The 10th annual LIDS Student Conference, held on January 27th and 28th in the Stata Center, gave students an opportunity to leave their desks and present their work to a receptive audience of peers, faculty, and visitors. This year's conference included 28 student talks in the areas of networks, wireless communications, information theory, and learning and control.
Featured among the sessions were four invited speakers with diverse accomplishments in industry and academia: Professor Jean Walrand from UC Berkeley, Professor Roy Yates of Rutgers University, Drs. Jorge Tierno and Asif Khalak from BAE Systems, and Dr. Robert Metcalfe, founder of 3Com and inventor of Ethernet. Another conference highlight was the panel discussion, in which Pablo Parillo, Eytan Modiano, David Forney, Roy Yates and Profs. Muriel Medard discussed the topic "Is knowledge growing as fast as the stack of research papers?"
The conference was organized by a team of student volunteers coordinated by Jay Kumar Sundararajan and Shubham Mukherjee, along with the help of LIDS administrative staff. The event drew many attendees not only from LIDS, but also neighboring labs such as CSAIL, RLE, LEES, and ORC. "We were very happy to see so many people attending the student talks. The turnout was definitely more than we expected, even for talks that started when the typical grad student is still in bed," said Mukherjee. For many students, speaking at the conference was a valuable step in their research process. "[It} was the first time I presented my research to a group, and I found the feedback very helpful in getting new perspectives on my work," said student speaker Laura Zager.
But the conference, like graduate student life, was about more than just work. Friday's activities ended with a formal banquet held in the R&D Faculty Dining area of the Stata Center. A live jazz trio provided an excellent background for students and faculty to enjoy delicious appetizers, dinner, and dessert. "The dinner was absolutely great," said student Vasanth Sarathy.
The LIDS Student Conference is held annually on the last Thursday and Friday in January. It features keynote speakers, presentations by current students, and a semi-formal banquet. The conference not only provides a forum for research, but also gives a group of student volunteers the opportunity to organize and coordinate a major event.
Thanks to the 2005 Student Conference organizing committee for compiling this article.