Sunday, December 30, 2007

Yikes, long times between postings

Well, the holidays have certainly made things difficult to keep things updated as regularly as I was hoping. Toss in a family emergency to a tight schedule and all bets are off.

A few quick notes for those that do peruse this:

- The INFOCOM 2008 is now on-line and it is a monster. The inclusion of the mini-conference on the main list kept me busy noting relevant papers for my students to look at. Multicast and classical QoS (that isn't pure theory) outside of wireless are definitely minor niche research areas now. I'll certainly be out at Phoenix for the conference despite not having a paper in the main conference (sigh, yet again). Amusingly enough, we have a very good chance (nearly finalized) of getting Cisco funding for our work that was rejected so I guess I'll take money over a publication.

- NDSI 08 results are also out. By in large the reviews were very thorough (a nice trait of the USENIX arena of conferences) but a near miss for us on our Lockdown work. Unfortunately, a single reviewer whose criticisms and ratings were out of sync with the rest of the reviews pretty much doomed the paper. We certainly made the discussion phase but with only 30 out of 175 papers making it in, a killer review like that is too hard to overcome. Eh, not much one can in those cases but grin and bear it and simply note to the students that it indeed happens to everyone in the field.

Long story short, we targeted ease of use and intuitiveness (i.e. just make it work) and the reviewer wanted novelty and complexity (i.e. simplicity is bad). Certainly fair for a conference like Security and Privacy but I thought a bit too pointed for the systems-oriented nature of NSDI. Interestingly enough, a core argument in the paper is that a huge problem in security is that we are making these wonderful complex systems that are hard to use and they aren't being used because well .... they are hard to use. It makes me wonder if Ethernet were proposed today (work with me here) would ever have a chance at a major conference or grant review panel. I certainly have some strong opinions on how the networking conference track is going the wrong direction (too much gatekeeping, not enough prospecting) but that is a post for a different day (post tenure of course). Let's just say I no longer frown upon abstract only submissions like I used to that other areas of CS heavily use. If I have time, I'll post the reviews on-line with the comment/response notes that we did for the HotNets paper which I think was a good exercise.

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