Program Chair’s Welcome

Dear Participants, As the program chair, on behalf of the program committee, FIRST Board of Directors and the conference organizers, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the lively city of Fukuoka for the 36th Annual FIRST Conference.

Fukuoka is the most populous city on Kyushu Island and has long been considered the gateway to Japan due to its relative proximity to the Asian mainland. Due to this background and the cross-cultural exposure, Fukuoka has a distinctive local culture different from other larger cities, such as Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, etc. The theme of this year’s conference, Bridging Security Gaps is representative of the way Fukuoka has evolved as a city in its history.

Striking the right balance for a program to fit a diverse group that the FIRST community is, was a challenge. FIRST membership has more than tripled in size since the annual conference was last held in Japan in 2009 and not only we do have a more diverse group of members, the topics covered have expanded as well. Along with the traditional topics like network traffic monitoring and malware analysis case studies, this year saw several submissions on large language models (LLMs) among the record number of 294 submissions that we received.

I have many people to thank who have supported me throughout the process of putting together this year’s program and would like to mention a few groups here. First is the 2024 Program Committee. Their active participation, knowledge, and experience with the FIRST community was crucial in being able to put together the wonderful program we have. Next is the events team, who have supported me step-by-step throughout this process, and without them, I would not have been able to get through. Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who submitted a presentation. Many difficult decisions were made to finalize the program and I wish we could fit more. If the count is correct, we will have a record 32 countries and territories represented on our conference program agenda.

While there are many returnees to the conference, I would like to highlight to our first time attendees that there is much more to the FIRST conference than just the presentations. It is about building trust and friendships within a community to help improve security together. Throughout the week, please take the time to meet new people and catch up with old friends at the welcome reception, special interest group (SIG) and birds of a feather (BOF) meetings, and other social events. If there are any groups of interest to you, please take the time to join the meetings to see what they are doing.

Finally, I hope everybody has time to explore and enjoy Fukuoka and the surrounding areas throughout the week.

I very much look forward to seeing you in Fukuoka.

Takayuki Uchiyama
FIRST 2024 Program Chair