An international group of researchers working at the cutting edge of Big Data analytics and photonics technology gathered at UCLA on March 25 to offer a look at what’s ahead in fields ranging from optical communication and the Internet of Things to financial analysis, machine learning and health care.
“Big Data Photonics Workshop 2016: Trends Shaping the Future of Photonics” drew nearly 100 researchers from the United States, Denmark and across the globe to Carnesale Commons at UCLA. The event was sponsored by Innovation Center Denmark, with support from the Optical Society (OSA) and SPIE. The Jalali Lab at UCLA and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) jointly organized the workshop.
Prof. Bahram Jalali, the Northrop Grumman Opto-Electronic Chair in Electrical Engineering at UCLA, co-led the event with DTU Professor of Photonics Engineering Idelfonso Tafur Monroy and Mr. Mikkel Bülow Skovborg from Innovation Center Denmark, Silicon Valley.

“The workshop offered an unparalleled view into the work being done at the intersection of big data and photonics,” said Jalali, who also has an appointment in the UCLA department of bioengineering and is a member of the California NanoSystems Institute.

Cejo Konuparamban Lonappan, a doctoral student in the Jalali Lab who led the student organizing committee for the event, said, “The workshop served as a very unique platform for bringing together big data analytics and photonics researchers from very diverse disciplines and also from various parts of the world to present their high-impact research, exchange new ideas and potentially start new collaborations.”

Student researchers presented posters on their work, with a panel of judges awarding prize money for the top two posters, and had the opportunity to network with potential collaborators and employers.

The event had four sessions that focused on diverse topics: Optical Systems in Telecommunications; Big Data, Smart Cities and the Internet of Things (IoT); Big Data in Business, and Finance; and Photonics in Biological Systems.

Xiang Zhou, tech lead in Google’s platform advanced technology group, presented on the challenges posed by big data applications on data center optical interconnects. Jesper Bevensee Jensen, chief technical officer of Bifrost Communications in Denmark, demonstrated Bifrost’s next-generation passive optical network architecture (NGPON) for accommodating big data applications.

Speakers from academia included faculty members from Stanford University, DTU, Aarhus University – Denmark, Aalborg University Copenhagen, Del Rosario University in Bogotá, Colombia, and UC Davis. Academic representatives from UCLA included speakers from Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, Anderson School of Management and Department of Physics and Astronomy.