Madhu Sudan

1) I am in favor of rethinking the nature and size of STOC to serve our
community better. I am glad you are doing this.

2) I am not in favor of turning STOC into a purely social event where people
publish papers merely to justify the travel to their funding agencies.

3) I think we should rethink STOC because our community is getting larger,
with very well developed closely connected subcommunities with a few but
positive number of broadly interesting results each year. In view of
this STOC should grow, and try to support the greater volume of work, while
also trying to bring the subcommunities together.

4) I think STOC should not aim to fill a predetermined number of slots
(or number of sessions) nor should it try to needlessly restrict itself
to fixed upper bounds. It should attempt to find papers that stimulate
the program committee (which may composed as a union of subcommittees),
and then simply determine what is breadth of interest in the stimulating
papers. (Among other things I hope this will allow program committees to 
view submissions "positively" rather than "negatively".) STOC's attitude
should be similar to that in typical journals today which don't view
papers as competition to other papers, but rather it should make 
independent decisions on each paper independent of time/slot constraints.
Having done so, I don't see a need to drop standards dramatically - 
we can fix the standards (strong interest among several PC members)
and keep the number of papers variable  - I would estimate that this
might at most double the number of accepted papers (incidentally
do we have a good idea of the expected number of times a paper is submitted to
FOCS/STOC conditioned on eventual acceptance?).

5) I can imagine that coming up with a good implementation of the program
committee will be non-trivial, but should not be intractable. I am happy to
give suggestions ...

1 comment:

  1. I strongly agree with the arguments, specific points, and general views expressed by Madhu Sudan here. Specifically, his idea that one should not drop entirely the standards of STOC, just make room for ALL interesting papers to be accepted - based on their merits, and not on their relative quality to other papers submitted - seems an excellent suggestion that might lead to the desired change in the system.

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