Keynote Speakers

From circuits to packets to flows to content to system: how abstractions define a research agenda

Jim Kurose
Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst MA, USA

Abstract: For nearly fifty years, beginning with Kleinrock’s pioneering work on using queueing theory to model packet flows in communication networks, network modeling has adopted the packet as a primary abstraction for network modeling and analysis. In the 1990’s the notion of “flows” (generally associated with TCP connections) gained currency, and more recently “content” has become the central abstraction in the content-centric networking. In this talk, we trace how dominant networking abstractions reflect and define a research agenda. We conclude with a discussion of how SDN and the management capabilities it enables have created a new focus on autonomic management of the network, and its services, as a system, particularly for wireless networks. Lastly, we conclude this talk with some musings on research funding, and teaching and learning networking.

Bio: Jim Kurose is a Distinguished University Professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he has been on the faculty since receiving his PhD in computer science from Columbia University. He received a BA in physics from Wesleyan University. He has held a number of visiting scientist positions in the US and abroad, including the Sorbonne University, the University of Paris, INRIA and IBM Research. He is proud to have mentored and taught an amazing group of students, and to have received a number of awards for his research, teaching and service, including the IEEE Infocom Award, the ACM SIGCOMM Lifetime Achievement Award, the ACM Sigcomm Test of Time Award, and the IEEE Computer Society Taylor Booth Education Medal. With Keith Ross, he is the co-author of the best-selling textbook, Computer Networking: a Top Down Approach (Pearson), now in its 8th edition. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the ACM and the IEEE.

Good Times for Wireless Research

Ashutosh Sabharwal,
Earnest Dell Butcher Professor of Engineering
Department Chair,
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Director, Rice RENEW (
Director, Expeditions in Computing
Founding Director, Rice Scalable Health Labs

Abstract: Wireless networking has been a major success story of engineering, and as a field of research, its future continues to be even brighter than its past. The field will need many breakthroughs, by the whole research eco-system, to achieve the grand vision of next-generation networks. Thus, it is important to accelerate the research eco-system while ensuring three R's of the scientific research: repeatability, replicability, and reproducibility. In the first part of our talk, we reflect on our (personal) journey in developing and disseminating open-source wireless research platforms, and how flexible platforms have shaped what research questions we can pose. Both successes and shortcomings from the past are at the heart of our next major step: the POWDER-RENEW platform, designed to be the world's first open platform for next-generation massive-MIMO wireless research, with an emphasis to empower the 3R's for wireless research. In the second part of our talk, we reflect on our recent experimental research results in massive MIMO, to appreciate how flexible platforms can lead to novel research insights, and potentially shape the future wireless research and standards.

Bio: Ashutosh Sabharwal works in two areas. His first area of research is wireless. He is the founder of WARP project (, an open-source project which is now in use at more than 125 research groups worldwide, and have been used by more than 450 research articles. His second area of research is healthcare technologies. He is currently leading several NSF-funded center-scale projects, notably Rice RENEW (open-source massive MIMO) and “See below the skin” for non-invasive bio-imaging. He founded the Rice Scalable Health Labs (, which is developing a new engineering area called “bio-behavioral sensing.” His research has led to four commercial spinoffs (one in wireless and three in healthcare). He received 2017 IEEE Jack Neubauer Memorial Award, 2018 IEEE Advances in Communications Award, 2019 ACM Test-of-time Award and 2019 ACM MobiCom Community Contribution Award.