SIGMOBILE Doctoral Dissertation Award

The SIGMOBILE Doctoral Dissertation award will recognize excellent thesis research by doctoral candidates in the field of mobile computing and wireless networks. The SIGMOBILE Doctoral Dissertation Award winner and up to two runners-up will be recognized at one of the ACM SIGMOBILE conferences that the winner chooses. The award winner will receive a plaque, a $1,000 honorarium and a complimentary registration to one of the following year’s ACM SIGMOBILE Conferences. The runners-up each will receive a plaque.

Current Awardees

Rajalakshmi Nandakumar
University of Washington
Computational Wireless Sensing at Scale

For creating an easily-deployed technique for low-cost millimeter-accuracy sensing on commodity hardware, and its bold and high-impact applications to important societal problems.

The committee was impressed with the elegance and simplicity of the approach to accurate sensing described in the dissertation, especially in a space that is already crowded with many strong contributions over the past decade. The committee was even more impressed with the courage and strong follow-through in demonstrating the applications of this technique to challenging real-world domains such as sleep apnea and opiod overdose.

Tingjun Chen (Runner Up)

Columbia University
Algorithms and Experimentation for Future Wireless Networks: From Internet-of-Things to Full-Duplex

For contributions to ultra-low-power wireless networks based on energy harvesting, and to the theory and practice of full-duplex wireless networks.

The committee was impressed with the depth and rigor of theoretical and experimental investigations reported in the dissertation, and with their real-world validation in the COSMOS open-access testbed. In addition to the depth and quality of the technical contributions, their sheer volume is impressive.

Past Awardees


Wenguang Mao
UT Austin
Acoustic Sensing on Smart Devices

Yasaman Ghasempour (Runner Up) Rice University
Next-Generation Wireless Systems for Joint Communication and Sensing in Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Spectrum

Elahe Soltanaghaei (Runner Up) University of Virginia
Sensing the Physical World Using Pervasive Wireless Infrastructure


Fadel Adib
Wireless Systems that Extend Our Senses

Fadel's dissertation proposes ways in which Wi-Fi signals, traditionally used for communication, can be extended for use as sensing tools that enable us to learn about our environment without physically reaching out to the various objects in it.


Vamsi Talla
University of Washington
Power, Communication, Sensing Solutions for Energy Constrainted Platforms

Vamsi's dissertation proposes wireless power delivery and ultra-low power backscatter based communication and sensing solutions for the next billion devices.

Pengyu Zhang
Leveraging Backscatter for Ultra-Low Power Wireless Sensing Systems

Pengyu's thesis presents fundamental principles underlying the physical layer, hardware architecture, and operating system design of backscatter based sensors to enable widespread deployment of such systems.

Swarun Kumar (Runner Up)
Pushing the Limits of Wireless Networks

Swarun's thesis significantly improves the performance of wireless networks in presence of interference and mobility, and enhances them with accurate location.


  1. Nominations are limited to one doctoral dissertation per department.
  2. The thesis should have been successfully defended at the nominee's host institution between May 1, 2021 and March 31 2022, and the final version of each nominated dissertation must have been accepted by the host institution.
  3. Each submission must be on a topic related to mobile computing and wireless networks. The determination of whether a submission is in scope for the award will be made by the SIGMOBILE Doctoral Dissertation Award Committee.
  4. An English-language version of the dissertation must be submitted with the nomination.
  5. A dissertation can be nominated for both the SIGMOBILE Doctoral Dissertation Award and the ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award.
  6. Self-nominations are not accepted.

Submission Deadline

April 1, 2022

Submission Email:

satya AT (see procedure below)

Dissertation Award Committee

  • Aruna Balasubramanian (Stony Brook University)
  • Jennifer Chen (Rutgers University)
  • Romit Roy Choudhury (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • Mahadev Satyanarayanan (chair) (Carnegie Mellon University)
  • Lin Zhong (Yale University)

Submission Procedure

All nomination materials must be submitted in PDF format by email to the Committee Chair by the submission deadline. All nomination materials must be in English. Late submissions will not be considered.

Nominations must include:

  1. A statement summarizing the candidate's PhD thesis contributions and potential impact, and justification of the nomination (no more than two pages).
  2. The dissertation itself;
  3. An endorsement letter by the department chair;
  4. Three endorsement letters supporting the nomination including the significant PhD thesis contributions of the candidate. Each endorsement should be no longer than 500 words with clear specification of the nominee's PhD thesis contributions and potential impact on mobile computing and/or wireless networking;
  5. A concise statement (one sentence) of the PhD thesis contribution for which the award is being given. This statement will appear on the plaque and on the SIGMOBILE website.

Doctoral Dissertation Award Selection Committee

The Doctoral Dissertation Award Selection Committee will consist of several SIGMOBILE members, one of whom will be appointed as the Selection Committee chair. Award committee members will be appointed by the current SIGMOBILE awards chair. The committee chair will adjudicate conflicts of interest, appointing substitutes to the committee as necessary. Committee members may remain on the committee for up to four years.

Resolution of Conflict of Interest

A member of the Doctoral Dissertation Award Committee who has a potential conflict of interest should report it to the committee chair, and the committee chair will determine whether a conflict exists. If the conflict exists, the committee chair and the SIGMOBILE award chair will replace the member of the award selection committee with another volunteer.

A potential conflict of interest occurs when a person is involved in making a decision that: could result in that person, a close associate of that person, or that person's company or institution receiving significant financial gain, such as a contract or grant, or could result in that person, or a close associate of that person, receiving significant professional recognition, such as an award or the selection of a paper, work, exhibit, or other type of submitted presentation. Some examples of instances of associations that could cause a conflict of interest are: employment at the same institution or company candidate for employment at the same institution or company received an honorarium or stipend from the institution or company within the last year co-author on book or paper in the last 48 months co-principal investigator on grant or research project actively working on project together family relationship close personal relationship graduate advisee/advisor relationship deep personal animosity.

Doctoral Dissertation Award Funding

The funding comes exclusively from ACM SIGMOBILE.