Q5: Large Conferences

From Health of Conferences Committee

Question 5: CATCH-ALL.

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


We established a wiki for the conference committee to use while planning for the conference as well as a wiki to use during the conference by the attendees. We are also investigating new ideas in the next couple of years to improve some of the traditional venues such as introducing classes for certification purposes as part of the tutorial program and others but nothing has been implemented yet so it is not appropriate to talk about them yet.


Yes. When an experimental program is offered for multiple years, don't be afraid to let it go if it doesn't continue to fill a substantial need. Sometimes SIGGRAPH has continued some new programs beyond their useful life because of the dedication, commitment, and passion for it by hardworking volunteers. It is important to retain an objective point of view.


We are in the process of trying theme days -- there is one day of a conference dedicated to it, and a different theme is chosen each year. People seem generally very interested but it is hard to get a hold in areas that are not traditional for the conference. A must is getting some people on the program committee that are in that area.

Super Computing

Another thing we have is SC Global which uses Access Grid Nodes to provide a separate program of sessions. The content is presented not just at the conference but at from remote sites. We typically have 30-40 sites on 6 (and in SC 04 seven) continents.
In SC 05, we introduced SC Desktop that broadcast the conference session (all the ones discussed above) to anyone. We charged a nominal fee – about 10% of on-site fees and it was highly successful. We also archived the session. The target audience is people who can not come to the conference, such as graduate students, people who can’t get visa and people who are ill. This appears to be very effective.