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WITHITS Website
The Women in the Information Theory Society (WITHITS) program has a new website. The mission of the program is to provide events and services that address needs and encourage participation of the Society's underrepresented demographics, while being of interest and use to the community at large. The website is located at http://www.mit.edu/~medard/withits/.

Call for IT Paper Award Nominations
The Information Theory Society Paper Award is given annually for an outstanding publication in the fields of interest to the Society appearing anywhere during the preceding two calendar years. Any publication appearing during the years 2007--2008 is eligible for the 2009 award. The purpose of the Award is to recognize exceptional publications in the field and to stimulate interest in and encourage contributions to fields of interest of the Society. Nominations are due by March 1, 2009 and should be provided by email to Ezio Biglieri (ezio.biglieri@gmail.com). Please include citation information for the paper that you wish to nominate, along with a supporting statement explaining its contributions.

Call for Joint IT/ComSoc Paper Award Nominations
The Joint Communications Society/Information Theory Society Paper Award recognizes outstanding papers that lie at the intersection of communications and information theory. Any paper appearing in a publication of the IEEE Information Theory Society or of the IEEE Communications Society during the years 2006--2008 is eligible for the 2009 award. A committee with members from both societies will make the selection, based on the criteria of quality, orginality, utility, timeliness and presentation. The award consists of a plaque and cash honorarium presented at any IT Society or Comm Society event of the authors' choosing. Nominations are due by March 1, 2009 and should be provided by email to Frank Kschischang (frank@comm.utoronto.ca). Please include citation information for the paper that you wish to nominate, along with a supporting statement explaining its contributions and how these contributions cover the interests and achieve the values of both sponsoring Societies.

Information Theory Society Newsletter
The December 2008 edition of the Newsletter is now available.

Call for 2010 Shannon Award Nominations
The IEEE Information Theory Society Claude E. Shannon Award is given annually for consistent and profound contributions to the field of information theory. Award winners are expected to deliver the Shannon Lecture at the annual IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory held in the year of the award. This year, for the first time, the Shannon Award Committee has decided to issue an open call for nominations. Although anyone may make a nomination, the Committee retains the responsibility of assuring that a suitable slate of candidates is nominated, and may itself generate nominations. Nominations and optional letters of endorsement must be submitted by March 1 to the current President of the IEEE Information Theory Society. In 2009 the President will be Prof. Andrea Goldsmith (andrea AT wsl DOT stanford DOT edu). A nomination form is available on the Shannon Award page.

2008 IEEE Information Theory Society Paper Award
The Information Theory Society Paper Award is given annually to an outstanding publication in the fields of interest to the Society appearing anywhere during the preceding two calendar years. The winners of the 2008 award are "Compressed sensing," by David Donoho, which appeared in the April 2006 IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, and "Near-optimal signal recovery from random projections: universal encoding strategies," by Emmanuel Candes and Terence Tao, which appeared in the December 2006 Transactions. These two overlapping papers are the foundations of the exciting new field of compressed sensing. An earlier paper, "Robust uncertainty principles: Exact signal reconstruction from highly incomplete frequency information," by Candes, Justin Romberg and Tao, in the February 2006 Transactions, was also cited for stimulating the development of this field. The running list of awardees can be found at http://www.itsoc.org/society/itpaper_awd.htm

2008 IT and Communication Societies' Joint Paper Award
Congratulations to A. Abbasfar, D. Divsalar, and K. Yao, who receive the joint paper award for their article "Accumulate-Repeat-Accumulate Codes" appearing in the IEEE Trans. Commun., April 2007. The purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding papers published in any publication of the Communications Society or the Information Theory Society during the previous calendar year. The running list of awardees can be found at http://www.itsoc.org/society/jointpaper_awd.htm.

Society Updates Constitution and ByLaws
From time to time, the Board of Governors (BoG) amends the Constitution and a set of Bylaws governing various aspects of the Society's operation. The amendments to the Bylaws have already taken effect, and the amendments to the Constitution will take effect 60 days after this notice of amendments, unless at least 1% of the voting members of the Society object, in writing, within 60 days, to the IEEE Office of Society General Activities. The updated Constitution and ByLaws, an explanation of the updates, and additional details on the approval process is available in the Society archive.

Open Reviewing
On an experimental basis, open reviewing of submissions to the Transactions will be allowed to complement the standard procedure. If a paper preprint is posted on ArXiv (http://www.arxiv.org/), with the explicit indication "Submitted to the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory," then its readers are allowed to send their comments about it to the Editor-in-Chief, Ezio Biglieri. Provided that these comments are not frivolous or obviously biased, the Editor-in-Chief will forward them to the Associate Editor in charge of the paper as a supplement of regular peer reviews.

IT Society Endorses Posting Paper Preprints on ArXiv
ArXiv is a public preprint server (partly funded by the NSF) which in the past decade has become the dominant method for distributing new papers in the physics community, and more recently in substantial parts of math and CS. It has been called the "physics model" for "open access" publication. Recently ArXiv has established an information theory category. In October 2004, the IT Board of Governors unanimously voted to encourage IT authors to post all of their preprints (both journal and conference) on ArXiv, to encourage rapid dissemination of new research. IEEE-published articles should however continue to be accessed through IEEE Xplore. For questions and answers about ArXiv, see the FAQ.

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