The MTT Technical Program

The MTT technical program is the main reason for attending the symposium. Well, it's one reason for attending the symposium. OK, so it's your excuse for attending the symposium; whatever. Either way, you're here, so you might as well spend a little time in the sessions. They're not just for constipated academics, you know. Or, at least some of them aren't.


Technical program organization 

The bulk of the technical program consists of a number of paper-presentation sessions. There are usually six or seven sessions running simultaneously. In the morning there are two series of these things, each a little under two hours long, and two more in the afternoon. This goes on for four days, or until attendees start collapsing with fried brains. 

The simultaneous sessions are necessary to cover a reasonable number of papers. To reduce the chances that someone might want to hear two papers that are presented at the same time, the simultaneous sessions are as dissimilar as possible. Still, you can expect to do some degree of "session jumping." 

  Are there any other kinds of sessions? 

Of course. The MTT Society is part of the IEEE, so they wouldn't miss a chance to make things as confusing as possible. There are workshops, a plenary session, Microapps sessions (commercial presentations, held in the exhibition area), special sessions on topics that have local interest or are particularly timely, and probably a lot more I'm forgetting. Some of the Tuesday sessions are joint sessions with the RFIC, and the afternoon technical sessions compete with the Interactive Forum (poster presentations). 

The Technical Paper Review Committee (TPRC) 

Originally, this was called the Technical Program Committee, or TPC. Unfortunately, a subcommittee of Steering Committee was also called the Technical Program Committee, a potentially confusing state of affairs. Even though no one had a problem with this, the TPC was renamed the Technical Paper Review Committee, or TPRC. 

The TPRC consists of about 250 people. Most of these folks are not part of the IMS Steering Committee, although a few may coincidentally be part of it. The RFIC and ARFTG symposia have their own TPRCs. 

The main job of the TPRC is to review and select papers for the symposium. The papers are selected at a huge meeting, usually the same location as, and just before, the MTT Wireless Symposium. The technical sessions are also finalized at this meeting, in conference with the Steering Committee members. It all gets done in one day. Amazingly, it goes pretty smoothly.


How to submit a paper 

If you are an MTT member or are otherwise one of the anointed (as measured by the mailing lists you inhabit), you will receive a copy of the Call for Papers. This document has all the necessary information. Typically, you must initially submit a brief but complete summary of your paper, and if it is accepted, you then send a "camera ready" version. These days, it is all electronic. The Call is long and fairly complex. 

If you don't receive a copy of the Call for Papers, go to the page for This Year's Symposium and follow the link to the IMS web site. The deadline for receipt of paper summaries is usually in early December. 

The Plenary Session 
    About two hours of MTT self-congratulation. It usually has a good speaker and a state governor or other politician who cancelled out at the last minute and sent a pejon to deliver an idiotic proclamation declaring the week to be Microwave Week. Only six people in the entire state were aware of it, of course, and most of them laughed about it until their shoes were full. 
The Interactive Forum 
    The Interactive Forum is known in less lofty climes as the poster sessions. Instead of viewgraph presentations, the author provides a set of posters describing his work, posts them on the walls of something like a cubicle, and is available for discussions with anyone who stops by to see his stuff. Such an arrangement has a number of advantages: the author can have demonstrations, hardware, a computer, and similar things. They are more suitable than viewgraph presentations for heavy theory, because people can take the time to stare at the equations, think about them, and discuss them with the author.
    The disadvantage is a kind of social prejudice: IF papers are viewed as somehow "lesser" papers. That perception is unfair to the authors of such papers, but it persists. 
Student paper competition 

Every year the MTT holds a student paper competition. To compete, you must (1) be a student, and (2) identify your paper as a student paper when you submit it. There are a number of other rules, which can change a bit from year to year. For the latest info, check the IMS web site or the Call for Papers.

    MicroApps is the  trade journal of the IMS. It consists of applications-oriented sessions, product descriptions, thinly veiled advertising, and similar things. It is located in a technological leper colony, usually in the trade-show area.