ACM SIGCOMM 2020, New York City, USA

ACM SIGCOMM 2020 Workshop on Optical Systems Design (OptSys 2020)

Workshop program

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  • Monday, August 10, 2020 EDT

  • 10:00 - 10:10 am EDT

    Workshop opening

  • 10:10 - 11:50 am EDT Session 1: Invited Talks

  • How to BOLD-ly Support Data-Intensive Applications? (25min)

    Eugene Ng (Rice University)

    • Abstract: Data-intensive applications are on the rise in large-scale compute clusters and they constantly transmit large objects across servers. How these applications are supported today could be characterized as 'leave it to the network' or 'leave it to the application.' In this talk, we will explore a different approach that achieves the best of both worlds, by combining packet switch bandwidth from the network edge with an optical network architecture to provide a scalable, predictable, and reliable alternative


  • Optical datacenter networks: towards practical deployment (25min)

    Giannis Patronas (Nvidia Networking, Mellanox Advanced Technologies)

    • Abstract: Scaling up the datacenter (DC) network results in higher switch energy consumption due to the breakdown of Dennard scaling. Signs of Moore’s law erosion question the capability to cope with exponentially growing intra-DC traffic in the long run. The introduction of optical switching could simultaneously address the bandwidth and energy consumption challenges in the DC interconnection network. However, the lack of key functionalities in the optical domain (i.e. buffering and header processing) hinders the introduction of such optical circuit switches in the DC. Novel approaches are required for the design of the optical DC network as well as for the associated devices connected in the optical DC (e.g. NICs, switches, transceivers). This presentation will outline the main challenges we are facing and will provide a short description of our activities towards the practical deployment of optical switches in the DC network.


  • Optics for the cloud – Light at the end of the tunnel? (25min)

    Thomas Karagiannis (Microsoft)

    • Abstract: The amazing growth of the cloud has also led to the emergence of inflection points that may hinder future cloud scaling. In this talk, I will discuss how the optics for the cloud team at Microsoft Research Cambridge is betting on optical technologies and cross-layer innovation across the cloud stack to alleviate challenges leading to these inflection points.


  • Nanoseconds Optical Control and Switching System for Data Center Networks (25min)

    Nicola Calabretta (Eindhoven University of Technology)

    • Abstract: As the traffic in DC networks steady growth, the electrical switching based data center networks (DCNs) have intrinsic bandwidth bottleneck and require power consuming multi-tier switching layers. Optical nanoseconds switched DCN systems could provide very large bandwidth and high-efficient cost and power performance. However, the deployment of nanoseconds optical switches in DCNs remains a challenge due to the lack of nanoseconds switch control, optical buffers for packet contention resolution, and the need of high-cost burst clock and data recovery. In this work we present a nanosecond switch control and clock-distribution technique that is experimentally demonstrated and deployed to enable a nanoseconds optical switched DCN with packet contention resolution and no burst mode receiver. Results confirm that the nanoseconds switch control and clock-distribution technique provide few tens of otical switching reconfiguration time, data and clock recovery within a few ns with stable operation and low packet loss.


  • 12.00 - 12.10 pm EDT (Virtual) Coffee Break

  • 12:10 - 2:00 pm EDT Session 2: Accepted Presentations

  • Optical Fibre as a Sensor for Network Anomaly Detection (15min)

    Aamir Gulistan (Simula Research Laboratory), Steinar Bjørnstad (Simula Research Laboratory)

  • Leveraging Optical Noise for Fast Fiber Cut Recovery (15min)

    Zhizhen Zhong (Facebook), Yiting Xia (Facebook), Ying Zhang (Facebook), Jonathan Leach (Facebook), Manya Ghobadi (MIT)

  • The Impact of Social Distancing on Facebook's Optical Backbone (15min)

    Zhizhen Zhong (Facebook), Yiting Xia (Facebook), Guanqing Yan (Facebook), Chiun Lin Lim (Facebook), Ying Zhang (Facebook), Kimia Ghobadi (Johns Hopkins University), Manya Ghobadi (MIT)

  • Topology Augmentation Meets Machine Learning (15min)

    Saim Salman (Brown University), Theophilus Benson (Brown University)

  • Analyzing the Robustness of the Chilean Optical Network (15min)

    Ivana Bachmann (NIC Chile Research Labs, Universidad de Chile), Javier Bustos-Jiménez (NIC Chile Research Labs, Universidad de Chile), Jose Piquer (DSTI, Universidad de Chile), Cecilia Saint-Pierre (DSTI, Universidad de Chile), Matilde Rivas (NIC Chile Research Labs, Universidad de Chile), Marcelo Valenzuela (NIC Chile Research Labs, Universidad de Chile)

  • Bridging the Optical-Packet Network Chasm via Secure Enclaves (15min)

    Matthew Nance Hall (University of Oregon), Ramakrishnan Durairajan (University of Oregon)

  • 2.00 - 2.05 pm EDT (Virtual) Coffee Break

  • 2:05 - 3:55 pm EDT Session 3: Invited Talks

  • Demand-Aware Networks: Metrics, Models, Algorithms (25min)

    Chen Avin (BGU) & Stefan Schmid (University of Vienna)

    • Abstract: Emerging optical communication topologies enable demand-aware networks: networks whose physical topology is optimized towards the demand, either statically or dynamically. But how useful are demand-aware networks? As usual in computer science, the answer is: it depends! In this talk, we explore metrics for quantifying the temporal and non-temporal structure of traffic patterns, and show analytically how these metrics relate to 'what can be achieved' by a demand-aware network. In particular, we propose an information-theoretic approach and highlight an intriguing connection between demand-aware networks and coding and self-adjusting data structures. We discuss both offline and online algorithms to design demand-aware networks, and as a case study, show how to design demand-aware networks whose route lengths are proportional to the entropy of the traffic pattern; this is asymptotically optimal.


  • Frequency Stabilized Coherent WDM Optical Links for Low-Energy Data Center Interconnects (25min)

    Dan Blumenthal (UCSB)

    • Abstract: As data center ethernet switches scale towards 100Tbps, scaling DCI fiber links will face significant cost, power and engineering barriers. In this talk we describe the FRESCO approach that uses ultra-stable, ultra-low linewidth laser and silicon photonic transceiver technologies to bring high-capacity coherent WDM links into the DCI without the need for DSPs and other power consuming technologies.


  • Supporting optical networks with the Corundum programmable NIC platform (25min)

    Alex Forencich (UCSD)

    • Abstract: Corundum is an open-source, FPGA-based prototyping platform for network interface development at up to 100 Gbps and beyond. The Corundum platform includes several core features to enable real-time, high-line-rate operations including a high-performance datapath, 10G/25G/100G Ethernet MACs, PCI Express (gen 3), a custom PCIe DMA engine, and native high-precision IEEE 1588 timestamping (PTP). In particular, Corundum is designed to support the implementation of a microsecond-precision time-division multiple access (TDMA) hardware scheduler to enforce a TDMA schedule at 100 Gbps line rate with no CPU overhead. In this talk, I'll describe how Corundum can support optical circuit-switched network architectures employing a range of physical-layer technologies, and how applications layered on these circuit-switched networks can be supported through a combination of endhost and NIC functionality.


  • Optics to scale the Datacenter: Technology directions over the next decade (25min)

    Ryohei Urata (Google)

    • Abstract: We will review the role of optics in bringing hyperscale datacenters to their present state. We will then discuss future technology directions, with focus on themes of higher speeds, integration, and the end of Moore’s Law.


  • 3.55 - 4.00 pm EDT (Virtual) Coffee Break

  • 4:00 - 4:30 pm EDT

    Industrial panel session + Closing remarks

    Speakers: Mark Filer (Microsoft), Giannis Patronas (Nvidia Networking, Mellanox Advanced Technologies), Ryohei Urata (Google), Ying Zhang (Facebook)
    Moderator: Manya Ghobadi (MIT)

Call for Oral Presentations

The deadline for submitting oral presentations has been extended to Jun 14, 2020.

Optical equipment is a fundamental component of modern systems. Today, nearly all wide-area, metro, and data center communications are carried over optical technology making optics a billion-dollar industry. Optics is poised to play an even bigger role in next-generation networks. The high bandwidth and ultra-low latency requirements of modern Cloud-centric systems, such as machine learning and business analytics, are hard to meet in a cost-effective manner with traditional electrical devices.

The OptSys workshop focuses on the design and implementation of optical networked systems for the next-generation Cloud infrastructure. These systems pose a number of research challenges spanning multiple research areas, e.g., physical layer, scheduling, synchronization, congestion control, orchestration, and topology reconfiguration, which require cross-layer and cross-disciplinary solutions. Solving these challenges requires the collaboration of cross-disciplinary teams and joint co-design across the stack. The workshop aims to bring together participants across the optics, networking, systems, and distributed algorithms community to jointly tackle these challenges and foster discussions and collaboration opportunities across these communities.

Following the successful experience from last year’s edition, the workshop will feature a combination of submitted talks and keynote speakers, selected among the community top academics and researchers, with an emphasis on encouraging engaging technical discussions amongst the participants.

Topics of Interest

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following areas:
  • Cross-layer optimization problems
  • Systems design leveraging recent advances in Optical technology
  • Optical designs leveraging recent advances in Systems and Cloud
  • Novel optical network architectures
  • Emerging optical technologies impacting the design of rack-scale, data-center, metro, and wide-area networks
  • New congestion control and network stacks for optical networks
  • Scheduling and time synchronization algorithms for microsecond/nanosecond Optical Circuit Switches
  • Programming abstractions for orchestration between the SDN/IP layer and optical devices
  • Reconfigurable optical topologies
  • Analysis and experience with operational optical networks
  • Models, algorithms, and theory for optical networks
  • Economic and cost aspects of optical networks
  • Monitoring and diagnosis of performance issues across layers
  • Free-space optical interconnects

Submission Instructions

Submissions include an extended abstract for oral presentation at the workshop. The abstract can include novel material as well as previously published work, since the focus of the workshop is to help disseminating ideas across communities and encourage lively and interactive discussions. If the work is based on previous work, this should be clearly indicated in the submission. Submissions can be a one-page extended abstract (excluding references) or an up to six-page paper, using the new ACM template (using sigconf document type) from the 2020 ACM consolidated template package or you can also use this LaTeX template. The font size must be 9 points. The submission must include author’s names and affiliations for single-blind peer reviewing by the workshop committee. Use this link for submission: The workshop will not have formal proceedings but we plan to publish accepted abstracts on this page.

Virtual participation

In case of a global outbreak of COVID-19, we will investigate and support the possibility of remote participation to protect the health and safety of SIGCOMM and OptSys participants.


Attendance of the workshop is by open registration and subject to the same registration fees and rules as all the other SIGCOMM 2020 workshops. The registrants of the workshop may freely attend any workshop on the same day.

Important Dates

  • Jun 14, 2020 11:59 PST

    Call for presentation deadline

  • Jun 21, 2020 11:59 PST

    Acceptance notification for presentations

  • Jul 5, 2020 11:59 PST

    Program available online, registration open

  • Aug 10, 2020



  • Program Chairs
  • Chen Avin

    Ben Gurion University, Israel

  • Paolo Costa

    Microsoft Research, UK

  • Ramakrishnan Durairajan

    University of Oregon, USA

  • George Porter


  • Stefan Schmid

    University of Vienna, Austria