• Technical Conference:  30 March – 03 April 2025
  • Exhibition: 01 – 03 April 2025
  • Moscone Center, San Francisco, California, USA

SC431 - Photonic Technologies in the Data Center

Monday, 25 March
13:30 - 17:30 (Pacific Time (US & Canada), UTC - 08:00)

Short Course Level: Advanced Beginner


Clint Schow, University of California, USA

Short Course Description:

This course will discuss and detail the photonic technologies that are used to connect datacenters.  Data center optical interconnects are extremely interesting since they blur the line between traditional datacom and telecom links.  The reach requirements, from meters to up to around two kilometers for intra data center connections, require new approaches to meet aggressive cost, power, and density requirements.  Furthermore, the use of optics in datacenters is rapidly evolving due to both advances in technologies as well as system architectures that drive the adoption of new solutions. The advantages and limitations of technologies, including VCSELs, Si Photonics, and InP platforms will be discussed to provide insight into how systems are wired today and how the future may evolve.

Leading edge research efforts aimed at enabling greater proliferation of photonics, including both interconnects and optical switching fabrics will be examined.  A focus will be placed on opportunities for new technologies and architectures to radically change the trajectory of system design and implementation.


Short Course Benefits:

This course should enable participant to:

  • Compare the different optical technologies used in data centers today and identify their strengths and limitations
  • Define the requirements for photonic links at different levels of network hierarchy in terms of reach, power, cost, and density
  • Describe the factors that have driven the current implementation of systems and future trends that will drive technologies
  • Discuss research efforts in the worldwide community aimed at increasing the role of photonics in data centers
  • Explain current networking topologies and identify the technology capabilities that drove their adoption


Short Course Audience:

This course is for anyone interested in learning about the underlying technology platforms that underpin the optical networks in data centers.   In particular, network engineers involved in designing next-generation systems, researchers working on photonic interconnects and switching, and managers making product decisions will gain insight into the main strengths, limitations, and future prospects of photonic platforms.

Basic knowledge of fiber optic systems, including fiber transmission basics, optical link budgets, and characterization of high-speed links is beneficial but not required.


Instructor Biography:

Clint Schow earned a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999.  After positions at IBM in Rochester, MN and Agility Communications in Santa Barbara, CA, he spent eleven years at IBM Research in Yorktown Heights, NY.  In 2015, Dr. Schow joined the ECE Department of the University of California Santa Barbara.  He is a Fellow of the OSA and the IEEE, has published more than 200 journal and conference articles, and has 33 issued patents.