Yasuharu Suematsu's impact on the field of optical communication can be seen in the career successes of his students. In his more than 30-year tenure at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, he served as researcher, professor, dean and president. He has mentored more than 60 Ph.D. students, many leading highly distinguished careers in academia and industry.
Stressing real devices for practical applications, he forged cooperative relationships between the university and leading companies in the field. Professor Suematsu also championed the development of research centers for ultra-high-speed and quantum-effect electronics. His research achievements in optical communications include 1.5-mm lasers and single-mode lasers for high-capacity, long-wavelength optical fiber transmission.
Professor Suematsu has published 19 books and more than 260 papers detailing fundamental contributions to the field. His textbook, Introduction to Optical Fiber Communications, written with Kenichi Iga, has been translated into several languages and is a popular reference worldwide.
After leaving the Tokyo Institute in 1993, Professor Suematsu held leadership positions at the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Japan's National Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Research and Kochi University of Technology in Kochi, Japan. He is now director general of the National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo.
An IEEE Life Fellow, Professor Suematsu has served as president of the Japan Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineering; commissioner of the Space Activities Commission for the Prime Minister of Japan; and on numerous professional boards and associations. His honors include the IEEE Quantum Electronics Award, the IEEE David Sarnoff Award, the Vladimir Paulsen Gold Medal, Japan's Medal with Purple Ribbon, Eduard Rhein Basic Research Prize and many others.