Sunday, May 22, 2005

STOC Business Meeting

10:45 PM: Hal Gabow on STOC republication policy. When can one submit to STOC when similar paper appeared in previous conference. Current policy does not allow simultaneous submission of the same (or essentially the same) abstract material to another conference with a published proceedings. Should this be more precise? Who enforces the policy? Should the policy be changed?
SIGPLAN policy allows republication if additional value of its publication beyond that of the original paper.

9:57 PM: Michael Foster, Director of CCF at NSF
Proposal tripled over last five years. CISE budget won't change much in next few years.
What's Theory For: Hard foundational questions, linkages between disparate fields; incubator.
Expect theory researchers to do theory but also work in other areas.
Theory Program: Maintain strong supporters in complexity. Narrow systems-theory gap in algorithms and consider applied theory co-funded with other groups.
Looking for theory program director and senior advisor to Peter Freeman (head of CISE).
Questions: How is funding allocated in NSF? Need to show theory necessary to advance well-being of the country. Resist urge to take money away from other ares. Avoid entitlement arguments.

9:37 PM: Andy Bernat from CRA.
CRA focuses on increasing funding and helping researchers with their careers.
DARPA cuts in basic research funding, more than half (>$100M) in last four years. Those researchers are now turing to the NSF.
At recent Future of Computer Science hearing of House Science Committee DARPA argued it funding the computer science that needs funding. Committee charges CS community to come up with a list of areas in CS that need funding. Several workshops planned to address this including summit to be organized by Bill Wolf.
What we can do: Become program director, division director, and assistant directors at NSF. Push on advisory committees, participate in CRA and talk to our legislators. Read CRA Blog.

9:10 PM: Discussion on Theory Funding chaired by Sanjeev Arora.
Some background here and a new Theory Matters website.
Theory claims smaller part of full NSF budget in CS. But also general funding crisis is in funding crisis. Tension between "Core CS" and "Applications of CS"
TCS's greatest strength: Unexpected Payoffs: NP-completeness led to crypto to zero-knowledge to interactive proofs and PCP to coding theory as well as boosting.
More in Advocacy Document.

8:58 PM: Laszlo Babai
G�del Prize: Noga Alon, Yossi Matias and Mario Szegedy for their paper On the space complexity of approximating the frequency moments.

8:52 PM: Andy Bernat from CRA
Outstanding Undergraduate Award: Male Winner Mihai Patrascu (MIT). The female winner, Andrea Grimes (Northeastern) was awarded at the Computer-Human Interaction conference.

8:36 PM: Program Chair Report:
Best Paper: Omer Reingold, Best Student Paper: Vladimir Trifonov, for their low space algorithms for undirected connectivity.
84 accepted papers out of 290 Submitted
33 out of 80 (41%) in complexity.
31 of 128 (24%) in algorithms.
20 of 82 (24%) in "alternative models."
Submissions from 23 countries. Israel most after US.

8:22 PM EST: Local Arrangements Report:
256 Participants including 108 students.
Total Income and expenses each about $97K.

No beer!

I'm liveblogging the business meeting. Keep it here.


  1. Reading from home, I can have a beer and get the highlights at the same time :-)

    keep it up!


  2. Hi Lance, I've been looking to say hello to you at STOC, but haven't spotted you just yet. Long-time reader and fan of your blog; maybe I'll see you at my talk on Tuesday afternoon.

    Regarding the STOC business meeting tonight, I was a somewhat dismayed at Michael Foster's (needlessly?) evasive responses to questions from the audience about what he personally could do to increase funding to theory, and how the institutional structure of NSF and CISE may be contributing to the funding crisis in theory. It seems to me as if he were advocating we theorists take to the streets with signs in protest in order to demonstrate to our congresspeople and the American public that we are not receiving funding comensurate with our contribution to society. Seems to me that it's his job to see that funding is allocated in the proper amount, rather than to bait audience members into offering either the entitlement argument or to ask for money to be taken away from another science.