OFC Attendance Climbing, but Still Has a Long Way to Go
Before the telecom market slump, the Optical Fiber Conference (OFC) was probably the hottest, fastest-growing photonics conference in the world. At its peak year, 2001, the conference hosted 37,806 attendees. It was greatly diminished, however, when telecom business fell off dramatically in 2001 and '02.
Recently, the event has reclaimed at least a part of its former greatness. Attendance at OFC 2004, held the last week in February, climbed to 15,689, a 4 percent increase over the previous year. International participation was much in evidence, as some 40 percent of the nearly 650 exhibitors came from outside the US. To put things in perspective, the chart shows OFC attendance over the past seven years.
The recovery of OFC, and of the telecom market itself, is probably encapsulated very concisely in several statistics from the conference's employment center. Last year, 840 job seekers were registered with the center, and only 88 openings were listed by employers. This year, there were 642 job seekers and 132 openings. Things are getting better ... but there's still a long, long way to go.
Several technical developments introduced at OFC are discussed in the Photonics TechnologyWorld and Photonics Research sections of this issue.
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