Vincent W. S. Chan, the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Professor of EECS, MIT, received his BS(71), MS(71), EE(72), and Ph.D.(74) degrees in EE all from MIT. From 1974 to 1977, he was an assistant professor, EE, at Cornell University. He joined MIT Lincoln Laboratory in 1977 and had been Division Head of the Communications and Information Technology Division until becoming the Director of the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (1999–2007). He is currently a member of the Claude E. Shannon Communication and Network Group at the Research Laboratory of Electronics of MIT. In July 1983, he initiated the Laser Intersatellite Transmission Experiment Program and in 1997, the follow-on GeoLITE Program. In 1989, he formed the All-Optical-Network Consortium among MIT, AT&T and DEC. He also formed and served as PI the Next Generation Internet Consortium, ONRAMP among AT&T, Cabletron, MIT, Nortel and JDS, and a Satellite Networking Research Consortium formed between MIT, Motorola, Teledesic and Globalstar. He has served in many US/non-US government advisory boards/committees and the Board of Governors of the Communication Society including VP of Publications. He also has been active with several start-ups and was a director of a Fortune-500 company and chaired its technical advisory board. He is a Member of the Corporation of Draper Laboratory and is a member of Eta-Kappa-Nu, Tau-Beta-Pi and Sigma-Xi, and the Fellow of the IEEE and the Optical Society of America. He is currently the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee and the President Elect of the IEEE Communication Society.
Throughout his career, Professor Chan has spent his research focus on communication and networks, particularly on free space and fiber optical communication and networks and satellite communications. His work has led the way to a successful laser communication demonstration in space and early deployment of WDM optical networks.