You are going to IMS, aren’t you? In case you forgot or are just new to microwave, IMS is the International Microwave Symposium, the annual Microwave Week conference and exhibition put on by the IEEE’s Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTT-S). It is one of the longest-running conferences on RF and microwaves,now in its 63rd year. While the focus over the years has primarily been military radar and communications systems including satellites, today it is broader because most new wireless and cellular technology works in the microwave bands above 1 GHz. It is also one of the best technical conferences I have ever experienced. I have attended at least five IMS events so far. I missed Tampa last year, but I will be in Phoenix this year. The conference runs from May 17 through May 22.
IMS is a serious educational experience. If you work in the RF/microwave field, you know how hard it is to keep up with what is going on. Even if you read magazines such as Microwaves & RF, you could miss some relevant new development. IMS gives you a chance to see all the latest trends, techniques, and products in one place, sort of like an annual update. There are literally hundreds of in-depth technical sessions, workshops, short courses, and panel sessions.
Two special events are MicroApps and RF Boot Camp. MicroApps are short seminars presented by exhibitors to showcase the technology behind their products. RF Boot Camp is an introduction to basics aimed at newcomers like those just out of college or engineers new to RF.
Speaking of exhibitors, there are over 550 this year, offering attendees the opportunity to see and talk to current vendors and prospective suppliers all in one place. Most of the big semiconductor companies will be there showing off the latest chips and transistors. And be sure to check out the test-equipment vendors such as Aeroflex, Anritsu, Keysight, National Instruments, Rohde & Schwarz, Tektronix, and others. These guys are on the leading edge of the technology and can fill you in on what is new and important. You cannot design it if you cannot test it. Another hot category is design software, so check out vendors like ANSYS, AWR/NI, Cadence, CST, Keysight, Mesuro, and Remcom.
For the latest industry trends and developments, IMS is the place to be. Some new areas that may interest you are 5G cellular, the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables, the latest in millimeter waves, terahertz technology, and many others. You will probably be frustrated trying to decide which of many concurrent sessions to attend. IMS is a true info overload experience, so your strategy should be to decide beforehand what you want to know. Focus on your needs.
There is no better show during the year that offers RF engineers so much in the way of continuing education. For more details, check out www.ims2015.org. Plan to attend now. And you may want to factor in some vacation time in the beautiful city of Phoenix and check out other Arizona highlights such as the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and Tombstone. And while you are at IMS, stop by the Penton/Microwaves & RF booth (#3018) and say hello.