The business meeting was fun thanks to Mihai!
Local arrangements: First, let me say how wonderful the local arrangements
were this year, a sentiment I've heard from many others here. Thanks so
much for making this FOCS happen.
Claire gave a very detailed account of the local arrangements. The general message seemed to be that things are expensive. Expenditures this year reached $100K. The usual culprits were at fault -- food ($265 per person, total of $66,000), paper proceedings ($32 per person, total of $11,700), PC meeting/registration fees ($12,000), room/equipment rental ($4,200). Everything sunk in when it was announced that we're looking at a $525 registration fee for STOC 2008 in Victoria, admittedly thanks in part to the falling dollar.
The usual debates ensued -- paper vs CD vs online proceedings, catered lunch vs on-your-own, alternate conference venues. Let me capitalize on my journalistic duties to further my personal opinion on these matters: online proceedings (and ideally someday online PC meetings) are much more environmentally friendly. For me, this is enough. But, besides environmental and monetary costs, online proceedings are also easier to access after the meeting and can include media beyond print, e.g. slide presentations, videos of talks, etc. (see, for example, the excellent wiki of FOCS 06 built by Amin Saberi). People who really want paper proceedings can go to Kinko's with a printout of all the papers and pay $50 to bind them.
But honestly, I'm getting tired of this annual debate. Let's just do it my way. ;)