Every year, ACM’s Special Interest Group on Data Communication (SIGCOMM) holds its flagship conference to report recent advances in Internet design. This year, the SIGCOMM conference was held at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center, with UCLA computer science professor Lixia Zhang and UCR computer science and engineering professor KK Ramakrishnan as the general chairs.

The event was successful, with over 800 attendees coming from around the world to attend the numerous workshops and lectures held throughout the five-day conference. For the first time since its inception, the conference and all of its workshops were also available online via real-time streaming, so those who could not attend in person were able to attend remotely.

Notable speakers include Raj Jain, a professor of computer science & engineering at Washington University, who gave the keynote address on the impact of networking and what makes certain technologies succeed and others fail, as well as Jennifer Rexford, 2016 ACM Athena Lecturer awardee and professor of computer science at Princeton University, who delivered her keynote speech, “Hitting the Nail on the Head: Interdisciplinary Research in Computer Networking”. Leonard Kleinrock, a distinguished professor of computer science at UCLA, also gave a notable mini-talk on the birth of the Internet.

“[The significance of my talk] was that young researchers should really look into the history of networking and IT to be sure to be aware of early work, so that they don’t repeat work that’s already been done,” Kleinrock said. “Previous generations did not have the benefit of today’s technology (e.g. computers, Internet, smartphones, etc.), so they had to invent them — responding to the view that some of the current generation have about the earlier generation being disconnected from the coming generation…In the end, I really wanted to challenge [today’s researchers] to consider what they were going to do for the generations that follow them, and encourage them to [invent great new things, like the Internet]”.

Mohammad Alizadeh, an assistant professor in the Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Department at MIT and winner of the best paper award, praised the conference for being “well organized, with an excellent program.” Alizadeh also commended the speeches, saying,  “There were also some great talks, from Mark Handley’s talk, which I think raised the bar for how to give a networking talk, to Jennifer Rexford and Raj Jain’s inspiring keynote talks, and more. But the highlight of the conference for me was Len Kleinrock’s tour of the UCLA Internet Museum — listening to Kleinrock tell the story of the birth of the Internet in a tiny room full of networking researchers, and getting to see — and smell! — IMP, the first node to send a message on the Internet, was a blast. It really puts into perspective both what an accomplishment it was to get the Internet off the ground, and how far we’ve come since then.”

In addition to the numerous speakers and Computer Science staff that helped put on the conference, many UCLA professors were directly involved with orchestrating the event, as well — Hal Monbouquette, who was involved in the planning of the conference, George Varghese, who was part of the Program Committee, Peter Reiher, who was local arrangement chair, and Alex Afanasyev, who was web chair, were also integral to the conference’s success, as well as Bharathan Balaji, an electrical engineering postdoctoral scholar who handled all AV tasks and acted as local arrangement co-chair, allowing for the conference to be streamed real-time for remote attendees.

Learn more about SIGCOMM and the speakers and workshops that were held there this year at the official conference website.

 UCLA Samueli Materials Science and Engineering