On Saturday in Seattle, there will be a Visioning Workshop with two goals.
- Identify broad research themes within theoretical computer science that have potential for a major impact in the future, and
- Distill these research directions into compelling "nuggets" that can quickly convey their importance to a layperson.
At the STOC business meeting, Borodin will discuss his co-authored letter about conceptual contributions that has already appeared on Scott's blog. Nobody seriously argues against papers with important conceptual points, rather we have the problem that STOC and FOCS have gotten to the point that they accept only a fraction of the strong papers in a given year and difficult decisions have to be made and it is much easier to recongize a strong technical paper than a strong conceptual one. Still both the STOC and FOCS 2008 committees are fighting back with the new line added to the call.
Papers that broaden the reach of theory, or raise important problems that can benefit from theoretical investigation and analysis, are encouraged.We can only recognize true conceptual greatness when it stands the test of time conflicting with computer science's deadline-driven conference system. Something has to give.