the lectures. Yet the impact was also
real. Two students commented to coauthor Justine Sherry that her presentation had led them to consider doing
thesis work in her topic area. Several
female students observed that the
majority of the speakers were women
and commented that it helps them
build up confidence.
Ways We Can Improve
The most obvious way we can improve
is to provide more space, so that all
interested attendees can hear the lectures. While there have been suggestions to put the individual lectures
on video, the unexpected benefits of
clustering the talks have led us to seek
to continue with the in-person multi-lecture format for SIGCOMM 2016.
We also clearly have an issue engaging the audience to ask questions. The
speakers received almost no questions
during the lectures, despite inviting
questions. Yet the post-conference
questionnaire showed that 40% of attendees felt there was not enough time
for questions. It would appear that
something about the format unintentionally suppressed questions. We
need to find ways to make it easier to
1. Partridge, C., Ed. Innovations in Internetworking.
Artech House, Inc., Norwood, MA, 1988.
Ethan Katz-Bassett ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is an assistant
professor in the computer science department at the
University of Southern California.
Justine Sherry ( email@example.com) is an
assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University starting
in Fall 2017.
Te-Yuan Huang ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior software
engineer at Netflix.
Maria Kazandjieva ( email@example.com) is a
senior software engineer at Netflix.
Craig Partridge ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is chief scientist at
Raytheon BBN Technologies.
Fahad Dogar ( email@example.com) is an assistant
professor in the department of computer science at Tufts
The authors thank the individual lecturers (Justine Sherry,
Laurent Vanbever, Aaron Schulman, George Porter, Te-Yuan ( TY) Huang, Maria Kazandjieva, Nandita Dukkipati,
Phillipa Gill) for making the program a success. We also
owe a tremendous debt to the ACM SIGCOMM 2015
local arrangements team (especially Hamed Haddadi) for
dealing with logistics. Finally, a thank you to Netflix for
catering the lunchtime lecture session.
Copyright held by authors.
little useful, and the remainder were
unsure. Interestingly, similar percentages felt that the preview lectures also
helped attendees talk with other attendees about research interests.
We asked whether we should
change the format to individual lectures, or one long session of preview
lectures. Attendees strongly (71%) preferred the format we (rather accidentally) had used of a set of four lectures
previewing the upcoming sessions.
They overwhelmingly (94%) endorsed
keeping each preview lecture short
(10-minute talks) and generally (92%)
felt that the short talks had provided
the right level of background for the
next day’s talks and (89%) clearly
explained the motivation for the research that the talks would present.
Less clear was whether the preview
lectures got the balance right in terms
of how much detail about the papers
was in the preview lecture vs. leaving
the details to actual authors’ presentations the next day. A majority felt the
balance was about right ( 68.6%), but
significant minorities wanted more
( 22.9%) or less ( 8.6%) details of the upcoming papers.
Other Lessons Learned
We learned some things, largely accidentally, while putting on the lecture program. For some students,
the lectures turned out to be their
first exposure to some subfields of
data communications. Some of the
speakers picked up on this vibe and
advertising that their subfield was
“cooler” became a running jest across
For some students,
to be their first
Available for iPad,
iPhone, and Android
Available for iOS,
Android, and Windows