24 February 2011 4:29:46 PM
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By Clint Schow
It's no secret that we're shipping more and more data these days, sharing more videos, and transferring larger files. For data centers, that translates into demand for more bandwidth to connect racks and racks of machines. This year, for instance, IBM will install Blue Waters, its petascale supercomputer at the University of Illinois with more than 2 million optical links, just to support the interconnect fan within it. Looking forward, the trend in supercomputing points to machines with even more optical interconnects.
As a trend gaining a lot of traction, it is critical that our industry supports it by driving industry thought and discussion, so we've organized the Computercom Symposium at OFC/NFOEC 2011 to focus on supercomputing.
The symposium will highlight the challenges and opportunities of the market across many levels: Systems companies will talk about their requirements and how they expect large-scale computer and data centers to be built over the next few years, researchers will discuss disruptive technologies that could have an enormous impact on how we build optical interconnects, and there will be many more highlights. We have a very strong lineup of invited speakers including executives from HP, Cray, and Brocade, as well as component vendors and academics.
We've also added computercom and datacom short courses at OFC/NFOEC this year. This is an exciting addition to the overall event that will allow participants to learn more about the technical side of things. For instance, attendees can learn how to build an electrical or optical interconnect at high data rates or how a data center is configured and wired, and how optics plays a role in that.
Computercom and datacom interconnects are not only important topics of this programming, but they are also an integral part of our industry and will be a continuing focus for OFC/NFOEC going forward.
Research Staff Member, IBM
Chair, OFC/NFOEC Subcommittee 8 – Optoelectronic Devices
Co-organizer, Meeting the Computercom Challenge Symposium