OFC 2000 celebrates 25 years of fiber-optic technology

The plenary and awards sessions of the 25th annual Optical Fiber Communications (OFC) Conference kicked off Tuesday at the Baltimore Convention Center. This year's plenary theme, "Changing the Face of Telecommunications," features three keynote speakers: George Gilder, Clayton Christensen, and Vinod Khosla. They will address the impact of the bandwidth explosion, new technologies, the convergence of voice and data services, and the associated new commercial opportunities and challenges.

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Trade show booth photo courtesy of Monterey Networks.

The plenary and awards sessions of the 25th annual Optical Fiber Communications (OFC) Conference kicked off Tuesday at the Baltimore Convention Center. This year's plenary theme, "Changing the Face of Telecommunications," features three keynote speakers: George Gilder, Clayton Christensen, and Vinod Khosla. They will address the impact of the bandwidth explosion, new technologies, the convergence of voice and data services, and the associated new commercial opportunities and challenges.

George Gilder, a leading futurist, chairman of the GilderGroup, and editor of the Gilder Technology Report, is speaking on "Telecosm," a general project at the Discovery Institute designed to describe the future of telecommunications. Clayton Christensen, a professor at the Harvard Business School and author of The Innovator's Dilemma, is slated to speak on "A Disruptive View of Disruptive Telecommunications Technologies." Christensen will examine the challenges facing incumbent players in the telecommunications market. Vinod Khosla, the founding chief executive officer of Sun Microsystems and now a general partner at the venture firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, will address "The Terabit Tsunami." Khosla will describe the bandwidth revolution from the perspective of a venture capitalist.

The plenary session will also include presentations of the 13th John Tyndall Award and OSA, IEEE/LEOS, and IEEE/Communications Society fellowships. The award honors the memory of John Tyndall, a distinguished teacher and physicist who was the first to demonstrate the concept of total internal reflection, the phenomenon responsible for light guidance in many types of optical fibers.

Oral presentation for contributed and invited papers also begins Tuesday, continuing through Friday morning. These presentation will cover topics in seven main categories: Category A: Fibers, fiber amplifiers, and propagation; Category B: Fiber and waveguide components; Category C: Optoelectronic devices; Category D: Digital transmission systems; Category E: Subsystems, network elements, and analog systems; Category F: Network switching, access, and routing; and Category G: Applications.

Meanwhile, more than 400 companies will exhibit the very latest in fiber-optic technologies, including product presentation sessions to demonstrate cutting-edge research and applications. Exhibit hours are: Tuesday, March 7, 10:30 am to 5:30 pm; Wednesday, March 8, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm; and Thursday, March 9, 9:30 am to 4 pm. Dedicated exhibit-viewing time, refreshment breaks, prize drawings, and several new attractions will be featured in the exhibit hall.

The poster session, a major attraction at recent conferences, will be held from 3:30 to 5 pm on Wednesday. Each author is provided with a 4x8 board on which to display the summary and results of their paper. Authors will make themselves available to answer questions from the attendees.

OFC 2000 will also present a commercial technology program designed for the business or commercial end-user to tackle complex and fast-developing business issues in the fiber industry. The technology sessions are Wednesday from 1:30 to 4 pm and will center on optical fiber technology and applications. The development sessions, Tuesday from 2 to 4 pm and Wednesday from 8 am to 10 am, will provide insights into starting or owning a high-tech business, covering topics ranging from obtaining venture capital to guidance on the patent process.

OFC 2000 is sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers/Communications Society, the IEEE/Lasers and Electro-Optics Society, and the Optical Society of America.

Excerpted from an article by Robert Pease, Lightwave Associate Editor. To view the entire article and a detailed schedule of events for OFC 2000, click here.

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