23 March 2022
by Jeremy Singer, University of Glasgow
The 25th Scottish Networking Event (SCONE) was held at the University of Glasgow on Friday 25th February 2022. This was the first in-person event for the SICSA Networking & Systems theme for two years. We convened a hybrid meeting, with around 15 people at Glasgow and a similar number joining via Zoom.
Several Scottish-based researchers presented their work on a range of topics including adversarial ML, multi-modal edge security and internet video stability.
We enjoyed a virtual visit from Prof Richard Mortier of Cambridge University, who participated in a panel discussion about interdisciplinary research. This is particularly important given the anticipated changes to the funding landscape. The panel highlighted the need to engage real-world users in co-creation, considering social, economic and technical impacts of our research. We discussed issues like privacy and data protection. We explored a range of means to discover possible collaborators, including topical workshops, problem-based sandpits, and mining personal contact lists.
One key risk with interdisciplinary research for networks/systems people is the problem of avoiding becoming a software engineer for someone else’s problem. We need to enable interesting research for ourselves, as well as solving a meaningful problem for our collaborators.
We discussed the benefits of starting small, applying for seedcorn funding to do risk mitigation before engaging in larger scale development work. In summary, interdisciplinary projects can be more interesting, more fun, and more rewarding but they come with higher risk.
After the panel discussion, the closing keynote talk was from Rui Li of Samsung AI. She presented several innovations in applying machine learning tools to solve communications and networking problems, with a focus on the notion of meta-learning.
Once the formal workshop event was completed, the in-person attendees kept up the SCONE tradition of post-workshop drinks. We continued our discussions (on topic and off topic) in a nearby bar, long into the evening.