Home      Log In      Contacts      FAQs      INSTICC Portal

EiC Interviews

Edge Intelligence - The Co-evolution of Humans, IoT, and AI

Schahram Dustdar
Vienna University of Technology

Research Career


- How long have you been in academia? What makes you to choose this career?


I joined the TU Wien in 2001. Research has always been my passion and mission. Before academia I was co-founding and heading a data/compute center at an Art & Design University but after several years I felt I had achieved all that could be done, so I followed my interest and started a software startup on Workflows and team collaboration on the Internet. That was in 1997. 


- What makes you to choose your current area of specialization?


I love distributed systems as I am drawn to all research, which has parallels to nature and other scientific disciplines. Large and distributed systems are cool as I perceive this area pretty much allows me to venture into many areas of my interests. Since 2005 or so I have been working in the field of IoT and Edge Computing. Of course all the other areas related to this, such as Cloud Computing, Service-oriented Computing (which are all mainstream now) were also part of my journey.


- Can you tell us some of your greatest achievements so far?


The best is yet to come. I am very proud of the achievements of the 38 PhD graduates who I successfully supervised myself in all those years so far.


- What are your current research? What are your current challenges?


My current research focuses on large scale systems utilizing IoT as well as Edge, Fog, and Cloud Computing. This diverse compute continuum offers so many fascinating challenges that I believe I can work on those for some years. In particular, I am combining networking technologies with AI.


- Which area of research you will focus?


See above.


- In your opinion, what are the most popular or future proof things in the next 5 years? What are the challenges in the next 5 years?


We have to really understand much better how to build, design, monitor large scale distributed systems as well as creating business models for large-scale Iot/Edge/Fog/Cloud systems. We have to transcend the fragmented way we create such systems of today. The systems we need in the next 5 to 10 years have a different complexity like the ones of the past and we will fail if we do not make significant progress.


- Any advice for young academics/researchers?


Always work on your self-development and improvement in all areas of life. Always raise your energy and understand that science and engineering is done by humans, therefore, be conscious about who you are and who you want to become. Design your life, do not live a life on auto-pilot. Secondly, be very conscious that Computer Science people are in danger to be (ab)used for political agendas (similar to the physicists of the past). Be aware that science and engineering are truly global endeavors and do not allow nationalistic thinking enter your mind. Be careful of the words you use and what agenda they serve: e.g., the words quantum supremacy or national AI strategies. Our task as scientists and engineers is to improve all human life and our societies. We do have responsibilities and we should care!


Computing and ACM TIOT EiC


- Can you tell us your "journey"/story to become an Editor-in-Chief (EiC)?


Currently I am Co-EiC of ACM Transactions on IoT. The journey started some 1,5 years ago, when I was contacted by ACM to create such a journal together with colleagues. This part of the journey is of course only the last bit…I guess I was selected and asked for contributing to this, because I published some significant papers on IoT the years before and from very early on I had developed a vision of IoT. Then my co-EiC and myself we put together an interdisciplinary editorial board. It was (and still is) a very interesting, stimulating and exciting journey to carve out a community as IoT itself has many researchers from different research communities. But we need to create a new community for IoT if we want to improve the field and make a lasting contribution to this area.


- Can you share with us some of your interesting experience/incidents/events as an EIC?


There are many things I could share. I would like to share some aspects which I would like especially younger researchers to be aware of.  


Journals are very hard work. All the Editorial board members do not get paid. As EiCs we also do not get paid. So everybody is working voluntarily. Selecting reviewers, performing the reviews etc. is very intense work. Also intensive is the chasing of the reviewers or the missing reviewers. 


If you are really passionate about a topic and want to contribute to a journal, work hard to contribute to the community by writing top papers. Make a contribution that shines and is seen. You should not expect to build a sustainable career by asking your way into editorial boards before you have done substantial work yourself. Have the drive, energy and stamina to contribute and be of service to a community of your choice.


- How do you foresee the directions for Computing and ACM TIOT? What will be your ambition?


My ambition is for both journals I am EiC to help making them outstanding. The measurement of that is “Impact Factor”. 




- What do you think of "Internet of Things, Big Data and Security" and also Complexity, Future Information Systems and Risk"? Any suggestions /recommendations?


I think those topics mentioned above are very closely interrelated. In reality, all such systems consisting of those building blocks tend to be complex systems.