This year, Jie Liu and I are program co-chairs for ACM SenSys 2009, the 7th year of this highly successful conference on sensor networks. David Culler is the general chair and is doing a great job making the conference actually happen (by comparison, the job that Jie and I have is pretty easy).
SenSys was started, in part, to provide a venue for true systems papers on sensor nets, as opposed to the large body of theoretical and simulation-based work in the area. Prior to SenSys, there was no single good venue to publish these papers: they did not quite belong in traditional networking or mobile communications conferences; nor did they represent a substantial fraction of the programs at the mainstays of the systems community (such as SOSP and OSDI). I think SenSys has done a great job at carving itself out as the premier conference for sensor networks systems research, and it continues to be an extremely vibrant and competitive venue.
Now that SenSys has been around for a while, Jie and I thought it would be worthwhile to reflect on the state of the WSN research community and consider what the conference's role should be going forward. So, we'd like to hear your thoughts on what direction SenSys should take this year. Please feel free to comment on this article, or just email me with any ideas you have.
As you can tell from the call for papers and the excellent program committee we have put together, we are trying something different with SenSys this year. First, we are bringing in a number of PC members who are outside of the "traditional" WSN community, in the hopes of keeping us on our toes, and maintaining a sanity check on the quality of the papers compared to other areas, such as wireless and mobile networking. Second, we are hoping to broaden the scope of the conference to encompass "non-traditional" sensor network systems, such as the use of mobile phones or underwater sensor nets. At the same time, we have to be careful not to water down the core of the conference (no pun intended). Finally, I am hoping to re-calibrate the conference in terms of its expectations of what constitutes a good paper. In my opinion, not enough papers submitted to SenSys (and other WSN venues) constitute really strong systems papers, in terms of technical depth, presentation, and quality of the evaluation. So while we want to become more inclusive it is also important to maintain high standards.
So, we'd like to get your thoughts on the conference, the reviewing process, and your hopes for what direction we might take. As a reminder, the abstract submission deadline is April 1, with full papers due April 8 - see the full call for papers here.