Tips for Entering IODC Lens or Illumination Design Competitions

Optical Solutions Editorial Team

Mar 22, 2021 / 1 min read

The submissions for the lens design or illumination design competitions for this year’s International Optical Design Conference (IODC) are due in just a few weeks. The 2021 Illumination Design Problem, called “The Curse of Prince Lambert,“, is described online at, while the Lens Design Problem (2021 IODC Shafer Cup Competition) is posted at  

If you plan to compete, I recommend that you go to the website , and carefully read the problem description, specifications, and rules. Then read everything several more times to be sure you have not missed anything. In the past, some entries have been disqualified because the author overlooked a rule or misunderstood a requirement. If you have any questions or doubts, contact the organizers. 

Keep in mind that there may be several entries with similar performance levels. When you find a good solution, optimize it. Try to squeeze out the last drop of performance. 

Remember that the Illumination Design Problem is not a real-world problem. It’s just a fun way to test your design skills and compete with your peers. Have some fun with it!  

This post was originally written by Steve Mulder, Senior Systems Engineer at Synopsys, who was the top winner of the 2017 Illumination Design Problem 

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