I had the pleasure to take part yesterday to the kickoff meeting of the Optiroc project. The meeting was quite interesting since it consisted mostly of a presentation and discussion about current state of research in each of the teams and was very light on administrative and financial matters. Many groups are involved, including people from Lille (PhLAM), Dijon (ICB), Besançon (Femto-ST), Paris (LPN) and of course Nice (INLN) and Université de Nouvelle Calédonie.

The focus of OptiRoc is on phenomena which collectively received the name of "optical rogue waves".

The Optiroc and MOLOSSE projects share several interests. First both projects deal with nonlinear photonic systems and therefore some common background exists in spite of the sometimes surprisingly different visions and technologies. Second, although it is less central to MOLOSSE, extreme and rare events are also among the topics that we plan to study.

First talk was given by Bertrand Kibler from Dijon. He proposed a useful survey of the existing litterature and most probably each of us got to know some paper that was not knwon yet, so defining this common cultural background was nice. Then John Dudley discussed some ways of defining rogue waves before outlining his approach on spectral aspects in supercontinuum generation. Next talk was by Majid Taki, who discussed convective versus absolute instabilities in the context of optical solitons and rogue waves. Then Sylvain Barbay and Alejandro Giacomotti showed us what they are working on at LPN in relation to excitability and propagation of excitable pulses in discrete chains of nonlinear systems. An interesting aspect was that their talk illustrated on one side the genericity of the phenomenon and on the other side the many possibilities opened by the facilities that are running at LPN. Finally Jorge Tredicce described a low-dimensional dynamical mechanism able to produce extreme events in a fully deterministic system.

The day concluded with a brief lab tour during which we could see interacting solitons both in conservative and dissipative settings. That was a good opportunity to discuss in more details the technicalities of the experiments, things that one rarely gets the chance to talk about in conferences or workshops.

All in all an interesting meeting. Hopefully it should lead to some short term visits to Dijon in the coming months which should be scientifically very fruitful (in addition to their obvious oenological interests...).