ECOC 2022 strives for interaction

Oct. 21, 2022
The organizers of ECOC 2022 hope to give you that pre-COVID feeling -- and impetus to get closer than 6 feet from your fellow attendees.

According to Swissphotonics’ Christoph Harder who, alongside Juerg Leuthold of ETH Zurich, is a general co-chair of the ECOC 2022 Local Organizing Committee, conference organizers attempted to achieve a pair of goals with this year’s program.

“For us, it was getting back on track,” he says. “Number one was to establish ECOC again to pre-COVID times. And we were happy that we got 630 submissions for contributed papers, a pre-COVID level.”

Thanks to the influx of submissions, this year’s conference program features:

  • 15 workshops
  • 12 symposia
  • 77 Invited presentations
  • 11 tutorials
  • 68 technical sessions with 245 papers
  • 2 poster sessions with 145 presentations.

So the first mission was accomplished. And what about the second? “The second thing was to have more interaction,” Harder revealed. While he and his committee won’t know if they can check that box until the 48th European Conference on Optical Communication runs its course from September 18 through 22 in Basel, Switzerland, the pieces for success look to be in place.

A full slate

One way to get attendees to interact is to give them something to talk about. The lineup of plenary speakers should spark conversation – after all, it’s not everyday you get to listen to a Nobel laureate. That day will come for ECOC attendees on Sunday, September 18, when Nobel laureate Prof. Dr. Didier Queloz of ETH Zurich discusses his pioneering work in exoplanet research. Other plenary speakers the following day will include:

  • Dr. Christoph Glingener, CTO of ADVA, who will provide an optical systems perspective in his talk, “Never Say Never Again”
  • Dr. Elisabetta Rugi Grond, CEO of Thales Alenia Space Switzerland, who will describe optical space communications “Challenges and Opportunities”
  • Dr Mark G. Thompson, CTO PsiQuantum, who will illuminate a “Path to a Useful Quantum Computer”
  • Dr David F. Welch, CIO and co-founder of Infinera, who will build on that company’s work in photonic integration to highlight “Scenarios of Future Innovations in the Network.”

Dr. Thompson’s presentation is but one example of how quantum will be a major theme at ECOC 2022, according to Harder. It also will serve as what he calls “a bridge” between the physicists who will be the main attendees of the co-located CLEO/Europe Focus Meeting and the engineers ECOC typically attracts. “We treated them like an additional subcommittee,” Harder says of the CLEO meeting organizers, which he hopes will facilitate interaction between attendees of the two events.

The conference organizers also hope attendees will take the opportunity to interact with local students, who will visit the show Tuesday, September 20, as part of TecDay. The program, arranged by SATW – Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences and the ECOC 2022 Special Technical Program chairs, provides an opportunity for a new generation of potential engineers to learn more about research topics and opportunities in optical communications, both through special sessions as well as a visit to the exhibition floor.

To provide additional networking opportunities and attract more attendees, the conference organizers have brought short courses to ECOC for the first time. Subjects include:

  • Machine learning
  • Space-division multiplexing
  • Forward-error correction
  • Modulation formats and receiver concepts
  • Radio-over-fiber technologies
  • Optical amplifiers.

Harder points out that ECOC 2022 also re-establishes the Sunday Workshops agenda (which includes a workshop on quantum). Another major addition, from the perspective of increased interaction, is the Rump Session scheduled for 5:30 PM on Wednesday, September 21. Under the guidance of Jose Pozo, CTO of Optica, attendees will be encouraged to take sides on the question, “‘Megatrend’ or ‘No Megatrend’ in Optical Communication?”

Finally, Harder states another pair of programming highlights also should attract attention. The first is a “Symposium on 50 Years of Fibre Optics” that will be held on the afternoon of Monday, September 19. The program will feature several pioneers in the advancement of fiber for communications applications, among them Peter Schultz, former research manager at Corning; Tatsuo Izawa, former president of NTT Electronics; David Payne of the University of Southampton; and Peter Cochrane, former CTO of BT CTO, alongside other speakers.

And what part of the conference is Harder looking forward to the most? “Oh, it's usually the post-deadline papers,” he says. “It's extremely selective – and that's really new stuff, you know.”

Floor programming

While there’s obviously plenty of conference sessions, there will be more presentations to attend on the show floor. Nestled among the expected 250 or more exhibitors will be the Market Focus Theater, a traditional highlight of the ECOC exhibition. Now in their 16th year, Market Focus sessions will run from Monday through Wednesday and cover five themes:

  1. Service providers/media/social companies
  2. Networking/systems/DC/disaggregated solutions/software
  3. Modules/subsystems/connectors/linecards
  4. Components/ICs/PICs/fiber
  5. New and emerging technologies.

New this year will be a pair of panel sessions. One will focus on “The Race to Decrease Power Consumption in the Network” and the other on “Pluggable Optics vs. Co-Packaging for 104Tbps+ and Beyond Platforms.” The Market Focus committee was chaired by Michael Lebby from Lightwave Logic. Participants included industry consultant Pierpaolo Ghiggino, Wladek Forysiak of Aston University, Stephan Neidlinger from ADVA, Daryl Inniss from OFS, Glenn Wellbrock from Verizon, Frank Chang from Source Photonics, and Bill Ring of Voyant Photonics.

Elsewhere on the floor, at the back of the hall, the Product Focus sessions will provide a series of 30-minute presentations on a wide variety of optical communications technology advances. The sessions will include the announcement of the 2022 ECOC industry awards at 10:10 AM on Tuesday.

Which means whether one attends the conference sessions or walks the show floor – although most will do both – there should be plenty of opportunities to learn and, well, interact. Just like the old days.

STEPHEN HARDY is editorial director of Lightwave.

About the Author

Stephen Hardy | Editorial Director and Associate Publisher, Lightwave

Stephen Hardy is editorial director and associate publisher of Lightwave and Broadband Technology Report, part of the Lighting & Technology Group at Endeavor Business Media. Stephen is responsible for establishing and executing editorial strategy across the both brands’ websites, email newsletters, events, and other information products. He has covered the fiber-optics space for more than 20 years, and communications and technology for more than 35 years. During his tenure, Lightwave has received awards from Folio: and the American Society of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) for editorial excellence. Prior to joining Lightwave in 1997, Stephen worked for Telecommunications magazine and the Journal of Electronic Defense.

Stephen has moderated panels at numerous events, including the Optica Executive Forum, ECOC, and SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. He also is program director for the Lightwave Innovation Reviews and the Diamond Technology Reviews.

He has written numerous articles in all aspects of optical communications and fiber-optic networks, including fiber to the home (FTTH), PON, optical components, DWDM, fiber cables, packet optical transport, optical transceivers, lasers, fiber optic testing, and more.

You can connect with Stephen on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.

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