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Sant'Anna School of University Studies (Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna) is a public education institution located in Pisa, Italy. It offers complementary courses with respect to those offered by the University of Pisa at the undergraduate level while it has it own PhD programs at the graduate level. The traditional goal is to train highly selected, gifted young scholars for scientific research and the teaching profession. In the year 2000, the School opened a new research and teaching areas related to Optical Communications and Networks. Since then, a new research group has been established, which today includes two Full Professor, three Associate Professors, five Assistant Professors, several researchers, and many PhD as well as ordinary students. The research activity covers components, systems, and networks, including both theoretical and experimental activities. Sant'Anna's "optical group" has been awarded a special status from the Italian Ministry of University and Research ("National Center of Excellence"). The total number of people operating in the Center in year 2007 is approximately 50. The current Research Staff of Sant'Anna took part in the following EU funded projects: LOBSTER (Large Optical Bandwidth by amplifier Systems based on TEllurite fibres doped with Rare earths), ATLAS (Advanced Terabit Lambda Shifted transmission), NOBEL and NOBEL Phase 2 (Next generation Optical network for Broadband European Leadership), e-Photon/ONE and e-Photon/ONE+ as well as in many research projects funded by the Italian Research Ministry and other international efforts. In year 2006, the "optical group" published approximately 100 papers in international journals and contributions to international conferences. The competence of the Center of excellence ranges from optical networks control and management, performance evaluation and design to optical communication systems, devices and components.

Luca Valcarenghi, is currently Assistant Professor at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy. He co-authored more than 60 papers published in international conference proceedings and journals. His main research interests are Optical Networks design, analysis, and optimization; Artificial Intelligence optimization techniques; Communication Networks reliability; IP over WDM networking; QoS in Grid networking; optical access networks.

Nicola Andriolli is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow with Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy. He co-authored more than 40 papers published in international conference proceedings and journals. His research interests include network modeling and simulation, QoS and fault tolerance in optical networks, Generalized Multi-Protocol Label Switching (GMPLS) architecture, and optical packet switching.

Claudio Porzi, is currently a post-doc researcher at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy. He co-authored more than 30 papers published in international conference proceedings and journals. His main research interests are in the fields of Optical Time-Division Multiplexed systems, all-optical processing and optical packet switching techniques for optical networking.

Francesco Fresi received the M.S. degree in telecommunication engineering from University of Pisa in 2005 with a thesis about Nonlinear Optical Loop Mirrors. In October 2005 he received a CNIT grant for the design and implementation of ultrafast transmitters for OTDM systems. From 2006 he is a Ph.D. student at Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy. His research activity is in the area of fiber optic transmissions with particular interest in ultra-short optical pulse sources, ultra-fast OTDM systems and all-optical signal processing.

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