The IEEE International Conference on Nanotechnology (IEEE NANO) is sponsored by the IEEE Nanotechnology Council (NTC) and rotates between Regions 1-7 & 9 (North and South America,) Region 8 (Europe, Africa and the Middle East,) and Region 10 (Asia and Australasia) ….. normally! But we don’t have to tell you that this year has been anything but normal. NANO 2020 was scheduled to be held in Montreal, but the NTC Conference Committee bowed to the inevitable on April 21st and decided, at a time of great uncertainty and conflicting information whether travel bans would be lifted and whether the pandemic would be recognized as a force majeure for insurance purposes, to postpone the physical conference in Montreal until 2021 and to take NANO 2020 virtual.
This is the same decision that was made by the vast majority of research conferences worldwide, but many of these simply put recorded presentations online, whereas the new NANO 2020 committee was determined to retain as much of the feel of a traditional face-to-face conference as possible, primarily by the preservation of chaired sessions with live Q&A. Of course, that presented the very real problem, with no completely satisfactory solution, of how to accommodate time zones worldwide. The team has done the best we could in this regard, but inevitably some compromises had to be made, and we hope the final program schedule allows each attendee to participate in most of the sessions of interest. Of course, the pre-recorded presentations are available before, during, and after the conference itself, so there should be no issue with session conflicts, and furthermore all Q&A’s will be recorded for the benefit of those who missed them live.
With only 14 weeks from inception to conference, the new NANO 2020 committee started from scratch, with help from IEEE Meetings & Conferences staff, to duplicate all the preliminary conference preparations that normally would be spread out over the preceding 2 years, e.g. conference registration with IEEE and Xplore, IEEE approvals for the new budget, new accounts set up, a new registration procedure established, etc. In addition, the “Montreal” authors who wished to transfer to NANO 2020, stay with what would now be NANO 2021, or present at both, needed to be identified and separated out in Papercept, various online presentation platforms researched, video protocols established for Papercept, etc. It is noteworthy that almost the entire NTC Executive Committee immediately volunteered for the Committee, aided and abetted by one from the Montreal committee, whose assistance was invaluable, and others. There is not enough space to identify all the individual contributions, but the Committee is listed elsewhere and, needless to say, the NTC’s 2020 agenda has been pretty much put on hold until August! Despite the difficult situations, the organizing committee finally made NANO 2020 possible with their extraordinary efforts in the past three months, meeting weekly and communicating through emails daily. Obviously, NANO 2020 will not have been successful without the commitment and contribution from authors, reviewers, conference participants, and sponsors.
With more than 200 submissions from 34 countries or regions, 147 of them are chosen to be part of the technical program of NANO 2020. The technical program offers 6 plenary talks, 9 keynote speeches, 23 invited talks, 83 oral presentations, and 26 poster presentations.
Except plenary talks, all other technical presentations are grouped in sessions according to their relevance and then arranged in three parallel tracks. All presentations are pre-recorded, so conference participants will have a chance to browse them through the online proceedings a few days before the conference with an access code that has been sent to you.
During conference, live presentations will be made through zoom meetings from 4 different hosts: one for plenary talks and three for parallel tracks. The hosts will play a pre-recorded video according to the program schedule and then followed by a live Q&A chaired by a session chair. The live Q&As will be recorded during the conference and posted in the online proceedings after the conference. If you have missed any session that you have interest in, you can always come back to browse the session again with both the pre-recorded presentation and the recorded Q&As, which is usually not possible in a face-to-face conference.
We hope NANO 2020 will be a memorable and unique experience for people to virtually exchange information and ideas, identify new research interests, establish collaborations, make friends, and find new opportunities for their career. IEEE NANO offers three awards annually: Best Conference Paper Award, Best Student Paper Award, and Best Poster Award for contributed papers. This year, NANO 2020 will continue to follow this tradition, but awards are also extended to late news papers.
With NANO 2020 we also celebrate the 20th Anniversaries of both the NANO conference series and of the NTC which IEEE approved in 2001, although its first official year of existence was 2002. The 20th Anniversary celebrations will go ahead in four stages:
- Short video messages by Past-Presidents and Past NANO Chairs are available for viewing before, during and after the conference,
- Toshio Fukuda, the NTC’s Founding President and current IEEE President will deliver the opening plenary,
- The Young Professionals program will feature a panel discussion with the Past-Presidents and others shortly after the opening ceremony, and
- There will be a brief formal recognition ceremony as part of the Awards “Banquet” on the 31st.
The program also features a Women in Engineering (WIE) sponsored panel discussion on the 30th.
Usually, the last paragraph of a conference’s welcoming letter is devoted to the local tourist attractions and a listing of various activities for which the city or region is known. But these are not normal times, as noted above, so instead we urge you to take advantage of your home location and visit the features of interest in or around your own city that you tell your friends and family to visit but have never had time to visit yourself. And in closing, we hope you have been spared the loss of anyone close, whether family, friend or colleague, to COVID-19, and please spare a thought for those who have not been so lucky. And in these trying times, stay safe and stay home!
Jim Morris and Guangyong Li
NANO 2020 General Co-Chairs
|James E. Morris, PhD, PE, LF-IEEE,
Professor Emeritus, Portland State University,
Doctor Honoris Causa, IEEE NTC President
University of Pittsburgh