Peter Winkler

   The proposal seems actually to be two: (1) to offer a "traditional"
scientific meeting to the theory community, and (2) to eliminate what
we know as STOC.
   The first seems like a good idea, although I'm not sure about the
abstracts---is it supposed to be possible to have that *plus* a
10-page abstract for FOCS, SODA or ICALP *and* a journal paper?
If so, I'd suggest a paragraph or two maximum, just to clarify the title,
plus a mandatory link to a personal website, archive or publication.
Let's not even call it an abstract---how about "clarification and pointer"?
It shouldn't be something anyone would be tempted to tout on a CV.
   The new meeting should probably be aimed for summers; it could
start out as biannual event like SIAM Discrete, or even as a one-time
meeting, to test the waters.  Actually, the more I think about it, the
more I like (1).  We do need an inclusive, noncompetitive meeting in TCS.
   I don't understand the reasoning for Proposal (2) (unless SIGACT
feels it must eliminate one meeting to make way for another).  Sure,
FOCS and STOC play the same role, but so what?  It means in
effect that there is one semiannual meeting, giving everyone two chances
per year to submit or attend.  Very useful especially given the constraints
of the semester system.
   Personally, I adore attending FOCS, STOC, SODA & ICALP
(& PODC etc)---I like knowing that everything presented has merit
and is relatively current.  Being on the program committees is hard work
but very valuable to everyone.  Math suffers from not having this tradition;
discrete math is lucky to have SODA as an option.  I was totally awed
and delighted the first time I saw a STOC proceedings---brought to
me by an intrepid undergraduate named Sam Buss.  The best results,
by community consensus; all new, all in one place!  Wow!
   Even if you were to convince the community of the desirability of
both (1) and (2), I would not call the new meeting "STOC."  It just
wouldn't be STOC.  People would end up talking about "new STOC"
and "old STOC", which is silly and totally unnecessary.  Why invite
opposition from people who don't want the STOC entries on their
CV's devalued?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.