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SIGMOBILE FY'99 Annual Report

July 1998 - June 1999
Submitted by: Victor Bahl, SIGMOBILE Vice Chair


I. Introduction

SIGMOBILE solidified its position as a healthy and vibrant technical organization focussed on issues relevant to its members, who share a common interest in researching, building, and using mobile networking and computing applications and services. The organization continued to grow in all its dimensions -- organizing and establishing its conferences as the most prestigious events in the field, improving the reputation of its publications with great reports and articles, and increasing the awareness of the research its members are carrying out, within the academic, industrial, and governmental agencies world-wide.

SIGMOBILE's annual conference, MobiCom, held in Seattle, Washington, was a resounding success. The conference was attended by over 500 people from 30 countries, a 100% increase over the previous year (which itself was a banner year). The conference was supported by 24 industrial sponsors, proving that SIGMOBILE has indeed fostered a strong relationship between industry and academic researchers. Although primarily a research conference, dozens of companies exhibited their products, and the conference, for the first time in its history, was covered both by mainstream media such as the Seattle Post-intelligencer and news as well as by academic magazines.

SIGMOBILE's official publication, MC2R, continued to maintain its reputation as a high quality scientific journal. Due to a recently increased page budget, the journal was able to publish some of the largest and highest-quality issues to date. Particular highlights of the year included papers from SIGMOBILE Award winners, articles on current mobile computing standards from leaders of the standards boards; and reprinted seminal and classical papers in ubiquitous computing; as well as our regular features and peer-reviewed, highly selective technical papers.

Overall, 1998-99 was a great year for SIGMOBILE.

II. Executive Committee Additions

We are delighted to announce that Prof. Sajal Das of the University of Texas at Arlington has accepted our invitation to join SIGMOBILE's officer roster as its Publicity Director. In this position, Sajal will work closely with the other Chairs to come up with innovative ways of promoting and increasing the visibility of our organization and our journals.

Sajal was invited because of his strong organizational and publicity skills, which he has demonstrated repeatedly over the last several years. In 1998, with SIGMOBILE's endorsement, he started a new ACM workshop on "Wireless Mobile Multimedia" which became one of the most successful workshops SIGMOBILE has ever sponsored. In addition, he is the founder of the annual IEEE workshop on "Distributed Interactive Simulation and Real-Time Applications" and has assisted in many IEEE Technical Committees. His enthusiasm for the job and the energy he will bring to it were a strong factor in his appointment.

We are very happy to have Sajal on our team and are looking forward to working with him as he strengthens an area of SIGMOBILE that has been slightly problematic, i.e., -- worldwide name recognition.

III. Publications Initiatives

Mobile Computing and Communications Review (MC2R)

MC2R has become a significant scientific journal. We have been uncompromising in maintaining the highest possible publication standards. Since our last report, five additional issues have been published, between July 1998 and August 1999. Each issue included journal-style and tutorial-style scientific papers that had received double-blind peer-reviews. Our acceptance rate for technical papers has lingered between 16 to 17% per issue. Only papers with exceptional reviews were accepted for publication. Most of these have been cited by other researchers in several other leading publications.

In addition to top-quality papers, we have continued to regularly publish meeting reports from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Wireless ATM Forum (WATM), IEEE and ACM conference and workshop reports, book reviews, and opinion columns and essays from established leaders in our field. Our page count per issue has gone up an average of 50% from last year, varying between 52 and 72 pages per issue. Despite the increase in the number of submitted and ultimately published papers, MC2R has managed to maintain a low average turnaround time of less than 6 months between submission and physical publication.

Since its inception in April 1997, we have successfully delivered 11 issues of MC2R to the SIGMOBILE members.

Some important initiatives undertaken during this past year include:

  1. Area Editor Appointments

    Two new Areas Editors were appointed to the Editorial Board of MC2R:

    • Prof. Mani Srivastava joined the Editorial board of MC2R in May 1999. He joins us as the Editor for the area: Energy Conservation and Power Management.

      Mani is an Associate Professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He received a B. Tech. degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, and the M.S. & Ph.D. degrees from University of California at Berkeley in 1987 and 1992, respectively. Prior to joining UCLA, he was with Bell Labs in the Networked Computing Research Department from 1992 to 1996.

    • Prof. Hari Balakrishnan joined the Editorial board of MC2R in September 1998. He joins us as the Editor for the area: Location-Dependent Applications and Service Location

      Hari is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He received a B. Tech degree in 1993 from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, and his M.S. & Ph. D. degrees from the University of California at Berkeley in 1996 and 1998, respectively. Hari was awarded the 1998 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award for his Ph. D. thesis Challenges to Reliable Data Transport over Heterogeneous Wireless Networks. This is the first Ph.D. thesis award presented by ACM in the field of wireless and mobile networking.

    With the addition of Mani and Hari, MC2R's editorial board comprises 14 Area Editors, 7 Feature Editors, 3 Advisory Board Members, an Associate Editor, and an Editor-in-Chief.

  2. Cross-Indexing of Articles

    We are in the final stages of negotiating with the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) to index MC2R's papers in their Scientific Citation Index Database. Like INSPEC (in which our papers are already indexed), ISI has a large worldwide database of scientific papers, journals, and magazines.

    Indexing and abstracting is a service for our authors that we consider extremely important for MC2R's health. Not only does it increase the prestige of our journal, but it also encourages researchers to submit their papers to MC2R, as it exposes their research to a much larger community of researchers and practitioners worldwide.

  3. "Top 10" List

    We are in the final stages of compiling a list of "best of the best" papers in the areas of mobile communications and wireless networking.

    Each of our Area Editors was asked to recommend his or her top 8 choices of what they considered ground-breaking research papers in their area of expertise, and to recommend their top 2 choices of tutorial papers that they considered to be a must-read. Our objective is to publish this "list-of-recommendions" on MC2R's web page and in one of the upcoming issues, for all who are interested in learning from the experts about the best papers on a particular topic. Our motivation is to capitalize on the expertise and experience of our editorial board to help younger researchers and practitioners. Additionally and perhaps just as important is the fact that this list will give credit to those who have made pioneering efforts.

  4. Health Aspects of Wireless Technology

    Beginning with the January 1998 issue (Volume 3, Number 1), we initiated a new regular feature dedicated to discussing the impact of RF and IR technology on our health. The goal of this column is to educate researchers, engineers, and users about what is known scientifically about IR and RF health effects and what is pure speculation. We feel this information is valuable to our community, which is interested in comprehending the significance of the latest medical discoveries in this field of immerging importance.

    Prof. James C. Lin, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, accepted our invitation to write this column as a regular feature of MC2R. James Lin is a Professor in the Department of Bioengineering and is a recognized authority in the field of health hazards in wireless communications. He has written more that 140 journal papers and is an author or editor of six books.

    On a related note, as a gesture of good-will and healthy cooperation (no pun intended), we agreed to a proposal by Dr. Roth Stone, Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine, to co-publish Dr. Lin's column in his magazine. We are convinced that the readership of the two publications has little overlap, and thus providing greater exposure to Dr. Lin's articles, is the right thing to do for the sake of both communities.

  5. Web Presence

    We maintained and added new material to our web site. Notably:

    • We have added a questionnaire, soliciting feedback from our readers about the quality of our journal. The questionnaire is extremely simple (taking less than 5 minutes to complete), and is very valuable to us as we use the feedback to improve MC2R further. It is worth mentioning that looking at the feedback we have received to-date, we are proud to state that everyone who filled in the questionnaire gave MC2R an "excellent" rating.
    • Our web site has remained the focal point for most author submission activities. It provides substantial document preparation information, and feedback. We are able to maintain short turnaround times by working exclusively through electronic mail, in order to reduce author, referee, and editor burdens.
    • Our list of Ph.D. theses granted in the field of mobile networking and computing has grown to a listing of 58 theses, many of which are available for download.
    • We have continued to maintain a comprehensive calendar of conferences, workshops, and symposia related to our field. Wherever possible we include links to the web sites of the listed events.
    • Our table of contents, with abstracts from past and future issues of MC2R is provided on this site and is up-to-date.
    • Referee solicitation forms and reviewer guidelines are provided on our site. Because of this, over the last year, we now have a large list of reviewers qualified to review articles submitted to the journal.

  6. Noteworthy News

    Mahmoud Naghshineh, an Area Editor of MC2R, has been invited to serve as the next Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Personal Communications magazine. Mahmoud has accepted the invitation and will take over from the current Editor in January 2000. This is a significant position, which recognizes Mahmoud's standing within the IEEE community, and we view it as a statement about the caliber of people involved with our journal. It also opens up a new avenue for us to work closely with the IEEE as we strengthen our community further.

Journal of Wireless Networks (WINET)

This journal focuses on the networking and user aspects of the expanding field of wireless and mobile networking. It provides a common and global forum for archival contributions documenting these fast growing areas of interest. The journal publishes refereed articles dealing with research, experience, and management of wireless networks. Its aim is to allow the reader to benefit from experience, problems, and solutions described. Regularly addressed issues include: Network architectures for Personal Communications Systems; wireless LAN's; radio, tactical, and other wireless networks; design and analysis of protocols; network management and network performance; network services and service integration; nomadic computing; internetworking with cable and other wireless networks; standardization and regulatory issues; specific system descriptions; applications and user interfaces; and enabling technologies for wireless networks.

Mobile Networks and Applications Journal (MONET)

MONET's technical scope reflects the emerging symbiosis of portable computers and wireless networks, addressing the convergence of mobility, computing, and information organization, its access and management. The journal publishes Special Issues in all areas of this field. In approving Special Issues, the journal places an equal emphasis on the various areas of nomadic computing, data management, related software and hardware technologies, and mobile user services, alongside more "classical" topics in wireless and mobile networking. The journal documents practical and theoretical results that make a fundamental contribution in these areas.

IV. Conference Highlights

  1. MobiCom'98, Dallas, Texas

    The Fourth Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking (MobiCom'98) was held 25-30 October 1998, in Dallas, Texas. The conference sessions took place in the Omni Dallas Hotel Park West, located about 5 miles from Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

    MobiCom'98 marked the fourth consecutive year of growth for this conference series. We received 147 research paper submissions from around the globe, a growth in number of submissions of about 45% over the previous year's conference. Of these, 27 papers were selected for presentation. Although the largest number of submissions, as was the case in 1997, came from the United States, a third of the accepted papers were from outside the United States.

    Three workshops were held in parallel on the day following the conference (on October 1, 1997). Of these, the workshop on wireless multimedia was new (additional information about the workshops is provided below in Section V).

    Overall, MobiCom'98 featured an excellent technical program on the cutting edge of mobile computing and networking. We also had an enjoyable social program, including welcoming reception, a dinner banquet, and a "Night on the Town".

  2. MobiCom'99, Seattle, Washington

    The Fifth Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking (MobiCom'99) was held August 15-20, 1999, in Seattle, Washington.

    We believe that MobiCom'99 was by far the best MobiCom we have ever organized. The conference was held at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center., a world-class conference facility located in the heart of downtown Seattle and on the waterfront. Three social events with sumptuous meals and liquor delighted the attendees. These events included (1) the Chairman's Welcome Reception, with an accompanying first-ever industry exhibition; (2) the Dinner Banquet at the world famous Space Needle; and (3) the Student, Faculty Dinner Cruise, which included a three-hour cruise of the Puget Sound, with food and spirits served.

    We pushed the limit on every aspect of the conference -- from tutorials, to panels, to papers, to workshops, to social events, to facilities. Several highlights and noteworthy facts include:

    • MobiCom'99 had over 500 participants this year up more than 100% from last year. For the first time in its history, the conference was completely sold out. We were unable to accommodate everyone who wanted to be at this event and had to turn people away, as our facilities were stretched to the limit. Both conference hotels were completely sold out, and we had to add a third to accommodate attendees at a reasonable rate. Over 30 countries were represented at this conference.
    • MobiCom'99 received the highest number of paper submissions (170) in its history, up 121% from just four years ago, and the highest number of tutorial proposals (18), up 184% from last year.
    • A record number of professional organizations (9) from around the world endorsed and cooperated with MobiCom, several for the first time like -- the IEE (UK), the IEICE (Japan), the USENIX Association, and ACM SIGMOD.
    • A record number of corporations (24) financially supported MobiCom'99, and a >record number participated in the exhibition that we tried for the first time this year
    • MobiCom'99 had the highest number of tutorials (up 60% from last year), the highest number of co-located workshops, and the highest number of invited speakers.
    • For the first time in its history, we had reporters from mainstream press cover the conference. Reports about the conference, the speakers, the panels, etc., were published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (August 18, 1999), Wired News (August 17, August 18, and August 20), (August 20), MicroNews, etc.
    The technical program consisted of eleven non-overlapping sessions, including a new, highly entertaining "MobiCom Challenges" session with five papers describing wild ideas and technical challenges facing our community in the next century.

    Overall, we were very happy with the way MobiCom'99 turned out. It was a remarkable success, and we hope to repeat this success in Boston, Massachusetts, the venue for MobiCom 2000.

V. Workshops / Symposiums

SIGMOBILE members can register for a meeting sponsored by SIGMOBILE at the lowest registration rate for their respective appropriate category (student/full-time, advance/on-site, etc.)

Instructions for soliciting "in-cooperation" status from ACM SIGMOBILE

The following three workshops were sponsored by SIGMOBILE and were co-located with MobiCom'98 in Dallas, Texas, held in parallel on the day following the MobiCom'98 conference (30 October 1998):

  • The Second International Workshop on Discrete Algorithms and Methods for Mobile Computing and Communications -- DIAL-M'98
  • The Third International Workshop on Satellite-Based Information Services -- WOSBIS'98
  • The First International Workshop on Wireless Mobile Multimedia -- WoWMoM'98

Due to lack of sufficient interest, the previously planned workshop on "Service Discovery in the Internet" was cancelled.

The following four workshops were sponsored by SIGMOBILE and were co-located with MobiCom'99 in Seattle, Washington, held in parallel on the day following the MobiCom'99 conference (20 August 1999):

  • The Third International Workshop on Discrete Algorithms and Methods for Mobile Computing and Communications -- DIAL-M'99
  • The First International Workshop on Data Engineering for Wireless and Mobile Access -- MobiDE'99
  • The Second International Workshop on Wireless Mobile Multimedia -- WoWMoM'99
  • The International Workshop on Modeling and Simulation of Wireless and Mobile Systems -- MSWiM'99

In addition, ACM SIGMOBILE "cooperated" with several international workshops this last year, including:

VI. Awards

The 1998 SIGMOBILE Award for Outstanding Contribution to Research on Mobility of Systems, Users, Data and Computing was given to Dr. Robert W. Brodersen, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley, USA and Scientific Director of the Berkeley Wireless Research Center.

Prof. Broderson is a pioneer in wireless communications at the level on which everything depends: visionary and low-power hardware design of radios and radio systems for personal wireless communications. He was given this award for the work he did in the InfoPad project and the significance this research project has had both in academia (graduating well trained students) and in Industry (through products that have come out since).

The principal nominator was Prof. David Goodman, Director of the Wireless Information Networking Laboratory (WINLAB) and a Professor at Rutgers University. The other nominators were: Dr. Andrew Viterbi from Qualcomm, Dr. Bob Hewes from Texas Instruments Laboratories, Dr. Alan McLaughlin from MIT Lincoln Labs, and Prof. Rajeev Jain from the University of California, Los Angeles. The award was presented to Prof. Brodersen by Dr. Victor Bahl, SIGMOBILE's Vice Chairman, during the opening session of MobiCom'98.

The 1998 Best Student Paper Award at MobiCom'98 went to Young-Bae Ko, a graduate student in the Computer Science Department at the Texas A&M University, for his paper titled, "Location-Aided Routing (LAR) in Mobile Ad Hoc Networks". The award plaque (along with an honorarium) was presented during the opening ceremonies of the conference in Dallas by the Technical Program Committee Chair Dr. Arvind Krishna.

The 1999 SIGMOBILE Award for Outstanding Contributions to Research on Mobility of Systems, Users, Data and Computing\/b> was given to Dr. Mark D. Weiser, Chief Technology Officer of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Through his inspiring technical vision, effective evangelism and strong leadership, Dr. Weiser has inspired an entire generation of computer scientists to tackle the hardest problems of mobile computing and wireless networking. The award was given in recognition of Dr. Weiser's numerous contributions and visionary leadership in the field of Ubiquitous Computing.

The principal nominator was Prof. Randy Katz, Department Chairman of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California Berkeley. The other nominators were: Dr. Victor Bahl from Microsoft Research, Dr. Roy Want from Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, Prof. Leonard Kleinrock from University of California Los Angeles, and Prof. David B. Johnson from Carnegie Mellon University. The award was presented to Dr. Weiser's daughter Nicole by Dr. Victor Bahl during the opening session of MobiCom'99.

The 1999 Best Student Paper Award for MobiCom'99 went to Amiya Bhattacharya, a graduate student in the Computer Science Department at the University of North Texas, for his paper titled, "LeZi-Update: An Information-Theoretic Approach to Track Mobile Users in PCS Networks".

VII. Logo Contest

To improve SIGMOBILE name recognition, we organized a worldwide SIGMOBILE Logo Design Contest. The contest was open to everyone in the community (both members and non-members of SIGMOBILE). The objective was to solicit an exciting logo that best represents our vibrant community. Participants were asked to keep the following criteria in mind when designing their logos: (1) The logo had to be cool. We wanted submissions that could be used by SIGMOBILE for at least 10 years. (2) The logo had to be unique. We put the responsibility on the participants to send us only those logos that belonged to them. (3) The logo had to be printable.

In response to our call for participation, we received 30 entries. The winner of this contest will be selected by a committee consisting of the ACM SIGMOBILE Executive Committee and other active members.

We are currently in the final stages of completing this contest and the winner will be announced soon.

VIII. Annual Business Meeting

On October 28, 1998, SIGMOBILE held its first annual public business meeting. The meeting was held at the Omni Dallas Hotel, during MobiCom'98. The 1999 annual business meeting was held on August 17, 1999 at the Bell Harbor Conference Center in downtown Seattle, Washington, during MobiCom'99. Both meetings were attended by most of the SIGMOBILE officers and several outspoken members.

IX. Collaborative Efforts with other SIGs, Sibling Societies, and Industry

MobiCom'98 was co-sponsored by SIGCOMM, and IEEE Communications Society. Financial support for the conference was provided by Microsoft Research, Lucent, Chromium Corporation, and Ericsson.

MobiCom'99 was Technically Co-Sponsored by the IEEE Communications Society, in cooperation with ACM SIGCOMM, SIGOPS, SIGMETRICS, and SIGMOD; The USENIX Association; the IEICE; and the IEE. Financial support for the conference was provided by Intel, Microsoft Research, AT&T Cambridge, Compaq Research, IBM Research, Xerox, BBN Technologies/GTE BellSouth WD, CUE, Go America, InfoWave, MediaServ.Com, Nettech, Nextel, Symbol, Research In Motion / Blackbury, WAP Forum, Wireless Knowledge, American Mobile, Bell Atlantic Mobile, Intersil Corporation / Harris Semiconductors, Lucent, Metricom, and SmartServ Online.

X. Future Plans

Our membership has stayed steady for this past year. Although this was slightly disappointing for many of us in the Executive Committee, we were happy to note that while SIG memberships within ACM have in general been declining, SIGMOBILE's membership has remained solid. Our retention rate continues to be the highest among all SIGs. We are taking concrete steps to increase our visibility in the community and have appointed a Publicity Director to focus on our ability to attract new members. We have worked hard to improve our conferences and journals and hope to see the fruits of these efforts in the year ahead.

MobiCom 2000, our flagship conference, will be held in Boston, Massachusetts. Boston is one of most high-tech areas of the US, and also has one of the largest number of institutes of higher learning in the country. By holding MobiCom in Boston, we are hoping to attract a large number of attendees from the local industry and from universities. The General Chair for this conference is Raymond Pickholtz, from the George Washington University, and the Technical Program Committee Co-Chairs are Dr. Ramon Caceres, from AT&T Labs, and Prof. J.J. Garcia-Luna-Aceves, from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

MobiCom 2001 is being planned for Europe.

XI. Listing of Computer and other equipment purchases

The ACM Special Interest Group on Mobility of Systems, Users, Data and Computing