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HyWay: Enabling Mingling in the Hybrid World

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We present HyWay, short for “Hybrid Hallway”, to enable mingling and informal interaction among in-person and remote users in semi-structured and unstructured hybrid settings. Key to the design of HyWay is bridging the awareness gap between physical and virtual users and providing the virtual users the same agency as physical users. We explain how HyWay achieves these goals with an agile, light touch approach that centers on commodity hardware, frictionless bootstrapping, and a deploy-learn-refine flywheel to improve the system continually. We present our learnings from multiple deployments and discuss ongoing research aimed at weaving together more tightly the virtual and the physical realms.


Venkat Padmanabhan is the Managing Director of Microsoft Research India in Bengaluru. He was previously with Microsoft Research Redmond, USA for nearly 9 years. Venkat’s research interests are broadly in networked and mobile computing systems, and his work over the years has led to highly cited papers and paper awards, technology transfers within Microsoft, and industry impact. He has received several awards and recognitions, including the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in 2016, four test-of-time paper awards from ACM SIGMOBILE , ACM SIGMM , and ACM SenSys, and several best paper awards. He was also among those recognized with the ACM SIGCOMM Networking Systems Award 2020, for contributions to the ns family of network simulators. Venkat holds a B.Tech. from IIT Delhi (from where he received the Distinguished Alumnus award in 2018) and an M.S. and a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, all in Computer Science, and has been elected a Fellow of the INAE , the IEEE , and the ACM . He is an adjunct professor at the Indian Institute of Science and was previously an affiliate faculty member at the University of Washington.

This talk is part of the Energy and Environment Group, Department of CST series.

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