News Release 

OFC 2020 Plenary: Future of optics communications, 5g innovations, astronomy's frontier

Global visionaries headline largest global conference and exhibition for optical communications and networking professionals

The Optical Society

WASHINGTON -- A trio of world-renowned researchers will be the plenary speakers for the 2020 Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition (OFC), the world's largest conference and exhibition for optical communications and networking professionals, held 8 - 12 March 2020 at the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, California, U.S.A.

These visionary speakers include Sir David Payne, director of the Optoelectronics Research Center, University of Southampton, U.K.; Dr. Qi Bi, chief technology officer of the China Telecom Research Institute, Beijing; and Dr. Karsten Danzmann, managing director of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Germany. Their respective talks will cover the future of silica as a pillar of telecommunication technology, the development and realization of 5G wireless networks, and new horizons in gravitational-wave astrophysics.

What: Plenary session at the 2020 Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition (OFC)

Where: San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, California, U.S.A.

When: Tuesday, 10 March 2020, 8 a.m. PDT

"Each year, OFC brings together global leaders in research, engineering and industry to learn about the latest trends and new development in optical communications," said Dr. Robert Doverspike, director of Network Evolution Strategies in New Jersey, U.S.A., and one of the OFC general co-chairs. "OFC also is a unique opportunity to hear dynamic plenary talks from three industry luminaries. Dr. Bi will discuss the aggressive deployment of 5G technology in China's mobile network--the largest in the world. Dr. Danzmann will present breakthrough optics and petabyte data methodologies to detect gravitational waves that emanated from far-flung galaxies hundreds of millions of years ago. Dr. Payne will discuss the future of fiber optics against the relentless, exponential growth of critical data rates. I am thrilled with the truly groundbreaking and unique set of plenary speakers we have assembled. Don't miss OFC 2020 because it will be the 'must attend' conference of the year."

Plenary 1: Prof. Sir David Payne

In his presentation titled "Is there a future for silica as an optical material?" Sir David Payne, director of the Optoelectronics Research Center at the University of Southampton, U.K., will discuss how photonics has changed our lives by powering the optical fiber internet, as well as an entire generation of high-power lasers. Optical fibres carry terabits of data per second in a vast information network that brings untold human connectivity. But capacity demand continues to grow at a startling rate. Will the "wonder material" silica remain a pillar of telecommunications as demand continues to grow? Or will alternative fiber designs be the solution? And what of the fiber laser? Will it too prove infinitely scalable?

Plenary 2: Dr. Qi Bi

Dr. Bi is the chief expert of China Telecom and the CTO of Beijing Research Institute. In these dual roles, he leads research and development activities that pertain to wireless communications. In his talk, "5G Evolution: Challenges and Opportunities," Bi will share his current experience in the forefront of 5G innovations and discuss progress and deployment of 5G technologies and standards in the China telecommunications industry.

Plenary 3: Dr. Karsten Danzmann

The science of astrophysics is entering a new era thanks to what is known as "multi-messenger" observations--the combination of gravitational-wave detections from ground-based facilities like LIGO and Virgo with traditional telescopes that observe the entire electromagnetic spectrum. In his talk, "The Challenge and Impact of Detecting Ripples in Spacetime," Dr. Danzmann of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics will discuss how he and his colleagues played a key role in the first gravitational-wave detections and are now working on novel technology for an even more sensitive third generation of gravitational-wave detector.


Registration Information

Conference registration opens December 2019. Register before 10 February 2020 and save on a full technical conference pass.

Credentialed media and analysts who wish to cover OFC 2020 can find registration and other essential information in the OFC media room.

About OFC

The Optical Fiber Conference and Exhibition (OFC) is recognized as the largest global conference and exhibition for optical communications and networking professionals in the world. For more than 40 years, OFC has drawn attendees from all corners of the globe to meet and greet, teach and learn, make connections and advance the communications industry. OFC captures the pulse of the entire optical networking and communications industry by featuring dynamic business programming, exhibitions by more than 650 companies, and high impact peer-reviewed research. OFC is managed by The Optical Society (OSA) and cosponsored by OSA, the IEEE Communications Society (IEEE/ComSoc) and the IEEE Photonics Society.

About The Optical Society

Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.