ACM MobiCom 2017 Conference

From October 16th to 20th, I attended the ACM MobiCom conference that has been held in the Snowbird ski resort near Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sponsored since 1995 by the SIGMOBILE group of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), MobiCom is an annual international forum that gathers researchers and students, from academia and industry, to present their latest results in the fields of networks, systems, algorithms, and applications that support mobile computers and wireless communications.
MobiCom is a highly selective conference (about 18% of acceptance this year) offering quality works and presentations.

The 20' presentations took place along the week and were peppered with concurrent workshops, as well as demos and posters sessions, the Student Research Competition (SRC), MobiJob and social events.

This year, during the VLCS 2017 workshop that preceded the main conference on October 16th, I presented the paper SeedLight: Hardening LED-to-Camera Communication with Random Linear Coding co-authored with Razvan Stanica, Hervé Rivano and Adrien Desportes.

During the week, some papers particularly attracted my interest:

Ambush Varshney presented a Visible Light Sensing (VLS) system that consumes only tens of μWs of power to sense hand gestures and communicate. Their design uses solar cells to achieve a sub-μW power consumption for sensing and further transmit the gesture detection results by backscattering the ambient RF signals. Note that Andreas Soleiman, co-author of this paper, won the Student Research Competition and showed a working prototype during the VLCS workshop demo session.

The researchers from University of Minneapolis introduced a promising approach to physical-layer cross-technology communication (CTC) between WiFi and Zigbee.
WEBee opens a promising direction for high-throughput CTC via “physical-level emulation”. WEBee uses a high-speed wireless radio (e.g., WiFi OFDM) to emulate the desired signals of a low-speed radio (e.g., ZigBee) by manipulating only the payload of WiFi packets.
Their paper won the best paper award
The authors also showed WEBee during the Tuesday demo session.

In her paper, Yang creates a covert-channel based on the reflection of surrounding RF signals on smartphone or laptops. This is achieved by controlling the impedance of the device’s wireless network interface card (NIC) by switching it ON or OFF. Even if the throughput is very low (< 2 bps) the main interest of NICScatter is that it doesn’t need any OS modification or root permissions.

After unveiling Litell in 2016, C. Zhang presented Pulsar, an indoor VLC localization system. Pulsar relies on off-the-shelf luminaries, a USB dongle with two photodiodes, and the smartphone sensors to provide accurate (about 10cm) 3D indoor positioning using the angle-of-arrival (AOA) method.

On the first day of the main program, Chen introduced a novel near-field communication protocol, called MagneCom, that takes advantage of Magnetic Induction (MI) signals emitted from CPUs and captured by magnetometers on mobile devices for communication.

Tutorial Sessions

This year, in addition to the conference and workshops, two tutorials funded by the NSF were organized during the weekend.
These tutorials held on the University of Utah campus, were mostly hands-on, and provided exposure to emerging wireless platforms and technologies.

The first tutorial made use of PhantomNet, a platform to enable experimental research in mobile and cellular technologies like 4G and 5G.

The second introduced the edge-computing platform created by the WiNGS Laboratory team led by Suman Banerjee (University of Wisconsin-Madison) called Paradrop.
Paradrop provides computational and storage capacities to the extreme edge of the network, here the WiFi Acess Point, to avoid useless communication to a Cloud platform.

Beyond these five presentations, and like each year, all the sessions were great and I for sure missed to mention a lot of interesting and excellent works!

After Hawaï, Paris, New-York, and Snowbird, the next edition of MobiCom will be held in New Delhi (India). I hope to be there :)

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