Distinguished Lecturer Tour of Tarik Taleb: From Finland to Malaysia

By Fazirulhisyam Hashim - IEEE Malaysia ComSoc/VTS Joint Chapter, Hafizal Mohamad - IEEE Malaysia ComSoc/VTS Joint Chapter and Nur Idora Abdul Razak - IEEE Malaysia ComSoc/VTS Joint Chapter

In November 2015, the IEEE Malaysia ComSoc/VTS Joint Chapter hosted an IEEE ComSoc Distinguished Lecturer Tour (DLT) by Professor Tarek Taleb at three different venues, namely MCMC Cyberjaya, UiTM Shah Alam, and the Hilton Kuching. The speaker, Prof. Taleb, is a Professor at the School of Electrical Engineering, Aalto University, Finland. Prior to his current academic position, he worked as senior researcher and 3GPP standards expert at NEC Europe Ltd, Heidelberg, Germany. Before joining NEC and until March 2009, he worked as an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Information Sciences, Tohoku University, Japan, in a lab fully funded by KDDI, the second largest network operator in Japan.

Prof. Taleb arrived in Malaysia on November 22 and was met by Fazirulhisyam Hashim, the current Chair of the IEEE Malaysia ComSoc/VTS Joint Chapter, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), and later checked-in at the Everly Putrajaya Hotel. After finalizing the check-in process, they had a light dinner at the Black Canyon Restaurant in the Alamanda Shopping Mall, which is a three-minute walk from the hotel.

The following day at 10.30 am, Prof. Taleb delivered his first lecture at the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), Cyberjaya. There were approximately 60 attendees, mainly from various research institutes in Malaysia and industry. In the afternoon, Prof. Taleb went to the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Shah Alam, to deliver his second lecture. There were approximately 20 attendees at this lecture; 90 percent of them were postgraduate students taking telecommunications courses, and the rest were from academia. The audiences were very interested in the topic, which is relevant to their field of studies and research. The program ended with some refreshments, at which time the audience took the opportunity to interact with the speaker.

On November 24 Prof. Taleb took a flight to Kuching, Sarawak to deliver his third lecture, which was scheduled on the following day at the Hilton Kuching, in the Main Ballroom. He was one of the keynote speakers at the 2015 IEEE 12th Malaysia International Conference on Communications (MICC2015). This lecture attracted 100 attendees, mainly from academia and industry.

In his three lectures, Prof. Taleb started with a video clip and introduction of Aalto University and the city of Helsinki. In general, the audiences were exposed to 5G technology and the research work in this area. Prof. Taleb highlighted some issues on the existing telecommunications networks that are hardware-oriented and have a centralized architecture. With the increasing demand for future mobile applications, networks need to be dynamic and flexible. The solution is to migrate to software-defined networking, virtualization, and cloud computing. Prof. Taleb also demonstrated his research work on the topic. In addition, he showcased the feasibility of on-demand creation of cloud-based elastic mobile networks, along with their lifecycle management. The lecture introduced a set of technologies and key architectural elements to realize such a vision, turning end-to-end mobile networking into software engineering.

All three of the lectures were very successful and well attended. We noted that some in the audiences were non- IEEE members. Thus, this event was an ideal platform for us to spread the message of IEEE to postgraduate students and industry. The IEEE Malaysia ComSoc/VTS Joint Chapter would like to thank Prof. Taleb for his lecture, and we hope that we will meet again in the near future. Above all, we would like to extend our special appreciation to IEEE ComSoc for arranging such a wonderful program.