local organizing committee report

Finance:
\$193,545 – \$191,467 = \$2,478 profit!
registration income: \$185,340
external sponsorships: \$30,450, and another \$5k due later
total income before tax: \$212,900
after tax: \$193,545

Expenses:
tutorial: \$5,296
main program: \$47,941
banquet: \$120*270 = \$32,400
travel support for about 41 junior researchers: \$34k+
invited speakers: \$45k estimated
rump session: \$10,600 estimated
best student paper prize: \$700
other/misc: \$5k
total: \$191,467

Registration:

total: 276
in 2014: 261 (early before 31 oct, 169; standard by 30 nov, 68; late by 31 dec, 29)
in 2015: 15 (on-site 10)
no-show: 10

It’s great that the budget was balanced to about 1%. However, what to do about the little bit of extra money? This is a perpetual problem. Runyao had a nice simple idea: just send it to next year’s QIP and use it for travel support for junior researchers.

Program Committee Report:

197 talk-or-poster submissions (1 withdrawn) (In Barcelona, there were 222 but this decrease probably reflects the distance to Sydney rather than anything about the field.)

3 PC members for each submission, and 25 submissions per PC member.
3 weeks of refereeing, 2 weeks of discussion.
Much faster than a typical theoretical CS conference

39 accepts, including 2 mergers 20% accept
SC invited 3 more speakers 40 talks in the program
6 of these recommended to SC for plenary status
one best student paper

There were 601 reviews, at least 3 per submission
There were 142 external reviewers and 220 external reviews.

In the first round there were 102 posters accepted. 5 poster-only submissions, all rejected talk-or-poster submissions

92 more posters 90 accepted… one out of scope and one wrong.

About 40 people withdrew their posters or simply didn’t put up a poster.

We could have accepted about 20-30 more good papers. Future choice: accept more papers? This implies parallel sessions (if we decide to accept all of those good-enough-for-QIP papers). There are pros and cons of this. Pro: more people will be happy, and better representation of research. The Con is that the community will be more split, the conference needs two medium-size lecture rooms (but what about the plenary talks?).

Anecdotal feedback from authors: some reviews were sloppy. On the other hand, with only 3 weeks of refereeing we cannot expect too much. CS reviewers are more detailed and more critical.

Do we want the 3-page abstract format? There was not much discussion on this point, but Ronald de Wolf said that the costs outweigh the benefits in his opinion. We don’t have strong opinions. Steve likes them but thinks maybe two pages would be enough. Aram thinks we could do without them, or could go to 4 pages so the physicists could use their PRL and the computer scientists could use the first 4 pages of their long version. Apparently no one in the audience had strong opinions on this either, since there was no discussion of this point. Hopefully the next PC chair at least thinks carefully about this instead of going with the default.

Do we want to have the abstracts on the website? Again, there was no discussion of this point, but RdW thinks this is generally a good idea (and us Pontiffs agree with him).

Should we make the reviews public (subject to caveats)? E.g., something like what was done for TQC 2014, where lightly edited reviews were posted on SciRate. The answer is obviously yes. 🙂 We made a case for partial open reviewing, and the slides are here. The “partial” here is important. I think a lot of people have misinterpreted our proposal and counter-proposed a compromise in which only edited summaries of reviews of reports are posted for accepted papers; this is funny because it is essentially what we did for TQC 2014! It is true that in implementing this the details are extremely important, including instructions to the PC & subreviewers and the explanations of the system to authors and the public (e.g. crucially including the fact that published reviews are not meant to explain acceptance/rejection or even to label as “good” or “bad” but rather to add perspective). Probably these points should be in a longer post.

QIP 2016 will be held in Banff, with Barry Sanders chairing the local organizing committee.

Bids for QIP 2017 are being put in by Zürich and Seattle with local organizing committee chairs of Rotem Arnon Friedman and Krysta Svore respectively. (I mention chairs because my understanding is that no matter how large the committee is, they do a $\Omega(1)$ fraction, or even a $1-o(1)$ fraction, of the total work.) A straw poll of attendees shows slight favor for Zürich. Krysta said that MSR would probably still be interested in hosting in 2018, when the geographic case for Seattle would be stronger. Neither place will be as glorious as Sydney in January, but Seattle winters are pretty mild (although gray).

Stephanie Wehner presented the results of a poll that showed support for parallel sessions (about 50% of respondents favored this over options like dropping plenary talks, dropping the free afternoon, shorter talks or doing nothing). Others, like Daniel Gottesman, complained that the poll seemed to be asking how to increase the number of talks, rather than whether we should. A show of hands at this point (from an audience that by now had become pretty small, perhaps in part because there was free beer at the rump session at this point) showed an audience roughly evenly divided between supporting and opposing an increase in the number of talks. The Trinity of Pontiffs are divided on the parallel question, but of course it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. We might try an experiment doing parallel talks on one day (or even half-day) out of five, so we can see how we like it.

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