It’s hard to believe, but only four years ago, the IEEE Communications Society had no regularly scheduled international conference in Latin America. Communications is important to Latin America, which covers 14 percent of the world’s surface, spanning six time zones from east to west and more than 10 460 kilometers from north to south. And traveling to international conferences on other continents was expensive for the society’s members.
“Our members greatly desired a high-quality forum for discussing advances in communications, but many people in Latin America can’t afford to attend more than one such conference in their lifetime,” says Nelson Fonseca, the 2008–2009 IEEE Communications Society director for Latin America.
So Professor Fonseca, head of the computer systems department at the Institute of Computing of the State University of Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil, worked to start the Latin-American Conference on Communications (Latincom), now in its third year. IEEE Latincom 2011 is scheduled to be held in Belém, Brazil, from 24 to 26 October.
Fonseca, an IEEE senior member, says Latin America has wanted a conference that attracts papers and attendees not just from its own region but from around the world. He says authors from more than 20 countries are sending papers to Latincom, and 20 percent of the 300 or so registrants are from countries that include China, France, Kuwait, Russia, and Spain.
Some of the conference’s organizers are from other regions, too. For example, Stefano Bregni, the technical program co-chair, is an associate professor in the department of electronics and information at the Politecnico di Milano, in Italy. “Our technical program committee involves people from all over the world,” says Bregni, an IEEE senior member. “They are from Europe, Asia, and the Americas. It also includes representatives from many of the Communications Society’s technical committees.”
The conference is research-oriented, drawing many academics, but has good participation from industry. “I have met many students and professors at Latincom, but probably more people from industry than I am used to seeing at other society conferences,” Bregni says.
A GREENER WORLD
This year’s theme, appropriate for a conference held in a city on the Amazon River, is “Sustainable Communications for a Green World.” The theme refers both to communication technologies that are energy-efficient in themselves and to communications used in the service of green technologies that help save energy or use it efficiently.
Bregni says topics include “architectures for energy-efficient information transport, energy-efficient protocols, and communications systems and networks that consume less energy than legacy systems.” Topics on communications for green purposes include communication systems for energy management, smart grids, green buildings, and energy-efficient transport of goods and logistics.
The theme, Bregni says, “highlights the need to make communication infrastructure development sustainable, paying attention to various environmental and energy-consumption issues.” But the conference will be broader than that, with more than 150 papers covering all subject areas within the Communications Society’s purview, including signal processing, next-generation networking, communications software, multimedia applications, and system reliability.
In three years, Latincom has become the flagship event of the IEEE Communications Society in Latin America. “We aim at consolidating and extending its success, year after year, to confirm it as one of the don’t-miss events for IEEE’s community of engineers in Latin America,” Bregni says.
Fonseca recalls the first Latincom, when “people were so busy networking that we had to close the convention center to get them to leave. And each year we’ve seen an increase in attendance and papers.
“We wanted to make the region more visible by making it part of the international conference circuit. And I think we’ve finally achieved this.”