Monday, October 27, 2008

Business Meeting

Another FOCS report from Rahul

The business meeting was compered by Paul Beame.

  1. The local chair Sanjeev Khanna spoke. 270 registered this year, as opposed to 250 last year and 220-230 the year before that. Excelsior!
  2. The P.C. report was given by the P.C. chair R.Ravi. Some salient features
    1. 349: not the number of reviewed papers, but rather the number of external reviewers
    2. June 13, 2008: the Night of the Long Knives, when as many as 150 papers had their hopes quashed.
    3. "Succincter": In an unprecedented double, Mihai's Best Paper Title awardee also wins the Machtey Best Student Paper award
    4. Dana Moshkovitz and Ran Raz win best paper for "Two-query PCP with Sub-Constant Error"
  3. Milena Mihail gave a presentation on FOCS 2009, which will be held in Atlanta from November 8-10 next year.
  4. Volunteers were requested for hosting FOCS 2010. Three hands shot up instantly, and after a long and contentious debate culminating in a beer-bottle fight... Nah.
  5. We all got to vote nine days before the big day. David Shmoys was elected vice-chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Mathematical Foundations of Computing.
  6. A couple of major Prize announcements were made; no suspense involved for readers of this blog. Volker Strassen is the recipient of the Knuth Prize, and Spielman and Teng have won the Godel Prize for their paper on smoothed analysis of linear programming.
  7. NSF Report by Sampath Kannan, who's a Division Director in the CCF (Computing and Communications Foundations) program. We theorists seem to have a nice program of our own now directly under CCF called Algorithmic Foundations, which covers most of the traditional STOC/FOCS areas, and has a budget over $30 million for this year. Grant deadlines coming up pretty soon actually: for the Large grants on October 31, for the Medium grants shortly afterward in November, and for the Small ones in December. There was also some information on relevant cross-cutting funding opportunities.
  8. STOC 2009 will be held May 31- June 2 in Bethesda, Maryland. The submission server is already active. Title and short abstract are due November 10, extended abstract is due November 17.
  9. Pierre Mckenzie recapitulated CCC 2008 in 30 seconds, and then announced that CCC 2009 would be held in Paris. Paris, France, as a matter of fact; excited murmurs from the audience. For a brief moment there complexity theory was cool.
  10. David Johnson announced that SODA 2009 would be held January 4 - January 6 in New York, and that Volker Strassen would be giving his Knuth Prize lecture there.
  11. Miscellaneous announcements, including a long-overdue archiving of old FOCS proceedings in IEEE Xplore ( I believe the only ones left are '60,'61, '63 and '67) and news about the establishment of the Center for Computational Intractability in Princeton, funded by the NSF/CISE Expeditions grant announced earlier on this blog.
That was one of the duller business meetings in recent memory. Which is a good thing, of course – it means we're all happy and getting along.


  1. Any news on the theory wikipedia effort?

  2. Nothing was said about it at the business meeting, as far as I can recall.

  3. I had intended to lighten it a little bit by showing this fun "Pals around with Theorists" comic and unfortunately forgot to click to my last slide. (Maybe injecting political content, rather than baseball content in the form of live game updates, would have generated some controversy.)

  4. Paul, the baseball updates were by far the most interesting aspect of the meeting, for me...