Highlights of the 2011 IEEE Radar Conference (RadarCon ’11)
The 2011 IEEE Radar Conference, sponsored by the IEEE Aerospace & Electronic Systems Society and the IEEE Kansas City Section, was held 23-27 May 2011 at the Westin Crown Center in downtown Kansas City, MO with technical co-sponsors the IEEE Microwave Theory & Techniques Society and the IEEE Geoscience & Remote Sensing Society. The planning and implementation of the conference involved a diverse team from academia, industry, and goverment led by the Radar Systems Lab of the University of Kansas. Financial support for the conference was graciously provided by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Selex Systems Integration, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Boeing, Northrup Grumman, and Capraro Technologies Inc.
The conference theme In the Eye of the Storm recognizes the moniker of “Tornado Alley” for this part of US and the role of radar in predicting and tracking severe weather. This theme was rather poignantly underscored by the tragic tornado that devastated nearby Joplin, MO the day before the conference began as well as scattered tornadic activity that occurred in the middle of the week. Broader implications of the theme acknowledge the use of radar in assessing global climate change and the brewing storm over the evermore congested and contested spectral environment in which radar must operate. In line with this theme, the conference kicked off with two very relevant plenary presentations on “Weather Radar for Tornado Warnings” by Mr. Donald Burgess of the National Severe Storms Lab (see Fig. 1) and “The Challenges of Radar Spectrum” by Mr. Stuart Timerman, the director of the Defense Spectrum Organization of DISA (see Fig. 2).
Figure 1. Plenary talk by Mr. Donald Burgess of the National Severe Storms Lab on “Weather Radar for Tornado Warnings”
Figure 2. Plenary talk by Mr. Stuart Timerman of DISA on “The Challenges of Radar Spectrum”
More than 400 participants attended RadarCon ’11 from 28 different countries, including over 100 students. On the Monday and Friday bookending the conference, attendees were treated to 14 world-class tutorials taught by leading experts in the field of radar. Conference sessions ranged from theoretical topics such as compressive sensing and MIMO radar to applied topics such as radar imaging, antennas, and phenomenology. Of 372 submitted papers, 225 were accepted for presentation across 11 topical poster sessions and 24 oral sessions, including special invited sessions on Weather Radar and Geophysical Applications. Of these 225 papers, roughly a third were also included as part of the Student Paper Competition. Following a down-selection to 5 finalists, the Student Paper Competition was won by Feng Nai of the University of Oklahoma for the paper “Range-Doppler Domain Signal Processing to Mitigate Wind Turbine Clutter.”
During the banquet the audience was entertained by the Skip Hawkins Band jazz trio (see Fig. 3) and stories of Kansas City’s infamous days as a hotbed of criminal activity (see Fig. 4). Following the entertainment, awards were presented to Dr. Giuseppe Fabrizio (Fred Nathanson award; see Fig. 5) and Dr. Mark Davis (Warren White award; see Fig. 6), and Dr. Eric Mokole was recognized as a new IEEE Fellow (see Fig. 7).
On behalf of the Organizing Committee, thanks to all those who participated in RadarCon ’11 to make it such a fantastic event. The excellent RadarCon series continues next year with RadarCon ’12 in Atlanta. Hope to see you there!
Figure 3. Dr. Eli Brookner enjoys some Kansas City jazz during the banquet
Figure 4. The banquet speaker, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author Dr. Robert Unger, regales the audience with the history of Kansas City’s criminal past, particularly the Union Station Massacre that led to the transformation of the FBI
Figure 5. The 2011 Fred Nathanson Memorial Radar Award is presented to Dr. Giuseppe Fabrizio (left) by Dr. Gerard Capraro
Figure 6. The 2011 Warren D. White Award is presented to Dr. Mark Davis (left) by Dr. Hugh Griffiths
Figure 7. Dr. Eric Mokole is recognized as a newly elevated IEEE Fellow