Dr. Victor Bahl

Digital Library

ACM Distinguished Service Award

USA - 2018


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.

Dr. Victor Bahl, distinguished scientist and director of mobility and networking research at Microsoft, is a longtime leader in the mobile computing and wireless networking community. For over twenty-five 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 a prolific global community with a strong foundation that has fostered and supported tens of thousands of researchers and engineers world-wide working in these areas.

Specifically, Dr. 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. He is one of two co-founders, serving as the SIG's first vice chair and first elected chair. He created MobiSys (International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications and Services) and for nearly two decades has steered MobiCom (International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking), SIGMOBILE's two flagship conferences, both of which have blossomed to be highly respected international events and publication venues. He has also played an influential role in the timely creation of other related conferences, including ACM SenSys (Embedded Networked Sensor Systems, 2003), IEEE DySpan (Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks, 2005), COMSNET (Communications Systems Software and Middleware, 2009), and ACM/IEEE SEC (on the emerging topic of edge computing, 2016). He founded and served as the first editor-in-chief of ACM GetMobile. 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 IoT. Additionally, he has served on the advisory boards of mobility and wireless research centers at US Universities and organized close to a dozen international conferences and workshops in these areas.

His contributions have also positively influenced spectrum policy around the world. Through technology inventions, demonstrations and technical evangelism involving government-academia-industry collaborations, which he put together, around dynamic spectrum sharing, Dr. Bahl helped change and improve the spectrum policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission and that of several European South American and Asian countries. Additionally, he initiated and supported key efforts in mobile computing and wireless networking within the National Science Foundation.

While spending his career in industry, Dr. Bahl has served as a strong bridge between academia and industry. Early in the 2000s, when experimental wireless research was hampered by the lack of hardware and software, through Microsoft Research 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 1200 research institutions world-wide. 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, 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.

Press Release

ACM Fellows

USA - 2003


For contributions to wireless communication systems, and for leadership in the mobile computing and communications community.