OFC 2024 Revolutionizing AI Infrastructure: The Next Generation of Optical Connectivity!

First, an observation. What an amazing time period we have reached! The Open Compute Project (OCP) Community stands at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence (AI) workloads. With an unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of possibility, OCP members, including hyperscale operators, have been engaged in a relentless pursuit of problem solving excellence, crafting open specifications, standardization, and best practices across various domains.

From IT Infrastructure to Datacenter Physical Infrastructure and Systems Management, the OCP community has been on a journey that has required pioneering innovations  in multiple domains and tackling formidable challenges confronting the AI ready datacenter. Issues ranging from power optimization and thermal management to data center facilities infrastructure and server design are being addressed with ingenuity and hard work. In the span of a year, for example, the conversation of liquid cooling has gone from select proof of concept deployments to a widespread acknowledgment by the entire IT ecosystem that this technology is important to deploy, and the market can hit $10B in the next 5 years. See Dell’Oro Group: Liquid Cooling to Go Mainstream with $10 Billion in Revenues Over the Next Five Years

I encourage you to visit the contribution database to see these innovations, (https://www.opencompute.org/contributions) and to view the last OCP Global Summit online (https://www.opencompute.org/events/past-events/2023-ocp-global-summit) , the contributions and presentations are very informative and help to lay the foundation for what needs to be solved next. 

The demands on sustainable computational architecture and infrastructure continue to escalate, propelled by the relentless march of AI progress. A new frontier beckons. The next phase of AI evolution necessitates a step function in sustainable performance which requires a paradigm shift in sustainable computational infrastructure design, demanding specialized solutions tailored to the unique requirements of AI deployments.

At the forefront of this evolution lies the pivotal role of photonic interconnection architecture. Optical connectivity solutions hold the key to unlocking unprecedented levels of networking performance, enabling AI systems to transcend existing limitations and usher in a new era of innovation. There are many challenges on the road to unlocking this performance and the path is not obvious.

With the goal of increasing the visibility of these key issues and potential decision points, OCP is hosting a panel discussion at OFC 2024 on Tuesday, 26th March, from 10:45 to 11:45, Theater II  titled Next Generation Optical Interconnects for AI Clusters: Beyond Linear Drive Optics. This session aims to be an illuminating session, where experts gather  to explore the transformative potential and next steps for optical interconnection solutions for sustainable AI clusters. Last year at OFC 2023, OCP hosted a panel on Linear Drive Optics that was standing room only. This year’s panel of end users, systems and component providers is well balanced to provide the right insight, offering attendees a glimpse into the future of AI-driven photonic interconnect while openly discussing some of the pitfalls and challenges.

Session Overview:

The session will spotlight the remarkable advancements in AI infrastructure propelled by massive investments in AI-centric optical connectivity. Traditional AI clusters have grappled with performance limitations imposed by the exorbitant costs and power consumption associated with optics. However, a paradigm shift is underway with the emergence of Linear Drive Pluggable (LPO) and Co-Packaged Optics (CPO), promising substantial enhancements in cost-efficiency and power consumption compared to conventional re-timed transceivers.

Nevertheless, the journey towards optimizing AI infrastructure demands further breakthroughs, particularly in the realm of optical materials and devices. This panel discussion will critically examine the landscape of promising optical technologies and the impediments hindering their widespread adoption. Participants will be presented with a pragmatic roadmap delineating the trajectory of next-generation optical interconnects, alongside the requisite connectivity standards tailored to the unique demands of AI clusters.

Organized by:

The panel is organized by the OCP and will be steered by moderator Vladimir Kozlov, the Founder and CEO of Light Counting, USA, whose expertise in optical communications is widely acknowledged.


  • Drew Aldino (Meta)
  • Hamid Arabzadeh (Ranovus)
  • Andy Bechtolsheim (Arista/OCP Founding Board Member)
  • Ram Huggahali (Microsoft)
  • Chongjin Xie (Alibaba)
  • Yinxing Zhang (Bytedance)

If you have not registered for this event, you may do so here: https://www.ofcconference.org/en-us/home/registration/ 

An exhibit pass can be obtained for free if you use code 440. And come see the OCP team at Booth 4841 at the OFC event!

Following up this panel session at OFC 2024, OCP’s Future Technologies Initiative (FTI) hosts a Short Reach Optical Interconnect workstream (https://www.opencompute.org/projects/short-reach-optical-interconnect) which is collaborating on the roadmap forward, breaking the current analysis paralysis in the industry and redefining sustainable and performant AI infrastructure through cutting-edge photonics. Highly encourage you to use the link above, click on “Subscribe to Mailing List” and join the weekly calls, they are open to all. Great conversations.

There will also be a Special Purpose Track on Optics at the upcoming 2204 OCP EMEA Regional Summit, taking place in Lisbon, Portugal April 24 - 25. The title of the Track is: Network Architectures and Optics for Scalable AI Clusters. Visit bit.ly/3YZBSPU to learn more, view the detailed schedule and register. 

As we stand on the cusp of a technological revolution, the fusion of AI and advanced photonics promises to unlock unprecedented opportunities, catalyzing innovation and driving the digital transformation of industries worldwide. This is the right time to join us in this pivotal discussion at OFC 2024 and furthermore in our Short Reach Optical Interconnect effort, as the community charts the course towards a future where seamless connectivity underpins the limitless potential of AI.