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Top 5 Things You Can’t Miss at OFC

By Casimer DeCusatis, Ph.D.

I can hardly believe another year has passed, and once again it’s time for the annual OFC conference.

As usual, I’ll be blogging daily from OFC to bring you the latest news and highlights, so you don’t miss any of this year’s exciting content. With over, 12,000 attendees from 65 countries, 500 technical presentations, and a trade show floor with 550 exhibitors, OFC requires some planning to make the most of your conference experience. Naturally it helps to track events on your mobile using the official OFC app, but in this blog I’d like to help you plan for the conference by offering my top five events that you should absolutely make time to see during your visit to Los Angeles.

  1. OFC Plenary Session (Tuesday, March 24)

    Always a highlight of the conference, and this year is no exception. I’m particularly looking forward to a talk on the future of optical transport networks, which seeks to combine the traditional strengths of optics (good for long distance communication and some forms of switching), electronics (good for processing, storage, and high speed switching/routing), and software defined environments. Also be sure to check out the plenary from MIT Media Labs on how algorithms shape our networked world, which promises a different perspective on the simple, autonomous computer algorithms which increasingly form the core of our networking experience. We live in an era where the physics of information is impacting our culture in unprecedented ways, and it’s vital that we take this into account as we develop the next generation of networking technology. Not to be missed!

  2. The IEEE Photonics Society Celebrates 50 Years

    Only a few other societal institutions, including Dr. Who, James Bond, and the mainframe computer have earned the distinction of celebrating their golden anniversary. This once in a lifetime milestone will be commemorated by a long list of distinguished speakers celebrating half a century of photonics innovation. From the society’s founding in 1965 to the many ways that it continues to shape the industry today, this is a fascinating historical journey that’s likely to provide some interesting insights into the next 50 years of photonics.

    And don’t forget that this year’s OFC is special for another once-in-a-lifetime event, the celebration of the International Year of Light in 2015. If there was ever a more appropriate time to reflect on the history of lightwave research and the future of the field, I’d be hard pressed to figure out what it is.

  3. Rump Session: “Is it Game Over for Hardware?” (Tuesday, March 24)

    This promises to be a lively, controversial discussion about whether the future of networking lies with software-defined control schemes at the expense of new hardware innovations. For example, do we really need high reliability optical transceivers if networks can easily route around failures? What new opportunities will silicon photonics offer? For an informal, candid discussion of key trends in the optical hardware industry, this session is a must-attend.

  4. Service Provider Summit (Wednesday, March 25)

    Live on the exhibit floor and available to anyone with an Exhibit Pass Plus or technical conference attendees, this event brings together subject matter experts from the cloud and service provider industry. Speakers from Huawei, AT&T, and the New York State Center for Cloud Computing & Analytics will discuss the technical and business merits of multi-vendor, multi-layer IP/optical networks. Many carriers and cloud providers are extending SDN and NFV concepts into their core networks, but what hurdles does this technology need to overcome? Can vendor agnostic, bandwidth-on-demand truly be achieved with existing technology? To what extend will SDN and NFV enable all-optical networks, and integrate with legacy OSS/BSS systems? The discussion on these questions and more should be well worth your time on the exhibit floor.

  5. Symposiums on the Future of Broadband and Net Neutrality (Thursday, March 24)

    I’ve grouped these two symposia together because they should appeal to similar audiences, and both are offered on the same day. First, speakers from Facebook, Alcatel-Lucent, NTT, and others will examine the trends shaping the future of broadband, including the Internet of Things, 5G mobile, and ubiquitous cloud computing. Then, get ready for a fresh look at the hot button issue of net neutrality, featuring speakers from the FCC and the Electronics Frontier Foundation. Network neutrality regulations (or lack thereof) will impact service providers and application innovation for years to come, so be responsible and get informed on this important topic.

Of course, we’ve just scratched the surface of all the possibilities at OFC this year. I’ll be blogging about daily events as they occur, and I’d like to hear your favorites, too. Drop me a line on Twitter, #OFC2015, and I’ll use the best tips in a future blog (anonymously, or course). Or just ping me if you’d like to meet for coffee (or something stronger) and talk about technology, the optics business, or your pressing issues of the day. Above all, remember to be courteous to your fellow conference-goers, and have a safe, productive OFC – I hope to see you there!

Posted: 23 March 2015 by Casimer DeCusatis, Ph.D. | 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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