Tuesday, January 29, 2013

TCS online series- could this work?

Oded Regev, Anindya De and Thomas Vidick we are about to start an online TCS seminar series. See here for details, though I have the first few paragraphs below.

Its an interesting idea- we can't all get to conferences so this is a good way to get information out there. Wave of the future? We'll see how it goes.

Here is the first few paragraphs:

Ever wished you could attend that talk if only you didn't have to hike the Rockies, or swim across the Atlantic, to get there; if only it could have been scheduled the following week, because this week is finals; if only you could watch it from your desk, or for that matter directly from your bed?

Starting this semester TCS+ will solve all your worries. We are delighted to announce the initiation of a new series of *online* seminars in theoretical computer science. The seminars will be run using the hangout feature of Google+. The speaker and slides will be broadcast live as well as recorded and made available online. Anyone with a computer (and a decent browser) can watch; anyone with a webcam can join the live audience and participate.

Our goal is to make engaging talks accessible to the widest possible audience, ensuring a carbon-free dissemination of ideas across the globe.

We're still in beta, and we welcome any feedback from the community. There will undoubtedly be glitches at first, but we hope you'll bear with us and be as excited as we are at trying out the possibilities of this new medium.

Now for some more practical information:

Inauguration talk:
  1. Speaker: Ronald de Wolf, CWI, Amsterdam.
  2. Title: Exponential Lower Bounds for Polytopes in Combinatorial Optimization.
  3. Source: Paper of the same name from STOC12 with Samuel Fiorini, Serge Massar,
    Sebastian Pokutta and Hans Raj Tiwary that won the best paper award.)


  1. Yes it can work and it already does work in the context of the online quantum seminars Q+ that I have been running with Daniel Burgarth for about a year (http://gplus.to/qplus). TCS+ is modelled on Q+, although there are some differences in how they plan to organize things, but I think the TCS community is about as internet savy as the quantum community so I expect them to be similarly successful.

    People who regularly attend conferences and have active local seminar series may not attend these things so often, but it is a godsend for those of us who are stuck at home or live in relatively remote locations.

  2. It's a great idea and I hope that it will definitely work.It will be a boon for students interested in the area of TCS.

  3. It's great idea and it is bound to work excellently given the success of Q+. I hope in near future we get more such online series in other fields.