Recent Activities in the ComSoc Western USA Region 6

By Zhensheng Zhang - Vice Chair of the San Diego Chapter and Region 6 Representative on the North America Region Board, USA

Within the North America region of the Communications Society (ComSoc), there are seven local regions (, with the Western USA making up Region 6. In this article we will provide some details about the region and report on some of the recent activities within the region.

The Western USA Region 6 has approximately 3,715 ComSoc members and consists of the following 16 chapters: Buenaventura, Coastal Los Angeles, Foothill, Hawaii, Oakland East Bay, Orange County, Oregon, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Fernando Valley, San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Clara Valley, Seattle, Tucson, and Utah

This region is one of the most active regions within North America. Most of the chapters actively organize technical, advanced, and tutorial-type or hands-on seminars, host distinguished lecture tours, and plan social events to provide our ComSoc members with opportunities to network with their peers and add value to their ComSoc membership. Below are a few sample activities within the region, just to provide a glimpse within the region’s activities. More detailed descriptions of the activities can be found in each chapter’s website.

The Santa Clara Valley Chapter organized a technical talk on 13 May 2015 on the topic “NFV, SDN, and the Need for Optimized Server and Processor Architectures”, given by Gopal Hegde, VP/GM, and Bharat Mota. Software defined networks (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV), which advance the evolution of cloud computing, are technologies that will play a critical role in next-generation data centers and enterprise networks. Driven by continued demand for low-cost computing, the proliferation of NFV and SDN will place additional burdens on both computing and communications infrastructures of data centers. On one end, computing resources will be expected to shoulder additional demands of network workloads, whereas on the other end, there will be higher demands on scalability, lower latency, and increased I/O bandwidth demands, to mention just a few. Two experts from Cavium and Freescale provided a review of these issues, and presented new optimized server architectures to respond to the higher demands enabled by NFV and SDN. There were approximately 60 attendees. The Santa Clara Valley Chapter also hosted an annual society mixer event on 13 August 2015, providing networking opportunities for our members.

A Distinguished Lecture Tour was hosted by the Seattle, Oregon, and Vancouver chapters between 19 May and 23 May 2015. The Distinguished Lecturer was Dr. Rath Vannithamby, covering the topic “5G Evolution and Candidate Technologies”. As 4G standards have been completed and networks are beginning to be deployed, the attention of the mobile research community is shifting toward what will be the next set of innovations in wireless communication technologies. Given a historical 10-year cycle for every generation of cellular advancement, it is expected that networks with 5G technologies will be deployed around the year 2020. Technologies for future cellular wireless networks and devices are expected to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse set of devices and services in 5G. This presentation discussed the usages and technologies that will comprise the next set of cellular advancements in 5G, in particular: the applications and usages for future 5G communications; a set of key metrics for these usages and their corresponding target requirements; and the potential network architectures and enabling technologies to meet 5G requirements. It is expected that some of the new technologies comprising 5G will be evolutionary, covering gaps and enhancements from 4G systems, while some other technologies will be disruptive. These technologies will encompass the end-to-end wireless system, from wireless network infrastructure to spectrum availability to device innovations. The presentation also provided an overview of 5G activities around the world to provide a better understanding of the vision and research direction of various teams as they tackle the challenging problems of capacity, massive numbers of IoT devices, ultra-low latency, ultra-low power efficiency, etc., that wireless networks are expected to face beyond 2020.

The San Diego Chapter, which won the ComSoc Best Chapter Award in 2013, hosted many technical talks and is actively co-sponsoring the ComSoc flagship conference IEEE GLOBECOM 2015 to be held 6–10 December 2015 in San Diego.

On 18 June 2015 the San Diego chapter hosted a technical talk on “Noninvasive Detection of Emotional Contagion in Online Social Networks”, given by Dr. Lorenzo Coviello. We can summarize the talk as follows: Does semantic expression spread online from person to person? And if so, what kinds of expression are most likely to spread? To address these questions, the speaker proposed a non-experimental, noninvasive method to detect and quantify contagion of semantic expression in massive online social networks. Using only observational data, the method avoids performing emotional experiments on users of online social networks, a research practice that recently became the object of criticism and concern. The model combines geographic aggregation and instrumental variables regression to measure the effect of an exogenous variable on an individual’s expression and the influence of this change on the expression of others to whom that individual is socially connected. The method is applied to the emotional content of posts generated by a large sample of Facebook users over a period of three years. Those results suggest that each post expressing a positive or negative emotion can cause friends to generate one to two additional posts expressing the same emotion, and it also inhibits their use of the opposite emotion. The method can be applied to contexts different than emotional expression and to different forms of content generated by the users of online platforms. The method makes it possible to determine the usage of words in the same semantic category spread, and to estimate a signed relationship between different semantic categories, showing that an increase in the usage of one category alters the usage of another category in one’s social contacts. Finally, it also allows one to estimate the total cumulative effect that a person has on all of their social contacts. Approximately 50 people attended the talk.

As mentioned earlier, the Western USA Region 6 is one of the most active local regions within North America. ComSoc members are encouraged to check each chapter’s website for upcoming events and to get involved in their chapter’s activities.