Debasis Mitra

Columbia University
Department of Electrical Engineering
500 West 120th Street
1300 Seeley W. Mudd
Mail Code 4712
New York, NY 10027
[email protected]

Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent
600 Mountain Avenue
Murray Hill, NJ 07974-0636


I received the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from London University in 1967 and joined Bell Telephone Laboratories as a Member of Technical Staff in 1968. I retired from Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent, in January 2013.

During 1968-January 2013 I was at Bell Labs continuosly execpt for briefs sojourns. During the Fall semester of 1984 I was the Visiting McKay Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. I taught a graduate course in Parallel Processing. In 2003 I was the Albert Winsemius Professor at the Nanyang Technical University, Singapore.

Columbia University (2013 - now)

In January 2013 I joined Columbia University as a Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Bell Labs (1968 - 2013)

2008 - 2013

In 2008 the "old" Bell Labs of Lucent Technologies and the former Research & Innovations (R&I) organization of Alcatel merged to form the "new" Bell Labs of Alcatel-Lucent. I was appointed as Vice President in the newly created Chief Scientist�s Office reporting to the Chief Scientist and responsible for Global Research Partnerships, University Relations and Technical Institutes. The Chief Scientist�s Office has de facto responsibility to preserve and nurture the historical standards of technical excellence in Bell Labs.

Here are some achievements to which I and the team that I led made key contributions.

(i) The launch of Bell Labs Seoul in 2009. I was the Bell Labs executive who was given the responsibility to negotiate with the Seoul Metropolitan Government to create an industrial laboratory in Seoul in the image of Bell Labs in partnership with Korea University and with funding from the city government. This was the joint vision of then-Mayor (later President of the Republic of Korea), Myung-Bak Lee, and the President of Bell Labs. My multi-year task was to devise a research agenda of mutual interest, a plan and an execution strategy that required coordinating various organizations in Alcatel-Lucent, in particular the offices of the Intellectual Property division, the Chief Counsel and the Chief Financial Officer. Incidentally, Bell Labs Seoul has been a thriving research center.

(ii) Launch of the Center for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET) at the University of Melbourne in 2011. CEET is a partnership of the University of Melbourne, the Victoria state government, Alcatel-Lucent�s APAC region and Bell Labs. CEET�s funding is guaranteed for three years and it is hoped that CEET will be succeeded by a full-fledged Bell Labs in Melbourne. CEET has an active collaborative research agenda.

(iii) Launch of multi-year partnerships between Bell Labs and Korea�s ETRI and Kyongyon University�s Gauchon Energy Research Institute in 2008-2009. The themes of the partnerships have been optical communications and smart grids. Supporting funds have come from Korean government and private sources; Bell Labs provides in-kind research support.

(iv) Assessment of Fundamental Science in Bell Labs, 2011 - 2012. Motivated to nurture and raise the quality and quantity of basic science in Bell Labs with its 10 locations and 800 researchers, the President of Bell Labs chartered the Chief Scientist�s Office to, first, assess and, second, recommend actions. I have had a central role in this Bell Labs-wide activity. One specific outcome was the 1st Science Workshop in 2011. This has been followed by two more workshops. The total effect on the scientific life and culture of Bell Labs has been profoundly beneficial.

(v) Grand Challenge Challenge, 2008. I was "angel" to this initiative, which, soon after the merger into Bell Labs of two organizations with very different cultures and heritages, sought to develop and refine ideas for a Grand Challenge. Substantial funding was guaranteed for five years to develop and realize the ideas of the winning submission to a competition. I led a small team that organized an open, web-based, bottoms-up, inclusive process that was new to Bell Labs and generated considerable response.

(vi) Outreach, 2008-2011. I was instrumental in organizing scientific and technical workshops with participation from Bell Labs and its research partners at various locations around the globe. Our partners in the workshops have been Princeton University and Supelec (at Princeton and Supelec in 2008), INRIA (at Murray Hill and Rocquencourt, 2009), Singapore (2009), Auckland University (2009) and the Heinrich-Hertz Institute (at Berlin in 2011).


In 1999 I was appointed Director (later Vice President) of the Mathematical Sciences Center. In 2005 the center was augmented by the infusion of the Algorithms group from the Computer Science Center and renamed the Mathematical and Algorithmic Sciences Center, which I continued to head. The center was staffed by 35-50 members with doctorates from diverse disciplines.

The center�s roots were in the Mathematics Department of the Bell Telephone Laboratories, which was created in 1925 with Thornton Fry as its first head. Fry was succeeded by S.A. Schelkunoff, Hendrik Bode, Bob Prim, Henry Pollak, Ron Graham and Mike Garey. I succeeded Mike Garey. Among the many distinguished alumni of the center are Claude Shannon, John Tukey, Sydney Darlington, George Stibitz, Stephen Rice and David Slepian.

In 2005 on the occasion of the bicentennial of William Rowan Hamilton�s birth, I spoke at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin on "Industrial Mathematics at Bell Labs: Past and Present". I based my talk around the contributions of Thornton Fry, John Tukey and Claude Shannon and their legacy.

During my tenure as head the work in the center was in five main areas:

As head of the Center, one of my priorities was to ensure rough parity between fundamental and applied research. I aimed for a mutually nurturing environment. I also actively supported the Center's ventures into new directions, notably optical networking, rapid provisioning at the optical and the IP layer, IP traffic measurements and modeling, representation in the IETF and supply chain networks. I also worked to develop close ties between the Center and Bell Labs' Advanced Technologies and the Business Units, notably Supply Chain Networks, Mobility Solutions, Lucent Worldwide Services and the Optical Networks Group. These rich interactions provided a continuous stream of new problems that challenged the researchers in the center. The solutions that grew from these collaborations impacted diverse organizations within the company. In the center�s annual performance evaluations of members of technical staff collaborations and collaborative results were specially recognized. Collaborations flourished and not surprisingly collaborations with the Math Center were greatly sought after. Also, the culture in the Center assured researchers that they could count on management support to take time to render field experiences into form that was accessible to their discipline-based communities, such as papers for journals and conferences,. The reputation of the center in universities and technical communities was high and consequently it was always able to hire the best and brightest.


Head, Mathematics of Networks and Systems Department in the Mathematical Sciences Center.

1968 - 1986.

Member of Technical Staff

I give below details of personal research over the years, including research topics and key publications.

Honors, Prizes

I was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2003 with the citation:
"For contributions to the modeling, analysis and design of communication networks".

I was made a Bell Labs Fellow in 1998 with the citation:
"For seminal contributions to the application of mathematics to communication systems, especially adaptive echo cancellation, asymptotic queueing theory, stochastic models for data communications, and resource allocation in data networks".

I received the 2012 ACM SIGMETRICS Achievement Award with the citation:
"For fundamental contributions to the modeling, analysis and design of communication networks".

In 2012 I received the Arne Jensen Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Teletraffic Congress with the citation: "For outstanding contributions to teletraffic science".

I was a co-recipient of the 1998 IEEE Eric E. Sumner Award with the citation:
"For the conception and development of voice echo cancelers".

I received the Stephen O. Rice Prize Paper Award of the IEEE for the best original paper in the IEEE Transaction on Communications in 1992, "Asymptotically Optimal Design of Congestion Control for High Speed Data Networks".

I was elected IEEE Fellow in 1989 with the citation,
"For contributions to the mathematical foundations of computer and communications systems design and analysis".

I became an IEEE Life Fellow in 2010.

I have also received the 1995 ACM Sigmetrics/Performance Conference award for Best Paper, the 1981 Guillemin-Cauer Prize Paper Award of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society, the Bell System Technical Journal award (1981) and the Institution Premium Award for Best Publication in 1966 from the Institution of Electrical Engineers (UK)




  1. 8,055,134 Optical telecommunications network and method
  2. 7,466,916 Hybrid optical and data networks
  3. 7,283,753 System and method for WDM communication with interleaving of optical signals for efficient wavelength utilization
  4. 7,165,115 Method for controlling the disposition of an incoming call based on the loading status of a route and on a test of each link along the route
  5. 7,123,588 Decision support mechanisms for bandwidth commerce in communication networks
  6. 6,954,739 Measurement-based management method for packet communication networks
  7. 6,770,302 Methods and apparatus for managing communication networks supporting multiple quality of service classes utilizing generalized processor sharing
  8. 6,768,744 Multicommodity flow method for designing traffic distribution on a multiple-service packetized network
  9. 6,721,270 Adaptive routing system and method for QOS packet networks
  10. 6,594,268 Packet scheduling in a communication network with statistical multiplexing of service classes
  11. 6,567,415 Method for resource allocation and routing in multi-service virtual private networks
  12. 6,331,986 Traffic shaper for network nodes and method thereof
  13. 5,978,356 Method and apparatus for power control in wireless networks
  14. 5,956,649 Method for shared memory management in network nodes
  15. 5,909,547 Optimization method for routing and logical network design in multi-service networks
  16. 5,854,903 Method for admission control and routing by allocating network resources in network nodes
  17. 5,838,663 Method for sharing network resources by virtual partitioning
  18. 5,781,624 Method for power control in wireless networks for communicating multiple information classes
  19. 5,732,328 Cellular mobile radio system power control
  20. 5,551,057 Method for adaptive control of windows and rates in networks
  21. 5,426,635 Digital filters with control of limit cycles

Personal Research

Here is a list of my main research interests, with key references, going back to my early years in Bell Labs.
  1. Nonlinear circuits and systems.

    "When are Transistors Passive?", with B.Gopinath, Bell Sys. Tech. J. 50(8), 1971, 2835-2848.

    "The Absolute Stability of High-Order, Discrete-Time Systems Utilizing the Saturation Nonlinearity", IEEE Trans. CAS, May 1978, 1029-1033.

  2. Network externalities.

    "A Simple Growth Model for the Diffusion of a new Communication Service", with A.Gersho, IEEE Trans. on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, SMC-5(2), March 1975, 209-216.

  3. Digital Filters: finite-word length effects.

    "Controlled Rounding Arithmetics for Second-Order Direct-Form Digital Filters That Eliminate All Self-Sustained Oscillations", with V.B.Lawrence, IEEE Trans. Circuits & Systems, CAS 28(9), 1981.

    "Limit Cycles in Floating Point Filters", with J.R.Boddie, Proc. 1979 Int. Symp. Circuits & Systems, 1979.

  4. Fundamental theory of adaptive filters: Convergence conditions, rates of convergence, implementation effects.

    "New Results on the Performance of a Well-Known Class of Adaptive Filters", with M.M.Sondhi, Proc. IEEE, 64, 1976, 1583-1597.

    "Qualitative Behavior of Nonlinear Differential Equations Describing Adapive Filters Using Non-Ideal Multipliers", with M.M.Sondhi, IEEE Trans AC, AC-24, 1979, 276-282.

    "Digital Adaptive Filters: Conditions for Convergence, Rates of Convergence, Effects of Noise and Errors Arising from the Implementation", with A.Weiss, IEEE Trans. IT, IT-25(6), 1979, 637-652.

  5. Network Synchronization: Cooperative Network Control.

    "Network Synchronization: Analysis of a Hybrid of Master-Slave and Mutual Synchronization", IEEE Trans. On Communications, COM-28(8), 1980, 1245-1259.

  6. Fundamental Theory of Packet Communications: Data Traffic, Burstiness, Statistical Multiplexing, Admission Control, Stochastic Fluid Models, Large Buffer Asymptotics.

    Anick, D., Mitra, D. and Sondhi, M. M., "Stochastic Theory of a Data Handling System with Multiple Sources", Bell Sys. Tech. J. 61(8), 1982,1871-1894.

  7. Closed, Product-Form Queuing Networks: Partition Functions, Integral Representations, Asymptotic Expansions.

    "A Class of Closed Markovian Queueing Networks: Integral Representations, Asymptotic Expansions, Generalizations", with J.McKenna and K.G.Ramakrishnan, Bell Sys. Tech. J. 60(5), 1981.

    "Asymptotic Expansions and Integral Representations of Moments of Queue Lengths in Closed Markovian Networks", with J.McKenna, J. ACM 31(2), 1984, 346-360.

  8. Software Tools for Analysis of Queuing Networks.

    "An Overview of PANACEA, A Software Package for Analyzing Markovian Networks", with K.G. Ramakrishnan, Bell Sys. Tech. J.,December 1982.

  9. Probabilistic Models of Database Locking.

    "Probabilistic Models of Database Locking: Solutions, Computational Algorithms, and Asymptotics", with P.J.Weinberger, J. ACM, 31(4), 1984, 855-878.

  10. Asynchronous Chaotic Relaxations for Parallel Processing or Distributed Implementations.

    "A Chaotic, Asynchronous Algorithm for Computing the Fixed Point of a Nonnegative Matrix of Unit Spectral Radius", with B.D.Lubachevsky, J. ACM, 86(1), 1986, 130-150.

    "Asynchronous Relaxations for the Numerical Solution of Differential Equations by Parallel Processors", SIAM J. Sci. Stat. Comp., 8(1), 1987, 43-58.

  11. Randomized Routing on Networks.

    "Randomized Parallel Communications on an Extension of the Omega Network", with R.Cieslak, J. ACM, 34, 1987, 802-824.

    "Comparative Evaluations of Randomized and Dynamic Routing Strategies for Circuit-Switched Networks", with J.B.Seery, IEEE Trans. Comm., 39(1), 1990, 102-116.

  12. Simulated Annealing: Convergence Conditions and Rates.

    "Convergence and Finite-Time Behavior of Simulated Annealing", with F.Romeo and A.Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, Adv. Appl. Prob., 18, 1986, 747-771.

  13. Stochastic Fluid Models.

    "Stochastic Theory of a Fluid Model of Producers and Consumers Coupled by a Buffer", Adv. Appl. Prob., 20, 1988, 646-676.

    "Models of Network Access Using Feedback Fluid Queues", with M.Mandjes and W.Scheinhardt, Queueing Systems(QUESTA), 44 ,2003, 365-398.

  14. Kanban Methods in Manufacturing.

    "Analysis of a Kanban Discipline for Cell Coordination in Production Lines, II: Stochastic demands", with I.Mitrani, Operations Research, 39(5), 1991, 807-823.

  15. Erlang�s Model: Transient Behavior of Large Trunk Groups.

    "The Transient Behavior in Erlang�s Model for Large Trunk Groups and Various Traffic Conditions", with A.Weiss, Proc.12th Int. Teletraffic Congress, 1988, 5.1B4.1-5.1B4.8.

  16. State-Dependent Routing in Circuit-Switched Networks.

    "State-Dependent Routing on Symmetric Loss Networks with Trunk Reservations, I", with R.J.Gibbens and B.D.Huang, IEEE Trans. Comm, Feb. 1993

    "State-Dependent Routing on Symmetric Loss Networks with Trunk Resevations, II:Asymptotic, Optimal Design", with R.J.Gibbens, Ann. Oper. Res., 35, 1992, 3-30.

  17. Optimal Congestion Control and Regulation in High Speed, Wide Area Data Networks.

    "Asymptotically Optimal Design of Congestion Control for High Speed Data Networks", IEEE Trans. Communication 40(2), 1992, 301-311.

    "Analysis and Design of Rate-Based Congestion Control of High Speed networks,I: Stochastic Fluid Models, Access Regulation", with A. I.Elwalid, Queueing Systems, 9,1991, 29-64.

  18. Effective Bandwidth, Effective Capacity.

    "Effective Bandwidth of General Markovian Traffic Sources and Admission Control of High Speed Networks", with A.I.Elwalid, IEEE/ACM Trans. Networking 1(3), 1993, 329-343.

    "Fundamental Bounds and Approximations for ATM Multiplexers with Applications to Video Teleconferencing", with A.I.Elwalid, D.Heyman, T.V.Lakshman, and A.Weiss, IEEE J. Sel. Areas in Commun. 13(6), 1995, 1004-1016.

    "A New Approach for Allocating Buffers and Bandwidth to Heterogeneous, Regulated Traffic in an ATM Node", with A.I.Elwalid and R.H.Wentworth, IEEE J. Selected Areas in Commununications 13(6), 1995, 1115-1127.

  19. Erlang Capacity of Shared Unbuffered Resources.

    "Erlang Capacity and Uniform Approximations of Shared Unbuffered Resources", with J.A.Morrison, IEEE/ACM Trans. Networking 2(6), 1994, 558-570.

  20. Virtual Partitioning: Fair and Efficient Resource Sharing.

    "Virtual Partitioning by Dynamic Priorities: Fair and Efficient Resource Sharing by Several Services", with I.Ziedins, Proc. 1996 Intl. Zurich Seminar on Digital Comm.,Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Broadband Communications, B.Plattner (Ed.), Springer, 1996, 173-185.

    "Hierarchical Virtual partitioning: Algorithms for Virtual Private Networking", with I.Ziedins, Proc. IEEE GLOBECOM 97, 1997, 1784-1791.

    "Virtual Partitioning for Robust Resource Sharing: Computational Techniques for Heterogeneous Traffic", with S.Borst, IEEE JSAC, 16(5), 1998, 668-678.

  21. Power Control in Wireless Networks.

    "An Asynchronous Distributed Algorithm for Power Control in Cellular Radio Systems", Proc. Fourth WINLAB Workshop on Third Generation Wireless Information Networks, Kluwer, 1994.

    "A Novel Distributed Power Control Algorithm for Classes of Service in Cellular CDMA Networks", with J.A.Morrison, in Advances in Wireless Communications Ed. J.M.Holtzman and M.Zorzi, Kluwer, 1998, 187-202. Also in WINLAB Workshop on 3rd Gen. Wireless Communications.

  22. Traffic Engineering: Network Routing, Design and Optimization.

    "ATM Network Design and Optimization: A Multi-rate Loss Network Framework", with J.A.Morrison and K.G.Ramakrishnan, IEEE/ACM Trans. on Networking 4(4), 1996, 531-543.

    "Virtual Private Networks: Joint Resource Allocation and Routing Design", with J.A.Morrison and K.G.Ramakrishnan, Proc. IEEE INFOCOM 1999.

    "Techniques for Traffic Engineering of Multiservice, Multipriority Networks", with K.G.Ramakrishnan, Bell Labs Tech J, 6(1), 2001, 139-151.

    "Routing and Protection in GMPLS Networks: From Shortest Paths to Optimized Designs", with A.Elwalid, I.Saniee and I.Widjaja , IEEE J. Lightwave Tech, 21(11), 2003, 2828-2838.

  23. Service Level Agreement Management.

    "The Structure and Management of Service Level Agreements in Networks", with E. Bouillet and K.G.Ramakrishnan, IEEE JSAC on Recent Advances in Fundamentals of Network Management, 20 (4), 2002, 691-699.

  24. Optimal Planning for Network Infrastructure: Economics, Technology and Design.

    "Optimal Planning for Optical Transport Networks", with S.Lanning, Q.Wang and M. Wright, Phil. Trans. Royal Society, 358(1773), 2000, 2183-2196.

  25. Optical Networking.

    "Light Core and Intelligent Edge for a Flexible, Thin-Layered and Cost-Effective Optical Transport Network", with I.Widjaja, I.Saniee and R.Giles, IEEE Commun. Mag., 41, 2003, S360-S365.

    "Selective Transparency in Optical Networks", with R.Giles, K.Kumaran, I.Saniee and C.Nuzman, Proc. ECOC, Copenhagen, Oct. 2002.

  26. Cooperative Inter-Networking, Data-Optical Convergence.

    "Distributed Nonlinear Integer Optimization for Data-Optical Internetworking", with A.Elwalid and Q.Wang, 24(8), 2006, 1502-1513.

  27. Stochastic Traffic Engineering: Uncertainty & Risk in Networks.

    "Stochastic Traffic Engineering for Demand Uncertainty and Risk-Aware Network Revenue Management", with Q.Wang, IEEE/ACM Trans. Networking,13(2), 2005, 221-233.

  28. Modeling and Optimization of the Industrial Laboratory: Innovation Management, Financial Investments.
    Work in progress, With Q.Wang.

  29. Study of the Impact on Usage, Social Welfare, Spawning of New Applications, and Network Neutrality from the Presence of Best-Effort and Managed Services in Broadband Networks.

    "A Model-based Study of the Impact of Managed Services and the Spawning of Applicaitons in Broadband Networks", with Q. Wang, presented at the Workshop of Telecom Economics, Engineering and Policy, 24th International Teletraffic Congress, Krakow, Sept. 3, 2012.

    Co-organized Workshop on Telecom Economics, Engineering and Policy at ITC 24, with Q. Wang.


    Last modified: August 22, 2012.