XII International Siberian Conference on Control and Communications (SIBCON-2016)

By Oleg Stukach - Tomsk ComSoc Chapter Vice-Chair, Russia

The flagship event of the joint COM/AP/ED/MTT/EMC Tomsk Chapter, the Siberian Conference on the latest advances in communications and control systems, was held in Moscow, the Russian Federation, on 12–14 May 2016. Approximately 180 participants from 23 countries presented 232 technical papers in 12 oral sessions. There were five workshops and seven short courses in addition to a number of related events. Discussions included emerging wireless related growth areas such as 5G technologies, networking control, electron devices, wearable electronics, Internet of Things (IoT), and coms/microwave technology in life. The Conference as a whole demonstrated continuing interest in analysis and control methods for communications.

The best activity of a chapter is the organization of conferences. To some extent we are united by a joint passion for organizing events. “Oh, conferences once again,” you exclaim, “there are a lot of conferences worldwide.” I will try to argue that our event is unique. It is completely unpredictable both in the planning and in the background. As a rule, well known flagship events of ComSoc and other societies follow a similar scenario. Also, participants know exactly what they can expect. They can plan their participation in individual sessions as well as in the cultural program.

Probably that model is not for us. In our conditions the planning of a conference 18 months to two years in advance is a great achievement. We had a few examples of needing to change the venue three days before the start of an event, despite preliminary agreements. A positive aspect of this event was more comfortable meeting buildings.

SIBCON has a 20-year history, but for the first time it took place in Moscow, at the Higher School of Economics (HSE). Because of our geographic location, for many people participation in a conference is a rare event. That is why, since 2011, we have located the conference in different cities around the country. Here it is generally difficult to limit the time for presentations, as people want to spend a lot of time communicating and discussing reports. At SIBCON-2015 (see ED-S Newsletter, January 2016), despite planning for additional time, one session continued into the next day, and according to rumors, that was still not enough time. Truly there is nothing more valuable than the luxury of human communication.

The collaboration of industry and academia has great value for us, bringing together and cross-fertilizing ideas from applied areas that have many similarities. Such opportunities arise due to the support of the Conference by National Instruments Company and HSE. A number of papers addressed the problems of engineering design of cyber-physical systems. Significant attention was paid to the analysis and design of network control systems and communication. Also, the papers with applications to problems of measurement based on the National Instruments technologies were presented.

The major goals of the Conference, to bring together researchers from various fields, to advance the state-of-the-art of control theory and technology for communications, and to gain some general and unified perspectives in this interdisciplinary field of advanced research, were achieved.

There are two things that made our work much better. First is a revolutionary reorganization of MCE with additional service to the conference organizers, including cross-check, electronic copyright forms, PDF-express, etc. Second is the change of evaluation criteria for research activity. Many authors, to have stability in the job market, want to write papers indexed in databases. We did not pay attention to scientific writing before. Now we have the opportunity to choose to present the best papers among many submitted works. The percentage of accepted papers is now almost equal to 30 percent, which was almost unattainable previously. It is true that we have additional work due to the higher number of submitted papers submitted. As a result, we keep an eye on the increasing interest of ComSoc: more engineers and professionals are reading in English, and they compare their results with high quality papers. We hope that this sharp move to quality will continue in the following years.