UCL Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering


Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship awarded to Dr Anastasiia Vasylchenkova

15 October 2020

Dr Anastasiia Vasylchenkova was recently awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship. She started work in the Optical Networks Group, part of EEE, on 1 October 2020.

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The focus of her research is to model the propagation of signals within the optical fibre over very large bandwidths, potentially an order of magnitude higher than is used currently. Intelligent use of optical fibre bandwidth, rather than treating fibres like simple ‘plumbing’, may allow significantly higher data volumes to be supported by networks, increasing overall throughputs.

However, the optical fibre is a nonlinear channel, and to achieve significant bandwidth increases requires the development of new analytical and numerical models of fibre propagation. The goal is to apply the results of the fellowship to development of the next generation of optical communication systems.

Dr Anastasiia Vasylchenkova received her BSc and MSc degrees in theoretical nuclear physics from Kharkiv National University, Ukraine in 2014 and 2016, respectively.

She received her PhD in optical communications from Aston University, UK in June this year (2020). Her research expertise includes nonlinear and solitonic science, nonlinearity mitigation, signal processing and algorithm development. Beyond research, Anastasiia is an active educator in STEM and a science communicator. She is the UK representative of the International Physicists' Tournament, and has various experience in other educational events.

Anastasiia says: 

"I believe that for a successful scientific career, it is vital to carry out independent research that will have an impact on communities. UCL is one of the leading institutions in the area of optical communication, and it is a great attraction point for talented and bright scientists. I am extremely happy that the Optical Networks Group supported my ambition to apply for the individual fellowship. The further support and the combination of expertise will be a key factor in developing the research project to advance optical communications."

The Optical Networks Group (ONG) focuses on optical communications systems and networks, operating on all time and length scales. These networks underpin the global communications infrastructure and the Internet, and are increasingly being used inside data centres.

Anastasiia points out that the majority of data transferred worldwide relies on optical fibre communications. With the exponential growth in traffic demand, the current network resources are exhausted, requiring more expensive techniques to overcome the anticipated limitations. A cost-effective solution can exploit an increase in the accessible optical fibre bandwidth, outside the boundaries of existing analytical descriptions, and further research is needed to develop the pool of knowledge to achieve this.

Polina Bayvel, the Head of ONG, said:

"We are delighted to welcome Anastasiia to the Optical Networks Group, to help deepen our theoretical understanding of the nonlinear channel and limits to capacity in intelligent optical fibre networks. She will also be associated with the research of the TRANSNET programme. She joins in the footsteps of very talented predecessors, previous holders of Leverhulme ECF in our group, include Prof Seb Savory (now in Cambridge) and Dr Giancarlo Gavioli (now leading R&D in Nokia Italy)."

The Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships are intended to assist those at a relatively early stage of their academic careers, and it is hoped that the appointment would lead to a more permanent position for the individual, either within the same or another institution. Annually, only 145 Early Career Fellowships are available to researchers across all subject areas, and this year 37 of them were awarded to the Sciences discipline (Anastasiia’s category). Well done to Anastasiia on this fantastic achievement.