Monday, February 22, 2010

SDM Alum Named Boeing Technical Fellow

Hard work, continuous learning pay off for Dr. Jean Dolne

By Lois Slavin, SDM Communications Director

On January 4, 2010, SDM alumnus Dr. Jean Dolne was promoted to the rank of Technical Fellow at The Boeing Company. This honor places him among the top 1% of Boeing’s entire technical force and the top 0.5% of the company’s workforce overall.

Dolne’s selection reflects his commitment to working hard, despite difficult conditions. For example, while growing up in Haiti he experienced poverty first-hand.

"Because my parents struggled to pay $24/month for my high school tuition, I felt it was my job to work hard and study," said Dolne, who graduated at the top of his class. Dolne then traveled to the U.S. to attend the City College of New York, arriving with less $60 in his pocket. Again he worked hard, not just at his studies but also as a dishwasher and a taxi driver to pay his way through school.

Dolne graduated with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering, then earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the City University of New York.

Despite holding a doctorate, Dolne then chose to pursue the MIT master’s in engineering and management through the System Design and Management (SDM) Program. "I have a constant desire to learn more," said Dolne, who was sponsored by Boeing as a distance student and received his SM in 2008. "SDM represented a perfect opportunity to increase my knowledge in systems design, program management and system-of-systems optimization."

In fact, while a student at SDM, Dolne was awarded a Boeing Special Invention award for a technology that he helped develop to achieve real time (~ 50 Hz) wavefront sensing and imaging using Phase Diversity -- a first in industry. This Phase Diversity method works by collecting two images, one at focus and another intentionally defocused. With these two images, a maximum likelihood method is applied to retrieve the wavefront in the pupil plane and an enhanced image. Boeing awards this honor for only a small number of inventions that have proven critical to the company.

"Two SDM courses that came in handy were system design and optimization and systems engineering," he continued. "These topics helped in coming up with gradient search tools to implement the wavefront sensing approach in hardware."

In the spirit of continuous learning and working hard, Dolne is pursuing several technical interests, including statistical image processing, system design, information theory, optimization theory, decision theory, wavefront sensing, atmospheric turbulence, optical system design, wave optics, and laser systems. He is a Chairman of the SPIE Unconventional Imaging conference and in 2009, he guest-edited an Applied Optics special edition in wavefront sensing and imaging.

As usual, Dolne is continuing to work hard.

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