2013 Annual Report

July 2012 - June 2013
Submitted by: Bruce Davie, Past Chair

SIGCOMM continues to be a vibrant organization serving the broad community of people interested in all aspects of computer networking. We continue to run a stable of successful, high-impact conferences, several of these being in co-operation with other SIGs. There are a number of highlights to report from the past year.

Our flagship conference, continuing our policy of rotation among regions on a 3-year cycle, returned to Europe for 2012, and was held in Helsinki in August. The conference was very successful with high attendance numbers, strong fundraising, and an overall surplus that helped the SIG finance its other activities.

The SIG agreed to take over sponsorship of the International Conference on Future Energy Systems (e-Energy), with which we had been in co-operation for several years. The conference aims to be the premier venue for researchers working in the broad areas of computing and communication for smart energy systems (including the smart grid), and in energy-efficient computing and communication systems. A successful conference was held in Berkeley, CA, in May 2013. This is the first addition to the SIGCOMM stable of sponsored conferences in many years (ANCS was added in 2006).

As in previous years, we continued to fund programs to support regional conferences in the networking field as well as adding additional funds to the geodiversity travel grant program. The latter program enables graduate students and young faculty from under-represented regions to attend our flagship conference. The current set of regional conferences we support financially includes COMSNETS, a major networking conference in India, the Latin American Networking Conference (LANC) and the Asian Internet Engineering Conference (AINTEC). We continue to foster the success of these conferences by means such as invited speaker travel funds and student travel grants. In addition to supporting regional conferences, the SIG has capitalized on its strong financial position to continue general student travel support to both SIGCOMM and CoNEXT conferences.

After 4 years at the helm of the SIGCOMM newsletter, Computer Communications Review, S. Keshav stepped down as editor. Dina Papagiannaki was chosen by the SIG Executive Committee to replace him. CCR continues to thrive as a journal with high quality and timely publication. CCR turnaround time is rapid compared to most journals: for technical papers it is 8 weeks for review and 16 weeks for publication; for editorials it is 1-3 days for review and 6 weeks for publication. We continue to offer both online and print access to the newsletter. Starting in 2012, we now offer discounted, online-only SIG membership that does not include a print copy of the journal. SIG members who still desire a print membership can continue to receive a print copy (at a slightly higher membership rate).

With respect to awards, SIGCOMM has recognized Larry Peterson with the SIGCOMM award for lifetime achievement; he will receive the award and present a keynote talk at the annual SIGCOMM conference in August 2013 in Hong Kong. Fittingly, Larry is also a co-author on one of the papers chosen for this year’s test of time award: PlanetLab: an overlay testbed for broad-coverage services, by Brent Chun, David Culler, Timothy Roscoe, Andy Bavier, Larry Peterson, Mike Wawrzoniak and Mic Bowman. The co-winner of that award is A delay-tolerant network architecture for challenged internets, by Kevin Fall. Both papers are from 2003. The SIGCOMM conference’s best paper award for 2013 goes to Ambient Backscatter: Wireless Communication Out of Thin Air by Vincent Liu, Aaron Parks, Vamsi Talla, Shyamnath Gollakota, David Wetherall, and Joshua Smith.

Now in its second year, the SIGCOMM award for best PhD thesis was awarded to Shyamnath Gollakota. His work addressed the design of practical systems that transform wireless networking by embracing the phenomenon of interference and rendering it harmless. His thesis was also awarded the ACM’s doctoral dissertation award. There were two runners up for SIGCOMM’s dissertation award, Ashok Anand and Laurent Vanbever.

The SIGCOMM Rising Star award was given to Teemu Koponen in recognition of outstanding research contributions, early in his career, on Information Centric Networking, Accountable Internetworking, and Software Defined Networking. His architectural ideas are deep, have improved practice, and crucially, he has put in significant effort in figuring out how to actually make them happen. Teemu delivered a keynote at the CoNext conference in Nice.

During the year, five SIGCOMM members were recognized as ACM Fellows: Lixin Gao, Rachid Guerraoui, S. Keshav, Klara Nahrstedt, and Ion Stoica.

SIGCOMM’s program of community-supported projects is now in its second year (http://www.sigcomm.org/content/acm-sigcomm-community-projects). Community-supported projects receive funding from SIGCOMM to create tools, data sets, etc. that can benefit a large fraction of the community. Projects funded in 2013 include “An Open-Source Instructional Network Laboratory”, “Experiment-Based Teaching for the Future ACM CS 2013 Curricula”, and “Joule Jotter: Collecting power utilization datasets from Households and Buildings”.

Finally, under the leadership of the SIGCOMM Education Chair, Olivier Bonaventure, and incoming IS director Hamed Haddadi, the SIG is producing an e-book on “Recent Advances in Networking.” The book consists of contributed chapters on a range of advanced topics, and will be released at the time of the annual conference in August 2013.