I'm really pleased to once again be serving on the Technical Program Committee for the upcoming IEEE DySPAN conference. They have announced the call for papers, due Nov. 1, and are starting to get the program up and going.
Now, if you've talked to me about DySPAN as a conference, I've been somewhat critical of it in the recent years. Partly, it seems to have lost a bit of relevancy as the regulators have dictated how DSA was going to happen. For a couple of years, this suppressed a lot of innovative though in the conference. I recall that it was either in Singapore or Aachen when any spectrum sensing paper was immediately attacked for being irrelevant because the regulators were going database-driven. To me that felt like it lacked real foresight and creativity.
At the same time, I was also getting upset with the quality of the papers that I was seeing on spectrum sensing. My favorite way to describe the problem is that if you threw in the all sensing papers since the original DySPAN into a pile and pulled one at random, you wouldn't be able to tell which year it was published. Now, this probably isn't actually true, but having been involved with the community since the first DySPAN in 2005, I've seen that it's more true than not. I think the main reason for this problem is that we aren't setting up our work in a way that promotes the scientific process, and so each paper sets itself up as a new, or "novel" as the papers always say, way of doing spectrum sensing. We aren't doing much in the way of comparing techniques, building off other good ideas, or even finding fault in other approaches. It's all about the new novel approach that I would simply title a YASST: yet another spectrum sensing technique.
My other major criticism of the conference is that we haven't quite successfully integrated the policy and technical people like the conference was supposed to. The DySPAN problem is much, much bigger than technical problems, and so the conference was established to address all (or at least many) of the challenge areas. Part of that idea is to allow multiple sides to understand each other and build collaborative, multi-disciplinary approaches (and by multi-disciplinary, I don't mean an engineer working with a mathematician). Instead, I've felt like, save some very specific people that I can think of (and they mostly come out of Dublin), both sides just live in silos with very little mixing.
But, we have a new DySPAN coming up, and I've just read the briefing on the call for papers, posters, demos, and tutorials. The committee has put together the workings of an innovation-driven program. A lot of this I attribute to the very strong team they have put together who are interested and knowledgeable about both the research space and the current technology capabilities and trends. And yes, admittedly, a few of them are good friends, so. But specifically, a lot of these are among those (non-Dubliners, actually) that have an understanding and appreciation for the social, political, and economics of DSA aside from just the technical. So given what I'm seeing, I think we're going to see a really interesting conference with a lot of strong ideas.
Now, having said all of this, I admit to having been part of the problem of the culture of DySPAN in the past. While reviewing papers on the TPC, I've tried to do my part to help foster as strong a program of papers that I could. But on the other hand, when I've attended the conferences, I, like most engineers, went in and only saw the technical presentations with maybe one or two presentations from the policy track. I expect that I'll be going to this DySPAN, and my goal this time will be to focus on those policy tracks and learn as much about that area as possible.