourier optics in a much more general way. Its applications in digital signal and image processing are growing steadily and it is expected to have an impact in the form of deeper understanding, new applications, or improved algorithms in every area in which the Fourier transform plays a significant role.

Ozaktas has made fundamental contributions to both analog optical information processing and Fourier optics, and to optics in digital computing and optical interconnections.

In the former category, apart from the development of the fractional Fourier transform and its applications, he has made several other contributions to general optics, information optics and optical signal processing, as well as digital signal and image processing.

In the latter category, his major contribution is his study of the physical limits to communication in digital computing systems. At the heart of this work lies abstract yet physically accurate models of optical, normally conducting, and superconducting interconnections which fully characterize their capabilities and limitations as information transfer media, and a physically accurate characterization of the scaling behavior imposed by heat removal considerations in three-dimensional systems.

In addition to concentrating on the fundamental limitations of optical communication within computing systems (as opposed to long-distance communications), Ozaktas also focused on the development of optimal optical interconnection architectures and their limitations, and how to best use optics and electronics together in high-performance computing systems.

By defining the limits of what is achievable, and how it can be achieved, this body of work aims to provide a framework and a vision for the development of optoelectronic and optically interconnected computing systems which can provide flexible and effective platforms for high-performance applications.

Taken as a whole, Ozaktas's work is characterized by the combined emphasis on physical principles, and concepts from information and signal theory, and computer science.