OFC 2001 promises to be 'user-friendly'

TRENDS

By MEGHAN FULLER

Even before a single booth is set up or technical paper delivered, the 2001 Optical Fiber Communication (OFC) Conference promises to be the biggest in its history. To be held at the Anaheim Convention Center (Anaheim, CA) Saturday, March 17, through Thursday, March 22, the conference will be "bigger, better, and more cutting edge," says Cynthia Davis, assistant director of meetings and exhibitions at the Optical Society of America (OSA-Washington, DC). The OSA organizes and co-sponsors the event with the IEEE/Lasers and Electro-Optics Society as well as the IEEE/Communications Society.

This year's exhibition will feature 900 companies, a 100% increase over last year's participants, covering 270,000 square feet; 350 of those exhibitors are new to OFC. In addition, conference organizers received 900 submissions for contributed papers, a 50% increase from 2000. The number of presented papers will increase 22%, while the number of accepted post-deadline papers is projected to jump 35%.

OFC 2001 also promises to be more user-friendly than ever before. To avoid the long lines that plagued last year's conference, OFC organizers will mail badges and information to pre-registered attendees in advance of the conference. A plethora of information is also available on the Internet.

"One of the new things this year is that on our OFC Website, we have a product search. Attendees can go in and look up products that have been edited by the exhibitors themselves," explains Davis. "They can locate booth numbers, contact exhibitors, and set up appointments. All of the information is there."

The Website also features a total schedule-builder, which includes all of the short courses, workshops, tutorials, oral presentations, and poster papers. Attendees can search by exhibitor, product, or topic, and the schedule-builder will provide information about all related programs. The Website can be found at www.osa.org/mtg_conf/OFC.

Also new this year is an employment center, which will be located near the registration area. Representatives from more than 70 companies will be on hand to help attendees locate telecommunications-related jobs.

As in the past, OFC 2001 will place strong emphasis on education and training, offering 79 short courses at both the beginner and intermediate levels on such topics as optical components and technologies, optical-fiber systems, and data networking. Short Courses will be held on Saturday and Sunday and will not overlap with the technical sessions and exhibition. Tuition for each course is a separate fee, and advanced registration is recommended as many of the courses have limited enrollments.

A series of workshops will also take place on Sunday (March 18), from 4:30 to 8 pm. Topics include "Gain flattening and control for optical amplifiers," "PMD mitigation," "Broadband optical access: The next frontier," "Optical networking: Lessons learned," and "Simulation tools for system, device, and network modeling."

The plenary session, held Monday (March 19), 8:30-11 am, will feature Vab Goel, venture partner of Norwest Venture Partners, and Robert Lucky, corporate vice president, applied research, Telecordia Technologies. Goel will speak on emerging opportunities within the telecom industry from the perspective of a network technologist and venture capitalist, and Lucky will explore trends and uncertainties in the future of telecommunications. The session will also include a presentation of the John Tyndall Award to Tatsuo Izawa, president and CEO of NTT Electronics, for his contributions to vapor-phase axial deposition for optical-fiber fabrication as well as his work on silica-based planar-waveguide technology.

The technical program is divided into seven categories for paper submissions and presentations: "Fiber, fiber amplifiers, and propagation," "Fiber and waveguide components," "Optoelectronic devices," "Digital transmission systems," "Subsystems, network elements, and analog systems," "Networks: switching, access, and routing," and "Applications." Technical sessions also begin Monday, 2-4 pm and 4:30-6 pm. Sessions Tuesday (March 20) will be held 8:30-10:30 am, 1:30-3:30 pm, and 4-5:30 pm. On Wednesday (March 21), sessions will take place at 8:30-10:30 am, 11 am-12:30 pm, 2-3:30 pm, and 4-5:30 pm. The program concludes Thursday morning (March 22), with the last group of sessions 8-10 am. Abstracts of all presentations are available at the OFC Website.

Tutorials in each of the seven categories will be held concurrently with the other technical sessions and be an hour in length. Topics include fiber issues for system deployment, photonic lightwave circuits, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology for optical components, optical time-division multiplexing devices and their applications, and the impact of polarization-mode dispersion in transmission systems. All conference attendees will receive a copy of the "Tutorial Sessions" book, which includes copies of the instructors' overheads and slides.

The conference also features the expanded Commercial Technology Program, open to all attendees. Panelists will explore a variety of subjects in six categories: "Business and management topics," "E-commerce and business methodology: a new ballgame for protection," Technology trends: insights into the market," "Creating a successful partnership with venture capitalists," "Ultra-long-haul DWDM applications, deployment challenges, and future evolution," and "Bandwidth trading: markets, methods, and technologies."

In addition, the Light Brigade will offer four-hour tutorials, "Fiber-optic splicing: hands-on practices," Monday to Wednesday, 8 am-12 pm and 1-5 pm. Tutorials are open to all attendees.

Exhibit hours during show week are Monday, 10 am-6 pm; Tuesday, 9 am-6 pm; and Wednesday, 9 am-4 pm.

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