Jyri Hämäläinen, VTC2021-Spring General Co-chair
As General Co-chair of VTC2021-Spring, I am proud to announce that the event was a great success, with over 450 accepted papers, 12 workshops with focused research topics, 15 tutorials, 4 keynotes, and 2 panels. The pandemic is not slowing down the strong Vehicular Technology Conference tradition, and as we saw from online attendance statistics, considerable interest in the event continues.
And while the virtual nature of the conference did not allow for the enjoyment of local food and other pleasant regional experiences, it provided a clear professional benefit. Conference participants were able to watch presentations without time constraints and to replay the most interesting and fascinating ones.
Thus, I am certain that the professional takeaway from this spring VTC, composed and delivered by world-class experts, was excellent. And finally, on behalf of the organizers I wish to express our high appreciation to our sponsors—Nokia and Huawei—who supported this virtual conference.
As usual, the conference began with a strong showing of tutorials on Sunday. Tutorial topics reflected the timely interests of the vehicular technology research community including backscatter communication, a span of 5G-related research directions, UAV and drone communications, sensing, autonomous systems, and many beyond 5G research ideas. The day’s program also included 12 workshops, with a variety of compelling workshop keynotes and presentations.
The Monday program began with keynotes by Muriel Médard (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA) and Peter Vetter (Nokia Bell Labs, USA). Professor Médard’s talk, “It’s All in the Noise – Universal Noise-centric Decoding,” revealed a novel noise-centric aspect to Maximum Likelihood (ML) decoding. Her ideas are highly innovative and may fundamentally impact the future development of detection algorithms.
The keynote by Dr. Vetter, on the other hand, represented a fascinating future vision where a symbiosis of digital, physical, and biological worlds might take place. The day also featured an industry panel on the network architecture (r)evolution towards 6G, led by Dr. Volker Ziegler (Nokia Bell Labs, USA). The views of technology leaders from Orange Labs, NTT DoCoMo, Qualcomm, and ABB gave deep insight into the industry’s expectations of 6G. In all, 17 conference sessions and over 100 presentations covered recent research developments in the field.
On Tuesday, keynote speaker Gerhard P. Fettweis (Dresden University of Technology, Germany) started the day by challenging the mainstream thinking where 6G targets rely on KPI improvements, and emphasized the need for further experience on 5G before defining the framework for 6G. Wen Tong (Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Canada) introduced six fascinating research directions for shaping 6G. Both keynotes will surely stimulate new thinking among 6G researchers. As on Monday, a remarkable number of interesting conference presentations were given in several sessions.
Two keynote panels launched the conference activities on Wednesday. Mikko Uusitalo (Nokia Bell Labs, USA) moderated the first panel composed of invited technology experts and research leaders from Huawei, EURECOM, Ericsson and the 6G flagship program from the University of Oulu. This panel discussed 6G vision, challenges, use cases and enabling technologies.
The second panel—with invited panel members representing a mix of companies (Stratobus, Altaeros, Lync and Bluetown), and moderated by Mohamed-Slim Alouini (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia)—focused on space-air-terrestrial network solutions for high-speed wireless services in remote areas, airplanes, and ships. Conference presentations continued late into Wednesday, completing the conference program.