IEEE INFOCOM 2023 Conference Highlights

By Min Song - General Co-Chair, INFOCOM 2023 and Nariman Farvardin - General Co-Chair, INFOCOM 2023

IEEE International Conference on Computer Communications (INFOCOM) has always been a premier conference in computer communications and networking. It draws researchers from across the globe to present and exchange innovative contributions and breakthrough ideas. This year, the organizing committee and the technical program committee worked hard to provide a rich technical program consisting of 63 technical paper sessions, 20 workshops, a student poster session, a demo session, a keynote speech, panels, and an interview with the INFOCOM achievement award winner.

After being held virtually for the past three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, INFOCOM 2023 offered both in-person and remote participation for about 800 participants from 39 countries. INFOCOM 2023 also marks the first time that the conference has been held on a university campus at Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, New Jersey, USA, on May 17–20, 2023.

There were quite a few challenges in organizing INFOCOM 2023. First and foremost was the hybrid mode. Except for the workshops that were offered exclusively online, all programs were hosted on the Stevens campus and streamed live to all remote attendees via Zoom. “The hybrid mode, together with the ever-changing travel restrictions around the world, made hosting INFOCOM2023 much more challenging than any other edition of INFOCOM,” said Larry Xue, Chair of the IEEE INFOCOM Steering Committee.

Another big challenge was partially due to the change of the conference venue. INFOCOM 2023 was initially scheduled years ago to be held in Tokyo, Japan. In June 2022, faced with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions, the INFOCOM Steering Committee decided to move it to the U.S. and reached out to Stevens Institute of Technology for hosting it in a hybrid mode. By that time, we projected to have around 250 in-person attendees. No one would have expected that this number would eventually reach 517, with the number of remote attendees being around 300.

Coffee break, Babbio Center.

As a technological research university located on the banks of the Hudson River, Stevens Institute of Technology was fully committed to providing all participants with a stimulating and exceptional conference experience, with stunning views of and easy access to New York City. Stevens President Nariman Farvardin welcomed conference attendees at the opening of the conference, promising to give them an intellectually and culturally stimulating experience. He thanked the participants for visiting Stevens, the organizing committee for their work, and “his boss,” Chairman of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Dr. Min Song for his detailed planning and preparation.

The Stevens INFOCOM team, together with the organizing committee, worked hard for several months to plan and organize the event. Based on the ever-increasing number of attendees, the Stevens team managed to explore all the spaces and resources at the newly established University Complex Center to offer a high-quality conference experience for all attendees. The Stevens Division of Information Technology provided reliable network connections and livestreamed the programs to about 300 remote attendees via Zoom. In particular, the Division of IT purchased nine new computers with wired network connections for each session room and set up a dedicated wireless network for the conference attendees. More than 10 Stevens staff members from the Divisions of IT, Facilities, Campus Police, University Events, and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering provided full on-site service for the conference. Twenty student volunteers from Stevens Institute of Technology, under the guidance of the organizing committee, worked tirelessly since early May 2023 to download all the presentation slides (for in-person paper presenters) and videos (for remote paper presenters). The student team checked each and every slide and video before the conference to ensure smooth and timely session operations for both in-person and remote attendees. The entire Stevens INFOCOM team also conducted comprehensive testing and rehearsal on May 15, 2023 – two days before the conference.

Finding a parking space in Hoboken has sometimes been a challenge. To address this issue, Stevens offered free daily and overnight parking for conference attendees. About 30 in-person attendees benefited from this free service from Stevens.

Aiming to create a stimulating conference experience for in-person attendees, the conference hosted a number of local events that took advantage of the unique location of the conference venue and provided high-quality food service for all in-person attendees. These include a chartered cruise dinner around Manhattan on May 17 and a banquet dinner on May 18. Moreover, INFOCOM 2023 attracted five patrons. Their contribution undoubtedly helped INFOCOM 2023 offer a high-quality, inclusive, and diverse experience for all attendees and ensured that INFOCOM 2023 remained a top-ranked conference in networking.

“I have heard only positive feedback from the conference participants. Every day, there were participants expressing their sincere appreciation of the INFOCOM2023 organizing committee for a great edition of INFOCOM,” said Larry Xue.

Attendees enjoy the moment before the cruise dinner