OFC 2019: A High-Powered Interchange

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Over the last 40 years, OFC (Optical Networking and Communication Conference & Exhibition) — to be held March 3-7 at the San Diego Convention Center — has become, globally, the leading event for advances and networking in optical communications. Its all-inclusive program features speakers and exhibitions for learning and discussing the latest trends, technological improvements, business opportunities, and industry-shaping technologies.

OFC 2019 will feature over 700 worldwide companies showcasing existing and emerging technologies, including networking equipment and software, IT products, and cable and fiber. There are 180+ invited speakers who will discuss hot topics, latest trends, and perspectives on the future, as well as 55 training courses presented by experts across various fields.

OFC 2019 San Diego Convention Center
San Diego Convention Center

This year’s plenary speakers include Alex Jinsung Choi, SVP Strategy & Technology Innovation, T-Laboratories Innovation; Deutsche Telekom will discuss open innovations in 5G; Waymo CTO Dmitri Dolgov will examine self-driving cars and the future of transportation; and Benny P. Mikkelson, founder and CTO at Acacia Communications, will discuss photonic integration and digital signal processing for cost-effective, higher data rates.

There are a multitude of other speakers in categories such as devices, optical components, and fiber; systems and subsystems; and networks, applications, and access. Additionally, 2019 keynote speakers include Dave Temkin, VP of networks at Netflix, and Genia Wilbourn, VP of network and technology at Wireline Global Operations at Verizon Communications.

There are three special sessions scheduled, as well:

  • Integrated Photonics for Energy Efficient Datacenters: The ARPA-E ENLITENED Program, which will feature a comprehensive overview of the utilization of technologies that will increase the efficiency of datacenters over the next 10 years;
  • Special Chairs’ Session: The Role of Optics in Future Data Center and Computing Applications, in which industry leaders and cutting-edge researchers will discuss the role of optics in the evolution of data centers;
  • Quantum Technology and Optical Communications, which will explore the future and importance of quantum technologies in all virtual sectors, and the impact on optical communications.

The Quantum Technology and Optical Communications special session will be split into two parts: quantum computing, quantum networks, and quantum communications in general, with focus on recent developments in computing devices, algorithms, and decoding, along with the need for additional protection and the eventual movement toward a quantum internet and what that means for optical technologies; and quantum communications with a focus on quantum key distribution (QKD) and encoding various properties of light. This second part will also discuss current trends to improve network security and make it more cost effective.

This year’s special events include the Lab Automation Hackathon, where several researchers will share their knowledge on how to utilize Python more effectively in experimental environments by autonomizing the collection of data to reduce human error and create user-friendly interfaces for software and hardware. Among other special events are professional development sessions, the OIDA Workshop on manufacturing and building the supply chain for integrated photonics, the OIDA Executive Forum, the OFC and co-sponsors awards ceremony and luncheon, and the OIDA VIP Industry Leaders Speed Meetings lunch.

Short courses and workshops offer a rare opportunity to learn and examine new products and debatable technologies. These sessions are highly interactive with the audience to encourage discussions about the workshop topics and provide a personalized learning experience. Short courses to be offered include Advanced FEC Techniques for Optical Communications, Laboratory Automation and Control Using Python, Secure Optical Communications Hands-on: Controlling and Monitoring Optical Network Equipment with Netconf/YANG, and Photonic Switching Systems.

The OFC 2019 exhibition is touted the largest such event for optical communications, with exhibitors from all over the world representing all areas of the optical communications market. It provides a platform for all individuals, from students to esteemed professionals, to learn, share, and network at one of the most notable optical communications and networking conferences in the world.

With a steady growth over the last three years, OFC brought in over 15,000 attendees from 75 countries in 2018. It featured 700+ exhibitors and over 850 peer-review technical sessions that ultimately reached an audience of two billion with coverage from 20,599 news articles.

For more information about OFC 2019, visit

Published: February 2019
integrated photonics
Integrated photonics is a field of study and technology that involves the integration of optical components, such as lasers, modulators, detectors, and waveguides, on a single chip or substrate. The goal of integrated photonics is to miniaturize and consolidate optical elements in a manner similar to the integration of electronic components on a microchip in traditional integrated circuits. Key aspects of integrated photonics include: Miniaturization: Integrated photonics aims to reduce the...
OFC 2019Businessfiber opticsCommunicationsnetworksintegrated photonicsdata centersquantum technology

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