The Optical Networking and Communication
Conference & Exhibition

San Diego Convention Center,
San Diego, California, USA

Panel VI: Optical Network Management Using Cognitive Systems - Reality or Hype?

Thursday, 07 March
12:30 - 14:00
Expo Theater I

Moderator: Tad Hofmeister, Network Architect, Google, USA

Panel Description:

New network analytics frameworks, extensively based on new streaming telemetry methodologies, and more recently combined often with Machine Learning (or even Artificial Intelligence) for the potential of cognitive systems, have been increasingly considered an important evolution of network management and control for wire line transport. More specifically, for example, network operators have developed a few new related wireline transport automation and abstraction frameworks, like Openconfig, Open‐ROADM, or TIP that have enjoyed significant interest, and the first two are already being extensively adopted.

The underlying motivation for this evolution in network management and control is to a great extent aiming to replicate the automation use‐cases successfully employed by hyper‐scale compute, predominantly in the data-centers of the public cloud infrastructure. These innovations have been extended, the last four to five years, to networking with the exciting end‐goal of a fully autonomic, policy‐driven operations paradigm with little (if any) human intervention. However, extending the automation achievements of compute to wireline transport pose a few interesting new challenges. Notably, optical transport networks are characterized by significant heterogeneity in technology, failure modes, and performance metrics; e.g. latency variation can be three to nine orders of magnitude more than in compute while availability requirements are much stricter (typically five 9s).

This panel will debate the value, current reality, and future promise of streaming telemetry, analytics, and cognitive systems in transport network management and control. Among the many interesting related topics, the panel will particularly aim to debate:

  • What are the key enabling innovations, and remaining limitations towards this new generation of network management for wireline transport based on Streaming Telemetry and Network Analytics?
  • What is the current reality, and realistic future potential of Machine Learning, and Cognitive Systems in Transport Network Management? 
  • What are the key similarities and differences in network analytics and cognitive systems between packet and optical transport?


Vinayak Dangui, Network Architect, Facebook Inc., USA
Lyndon Ong, Principal, Advanced Architecture, Office of the CTO, Ciena, USA
Danish Rafique, Senior Innovation Manager, ADVA Optical Networking, Germany
Anurag Sharma, Technical Lead, Network Optimization, Google, USA
Walid Wakim, Distinguished Engineer – SP Architecture Team, Service Provider Segment, Cisco Systems Inc., USA


Tad Hofmeister, Network Architect, Google, USA

Tad Hofmeister is a Network Architect at Google with a focus on scalable, cost-effective DWDM technologies and software management innovations. He is also an active participant and board member of the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF). Prior to working at Google, Tad was an architect, system engineer, and hardware designer for several optical transport and packet processing companies including Ciena, Matisse Networks, OpVista, and Applied Signal Technology. Dr. Hofmeister earned his Master of Science and his doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Science from Columbia University and Bates College.

Lyndon Ong, Principal, Advanced Architecture, Office of the CTO, Ciena Corp., USA

Lyndon Ong is Principal, Advanced Architecture in the Office of the CTO at Ciena Corporation, where he is focused on extending SDN to carrier networks and defining Ciena's adaptive network architecture to support 5G.

Since joining Ciena in 2001, he has headed numerous projects in the areas of optical network control and SDN and received the Ciena Technical Fellow award in 2014 in recognition of his efforts. Dr. Ong is currently Project Leader for the Open Networking Forum’s Open Transport Configuration and Control (OTCC) Project and co-chairs the Market Awareness Committee of the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF). Dr. Ong received his doctorate from Columbia University in 1991.

Danish Rafique, Senior Innovation Manager, ADVA Optical Networking, Germany

Danish Rafique is a Senior Innovation Manager at ADVA Optical Networking. He focuses on the strategic evolution of telecom networks, marrying extensive domain knowledge with a focus on cutting-edge software-based-service opportunities. He is a machine-learning enthusiast, eager to promote and engage in discourse about design, architecture and cognitive management of cloud infrastructure.


Anurag Sharma, Technical Lead, Network Optimization, Google, USA

Anurag Sharma is the technical lead for the Network Optimization team at Google and is responsible for the software suite that is used to design and optimize Google’s cross-layer optical and IP backbone networks. Prior to joining Google, Anurag was architecture and engineering lead for transport SDN software suite, multi-layer Path Computation Element (PCE), optical design and planning tools, and north bound API definitions at Infinera and Fujitsu Network Communications. Anurag also led various open source networking efforts at IETF, ONF, and OIF.

Walid Wakim, Distinguished Engineer – SP Architecture Team, Service Provider Segment, Cisco Systems Inc., USA

Walid Wakim is a Distinguished Engineer and a member of the Service Provider Segment at Cisco.  Walid’s 20 years of industry experience has spanned hardware to system engineering to defining both optical and multi-layer network architectures. In his existing role, Walid heads the architecture team that focuses on future system and network architectures.  He is actively involved with standards and open sourced forums as well as a regular speaker at industry conferences. 


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