Archive for June, 2018

Call for FOCS 2018 Workshop and Tutorial Proposals

  • Workshop and Tutorial Day: Saturday, October 6, 2018
  • Workshop and Tutorial Co-Chairs: Robert Kleinberg and James R. Lee
  • Submission deadline:  August 1st, 2018
  • Notification: August 6th, 2018

On Saturday, October 6th, immediately preceding the main conference, FOCS 2018 will hold a workshop-and-tutorials day.  We invite groups of interested researchers to submit workshop or tutorial proposals.

The goal of a workshop is to provide an informal forum for researchers to discuss important research questions, directions, and challenges. The goal of a tutorial is to educate TCS researchers about foundational material and recent developments in a research area in which they may not already be conversant. Connections between theoretical computer science and other areas, topics that are not well represented at FOCS, and open problems are also encouraged.

Format: The workshop/tutorial day will start at 9am and end at 5pm with lunch from 12-2pm.  It will take place at the Institut Henri Poincaré in the Quartier Latin (Latin Quarter) of Paris, not far from the main conference venue. Organizers are completely free to choose their workshop formats (invited speakers, panel discussions, etc.). Both full-day and half-day workshops are a possibility.

FOCS does not have funds to cover travel expenses or honoraria for invited workshop and tutorial speakers. Workshop and tutorials attendance will, however, be free and there is no separate registration for attending them.

For an idea about previous workshops and tutorials, consult the following links:

STOC 2018:        http://acm-stoc.org/stoc2018/workshops.html


FOCS 2017:        https://focs17.simons.berkeley.edu/workshopAndTutorial.html

STOC 2017:        http://acm-stoc.org/stoc2017/workshops.html

FOCS 2016:        http://dimacs.rutgers.edu/FOCS16/workshops.html

STOC 2016:        http://acm-stoc.org/stoc2016/workshop.html

Proposal submission

Workshop and tutorial proposals should fit into one page. Please include a list of names and email addresses of the organizers, a brief description of the topic and the goals of the workshop or tutorial, the proposed workshop format (invited talks, contributed talks, panel, etc.), and proposed or tentatively confirmed speakers if known.  Please also indicate the preferred length of time for your workshop or tutorial (full day or half day). Feel free to contact the Workshop and Tutorial Co-Chairs at the email address below if you have any questions.

Submission deadline

Proposals should be submitted by August 1st via email to focs2018workshops@gmail.com.  Proposers will be notified by August 6th whether their proposals have been accepted.


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via Will quantum communication make us more cooperative?

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Guest post from Nikhil Devanur:

Pinyan Lu and I were the PC chairs for WINE 2017, and we decided to conduct an experiment. We asked the PC members to score the submissions in the same way they would score an EC 2017 submission. In fact, we sent them the instructions that were given to the PC for EC 2017 and asked them to follow the same guidelines.

Right off the bat, there is the question of how well these instructions were followed. We sent these instructions multiple times, and yet some PC members seem to have ignored it initially. This would invariably come up during discussions. Someone would ask, “Is this EC scale, or WINE scale”, and every now and then there would be a “Doh! I forgot”.

With that aside, I want to present the results of this experiment. Moshe Babaioff kindly gave me the statistics for EC submissions, so we can compare. The key quantity of interest is of course, how do the submission qualities differ. We all know EC gets stronger submissions, but by how much? We sorted the papers into the following buckets, and compared the percentage of submissions in each bucket. The scoring scale for EC was from 1 to 7. Here’s the result.

Average score EC WINE
6+ 6% 0%
5.5 to 6 9% 3%
5 to 5.5 17% 14%
4.5 to 5 14% 11%
4 to 4.5 11% 19%
3 to 4 27% 38%
1 to 3 16% 15%

This table doesn’t tell the whole story, so I did something else: I added 0.5 to the average of each WINE paper, and then calculated the CDF. Here’s what that looks like.

Average score EC WINE + 0.5
6+ 6% 3%
5.5+ 16% 17%
5+ 32% 28%
4.5+ 47% 48%
4+ 58% 65%
3+ 84% 89%
1+ 100% 100%

Now you can see that the two columns are very close to each other. What this tells me is that there is about a 0.5 to 1 point difference between EC and WINE submissions, on a scale of 1 to 7. (My guess is that this would hold even after taking into consideration a bit of grade inflation in the experiment, which is hard to measure.)

Other than this experiment, here is some feedback that I wanted to give to the community.

  1. Historically, WINE has been focused on the CS theory side of AGT, but there is no good reason to continue this. We made a conscious effort to change this and attract all AGT work, including what is typically done in AI and OR communities, as well as experimental work. We said this explicitly in the CFP, and I tried to have the PC represent this as well. I think we got a more diverse set of submissions, especially from the OR community. Several members from OR were attending WINE for the first time, and the feedback from them was that we should publicize WINE more to the OR community. I hope this trend continues, and we see virtually no difference between EC and WINE in terms of topics of relevance.
  2. WINE has been using Springer for publishing the proceedings and we were not quite happy with them. One, we had ordered some number of hard copies of the proceedings, with the idea that they would be made available on a shared basis at the conference location. These were never delivered. Springer was also supposed to sponsor a monetary reward for the best paper, which they never sent. (We gave the reward out of other sponsorship money.) I would recommend seriously considering alternate publishers, including open access publishers.
  3. This has been said before, but one of the most painful aspects of organizing WINE is the need to be budget balanced each year. There is no rolling bank account, and if for some reason the balance goes red in a year, that money has to come out of the PC chairs/local organizers!! This leads to a lot of anxiety and conservative actions in terms of how the sponsorship money is used.

There were other interesting proposals that came up in the WINE business meeting, but I chose not to include any of those so that this blog post is as short as possible. You can watch a recording of this (as well as that of all the talks) here:


Finally, I want to give a shout out once again to the local organizers of WINE 2017. I got uniformly and overwhelmingly positive feedback from many of the attendees that this was one of the most enjoyable conferences they had attended. The local organizers (Y. Narahari and his group at the IISc, Bangalore) get all the credit for this.

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