Thursday, August 16, 2012

SIGCOMM - Day 1 (Tuesday)

SIGCOMM comments are still being queued up and my CellNet impressions are perhaps a bit delayed.  I should have something later on today now that I brought my notebook to the conference rather than my iPad.

A few comments / thoughts from Day 1 of SIGCOMM 2012:

  • Wonderful keynote by Nick McKeown with regards to his experiences over his career.  He encouraged people to work on problems that industry did not care about (yet) and preferably those problems that make industry angry.  Certainly he is accomplishing that with SDN (Software Defined Networking) and Cisco.  The other interesting aspect is that he puts everything he does in the public domain to make collaborations easier, i.e. no IP (Intellectual Property) at risk means no issues in fighting over IP.  Plus, the bonus argument of taxpayer funds means it should be fully available / free.  
  • Interesting was the tail end of Nick's talk discussing the future of SIGCOMM and pushing the notion that SIGCOMM is still pretty insular and needs more people.  He pitched that SIGCOMM should double the number of papers and aim for 2,000 attendees.  Not entirely bad I would say.
  • Extremely uncomfortable moment during the first paper session.  One of the questioners (in typical SIGCOMM fashion) pointed out bluntly that the paper being presented should not have been accepted as someone already offers the exact service noted for $49 / month.  You could have heard a pin drop after the commenter made his remark.  He was most certainly right though but it was probably a bit much to request that everyone keep track of all various startups / efforts in the space.  Kudos to the presenter for staying quite composed during the questioning.  
  • That being said, the relative insularity of SIGCOMM citations seems still as prevalent as ever.  That paper in question failed to cite anything out of the typical SIGCOMM sphere of conferences (NSDI, CoNext, etc.).  It did seem though that this year's SIGCOMM was definitely broader in terms of the authors.  Quite a few of the usual suspects but not overwhelmingly so.  Stanford's wireless group was heavily represented and they have some pretty cool work (see Day 2 comments coming up). 
  • SIGCOMM definitely does student outreach right.  Very well done with N2Women (Day 2) and the student banquet.  Though with two hundred students in attendance, things probably got a bit diluted due to the popularity and location of being in Europe.  Bummer though that none of the industry sponsors came to the student banquet.  

To wrap up, holy number of analyzed streams by Conviva (Stoica / Zhang and company).  I am thinking that is a space we should just stay away from as it is hard to compete with 2 billion flows that Conviva analyzes.  Simply amazing but man, either I am old or something as their titles on the slides are nearly impossible to read with green text on a white background.

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