Now seems like a good time to take a break from writing for EC, and write a bit about EC.
In the past few years (since I started submitting, at least) EC has been competitive, not necessarily in terms of the acceptance rate, rather in terms of the quality of accepted papers. On the theory side, many people now prefer EC over SODA as an outlet for papers on algorithmic economics (or whatever you want to call it). I know several theory people who even like EC better than STOC/FOCS, although these are admittedly outliers (for the time being). Some of the top AI people in the algorithmic economics community publish some of their best work in EC. Enough said; EC rocks.
Strangely enough though, there is a large gap between the general high regard for EC within the EC community and its almost complete anonymity outside the community. I even had discussions with people who actively work on algorithmic economics but were unaware that EC is considered a great conference, or that it is not strictly about electronic commerce. In many ways, EC is the flagship conference of the algorithmic economics community, but it is often not recognized as such outside the community.
Which brings me to my favorite topic of late: renaming stuff. EC is a young conference and its fame will grow, but I do think the conference’s name plays an important role in its own misperception. Although electronic commerce is still an important part of EC, since 1999 the conference has evolved and it now includes (but is not limited to) all of the work at the intersection of economics and computation. Hmm, how would one call a conference on Economics and Computation? EC! There are actually precedents for changing the name of a conference while keeping the same acronym. For example, AAAI used to be the American Association for AI, and is now the Association for the Advancement of AI.
Rumor has it that the alternative interpretation of EC was discussed recently by the powers that be, but (obviously) was not adopted. Reportedly one concern was that “economics and computation” is not general enough. Be that as it may, the fact that economics and computation has the same acronym as electronic commerce is too cool an opportunity to pass up on and, seriously, such a change may do a great deal to correct some of the misperceptions of EC.