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CoNEXT 2006 comes to an end

Posted by Michael Gellman on December 8, 2006

CoNEXT 2006 has come to an end. It was a great couple of days getting to speak to European and American Networking researchers, and I really enjoyed the experience!

I have recorded the talks of all the speakers (except for Matthias’ talk which was overwritten by the shoddy Thomson MP3 player they gave us). If anyone would like me to post any audio, or if any of the speakers would like a copy for improving their future presentations, just post a comment.

Also, my camera died on the first day of the conference so I don’t have any photos. If you attended the conference and have taken any pictures, please leave a comment or drop me a line at

I’m looking forward to CoNEXT 2007 in New York!


Michael Gellman

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Updated (4 March 2007):

Here we post few photos from CoNEXT 2006 kindly sent to us by Ana Rita Leitão.

CoNEXT 2006

CoNEXT 2006

CoNEXT 2006

CoNEXT 2006

CoNEXT 2006


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10 tips to write a paper (from Jim Kurose)

Posted by Michael Gellman on December 5, 2006

The second event of the CoNEXT 2006 student workshop was a panel discussion entitled “How to write a paper” with Jim Kurose, Christophe Diot and Anja Feldmann. Each speaker offered different advice that is invaluable to anyone interested in writing quality papers.

Jim Kurose started the panel with a great selection of tips and advice on writing a quality paper. He’s posted his slides, and I’ve uploaded an audio recording of his talk, with highlights below. If you would like to post this audio somewhere on the web, you must get Jim’s permission first.


10 tips to write a paper

Jim Kurose

  1. Every paper tells a story. Know your story.

    Look at the story as an “elevator pitch” – it’s a summary that if you got into an elevator with someone, by the time that you got to the top of a 10-story building, you could tell them what your paper is about.A story is not what you did, but it is the new ideas and new insights that you have.

  2. Write top-down

    State your broad themes first. Say what you are going to say before you say it.

  3. Introduction: crucial, formulaic

    He has a full write-up on his website of the way an introduction should be structured, but it basically boils down to the following 5 paragraphs:

    1. Motivation: what is the problem, and why is it important?
    2. Narrow down the scope. Within this broad area, this is what I’m doing.
    3. This paragraph always starts “In this paper, we …” This is the most important paragraph in the entire paper. You have 10-15 lines of text to summarize your story, and it had better sound exciting.
    4. How different, better is your work compared to others’ work.
    5. The remainder of this paper is structured.

  4. Master the basis of organized writing

    Know that a paragraph is an ordered set of topically related sentences, and should always starts with a lead sentence. Sentences and paragraphs should flow logically. Don’t mix tenses.

  5. Put yourself in place of reader

    Don’t make the reader suffer — it should be a pleasant experience. It is easy to dump lots of thoughts on the page; what’s hard is crafting them into a story. Take the time to write less. Readers will not dig to get a story.

  6. Put yourself in place of reader

    Signpost, give a road-map of where you’re going. Think about what the reader knows and doesn’t know; what they need and don’t need. You are writing for the reader, not for yourself.

    Try to use white-space, bulettedlists, figures, etc. to make your paper easier to read.

  7. No one (not even your mother) is as interested in this topic as you

  8. State results carefully

    Don’t overload the reader with 40 graphs. If you can’t use less than 40 graphs, something is wrong. Leave big proofs for the appendix and put a sketch in the main text.

    Try to give enough data for others to repeat your simulations, experiments, etc. Pay attention to the statistical properties of your results. Are they representative, or do they just represent some corner case?

  9. Don’t overstate/understate your results

    Be careful to know under what conditions your results hold. If you are trying to draw conclusions about the Internet, do you have a large enough sample, from many different locations?

    If you say your results are small, interest will be small. Don’t fail to think about the broader interpretation of your results.

  10. Study the art of writing

    Writing well give you an unfair advantage! It matters in getting your work published.Jim recommended 2 texts:

    In addition, Jim made an excellent suggestion to pick authors of papers that you like, and study what it is about their writing that makes it so good. He mentioned that he really likes the writing of Scott Shenker.

  11. Good writing takes time

    Allow others to review your writing. Find a good editor friend. Don’t start the paper 3 days before the deadline while you are still trying to generate and understand results.

Alert readers will have noticed that 5 & 6 are the same, and there are actually 11 tips; such is the bounty of Jim’s knowledge and experience 🙂

For more resources, check out the writing portion of Jim’s website.

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Jim Kurose gets us thinking

Posted by Michael Gellman on December 4, 2006

The morning started off with a fantastic talk by Jim Kurose from University of Massachusetts. He is really a terrific speaker, with a very dynamic style.

Update! I spoke to Jim and he is fine with me posting the audio from his talk. The only caveat is that if you want to re-post this anywhere, you have to get his permission first.

It’s the users, stupid!

I really like he emphasizes the users in his work. In his most recent Sensor Nets project, he is very candid and forth-coming that on the first go, the system they delivered was not adequate for its intended users, but that they went back, re-engineered it, and finally delivered a system that the users could really use. This focus on a practical problems and usable systems is one of the things that got me interested in research, and Jim Kurose really embodies these aspects in his work.

Stovepipes vs Layers

He has a lot of interesting thoughts on larger issues for Sensor Networks, including a converged protocol stack which I think is very compelling. Current approaches are what he calls “stovepipe networks” where every solution is custom-engineered to meet the specific requirements. This could be improved upon if common functionality could be extracted into layers that multiple implementations could leverage — much in the same way IP is a great solution to a number of networking problems.

By working on two very different physical implementations with similar goals, I believe he has gained a great deal of experience in what would be required in a layered architecture, and makes a compelling argument for one.

Other Topics

In addition to his own work, Jim also drew attention to a body of work he referred to as x-ities, which seems to be a way of evaluating seemingly qualitative properties such as “robustness” in a quantitative way. I need to look into this a bit more after the conference. He also briefly touched on his thoughts on IP showing its age. He has a set of slides on his website which depict IP as an aging old man getting “love handles” as it reaches middle age getting ever more “fat”.

Jim Kurose is a great speaker, and if anyone has the opportunity to hear him speak, I recommed it highly. I can understand why he has been awarded the oustanding teacher award so many times!

I have an (unedited) audio recording of the talk. It’s not the best quality as I didn’t get the microphone that close, but it is surely audible. After I get permission from Jim, I’ll post it here.

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CoNEXT is underway!

Posted by Michael Gellman on December 4, 2006

The student workshop at CoNEXT 2006 is underway in Lisbon! I’ve been taking notes, and it’s been a very interesting day. I’ve got a series of posts planned which I’ll put up as I can.

Unfortunately, my digital camera seems to have crashed, so no photos. However, we got free MP3 players in our goodie bags, and I’ve recorded all the talks today. If the quality is any good, I’ll see if I can post them!

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CoNEXT 2006

Posted by Michael Gellman on November 19, 2006

CoNEXT 2006 Logo

I’m going to be attending CoNext 2006 in Portugal this year. CoNEXT describes itself as (from the Call for Papers):

CoNext 2006 will be a major forum in the area of future networking technologies. CoNext emphasizes synergies between various international and technical communities. The conference will feature a single-track, high quality technical program with significant opportunities for technical and social interaction among a closeknit community of participants. CoNext aims to be open and accommodating to multiple viewpoints and is committed to fairness in the review process and to returning deep and sound technical feedback to authors of submitted paper.

The program seems really compelling, with talks by a lot of researchers at the forefront of Networking research. I’m really looking to the talk by Jon Crowcroft and also the paper by Simon Fischer at RWTH Aachen which I’ve read, and I’ll be posting some thoughts on soon.

I’m going to be presenting a student poster on my Ph.d. work dealing with QoS routing in Peer-to-Peer overlay networks. If you’re attending this conference, be sure to post a comment — it would be great to chat about it in advance!

There’s also a great new Web 2.0-ish site which is dedicated to conferences called ConFabb where they have a dedicated entry for CoNEXT 2006.

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