ANAHEIM, Calif., March 16 -- With nearly twice the number of exhibitors - more than 950 companies occupying 270,000 square feet of exhibit hall - than last year, OFC 2001 promises to be a major event for the optical fiber communications community. Attendance at this year's conference in Anaheim, Calif., is expected to hit 32,000, exceeding last year's 18,000, which doubled that of the previous year. According to conference organizers OFC's scope continues to grow and keep pace with optical systems and technology trends. The technical program includes a plenary session, short courses, workshops, tutorials, oral presentations and poster papers. This year's commercial program features an exhibit with more than 900 companies, an expanded Commercial Technology program, and Product Showcase presentations. At the plenary session Vab Goel, venture partner of Norwest Venture Partners, will present the perspective of a network technologist and venture capitalist, and Robert Lucky, corporate vice president, applied research, Telcordia Technologies, will discuss the trends and uncertainties in the future of telecom. The technical program consists of invited papers and tutorials, and contributed papers that were selected from more than 900 submissions, up by 50 percent from last year. Several workshops will be held that promise lively discussions as the challenges of future optical technologies and systems are debated by industry leaders. In addition, there will be 79 Short Courses covering a wide range of topics including optical components and technologies, optical fiber systems, and data networking, at levels ranging from basic to advanced. The conference, which runs from March 17-22, is being held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif.