Membership services are of paramount importance for IEEEComSoc, and especially involving younger members, they represents a big challenge. With the Education Board, we addressed young engineers with several small outreach activities targeted to high schools and universities, mainly in conjunction with other Chapters’ activities or major ComSoc flagship events (IEEE ICC,Globecom, etc.).
The idea to organize a ComSoc Summer School for our Ph.D.student members was originally conceived by IEEE ComSoc President Prof. Sergio Benedetto as well as Prof. Khaled Letaief, Vice-President of Technical Activities, Prof. Stefano Bregni,Vice-President of Member Relations, and Prof. Michele Zorzi,Director of Education.
I’m honored that my university in Trento was chosen for the first edition of this event, as I believed that the city of Trento, the educational, scientific, financial, and political center of Northeastern Italy, could effectively offer the ideal launching point for the first IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc) Summer School. Indeed,Trento is recognized throughout the country for its high quality of life, prosperous business opportunities, and advanced research centers, and it hosts one of the youngest and most modern universities in Italy. The University of Trento was funded in the 1960s,and its Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science is the second highest ranked ICT department in Italy.
We did our best to select the most promising students from more than 100 applicants during the Spring of 2015, aiming at a good balance between young talents at the beginning of their Ph.D. studies as well as more mature researchers. The result was a heterogeneous class of 43 highly motivated participants from all over the world.
The event started on July 6, with the introductory talks given by the Rector of the University of Trento, Prof. Paolo Collini;Head of the Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science (host and co-founder of the initiative), Prof. Gian Pietro Picco; the ComSoc VP of Member Relations, Prof. Stefano Bregni; and myself as the Head of the ComSoc Education Board Training Working Group and local organizer of the event.
The technical program started after a short break with an inter-active lecture on “Collaborative Near-Capacity Wireless SystemDesign” by Prof. Lajos Hanzo, University of Southampton, UK. The talk started by addressing the limitations of MIMOs reliance on co-located array-elements, and then showed how single-antenna-aided cooperative mobiles can circumvent these limitations through the formation of MIMOs with distributed elements, a concept also referred to as Virtual Antenna Arrays (VAA). Then the speech focused on amplify-forward and decode-forward protocols as well as iterative channel coding schemes. Finally, EXIT-chart-aided designs were introduced for creating near-capacity solutions in addition to a range of future research directions and open problems. The session was closed by a comprehensive discussion with the audience about the relationship between the presented subjects and each participant’s Ph.D. topic
An informal dinner at a local pub completed the day, giving the attendees an opportunity to get to know each other better and have discussions in a relaxed environment.
The following day the school hosted Prof. Giuseppe Bianchi from the University of Rome – Tor Vergata, Italy, who delivered a talk entitled “From Dumb to Smarter Switches in Software Defined Networks: Towards a Stateful Data Plane.” The seminar was motivated by a crucial shortcoming in today’s software defined network architectures, namely the need to mandate the execution of all control tasks to a remote controller, and the relevant emerging concerns in terms of latency and signaling over-head. After a brief overview of software defined networking principles as well as a review of Open Flow, the talk focused on recent approaches (recent Open Flow extensions, Reconfigurable Match Tables, Protocol Oblivious Forwarding, etc.) devised to improve data plane programmability on the fast path, i.e. directly inside the switches themselves. In addition, it introduced Open-State, a very recent proposal devised to permit platform-agnostic programmability of stateful tasks.
The following day the school hosted Prof. Giuseppe Bianchi from the University of Rome – Tor Vergata, Italy, who delivered a talk entitled “From Dumb to Smarter Switches in Software Defined Networks: Towards a Stateful Data Plane.” The seminar was motivated by a crucial shortcoming in today’s software defined network architectures, namely the need to mandate the execution of all control tasks to a remote controller, and the rele-vant emerging concerns in terms of latency and signaling over-head. After a brief overview of software defined networking principles as well as a review of OpenFlow, the talk focused on recent approaches (recent OpenFlow extensions, Reconfigurable Match Tables, Protocol Oblivious Forwarding, etc.) devised to improve data plane programmability on the fast path, i.e. directly inside the switches themselves. In addition, it introduced Open-State, a very recent proposal devised to permit platform-agnostic programmability of stateful tasks.
The topics were extremely diverse, from signal processing and resource allocation in LTE to green communications, from cooperation to streaming services.
Participants had one free night for sightseeing or additionalnetworking, before the following seminar, which was held onWednesday morning. Prof. Andrea Goldsmith from Stanford University, USA, presented a four-hour lecture on “The Next Wave in Wireless Communications.” She provided the audience with an extensive discussion of multiuser systems, a survey of current cellular systems and a review of future expectations. The speech then focused on ad hoc wireless networks and on secondary user access in the framework of cognitive radio networks.
Finally, Prof. Goldsmith introduced the issues related to object connectivity (sensors, battery-limited devices) to the Internet,opening a discussion of green wireless networks and the ways to save or harvest power for communications. The session ended with additional hot topic examples and transversal areas of application of communications theory (e.g. neural science).
The Summer School included specific sessions enabling participants to understand the actual problems and technology in th efield of communications. To this aim, practical sessions were held on Tuesday and Wednesday and included visits to the data centerof the University of Trento and to the local network provider,Trentino Network and its Network Operation Center.
Prof. Nelson L.S. da Fonseca of the State University of Campinas, SP, Brazil, closed the event with a seminar on “Networking for Big Data”. The seminar started with a discussion of the Big Data ecosystem, perspectives on society and science and processing capabilities. Prof. Fonseca introduced network virtualization as a fundamental pillar to networking support for the Big Data area, as well as research opportunities not only in networking for Big Data but also in Big Data for networking. Participants were provided with lab exercises to practice on their way back home.
Summarizing, the Summer School was a challenging and exciting event. Considering the feedback I collected from the attendees and the speakers, I’m very proud of the outcome, and I believe it could pave the way to becoming an integral and permanent component of the yearly events organized by the IEEE Communications Society for its members.For additional information on the IEEE ComSoc Summer School, please visit http://www.comsoc.org/summer-school.