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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

ICALP and EC

A busy conference day yesterday. In the morning I had two papers rejected by ICALP but later buffered by two papers accepted into Electronic Commerce. I'll take 2 for 4 any day.

The list of accepted papers for ICALP Track A has been posted. The EC list isn't out yet.

For ICALP, one my papers was rejected because the proof didn't seem hard enough and the other for having too many theorems.

Thus, while I do find that the results are interesting, reading the paper (including the appendix), I am not convinced that it is possible to present the results in a satisfying way within the page constraints. There simply seems to be too many results included for this to be feasible.
I need to listen to my own advice.

Update 4/10: EC accepted papers here.

13 comments:

  1. On a more interesting note VLDB is discussing becoming a real conference (in the sense of every other scientific discipline except CS) by publishing the proceedings in journal form only (and with journal quality refereeing). For more details see:

    http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/opb/jdmr.txt

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. I'd like to ask Lance, if i should also try to use hard proofs in my master thesis.

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  4. "Proof didn't seem hard enough"

    Did the reviewers mention this?

    That is crazy!!

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  5. >Did the reviewers mention this?

    >That is crazy!!
    Clearly, you are not a theorist. :-) Reviews like this are quite common in theory conferences.

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  6. >> "Proof didn't seem hard enough"

    >Did the reviewers mention this?

    >That is crazy!!

    The proper question for reviewers to ask should should be: "is the result relevant?". However rating papers by proof difficulty is such an ingrained practice in the field that it is doubtful it'll change any time soon.

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  7. maybe this would have helped.
    http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20080409/poll-scientists-use-brain-boosting-drugs
    Just curious am I the last scientist not using smart-drugs?

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  8. I think sometimes when the reviewer says "Proof didnt seem hard enough" the reviewer actually means(thinks)
    " the result is a trivial observation", and is just being polite.

    Only in a few cases does a very simple observations change the course of the field, or have significant relevance. Most simple observations are just trivial.
    Again, for sake of politeness, usually reviewers refrain from saying " this result is not only simple but has no relevance"


    Thus in most cases, when the reviewer says "Proof didnt seem hard enough"

    he actually means(thinks)

    "The result is a simple observation and there is probably of not much relevance either"

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  9. >>>I think sometimes when the reviewer says "Proof didnt seem hard enough" the reviewer actually means(thinks)" the result is a trivial observation", and is just being polite.

    Or maybe, the reviewer actually means "I have no clue how relevant this is, but the proof looks simple, so it could not have been hard. And, if I say the proof look s trivial, I'll look so smart myself!"

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  10. >>> Or maybe, the reviewer actually means "I have no clue how relevant this is, but the proof looks simple, so it could not have been hard. And, if I say the proof look s trivial, I'll look so smart myself!"

    The reviewer is not an external adversary, but is one of us - the theory community. If there is not enough evidence in the paper to convince the reviewer(community) that the results are important, then until proven otherwise the paper is not important.

    The onus of demonstrating the importance of a result is on the author, not on the community. If the author thinks, the techniques are very interesting, may be give applications of it.

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  11. the reviewer actually means ...

    Or sometimes the reviewers are simply upset about having missed this simple but important observation and resort to attacking it because its "trivial".

    I've seen it first hand within PCs, but for obvious reasons this is confidential. For an older yet public discussion along those lines read the discussion on skip lists that took place on the CACM when they first came out.

    While most people immediately grasped their importance there were some public criticisms along the lines of "this is obvious", "they are no different that binary search trees", "in fact if anything they are slower!"; all of which missed the point that the main advantage of skip list is in their simplicity.

    Similarly, at a recent workshop, a presenter highlighted the implications of a well known fact whose importance had been up til now missed. Sitting at the back I overheard a few of the attendants saying "we all knew this!", "this is nothing new" while missing the point that what as being highlighted were the until-now overlooked implications of said fact.

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  12. About ICALP and perhaps EC: some people were asking around about the lack of coordinating the deadlines and notifications of the conferences. The deadline for ESA, RANDOM, APPROX was just 3-5 days before the notifications of ICALP & EC. Why is it so? Couldn't they wait a few days more? It annoys some people and it doesn't serve good our community.

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  13. Too bad about your paper not getting in.

    I looked at your previous post you linked to, about how to improve your paper but lessen your chances of getting accepted, and I want to strongly dispute your claim that adding a result improves your paper. Suppose you have a paper about interactive proofs, and you add to it a completely unrelated result about algebraic geometry. It seems pretty clear that this actually decreases the quality of your paper.

    My opinion is that a paper should tell one story. That is, it should be a closely connected set of related results. If you have a result that doesn't fit (even if it's generally in the same field), it should go into another paper.

    I don't know if that's the case here.

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