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Workshop on Embedded Systems

March 29-31, 1999 (abstracts due: January 31, 1999)
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Sponsored by:
USENIX, The Advanced Computing Systems Association
and the MIT Media Laboratory

Critical Dates

January 31, 1999: Extended abstracts due
February 10, 1999: Acceptance notification
March 15, 1999: Full papers due
March 29, 1999, 12pm: Arrival, Registration (at MIT Media Lab)
March 31, 1999, 12pm: Conclusion

Conference Organizers

Conference Co-Chairs:
Dan Geer,, CertCo
Mike Hawley,, MIT Media Lab
Program Committee
Mark D. Baushke,, Cisco Systems
Warren Bosch,, Hasbro
Tom Kalil,, The White House
Tim Matt,, Siebe
Jean Scholtz,, DARPA
Ted Selker,, IBM
Randy Sweeney,, Kraft Foods
Jim Waldo,, Sun Microsystems
Kevin Kelly,, WIRED magazine


The PC monolith will break down, and concentrated "core" elements of computing and communication, sensors and actuators, will become embeddable in almost everything. The "jellybean" processors that currently pervade nearly every appliance, yet are utterly isolated, will be connectable through a wealth of emergent capillaries sprouting from the internet. Technologies will be produced that are ultra-cheap, ultra low-power, and radically different from today's chip-and-pc-board variety (think: printable circuits, wind-up electronics, wearable networks powered by walking or breathing, even edible circuitry). Ingredients like these will form the foundation of a vastly extended network of things that are very different from PC's. Within ten years, a billion people on line will be joined by a trillion things with embedded networks.

The goal of this workshop is to convene a limited number of leading engineers and researchers from a wide cross section of academia, industry, and government to discuss critical challenges in developing and deploying embedded intelligence over a wide range of applications. These are "out of the box" systems in every way, shape, and form. They demand big, bold, maverick thinking.

This 2.5-day meeting will consist of invited talks, refereed papers, and work-in-progress reports. Informal mingling opportunities include an Open House at the Media Lab in conjunction with the Things That Think consortium meeting, and plenty of schmooze time.

We hope the results will help clarify and coordinate the research and development agenda in embedded systems, recognizing that, in engineering and science, getting the problem statement right is much of the battle. To that end, the program committee will limit attendance to 60 selected individuals. Be prepared to engage in discussions that will encompass a range of areas from low-level materials innovations to novel forms of networking, new kinds of software systems to groundbreaking applications, usability to high-level policy.

There will be no registration fees.


Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
  • Applications in unusual domains: toys, appliances, cars, human implants, domestic, rural, outdoor, undersea...
  • Capillary network architectures (Bluetooth, IrDA, PLC, etc)
  • Software systems to make these systems work
  • Case studies, and cost-benefit analyses
  • New interface paradigms
  • Self-healing and self-assembling systems
  • Drastic scaling issues
  • Secure communications
  • Emerging standards

Best Paper Awards

Awards will be given for the best paper and best student paper at the conference.

Student Stipends

The USENIX student stipend program covers travel and hotel to enable full-time students to attend. Preference is given to students who are speakers. To apply, visit the student section of the USENIX Web site at:

What To Submit

Attendance will be based on submission of an extended abstract as evaluated by the program committee. This should describe original work concerning the design, implementation, and real application of embedded systems. We are not looking for tweaks to Linux, or stuffing WinCE palmtops into toys. Rather, we are seeking radical new architectures, exceptionally promising prototypes, enlightening case studies. The abstract should convince the reviewers that a good paper and 20-minute talk will result. Identify what has been accomplished, why it is significant, and compare it with relevant work in the field. Include references, illustrations, and performance data. Be incisive and cogent.

How to Submit

E-mail the extended abstract (plain ASCII, HTML, or a URL) by January 31, 1999 to:

This should be 5-7 pages long or about 2500 words, not counting references and figures. You may submit the full paper at this time. Full papers will go through a brisk editorial review cycle with the program committee, and should be 10-15 pages long. The final paper deadline is March 15.

All submissions will be acknowledged electronically. If you do not receive word within 72 hours of submission, contact the program chair:

All submissions will be held in strict confidence prior to publication, but they must not be bound by proprietary or non-disclosure arrangements. Proceedings will be published.

Program/Registration Details

Materials containing all details of the technical program, registration forms, and hotel information will be online at in February 1999.

For more information, please contact:
USENIX Association Office
2560 Ninth Street, Suite 215
Berkeley, CA 94710 USA
Phone: +1 510-528-8649

?Need help? Use our Contacts page.

First posted: 22 Dec 1998 jr
Last changed: 29 Dec 1998 jr
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