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From Health of Conferences Committee


ACM/IEEE Health of Conferences Committee

MARK D. HILL (Chair), University of Wisconsin, ACM/SIGARCH & IEEE



JOE MARKS, Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs, ACM/SIGGRAPH

PAOLO PRINETTO, Politecnico di Torino, IEEE

DONNA BAGLIO, ACM Headquarters

Filed: //

Release 1.0 on 31 May 2006

Charge from ACM President David Patterson

The idea is to collect the best practices onto a web page so that conference organizers can see innovative ways to cope with the demands of paper submissions, refereeing, and presentations, as the number of papers increase. The hope is that organizers will either try good new ideas or at least avoid the mistakes of others.


The committee--with the members listed above--was formed in December 2005. It "met" for several conference calls to create this Wiki, the initial version of which was released in May 2006. Key steps were formulating questions to ask ACM SIG chairs and IEEE TCs, mailing out the questionnaires, and compiling a short list of ideas to be recommended or avoided.

The goals are to unearth actionable ideas and reveal failed ideas. It is NOT our goal to produce summary statistics because we expect our audience is more interested in groups in situations similar to their own than in some average.

The next two sections present (a) selected ideas that the committee decided to highlight and (b) the complete survey results. Large conferences have more than one-thousand attendees, small conferences have less than 100, while medium conferences are in the middle.

Since this page has been vandalized, editing now requires a login and password that should be easy for computer scientists to figure out, but should, at least, stop bots:

  • Click on "Create an account or log in" in upper left-hand corner of this page.
  • Login: ****** (Highest award in computer science; first letter capitalized; remaining letters lower case).
  • Password: ***** (Last name of the author of "The Art of Computer Programming"; first letter capitalized; remaining letters lower case).

Let's Talk About Selected Ideas

This section lists several ideas that the committee decided to highlight. Please click on topic of interest (e.g., Talk: Tracking Reviews, but NOT the edit button the right) to see:

  • Comments from survey or the committee
  • Comments by others
  • Add a comment yourself!

Talk: Tracking Reviews

Talk: Two-phase Reviewing

Talk: Author Responses (Rebuttals)

Talk: Double-Blind Submissions

Talk: Accepting More Papers

Talk: Hierarchical Program Committees

Talk: Visionary Venues

Talk: Co-Located Workshops

Talk: Competitions

Talk: Catch All

Complete Survey Results

This section after this one presents the raw data so you can mine it yourself.

  • Large conferences: >1000 attendees
  • Medium conferences: 100-1000 attendees
  • Small conferences: <100 attendees


Has your community recently adopted new practices to deal with growing reviewer load, such as:

  • tracking reviews of rejected papers from conference to conference as is done in journal reviewing
  • increasing program committee size
  • charging a review fee
  • others?

For each practice you are using, what is your view of how well it is working within your community? Please comment on the merit of the other strategies as applies to your community.

Q1: Large Conferences

Q1: Medium Conferences

Q1: Small Conferences

Q1: IEEE Conferences


Has your community recently adopted new practices to promote non-incremental new ideas?

  • big ideas sessions
  • more papers
  • shorter papers
  • deemphasizing detailed evaluation
  • others?

For each practice you are using, what is your view of how well it is working within your community? Please comment on the merit of the other strategies as applies to your community.

Q2: Large Conferences

Q2: Medium Conferences

Q2: Small Conferences

Q2: IEEE Conferences


Does your community practice:

  • double blind submissions
  • program committee submission restrictions
  • rebuttals (author responses)
  • large program committees
  • program subcommittees
  • others?

Do these practices seem to help or hurt promoting your field?

Q3: Large Conferences

Q3: Medium Conferences

Q3: Small Conferences

Q3: IEEE Conferences

Question 4: WORKSHOPS, ETC.

Does your community provide venue for work not mature enough for your major conferences, such as:

  • workshop co-located at conferences
  • stand-alone workshops
  • panels
  • crazy idea sessions

On balance, are these other venues effect for advancing your field? What mechanisms, if any, do you use allow good papers from these venues to later achieve wider dissemination?

Q4: Large Conferences

Q4: Medium Conferences

Q4: Small Conferences

Q4: IEEE Conferences

Question 5: CATCH-ALL

Are there other approaches your community has tried or abandoned that the rest of us can learn from?

Q5: Large Conferences

Q5: Medium Conferences

Q5: Small Conferences

Q5: IEEE Conferences


The committee acknowledges the constructive advice of David A. Patterson.

The committee acknowledges the excellent support work of Adam Greenberg, Mike Marty, and Caitlin Scopel.


Mark D. Hill, Jean-Luc Gaudiot, Mary Hall, Joe Marks, Paolo Prinetto, and Donna Baglio, A Wiki for Discussing and Promoting Best Practices in Research, Communications of the ACM, Vol. 49, No. 9, pp. 63-64, September 2006. Points readers to this Wiki.

Mark D. Hill, Some Advice for Program Committee Chairs Based on my ISCA 2005 Experience, April 2005,

Mark D. Hill, Interim Talk to the ACM Special Interest Group Governing Board, February 24, 2006,

Kathyryn D. McKinley, Notes of Chairing Program Committees, May 2005,

David A. Patterson, President's Letter: The Health of Research Conferences and the Dearth of Big Idea Papers, Communications of the ACM, December 2004, pp. 23-24.

Please see documentation on customizing the interface + Health of Conferences Committee - and the User's Guide for usage and configuration help.