June 2006 newsletter

Newsletter to the TCCC Membership

Welcome from the Chair - Archan Misra

Dear Fellow TCCC members,

Greetings to all of you from the new TCCC executive committee! This email newsletter has certainly been long overdue—however, I wanted to complete an initial process of committee reorganization and workload planning before I communicated with all of you. This newsletter contains the following items:

  • Introduction of the new TCCC ExCom
  • An overview of our planned activities and additions to our Web content
  • Call for participation/papers for TCCC sponsored conferences
  • Report on the organization of Percom 2006.

Please feel free to browse the newsletter (also available from our Website: http://tab.computer.org/tccc/) and let us know your opinions and feedback. We look forward to interacting with all of you!

Sincerely,
Archan Misra


INTRODUCTION OF INITIAL ExCoM MEMBERS

Before providing our regular content on upcoming and past conferences, I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself as the new chair of the TCCC, as well as introduce the current additional members of the Executive Committee.

First, and foremost, I wanted to introduce myself. As a researcher at IBM’s TJ Watson Research labs in Hawthorne, New York, USA, I had previously served as the Untethered Network Technologies chair for the TCCC and am honored to have been elected by you to serve as the TC chair for the period 2006-2007.
Before proceeding to other items, I’d like to acknowledge the immense contributions of our previous chair, Joe Bumblis, in revitalizing our TC and its activities. Over the previous four years, Joe was instrumental in not only reviving our TC, but in expanding its scope and activities. With the help of a very capable executive committee, Joe’s tenure saw the TCCC membership stablilize at around 8,500, and the initiation of several new conferences (such as Percom and WoWMoM) that have rapidly become premier events in the community. Thank you, Joe!

In constituting a new executive committee, I shall endeavor to maintain a proper balance between continuity and the desire to diversify our committee. In particular, as you may have noted from my manifesto, I shall be working actively to globalize the TCCC ExCom, as I believe IEEE must move aggressively to serve our large and expanding base in many developing economies, specifically in Asia and South America. Based on these twin objectives, I am pleased to have our past chair, Joe Bumblis, and our past vice-chair, Prof. Sajal Das, as initial members of our standing committee. In addition to these returning members of our ExCom, I have also recruited two new members so far. Prof Sunghyun Choi (from SNU, Korea) takes over from me as the new “Untethered Network Technologies” chair-Prof Choi is an internationally recognized expert in wireless MAC and networking protocols and I am confident that he will provide us expert guidance and globalize our efforts related to wireless technologies. In addition, Sanjeev Rai (CEO of ARE) will serve in the newly created position of “Radio and Convergence Technologies” chair. Sanjeev has been active in his local IEEE Computer Society chapter, and I think his appointment will allow us to strengthen our outreach to the engineering community in the industry, increase diversity and regional outreach, and allow the TCCC to foster exchanges at the intersection of research and entrepreneurship. You will find the bios of all our new ExCom members at: http://tab.computer.org/tccc/TCCCmembers.html. Of course, many other positions in our ExCom are currently open, and I am actively working to staff up the ExCom with well-respected and energetic folks, while ensuring a balanced representation of academia and industry.


AGENDA OVERVIEW

I wanted to briefly outline my priorities and agenda for the next few months. In the short term, our agenda will focus on a couple of themes/topics I believe to be of interest to our members:

  • Foster activities in applications of communications/networking technologies to some key vertical industries, notably healthcare and automotive. In this regard, I am working to involve people from the healthcare industry in our TC, and exploring the possibility of starting workshops/meets on the specific application of communication technologies to healthcare.
  • Initiate new activities that bring a business perspective to our technology activities. As a start, Sanjeev has indicated his desire to develop more community interaction around the theme of “wireless convergence” and plans to start periodic newsletters specifically around this theme.
  • Provide a variety of overview articles on various topics, thereby keeping our lay readership informed of progress/challenges in various technologies and markets. As a first step towards this goal, I shall endeavor to include at least one such overview article in every future newsletter, if not at more frequent intervals.
  • Develop our Website to act as a repository of initiatives and activities by our members, with the idea that the Website becomes an online community where individuals and groups discover other individuals/groups with similar ideas or similar projects/initiatives. You will note that we have updated the look and feel of our Web site—over the next few months, I shall direct the efforts of our ExCom to specifically execute on the topic of “R&D Activities and Resources” (through the development of technologies such as Wikis/blogs as deemed appropriate).

Clearly, many of these ideas (such as the development of richer, useful and collaborative Web content) will require the active participation of many of you-I encourage you to contact us if you have interest or ideas on how to make such initiative successful.


INFORMATION AND POINTERS on UPCOMING CONFERENCES

We encourage you to participate in the following conferences that have some deadlines/dates of current relevance.

  1. Call for Participation: 7th IEEE International Symposium on a World of Wireless, Mobile and Multimedia Networks (WoWMoM) 2006, June 26-29, Niagara Falls, USA.
    http://ieee-wowmom.cse.buffalo.edu/
    Besides the main conference, WoWMoM 2006 includes 5 exciting workshops.

  2. Call for Papers: Workshops, 31st IEEE Conference on Local Computer Networks (LCN), 2006, November 14-17, 2006, Tampa, USA.
    http://www.ieeelcn.org/lcn31home.html
    While the deadline for submissions to the main conference have passed, all 5 workshops associated with LCN 2006 have a submission deadline of June 15, 2006.

  3. Call for Papers: 5th IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications (Percom) 2007, March 26-30, New York City, USA
    http://www.cse.psu.edu/~hurson/percom2007/
    Deadline for paper submission: September 1, 2006-06


CONFERENCE REPORT: IEEE Percom 2006

Trip Report: Archan Misra, Percom 2006

The fourth International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications (PerCom 2006) was held from March 13-17, 2006 at the Conference Center of the Italian Institute of Telematics and Informatics (CNR-IIT) in the famous university town of Pisa, Italy. From the 280 papers submitted, from 35 countries, the technical program committee selected a total of 23 regular papers and 15 short papers for oral presentation.
Overall, there was a strong feeling among all present that this TCCC-sponsored conference has “come of age” and is now easily the premier international conference on the “systems” issues of pervasive and ubiquitous comforting.

Before describing some of the program highlights, two very important and encouraging aspects of the growth of Percom must be mentioned. First, one must highlight the international nature of the community involvement, as evidenced by the submissions and presentations, with the US contributing ~22% of the papers, and an emerging country like China contributing ~11% of the submitted papers. Percom has proven to be particularly successful in engaging the research and technical committees of both Europe and Asia-Pacific, reflecting the fact that both regions are engaged in active research on several cutting-edge topics, such as smart environments integrating RFID and sensor networks, immersive reality and novel pervasive user interfaces. Second, Percom 2006 provided a perfect balance between theoretical enhancements and practical technology demonstrations—indeed, the conference had a very successful and popular demonstration session that vividly showed how network connectivity is transforming user interaction with devices in everyday “work” and “consumer” environments.

Percom 2006 comprised eight plenary sessions for regular papers, and four parallel sessions for short papers. Particular mention must be made of the three best paper candidates that illustrated the broad impact of pervasive technologies in both our work and home environments. The Mark Weiser Best paper award was given to the paper titled “Context-Aware Resource Management in Multi-Inhabitant Smart Homes: A Nash H-Learning Based Approach” by N. Roy, A. Roy, and S. K. Das from the University of Texas at Arlington. This paper is one of the first to consider the practical challenges of location prediction in a smart home with multiple inhabitants, where individuals may have different goals and movement/activity patterns. The authors use a Nash-H based game theoretic approach to efficiently maximize location predictability, thus leading to more effective use of resources in future homes. Another paper that caught the attention of delegates and that received the “Best Impact” award was “Is Your Cat Infected by a Computer Virus?” by M. R. Rieback, B. Crispo, and A. S. Tanenbaum from Vrije Universitiet. This paper is the first to demonstrate that even small amounts of data stored in RFID tags can contain “viruses” and be used to compromise the security of RFID-based infrastructures. This paper can be expected to impact of the design of RFID infrastructures and was cited by articles in the popular press, including BBC News and Computer Business Review. Another candidate for best paper award, titled “Mapping Human Networks” by J. Gips and A. Pentland demonstrated how contactless “smart badges” can be used to measure and analyze human ‘social interaction’ at conferences and trade shows. In addition to these papers, the conference feature research presentations on a variety of topics, including novel user interfaces for wearable devices, novel browsing and context-aware data retrieval systems and easily-programmable software architectures for pervasive environments.

Another notable component of the main program was the two keynote speeches. The keynote speech “When the Sensors Hit the Road: Challenges in Mobile Sensor Computing” by Prof. Hari Balakrishnan (MIT) highlighted crucial challenges in the practical deployment of sensor networks, while the speech “Future Trends in WirelessTechnology and the Path to Pervasive Computing” by Prof. Dipankar Raychaudhuri (Rutgers University) provided a roadmap on how cognitive radio and dynamic spectrum allocation technologies could enable co-existence among a variety of devices and standards in a future converged environment.

As already stated, the demonstration session at Percom 2006 was especially noteworthy and attracted very high interest from the attendees. Among the many high quality demonstrations were one from Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany, showing how RFID and Bluetooth technology could be used to personalize the settings on a commercial espresso machine autonomously and one from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Korea, showing how simple gestures could be used to provide an intuitive interface to a wearable computer. The best demonstration award was presented to the team from Samsung Information Systems who showed how middleware components could be used to seamlessly unify a user’s activity and interaction across multiple mobile platforms.

Percom 2006 was also notable for its set of nine day long workshops, which proved very successful in stimulating focused exchange of ideas on specific niche research areas. Two of the workshops, 1st Workshop on Ubiquitous and Pervasive Health Care (Ubicare) and the Workshop on Pervasive Computing and Communication Security (Persec) were especially well-attended, and attest to the growing interest of pervasive technologies in the healthcare domain and the security and privacy challenges encountered in pervasive environments. Looking forward, I expect these domains and themes to be of growing importance to the professional community.

Next year, the 5th IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications will be held in New York City, USA on March 26-30, 2006. Look for this conference to continue to be the premier venue for advances in wireless networks, mobile computing, sensor networks, distributed computing, and agent technologies!