SIGCOMM FY’15 Annual Report
July 2015 - June 2016
Submitted by: S. Keshav, Chair
SIGCOMM is ACM's professional forum for the discussion of topics in the field of communications and computer networks, including technical design and engineering, regulation and operations, and the social implications of computer networking. SIG members are particularly interested in the systems engineering and architectural questions of communications
SIGCOMM continues to be a vibrant organization serving a broad community of researchers from both academia and industry interested in all aspects of computer networking. We sponsor several successful, single-track, 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.
The SIG sponsors an eponymous flagship conference as well as, solely, CoNEXT, eEnergy, Information-Centric Networking (ICN), and HotNets Workshop, and jointly, Internet Measurement Conference (IMC), SenSys, ACM/IEEE Symposium on Architectures for Networking and Communications Systems (ANCS), and, starting last year, Symposium on SDN Research (SOSR). Finally, we participated in the creation of and support ANRW 2016 (to be held in July 2016), the joint ACM, ISOC, IRTF Applied Networking Research Workshop is targeted at fostering the exchange between research and industry, to be co-located with the 96th IETF in Berlin in July 2017.
Our flagship conference, continuing our policy of rotation among regions on a 3-year cycle, was held in London (the ‘European’ location in the rotation) in August 2015. The conference had an attendance of about 750 participants. As in 2014, about a quarter of the attendees were from industry, which is a new and welcome trend. Due to our strong financial position, we had budgeted the conference without a contingency fund. The conference made a small profit, as did all of our other conference. The overall financial strength of the SIG, therefore, continues to be extremely strong, which allows us considerable freedom to support the community and to be innovative.
As in previous years, we continued to financially support regional conferences in computer networking. 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 provides generous general student travel support to all of its sponsored conferences.
We are in-cooperation with a number of events, including RAIM 2015, MMSys 2016, CSNM 2016, CFI 2016, NSDI 2016, and ITC 2016.
In a significant change, we worked with ACM to use a hosted service hotcrp.com to host all of our conferences. We have also worked with hotcrp.com to directly move papers from this site into the ACM Digital Library. This allows us to not only reduce the time between camera-ready paper submission and paper publication, but also onerous fees being paid to Sheridan Publishing.
There has been one change to our executive committee: our former Education Director, Olivier Bonaventure took over as editor of our newsletter. His place was taken by Tristan Henderson, from St. Andrews University.
We continue to work with MeetGreen to provide administrative support to our volunteers. By taking on registration and travel grant duties, MeetGreen has allowed us to reduce the number of errors made by volunteers and also made it easier for our volunteers to serve as conference managers.
Our newsletter, Computer Communications Review (CCR), is widely respected 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. Starting with the July 2016 issue, there have been two significant changes. First, after four years of dedicated and excellent service, Dina Papagiannaki stepped down as Editor; her place has been taken by Olivier Bonaventure. Second, we have moved CCR completely online, with paper management being done using hotcrp.com and papers published both in the ACM digital library and on a WordPress site.
As in prior years, we will hold a ‘Best of CCR Session’ at SIGCOMM 2016. The two selected papers are:
Hassan Metwalley, Stefano Traverso, Marco Mellia, Stanislav Miskovic, and Mario Baldi. 2015. CrowdSurf: Empowering Transparency in the Web. SIGCOMM Comput. Commun. Rev. 45, 5 (September 2015), 5-12.
Carsten Orwat and Roland Bless. 2016. Values and Networks: Steps Toward Exploring their Relationships. SIGCOMM Comput. Commun. Rev. 46, 1 (May 2016), 25-31.
This year, SIGCOMM recognized Prof. Jim Kurose, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with the SIGCOMM award for lifetime achievement; he will receive the award and present a keynote talk at the annual SIGCOMM conference in August 2016 in Florianopolis, Brazil. He was recognized for his sustained excellence in networking research, education, mentoring, and service to the SIGCOMM community.
The winner of the 2015 Doctoral Dissertation Award is Mosharaf Chowdhury, whose dissertation provides novel and application-aware networking abstractions which significantly improve the performance of networked applications running in the cloud.
The SIGCOMM Rising Star Award 2015 winner is Brighten Godfrey (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). The award to Brighten Godfrey is in recognition of outstanding research contributions, early in his career in network architecture. His work has brought a synergy of algorithmic and systems insights to make significant contributions in problems such as pathlet routing, data center architectures, and network verification.
SIGCOMM 2016 Test of Time Awards Papers are:
Link-level measurements from an 802.11b mesh network
Daniel Aguayo, John Bicket, Sanjit Biswas, Glenn Judd, Robert Morris
Published in SIGCOMM 2004.
This paper was one of the first attempts to bring a “systems approach” to wireless networking and in particular provides key lessons from one of the first real operational deployments of wireless mesh networks. The impact of this work was in spawning new directions in wireless network research and in significantly raising the bar for research and evaluation in this domain by bringing to the fore real-world complexities of wireless signal propagation.
A first-principles approach to understanding the Internet's router-level topology
Lun Li, David Alderson, Walter Willinger, John Doyle
This paper questioned the prevailing work on scale-free graph structure for network topologies that incorrectly speculated an “Achilles’ heel” for the Internet, and instead provided a methodologically sound basis to explain the observed structure of Internet topologies. The impact of the paper was in bringing a greater degree of rigor in network topology research and evaluation, and in informing the community of potential pitfalls in using black-box network models without a clear understanding of underlying structural effects in network design.
At the ACM level, during the year, ACM and the Infosys Foundation named Stefan Savage the recipient of the 2015 ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences. He was cited for innovative research in network security, privacy and reliability that has taught us to view attacks and attackers as elements of an integrated technological, societal and economic system. Also, three SIGCOMM members have been selected as ACM Fellows this year: Kevin Fall, Michael George Luby, and Pablo Rodriguez. Other members of the community were recognized as ACM Distinguished Scientists: Ratul Mahajan, Konstantina Papagiannaki, and Ben Y Zhao. Finally, the 2016-17 recipient of the ACM-W Athena Lecturer Award was Jennifer Rexford, Princeton University, a past Chair of ACM SIGCOMM.
Support for the community and new projects
The SIG has been using its strong financial position to initiate and support a number of activities, as discussed next:
o We are providing student travel grants of $200K to support student attendance at *all* of our sponsored conferences.
o We continue to support national networking summits with grants totalling $30K, to be given in the form of student travel grants. The first ones being the UK-based event Cosener 2016, with the Chilenean Spring School on Networks in November 2016 and the German NetSys conference in March 2017 lined up next.
o We have continued funding for summer schools in the area of networking.
o We continue to subsidize childcare at our sponsored conferences, for which the SIGCOMM 2014 conference in Chicago served as initial trial. Here, we subsidized full-time child care using a cost-sharing model for parents attending the conference. Similar services will be offered at SIGCOMM 2016.
o We held preview talks to give background for the technical sessions at SIGCOMM 2015. This helps new community members come up to speed on ‘hot’ topic areas
o We have continued the practice of waiving the SIGCOMM contingency share for our fully sponsored conferences to give the organizers more flexibility and allow them reducing registration fees. To remain fiscally prudent, we will review this every year for every sponsored conference.
o Two years ago, we set up an industrial liaison board whose goal is to come up with ideas and suggestions to increase industry participation at SIG-sponsored conferences.
The SIGCOMM industrial liaison board has worked on many fronts to increase industry-academic collaboration:
- Continued the industrial demo session at the SIGCOMM 2016 conference. This year the board accepted 8 industrial demos.
- Worked with the Open Networking Summit to collocate the new SOSR with ONS. See http://opennetsummit.org/conference/sosr/
- Worked with the IETF/IRTF to create a joint ACM/ISOC/IRTF workshop ANRW (see: https://irtf.org/anrw/).
- Held, in collaboration with SIGMOBILE, an industry day on wireless co-chaired by Sachin Katti (Stanford) and Ranveer Chandra (Microsoft). See: http://wnid2016.stanford.edu/
- Continued the editorial series in CCR entitled "Examples of Research Affecting the Practice of Networking”. The goal of this series is to create a forum to learn about the transfers of ideas from research to practice by presenting articles that shine a spotlight on specific examples; not only on the technology and ideas, but also on the path the
ideas took to affect the practice. In the past year, George Varghese described his experience with technology transfer of network algorithms and Nandita Dukkipati, Yuchung Cheng, and Amin Vahdat discussed how research in congestion control has impacted datacenter networks and the Internet.
Events or programs that broadened participation either geographically, or among under-represented members of your community
o To support the participation of women in SIG conferences and in our community, we support N^2women lunches at all our conferences.
o In addition to the student travel grants, we are offering $40K for geodiversity grants to support faculty and students from under-represented regions in attending our sponsored conferences. This enables graduate students and young faculty from under-represented regions to attend our flagship conference. We have also increased the volumes of individual grants to that awardees can benefit from attending the full event, including workshops.
o We are maintaining in-cooperation status and travel support with a number of conference events of particular regional importance (COMSNETS, LANC, AINTEC).
o To further support geodiversity, we now also provide travel grants for program committee members from developing countries to travel to program committee meetings
Key issues facing the SIG
The SIG faces two key issues. The first is that, like many other venues, some participants do not behave as we would wish them to. We have crafted a anti-harassment policy that is nearly ready for adoption, and this will be rolled out for SIGCOMM 2016.
Second, it has been a challenge organizing SIGCOMM 2016 in Brazil, with the Zika issue. We moved the venue to a non-endemic location, but expect participation to be affected. In future years, it may be necessary to support multiple remote sites to reduce the travel burden on participants and deal with unexpected world events.