Microwave Journal

Georgia On My Mind

May 15, 2008

It’s back! For the first time since the 2003 event in Philadelphia, Microwave Week—featuring the International Microwave Symposium (IMS), the RFIC Symposium and the ARFTG Conference—returns to a city east of the Mississippi. That’s right, the largest show dedicated solely to our industry will be held in Atlanta: home of Coca-Cola, CNN, the Atlanta Braves, the world’s largest aquarium and, of course, the capitol of the state lauded in that famous Ray Charles song, shamelessly re-used for this editorial.

This year, over 240 reviewers on the Technical Program committee were responsible for selecting the 279 papers for oral presentation and the 132 papers for the interactive forums. Choosing from over 750 submitted papers, the quality of the technical content will undoubtedly be exceptional. Organizers also rearranged the schedules of the regular sessions so that the IMS attendees could have more flexibility to attend the RFIC sessions.

The panel sessions will focus on automotive radar, multi-gigabit wireless, wireless medical, system/service engineering and cognitive radio. An evening Rump Session, hosted by Sonnet Software, will feature a talk by Nobel Laureate and Princeton professor, Dr. Joe Taylor, entitled “The Discovery of Gravity Waves Amidst the Noise.” Thirty-eight workshops, four of which were jointly organized by IMS/RFIC and one organized by IMS/ARFTG, will take place on Sunday, Monday and Friday. This year’s IMS will also include a student paper competition as well as three design competitions.

The return of the conference and exhibition to the east coast is of no small significance for many attendees, in particular those whose travel budgets restricted their participation last year in Hawaii. Judging by the nearly 500 microwave components, materials, instruments and software vendors signed up to exhibit in Atlanta, the desire to participate this year is clear. After all, the event has historically been the premier opportunity to observe and showcase the latest technology while networking with peers. Microwave Week 2008 should be no exception and we at the Journal look forward to reporting on the event with our most comprehensive, multi-media on-line show coverage to date. The on-line coverage begins the week before the show and will feature exclusive information from the conference itself as well as news and information from the exhibitors. If you are not planning on attending the show but would like to keep on top of the news coming from the event, check out www.mwjournal.com/2008/IMS starting June 9th.

From the earliest days of the MTT-S annual symposium, Microwave Journal has enjoyed a close relationship with both the conference and the exhibition. Our two organizations were formed at roughly the same time and bore witness to an evolving communication industry whose technical developments span from Sputnik to mobile WiMAX, LTE and beyond.

While looking back at the history of our MTT-S Symposium coverage, as part of our 50 years in publishing celebration, we uncovered two gems from the 1960 April issue: “Why the Microwave Engineer Should Join PGMTT” by Richard Schwartz and “PGMTT National Symposium for 1960” by our editorial staff (note: the PGMTT was later renamed as the MTT-S). Both appear in this issue as special “Then” reprint articles from the past. The companion cover story, focusing on the “Now,” was written by this year’s IMS general chair, Joy Laskar. Joy does a fantastic job of linking the past to the present. I found it to be an enjoyable read and hope you do as well.

In addition, our editorial staff also uncovered an article on the first 25 years of the IMS, which appeared in a 1983 issue of IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques by Microwave Journal founding editor, Ted Saad. This article is currently posted on the Microwave Journal web site as a special retrospective article. The history and evolution of the society, conference and exhibition are captured in great detail in this feature. For all the microwave history buffs out there, this is good reading. Special thanks to both the IEEE MTT-S and Ted Saad for their permission to reprint it on our web site.

Over the years, working closely with IMS organizers has allowed us to keep the industry well informed about this important event—before, during and after the show. Once again, our May issue is dedicated to the conference with show and host city information, messages from event organizers, as well as the complete technical program and exhibitor listings.

This year does mark the end of an era as the exhibition management and conference registration duties that had been handled by Horizon House for many years (Microwave Journal’s parent company) is handed off to MP Associates starting with IMS 2009.

Looking ahead, we anticipate that the close relationship between Microwave Journal and IMS planners will continue for many years to come. Currently, MWJ publisher Carl Sheffres, technical editor Patrick Hindle and I are serving on the IMS 2009 Steering Committee. As volunteers, we are working with the many other committee members to ensure that attendees and exhibitors get the most from next year’s event. Maintaining close ties to the show and its organizers is important to us and we believe it helps our efforts to promote and report on the conference and exhibition. At the moment, however, we have Georgia on our minds.

Greater Atlanta has a long and rich history in the microwave industry with more than its share of innovative companies developing commercial and consumer communications equipment. Over 60 companies employing nearly 5000 people identify their primary business as the manufacture of communication equipment. Specific products designed and built in Georgia include broadband transmission and distribution equipment, optical transmission equipment and fiber optic cable, wireless communication equipment and components, and cable telecommunications equipment.

Much of Georgia’s legacy in high-technology can be traced back to the strength of its engineering schools. The Georgia Institute of Technology claims to produce more RF/analog/EM and signal-processing engineers than any other US program. Outreach programs bring the expertise of university faculty and staff to locations throughout Georgia. Additionally, R&D centers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and other state schools offer cutting-edge research facilities and access to faculty exploring topics from nanometer-scale optoelectronic devices to improved wireless technology.

My earliest connection between Georgia and engineering came by way of my father. No, he was not an engineer. He was an educator and college football coach. As a big college football fan, he would frequently recite various college cheers to the dismay of his children. Not too many of these chants have stayed with me, but I will never forget the one for Georgia Tech. Clearly written in a different era, the lyrics are quite colorful:

I’m a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech and a hell of an engineer,
A helluva, helluva, helluva,
hell of an engineer,
Like all the jolly good fellows,
I drink my whiskey clear,
I’m a Ramblin’ Wreck
from Georgia Tech
and a hell of an engineer.

Go ahead, feel free to hum this little ditty to yourself on the plane as you head to this year’s triumphant return to the east coast of the biggest microwave show on Earth—the venerable IMS 2008. Safe travels and I’ll see you in the sessions or on the exhibition floor.