What to Register For


The MTT symposium is really three symposia in one. There are also workshops, panel sessions, "rump" sessions, and quite a few social affairs. It all can be a little confusing to people who are new at it. Never fear, here's how it all works.
How to register

Go to this year's web site (click here), and find the registration page. These days, virtually everyone registers on-line, and if you want to use the conference hotels, you can reserve a room through the conference site and make the organizers very happy. If you have attended the MTT previously, you should receive, by mail, a program book containing registration information. You can also register on-site, but early preregistration will save you money. It may also save you time; registration lines at the symposium occasionally have been long. Incidentally, the registration fees for IEEE members are much lower than for nonmembers. The savings will almost pay your basic IEEE dues. 

Is there a special deal for students?

Yes. Student registration is really cheap, but you usually don't get a digest of the papers. However, you can buy one separately, or, if your school has access to IEEE Xplore (virtually all do), you can get any papers that interest you. 

Can you sneak into sessions for which you're not registered?

No more than you can sneak into the movies or a museum. Sharing badges, by the way, is also a no-no. Just pay your goddam registration fees, geek, and don't try to cheat your own professional society! We realize that engineers are tightwads, but there really are some limits. Save it for people who deserve it, like bankers, email spammers, and people who create robodialers, kiddie porn, and airline baggage rules. 

Symposia The International Microwave Symposium (IMS)

This is the big enchilada. It runs for the whole week, with at least six, often seven, parallel sessions. It's a safe bet that it will get even larger with time. When we speak loosely of the MTT Symposium, this is what you're talking about: the 2000-pound gorilla of microwave conferences. 

Don't forget that the MTT organizes a second, midwinter symposium: MTT Wireless! For further information, click here.

The RFIC Symposium

This was originally the Microwave and Millimeter-Wave Monolithic Circuits Symposium, but everything is RF these days, and so is the symposium. The RFIC is a smaller show than the IMS (isn't everything?), two days long, with sessions on the second day shared with the IMS. Mostly widget papers, but so far it hasn't descended to the level of the Solid-State Circuits Conference. Usually held Monday and Tuesday.

Automated RF Techniques Group (ARFTG)

ARFTG is perceived to comprise only the measurement guys, but it really is broader than that. They hold a small, one-day symposium twice a year, one colocated with the IMS. ARFTG is more specialized than the IMS or RFIC, but definitely worth attending, at least occasionally, even if you are not a measurement geek. Invariably held Friday of MTT week. 

Workshops Workshops

The workshops are probably the most popular part of the symposium. No wonder: they tend to be less academic and more practical than most of the IMS papers, and therefore more accessible to practical engineers. Workshops cover theory and new developments in specific subjects and often are somewhat tutorial.

Most attendees go to at least one workshop. Academics look down their noses at them. A good recommendation, in my book. 

    Workshops are usually held on Sunday and Friday of MTT Week. 

Panel and
Panel Sessions

A number of panel sessions are held at lunchtime. Usually you can attend them without registering. Sometimes there is an option to buy a box lunch. Occasionally, a panel session is held in the evening. 

Rump Sessions

This ain't what you think. The word comes from the Latin perrumpere, which means to break through. These are informal sessions on a specialty topic, often controversial. There are usually one or two per symposium, held in the evening. 

    In other words, they're usually pretty boring. 

Exhibitions Trade Show (euphemistically called the Exhibitions)

If you're so dim-witted that you are interested only in the trade show, you can go to it for 25 bucks. Still, for that, it's great entertainment. And, you can come home with at least 25 dollars worth of trade-show trinkets; these should be endlessly fascinating to any simpleton who has no interest in the IMS itself. 

    Registration for the technical sessions gives you access to the trade show. It's open for most of the symposium, so just drop in when you have some free time. 

Historical Exhibit

The Historical Exhibit is usually located in the trade-show area, or sometimes just outside it. The exhibit actually has a lot of fascinating stuff, but it's a little disturbing (for us old farts, at least) to see "historical items" that once were our ordinary tools. 

Awards Banquet

Many of the steering committees in recent years have worked hard to make the Awards Banquet achieve its full potential as a painfully boring event. The committees occasionally have failed to live up to that tradition, having instead some super entertainment and a great dinner. We expect that future committees will not fail so miserably, and will again elevate the Awards Banquet to its traditional, soul-sucking splendor. 


There are two major receptions at the IMS: the Welcome Reception and Exhibitors' Reception. (There are also some minor ones for certain groups, such as the Ham Radio Reception, Women in Microwaves, and so on.) All feature hors d'oeuvres and limited free drinks (controlled by drink tickets, in theory, but really limited only by your ability to stay upright.) All regular, registered symposium attendees are welcome, and no reservations or special arrangements are  necessary. You can bring your wife, if you really want to. 

    The Exhibitors' Reception is traditionally held right before the banquet. 

    The RFIC symposium has a reception, ARFTG has a luncheon, there is a speakers' breakfast every day of the IMS, for authors presenting papers on that day. And so on.

    In the past, there has been an attendees' breakfast too, but because of costs, its future is uncertain, and probably depends on the availability of sponsors. In Anaheim (2010), with no sponsors, it was replaced by debit cards that could be used at local eateries. That system may or may not continue. 

    These things change a bit from year to year, so it's best to check the program or the website. 

Guest Program
    The guest program consists of a hospitality suite for guests of attendees (wives, husbands, children, partners, mistresses, and so on) and several guided tours. These occasionally may seem a little expensive, but they include transportation, lunch, and admission fees. Generally, they are subsidized, so don't complain about the cost, you unrepentant engineering cheapskate! 

    Often there are discount tickets for local attractions and, in the hospitality suite, you can find information about things to do in the area.

    In Baltimore (2011) there was a $65 charge for a guest badge, which is necessary for access to the guest suit. Subsequent years have continued that unfortunate tradition, although sometimes at a little lower cost. In my opinion, this practice is a mistake. (Oh, yeah, and please don't tell me I "don't understand the issues." We went all through this in Anaheim (2010) Steering Committee, where my wife organized the suite. I'm probably much closer to this issue than you are.)