Talk:Visionary Venues

From Health of Conferences Committee

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Dave Patterson Dave Patterson
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Starting Comments

Many groups talked of ways of showcasing wilder papers.


Our community is newer than many, so things like 'crazy idea sessions' haven't emerged. What we have instituted, however, is the :Doctoral Consortium, which has been a big success. This allows for mentioning of Ph.D. student research, plus some advice about jobs and preparation for jobs. We've not had very good experiences with panels, so we discourage these. A panel proposal would be considered, but would be scrutinized carefully.


Research-in-progress sessions provide a venue for work not yet completed. Panels are another venue, but usually author(s) need a paper published in the proceedings to get travel funding from their institutions. Panels may appear in proceedings, but are usually short.


We tried and abandoned a conference that consisted of only invited papers. People who were not invited felt snubbed.


The VLDB conference has a special class of papers called "vision papers" for this purpose. The CIDR conference was explicitly organized to help disseminate half-baked big ideas, rather than fully worked out (big or small) ideas. ICDE and others accept a new category of short papers; but this is not limited to "big ideas". Surajit has been explicitly asking SIGMOD PC members to push for papers with non-incremental ideas even if they are borderline because of technical limitations (in contrast to polished papers that make incremental contributions).
Frankly, how well these work in unearthing big ideas is a question I don't have a good feel for. Nonetheless, I think it is important for the research community to recognize that non-incremental ideas are valued, and I think we're accomplishing this.


We experimented with having position papers at our main conference, with limited success; we ultimately abandoned that idea in favor of the co-located workshops. Plus, we have a workshop on Hot Topics in Networking that emphasize "idea" papers over evaluation. This year at SIGCOMM'06 we plan to accept more papers (and have correspondingly shorter talks). Our Internet Measurement Conference has a mix of short (6-page) and long (12-14 page) papers. Our SIG newsletter also has a mix of long and short (i.e., editorial-zone) papers.
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.
The short papers at IMC were a big success -- and especially good for measurement work, where sometimes folks have a cute little idea or measurement result that doesn't warrant a full-length paper but would be nice to get out to the community. The recent changes in our SIG newsletter (to include an "editorial zone") has been a big energizer. Loads of fun to read, with opinions, recommended reading, background on research institutes/labs, comparisons of past work, gossip column, etc. HotNets last year started having "public reviews" for each paper, something that our newsletter has recently adopted for the long papers, and SIGCOMM'06 will do this year. These are also loads of fun, and help in providing broader context and values; many people have mentioned to me that they use these public reviews in their classes.


If I understand it correctly, then the answer is yes. OOPSLA has been very active in introducing new venues for a long time (Educators Symposium, Doctoral Symposium, Practitioners Reports, Demos, of course in additon to the traditional other venues such as workshops, and tutorials. I apologize if I didn't understand what is meant by non-incremental.
big ideas sessions
Yes, it has been a tradition for OOPSLA to host specific tracks devoted to specific issue with related tutorials, workshops and panels, and some times with its own invited speaker (e.g., THe OnWard! track)
more papers
Introduced recently different categories to the papers track (e.g., Essays, selected papers from the OnWard! track that pass the same technical papers review criteria)


We also often have a session on 5-minute ideas, where attendees can stand up for 5 minutes and explain their "wild ideas." This is usually very well attended and enjoyed. ...


Our workshops associated with CCS have worked well in promoting new ideas in areas that might not be in the main stream yet. In fact these workshops have worked so well that some will be merged to form new conferences. In particular, we plan to merge the ACM SASN and ACM Mobicom WiSe workshops (possibly togehter with a European workshop) and form a new ACM Conference on Ad-hoc, Sensor and Wireless Networks Security.


There are several outlets at the SIGGRAPH conference for visionary ideas. The Papers Program has done a good job over the years of accepting visionary papers. In addition, the following programs all occasionally feature visionary content: Panels, Special Sessions, and Emerging Technologies (a demo venue). In addition, SIGGRAPH regularly experiments with new programs. For example, Web Graphics was funded for a three-year period to assess the need for permanent implementation as a separate program. Other experimental programs have included SIGGRAPH TV, Online Services, Community Outreach, SIGKids, and the Creative Applications Lab.


DAC has panels.

Discussion Begins

I've talk to several people about the idea, and OOPSLA seems to have had great success with their version: increased attendance to conference and lots of subsequent papers from these lively ideas.

Seems to me that this is exactly what we want from a conference: lively, provacative discussions vs. a live version of a staid journal

Dave Patterson