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Another OFC/NFOEC is coming up! Why bother?

By Dr. Ioannis Tomkos

Another OFC/NFOEC is coming up! Most of us in the optical fiber communications community are looking forward to the event in March 2013. Although not all will be able to attend, it is certainly an event we all pay attention to as it generates news, research and industry trends and “sets the rhythm” in the respective scientific fields.
It has been a fantastic journey over the past 15 years and I follow the conference to experience the growth of optical communications and its increasing importance in our life. OFC/NFOEC has been the cornerstone on which the whole field is based. It is the most well attended event, where the most interesting new research results have been announced and important novel innovations have been introduced. As a result every year we all look forward to the next “big” announcement!
OFC/NFOEC has certainly come a long way since the 90’s and early 00’s. It is now an event that addresses a broader range of industry professionals and academic research disciplines. This is, of course, a direct result of the fact that optical communication technologies have expanded their application space from simple point-to-point transmission links, to advanced optical networking spanning from the initial applications in core networks down to access and in-building networks, while more recently we also experienced the introduction of optics in datacenters and computer processors/memory interconnects (giving rise to the new subcommittee on optics in datacom/computercom). OFC/NFOEC is not only the leading event for applications of optical technologies in telecommunications, but also the one that leads developments in the field of optical solutions in datacom and high performance computing.
Due to the important role of OFC/NFOEC as the world’s leading event with the broadest range of topics covered, I am sure that the vast majority of professionals and students whose work is affiliated with these topics will want to attend. In the following weeks/months I will upload some posts discussing the topics I believe are of interest to many of us, and highlight what I feel are the most important presentations. Of course you might say that my point of view is “biased” based on my own background/interests, and of course you are right (although I will do my best to avoid it!). I would like to hear your comments about the interesting topics. What are you looking for in particular? Let us know your views!    
Check the event’s brochure and/or web-site and you’ll find that OFC/NFOEC 2013 has many things to offer: exceptional keynote speakers, tutorial and invited presentations on hot topics, short-courses on basic and emerging topics, interesting workshops and panels, the Service Provider Summit and Market Watch sessions where the state of the industry is represented, and of course the actual technical contributions that will be announced at a later stage. All these are coupled with the networking/social events and the world-class exhibition where a huge number of companies showcase their products. What else to ask for? What are your ideas and suggestions?
In the technical program it is evident that some topics are promoted more than others and will dominate the presentations and discussions. The 2013 hot topics include, among others: novel photonic technologies, photonic integration, coherent systems, space division multiplexing, 100G/400G  system/network design, 1Tb and beyond transmission, flexible/elastic core optical networks, wavelength agile access networks, software defined networking, cloud computing and data center networking, convergence of optical wireline and wireless networks, etc. Of course it is inevitable that some of us will question the focus areas of this year’s event. Some relevant questions include: Are these really the hot topics that our academic/industry community should focus on or are there  others that could potentially have more impact? Which of these topics are simply “bubbles” and the focus is a result of hype that has been generated? Which of these topics show great potential and would be really influential in the future? 
I am very interested in contributing to relevant discussions about OFC/NFOEC and would encourage anyone who follows this blog to join the discussions. As OFC/NFOEC is worth nothing without the community that supports it, I believe that we--the community--should contribute in the discussions and make proposals/suggestions that would assist in updating/improving the event. I am looking forward to active contributions by all of you and a lively discussion on the relevant topics!      
Dr. Ioannis Tomkos
(Long-time affiliated with OFC/NFOEC from various roles ranging from participant to speaker to workshop organizer to committee member, to subcommittee chair, etc.)

Ioannis Tomkos (B.Sc., M.Sc. Ph.D.), has been with AIT since September 2002 (serving as Professor, Research Group Head and Associate Dean). In the past he was Senior Scientist at Corning Inc., USA (1999 – 2002) and Research Fellow at University of Athens, Athens, Greece (1995 - 1999).

His fields of expertise are telecommunication systems, networks, photonics and FTTH, as well as techno-economic analysis and business planning of ICTs. On the relevant topics he acts as consultant for industry and government officials.

Dr. Tomkos has represented AIT as Principal Investigator in about 20 European Union and industry funded research projects (including 9 currently active projects) and has a consortium-wide initiator/leader role. Several of his projects deal with technology and techno-economic issues of broadband access and FTTx networks. Together with his colleagues and students he has authored about 450 peer-reviewed archival scientific articles, including over 120 journal/magazine/book publications and 330 conference/workshop proceedings papers.

Dr. Tomkos was elected in 2007 as Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Communications Society for the topic of optical networking. He has served as the Chair of the International Optical Networking Technical Committee of the IEEE Communications Society (2007 - 2008) and the Chairman of the IFIP working group on Photonic Networking (2008 - 2009). He is currently the Chairman of the OSA Technical Group on Optical Communications (2009 - 2012) and the Chairman of the IEEE Photonics Society Greek Chapter (2010 - 2012). He was also Chairman of the working group “Next Generation Networks” of the Digital Greece 2020 Forum.

He has also been General Chair, Technical Program Chair, Subcommittee Chair, Symposium Chair, or/and member of the steering/organizing committees for the major conferences in the area of telecommunications/networking (more than 100 conferences/workshops). In addition, he is/was a member of the Editorial Boards of the IEEE/OSA JOURNAL OF LIGHTWAVE TECHNOLOGY, the IEEE/OSA JOURNAL OF OPTICAL COMMUNICATIONS AND  NETWORKING, the IET JOURNAL ON OPTOELECTRONICS, and the International Journal on Telecommunications Management.

Posted: 24 October 2012 by Dr. Ioannis Tomkos | with 0 comments

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The views expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition (OFC)  or its sponsors.

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