Activities of the IEEE ComSoc Saudi Arabia Chapter in 2021 in Collaboration with the IEEE ComSoc ComSoft TC

By Mohammed S. Juaid - Chair of the IEEE ComSoc Saudi Arabia Chapter

In 2021, we in the IEEE ComSoc Saudi Arabia Chapter continued the practice of delivering our technical sessions over virtual meeting platforms. This year, we have been honored with a fruitful partnership with the IEEE ComSoc Communications Software Technical Committee where distinguished sessions were arranged on various subjects.

As a sort of reflection on what we encountered in 2020 and 2021 for virtual sessions, it became more challenging to attain considerably good number of attendees. From my perspective, attendees now have more viable options and plenty of recorded technical sessions that they can watch at their own convenience. Even for an advertised session, attendees may assume that the session will be recorded and published at a later time, so there is no need to commit to a certain date and time to listen to a technical session. On the other side, sessions that require physical presence might have their own advantages of encouraging attendees to commit and attend. Among these advantages are the establishment of personal networking with the speaker and other professionals from the same field. These are just some reflections from our side, and it will be enriching to hear reflections from other ComSoc Chapters.

Talking about our key sessions in 2021, the first session was conducted on February 23,2021 with the title “Getting Involved in Standardization in IEEE: Introducing IEEE COM/NetSoft Standards Committee.” It discussed the IEEE standardization process, the importance of getting involved in standardization, an introduction of the IEEE ComSoc Network Softwarization and Virtualization Standard Committee (COM/NetSoft SC), and the standards projects overseen by this Standard Committee. The session was delivered by Professor Mehmet Ulema from Manhattan College, who is also the Chair of the IEEE COM/NetSoft Standards Committee.

On April 28, 2021, Professor Xiaojun (Matt) Cao from Georgia State University gave us a session on “Applications and Challenges in Network Virtualization.” This talk addressed network virtualization focusing on its applications and challenges. With network virtualization, network hardware resource and network functionality can be abstracted as logical entities. Delivery of a service on top of the different virtualization techniques in networks will be in the form of linking the network functions or abstract logical entities as the service function chain (SFC). A variety of SFC composition and embedding challenges may arise together with the benefits of the virtualization techniques. Such benefits and different flavors of function chaining processing including SFC deployment, hybrid SFC embedding, and dependence-aware SFC composition were also discussed.

Late in the Summer on September 1, 2021, we had a session about “Federated Learning: State of the Art, Current Trends and Challenges.” It addressed an overview of the federated learning technology state of the art and discussed the challenges its advancement encounters. Our Distinguished Speaker for this session was Professor Nelson Fonseca from the State University of Campinas.

Our collaboration with CommSoft Technical Committee in 2021 was concluded by another interesting talk about “Computation Offloading and Activation of Mobile Edge Computing Servers Using Minority Game Models.” In this talk, Professor Ekram Hossain from University of Manitoba presented minority game (MG)-based distributed methods for computation offloading and server mode selection for mobile edge computing (MEC) networks. The basics of a minority game model was also discussed.

I will take this opportunity to acknowledge the aforementioned speakers for the time they allocated for us and the knowledge they shared with our communities. Also, special thanks should go to our colleague Dr. Abd-Elhamid Taha from Alfaisal University for his outstanding contribution in the arrangement of these session. We are looking forward to keeping and expanding on such fruitful partnerships and collaborations.

The cycle for 2022 has started, and we envision having 2022 events be a mix of virtual events with some events that will be organized in physical venues such as conference rooms.