Stay Connected to the IEEE Communications Society via the Virtual Distinguished Lecturer Program at the Far North Queensland Region

By Mohan Jacob - Chapter Chair, Northern Australia Section, Joint Chapter MTT17/COM19 and Tao Huang - Member, Northern Australia Section, Joint Chapter MTT17/COM19

In Australia, 2021 was challenging for domestic and international travel due to state and territory border closures. Our Northern Australia Section Joint Chapter, MTT17/COM19, is located in Far North Queensland. The travel restrictions and border closures made it impossible for us to organize face-to-face Distinguished Lecturer seminars as we are located in Australia’s regional area.

However, the development of communications technology enables us to communicate online in real time. People can talk and see each other, and share files and perform presentations online. People can use various devices such as PCs, tablets, or smartphones to participate, and the number of participants can be quite large.

Thus, with the support of the IEEE Communication Society for promoting the online Distinguished Lecturer Program (DLP) and the available communication technology, our Chapter had the opportunity to co-host a few virtual Distinguished Lecturer (VDL) seminars in 2021, together with many other Communications Society Chapters worldwide. It enabled our local Communication Society members to meet and chat with the leading researchers worldwide online.

The list of the VDL seminars co-hosted by our Chapter in 2021 is the following. The figure shows the locations of the DLs, the locations of the co-host Chapters, and the location of our chapter. In total, we interacted with 5 DLs and over 70 co-hosting Chapters.

  • On 29 May 2021, we co-hosted a VDL seminar on “UAV Networks: Architectures, Opportunities, Challenges, and Future” presented by Prof. Sudip Misra from the Indian Institute of Technology, India. The lead host was Associate Prof. Nurul Sarkar of New Zealand North/South/Central Jt. Chapter COM19.

  • On 6 July 2021, we co-hosted a VDL seminar on “Integrated Micro-photonics for Terahertz Systems,” presented by Dr. Daniel Headland from the University of Adelaide, Australia. The lead host was Dr. Morteza Shahpari of South Australia Section Jt. Chapter AP03/MTT17.

  • On 25 August 2021, we co-hosted a VDL seminar on “Harmonising Engineering Education with Nature,” presented by Associate Professor Nemai Karmakar from Monash University, Australia. The lead host is Dr Fatemeh Babaeian in Victorian Section Jt. Chapter AP03/MTT17.

  • On 06 October 2021, we co-hosted a VDL seminar on “Absorptive Frequency-Selective Structures,” presented by Prof. Zhongxiang Shen from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. The lead host was Dr. Hugo Espinosa of Queensland Section Jt. Chapter AP03/MTT17.

  • On 29 October 2021, we co-hosted a VDL seminar on “Connecting Space Assets to the Internet: Challenges and Solutions,” presented by Prof. Mohammed Atiquzzaman from the University of Oklahoma, USA. The lead host was Assistant Professor Dr Zheng Peng, New York Section Chapter COM19.

With Australia’s state and territory borders open in 2022, we will gradually go back to our routine before the pandemic. We will more likely organize the Distinguished Lecturer seminars face-to-face whenever possible. After all, it is always better to have face-to-face discussions and see each other in person. However, it may still be beneficial to organize VDL seminars or face-to-face DL seminars with online sessions whenever it is possible. In this way, we can continue to benefit more members who may not be able to travel due to work arrangements. In addition, we can continue to stimulate international collaborations via online activity.