Welcome to MARC2021, the Microsystems Annual Research Conference! MARC has evolved tremendously over time. It has been adorned with several names and been held at various different venues over the course of approximately three decades, with some new enhancements added every year. It evolved recently - by being co-hosted by MTL and MIT.nano for the first time! Let's take a walk through the history of MARC together and learn some fun facts along the way.
MARC was not always called MARC. With its inception in 1984, MTL became a part of the semesterly VLSI Research Reviews under the Microsystems Research Center. These reviews evolved under the guidance of Prof. Paul Penfield to the faculty-run annual Microsystems Research Review in 1990, later referred to as MTL Annual Student Reviews. The yearly gathering became a student-run conference in 2005 and was rebranded as MARC by Prof. Anantha Chandrakasan. The name has proudly stuck around since then.
In the past few decades, the MTL research gatherings have been held at several local and remote venues including the MIT Endicott House, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the MIT campus, the Waterville Valley Ski Resort, the Boston Marriott Cambridge, the Boston Marriott Quincy, and even others. Skiing, one of the great offerings of MARC, first premiered at Waterville Valley over a decade ago. However, the inclusion of winter sports came at a price. In 2009, a winter storm required a last-minute venue change from New Hampshire back to the MIT campus with only hours to spare before the conference — a Herculean challenge that the organizers met, though with some stress. Lessons learned, the conference took place locally for a few years until the lure of the mountains proved too great in 2014. The conference found its current home at Bretton Woods in 2014. The Omni Mount Washington Resort turned out to be quite a crowd favorite, and was the location of choice till 2020. Due to the ongoing pandemic, MARC 2021 is being held virtually.
MARC continues to build on the success of past conferences and the visions of former co-chairs and steering committees recalibrated with a fresh lens each year. The tradition of publishing proceedings began in 2005 and has been carried forward since. MARC2010 introduced the "Poster Hunt" to engage the attendees more during the poster sessions. By 2012, the abstract submission and registration processes were fully automated through the website, which (we hope you agree) improves every year. Featured talks were introduced to MARC in 2013. MARC2016 introduced "Escape the Lab," capitalizing on the popularity of "Escape the Room" games across the globe. 2017 saw the advent of 2-minute MIG member pitches, and 2018 brought a lot of polish to student poster pitches with practice sessions and workshops with help from the EECS Communications Lab.