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UT Dallas CS Hosts the IEEE International Conference on Data Engineering Virtually for 2000 Attendees

The UT Dallas CS Department recently hosted the 2000-person Virtual IEEE Computer Society’s 36th International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE) April 20-24, 2020. ICDE, a top tier Data Science conference, was originally meant to take place in Dallas from April 20-24, 2020. However, due to COVID-19, a decision was made on April 1st to hold the conference virtually. This was one of the first large conferences to be held virtually due to COVID-19.

“Several members of the UT Dallas faculty worked together to make this conference a success,” said Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham, the Conference General co-chair and UT Dallas Computer Science Professor. “We learned a lot along the way to host this conference and worked very closely with the IEEE Computer Society, the ICDE Steering Committee, and the Technical Committee on Data Engineering (TCDE). There were no prior experience reports we could learn from as we started organizing for the virtual event a couple of weeks after we all started working from home due to the pandemic. We utilized six Zoom streams provided by IEEE to host this virtual event. Being focused and having daily meetings with the conference team’s key members was one of the key parts to our success,” she noted.

From the top left to bottom right: Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham, Dr. Murat Kantarcioglu, Dr. Latifur Khan, Dr. Feng Chen, Dr. Weili ‘Lily’ Wu, Rhonda Walls, and Aparna Srivastava

The UT Dallas CS faculty who made this conference a success included Drs. Murat Kantarcioglu, the Program Co-Chair, Latifur Khan, TKDE (IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering) Poster Co-Chair and and Ph.D. Symposium Co-Chair with Dr. Feng Chen, Ph.D. Symposium Co-Chairs, and Weili ‘Lily’ Wu, Registration Chair. In addition, Rhonda Walls, the Project Coordinator of the UT Dallas Cyber Security Research and Education Institute, served as the Local Arrangements Chair for the conference, and Aparna Srivastava, Web Services Manager for the Jonsson School, served as the Web Chair. Several UT Dallas students also served as volunteers to help manage the Zoom sessions.

There were various elements to the program, including the research track, industry track, workshops, posters, demonstrations, and the Ph.D. Symposium. The acceptance rate of the papers was around 20%. More details of the organization and the program were presented at the opening ceremony. Click here to watch the ICDE 2020 Welcome Session.

Drs. Thuraisingham and Khan had the honor of hosting a special event on April 24 – Stanford University’s Women in Data Science (WiDS) Dallas Event. The opening address was presented by the NSF Program Director, Dr. Li Yang, and the Keynote Address by the founder of WiDS, Prof. Margot Gerritsen. Featured addresses were given by top Data Science and Cyber Security researchers.

The IEEE Computer Society was very pleased with the success of the event and wrote about it on their web site as a case study. Sponsors of the event included The University of Texas at Dallas (Platinum Sponsor), Alibaba Group and Qatar Computing Research Institute (Gold Sponsors), and Two Sigma (Bronze Sponsor).

Dr. Thuraisingham stated, “We are grateful to our sponsors who stuck with us till the very end. We are also grateful to the National Science Foundation for their sponsorship of student scholarships. While our sponsors did not have an opportunity to meet with the students who attended the conference, we were able to provide them with an opportunity to present their work at the conference. We are also grateful to the ICDE Steering Committee and the TCDE for giving us the opportunity to host this event and bring the data world together virtually.”


ABOUT THE UT DALLAS COMPUTER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT

The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 3,315 bachelors-degree students, more than 1,110 master’s students, 165 Ph.D. students,  52 tenure-track faculty members, and 44 full-time senior lecturers, as of Fall 2019. With The University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.