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ECE Alum Victor Bahl Wins Distinguished Service Award from the Association for Computing Machinery

Victor Bahl

Victor Bahl

Victor Bahl, an alumnus of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department and currently a Distinguished Scientist with Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington, was presented with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Distinguished Service Award on June 15 in San Francisco. The ACM citation rewarded Bahl for “significant and lasting service to the broad community of mobile computing and wireless networking, and for building strong linkages between academia, industry, and government agencies.”

The ACM press release described Bahl as a “Distinguished Scientist and Director of Mobility and Networking Research at Microsoft” and a “longtime leader in the mobile computing and wireless networking community.”

The ACM added that “For over 25 years he has coalesced and nurtured this community, working tirelessly to attract top researchers and engineers, build strong conferences and journals, create close ties between industry, academia, and government, mentor and grow leaders, increase diversity, and enable influential research tools and funding. His efforts have led to the creation of a prolific global community with a strong foundation that has fostered and supported tens of thousands of researchers and engineers worldwide working in these areas.”

The ACM also said that Bahl has been the driving force behind several ACM and IEEE initiatives, events, and journals, including SIGMOBILE, the special interest group in mobility of systems, users, data, and computing. The ACM said that Bahl is one of two co-founders, serving as SIGMOBILE’s first vice chair and first elected chair.

The ACM release noted that Bahl had created the International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services and for nearly two decades has steered the International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking.

Bahl also founded and served as the first editor-in-chief of ACM GetMobile. According to the ACM, “Dr. Bahl has served as the founding advisory and editorial board member of five ACM and IEEE journals on the topics of mobility, wireless, edge computing, and [the Internet of Things]. Additionally, he has served on the advisory boards of mobility and wireless research centers at U.S. universities and organized close to a dozen international conferences and workshops in these areas.”

The ACM release said that Bahl, while spending his career in industry, has served as a strong bridge between academia and industry. He led the creation and free distribution of a significant enabler for research in Wi-Fi systems -- the Mesh Academic Research Kit -- adopted by more than 1,200 research institutions worldwide. In parallel, he helped create a complementary Microsoft Digital Inclusion Program that disbursed more than $1.2 million in funding to academic institutions that applied wireless mesh and related technologies to bridge the digital divide in rural communities across the world.

“Later, in the early days of cloud computing,” the ACM release concluded, “Dr. Bahl created a research and training program, with tools and services, on cloud-powered mobile computing. Over 60 large universities offered senior- and graduate-level courses based on this program.”

The ACM honor comes in close proximity to another coveted award won by Bahl. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) recently presented Bahl with the IEEE INFOCOM Achievement Award. It is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a researcher in the INFOCOM community, and the award was given to Bahl, an IEEE Fellow, for his contributions to dynamic spectrum access and wireless LAN technologies.

Bahl received his Ph.D. degree from the ECE department in 1997. (July 2019)