Thas Ampalavanapillai Nirmalathas

Director - Networked Society Institute and Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Melbourne

Thas Nirmalathas is the Director of the Networked Society Institute and a Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Melbourne.

Prof Nirmalathas obtained his BEng and PhD in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Melbourne in 1993 and 1998 respectively. Between 2000 and 2004, he was the Director of Photonics Research Laboratory (Melbourne Node of Australian Photonics CRC) and also the Program Leader of Telecommunications Technologies Program. From 2004 to 2006, he was the Program Leader for the Network Technologies Research Program in NICTA. He was also the acting Lab Director of VRL in 2007. Between 2006 and 2008, He was the Research Group Manager of the Networked Systems Group of Victoria Research Laboratory (VRL) at the National ICT Australia (NICTA), a premier Australian research centre of excellence in ICT. Between 2010 and 2012, he was the Head, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Melbourne. In 2012, he co-founded the Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) which supports entrepreneurial activities of the University Community through business acceleration models. He was the Director of MAP between 2012 and 2014 and he remained as its academic lead till August 2017. In 2015-2016, he played a key role in the development of the Translation Research Accelerator at Melbourne (TRaM) program to foster research translation capacity building.

He has written more than 400 technical articles and currently hold 2 active international patents and 1 provisional patent application in the process. His research interests include microwave photonics, optical-wireless network integration, broadband networks, and scalability of telecom and Internet services.

He has serviced as chair of steering committees of Asia Pacific Microwave Photonics and IEEE Topical Meeting on Microwave Photonics Conference series in 2008/2009. He is also a member of the Steering Committee for the International Conference on Optical Internet (COIN). He was also Guest Editor for Special Issue on Opto-Electronics and Communications of the IEICE Transactions in Communications. He was the General Co-Chair of 2008 IEEE Topical Meeting on Microwave Photonics/ Asia Pacific Microwave Photonics 2008. He is currently an Associate Editor of IEEE/OSA Journal of Lightwave Technology. He is a Senior Member of IEEE, a Senior member of Optical Society of America and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia.


  • –present
    Director, Melbourne Accelerator Programs
  • –present
    Associate Director, Institute for the Broadband-Enabled Society


  • 1998 
    University of Melbourne, PhD