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San Diego Convention Center,
San Diego, California, USA

What’s new about OFC 2014 (besides the move to San Francisco)?

By Dr. Ioannis Tomkos

This year’s OFC is the 39th event in a series! For a change this year, OFC is moving from its typical southern Californian locations (i.e. San Diego, Anaheim and Los Angeles) to lovely San Francisco. Of course San Francisco (besides being a very nice place to visit!) is the city next to the most developed hi-tech arena in the world with the most advanced innovation management eco-system; Silicon-Valley. This fact certainly raises the expectations for increased participation by industry representatives, but also representatives of the whole innovation-development value-chain (i.e. analysts, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists). OFC is not only about revealing the latest advanced research achievements and trends, but it is also about the innovation and commercialization activities that help drive forward the optical communications/networks market.  

Another fact that makes OFC an event that we are all looking forward to attend every year, is that the topics that it covers are continuously evolving and transforming over its lifetime. Judging from the recently announced conference program, OFC 2014 will cover all typical topics of interest to its community but will focus on the most “hot” research topics which this year include:

  • silicon photonics
  • photonics and electronics co-integration/co-operation
  • wavelength agile access networks
  • convergence of optical and wireless technologies for high speed backhaul towards 5G mobile networks, etc.
  • transmission systems for 400G/1Tbps and beyond
  • spatial division multiplexing

Some hot topics will be featured in one hour in-depth tutorial presentations including:

  • optics for exascale high performance computing (Keren Bergman; Columbia Univ., USA)
  • TeraHertz Photonics (Alwyn Seeds; UCL, UK)
  • super-channels and flex-grid towards flexible/elastic optical networking (Xiang Liu, Chandrasekhar Sethumadhavan; Bell Labs, Alcatel Lucent, USA)
  • SDN and NFV (Diego Lopez, Telefonica, Spain)
  • cloud and data center networking (Doug Freimuth; IBM, USA)

The Plenary Session of OFC 2014 will include top-level speakers, who based on their past experience and current roles, will share great insights with the conference attendees about the evolution of the optical communications/networking industry.

  • David D. Clark of MIT (a well-known leader in the development of the Internet) will discuss if and how internet traffic will continue to grow at a high rate (currently in the order of 30-40% annually!). Certainly we all are looking forward to hear the specific factors that will drive continued increase of traffic and associated deployment of capacity, since these factors will contribute essentially to the overall good health of the telecommunications business.
  • Bob Tkach, Director of Advanced Photonics Research at Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent (a true pioneer of ultra-high-capacity transmission systems) is the best person to inform us about what is coming next as possible technology solutions to help us in the capacity expansion of optical networks.
  • Gary Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ciena, will focus on the innovations that enable efficient bandwidth management through the development of solutions supporting a new virtualized network infrastructure that is programmable, intelligent and open.

It is interesting to note also that the topic of the Rump Session (i.e. “Will Traffic Growth Break the Internet - And Can Optical Communications Help?”) is also closely related with the topics of the plenary talks. As we are approaching fundamental technology capabilities (i.e. approaching the Shannon capacity limit, while also Moore’s law seems that will no longer be able to keep pace with its historical trend), it is questionable whether or not we can keep supporting an exponential capacity increase in our networks while the cost per bit transported might not be able to go down in a proportional way!

So for me this is the question that I want to try to answer through my attendance at OFC this year: will the cost per bit will be reduced in a proportional way compared to whatever traffic increase will be realized over the coming years? Let us know what makes you excited about OFC 2014!

Dr. Ioannis Tomkos
(Dr. Tomkos has been involved with OFC/NFOEC in various roles ranging from participant and speaker to exhibitor, workshop organizer, committee member and subcommittee chair).

 tomkos photoIoannis 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). He is also currently an Adjunct Professor at University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences and at University of Cyprus. Together with his colleagues and students he has authored over 500 peer-reviewed archival scientific articles, including about 150 journal/magazine/book publications and 350 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 was also elected Fellow of the IET (2010) and Fellow of OSA (2012) for “outstanding scientific contributions to the field of transparent optical networking”.


Posted: 28 January 2014 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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