I promised to blog regarding the FOCS work and I did it to some extent. But not as much as I thought I would. Turns out that chairing was not conducive to blogging (or to much of the other things I planned on doing). Feel free to ask me questions here, and I’ll do my best to answer.
Our process was very similar to all other FOCS/STOC PCs I participated in. But there were a few differences and emphases:
- No page limit, which seems to have been successful (but requires some fine tuning).
- More time for electronic discussion. I also pushed the PC on being active in the discussion and I think it helped our PC meeting decisions being less arbitrary (though some decisions naturally were).
- More involvement of PC members with papers that were sent to sub reviewers.
- Setting up the PC meeting schedule around the enthusiasm of PC members towards specific papers.
Altogether, I found our PC meeting to be incredibly constructive. This is mainly due to the “niceness” of the PC members (a property that should not be underestimated). I think that items 2, 3 and 4 above also made a difference. In particular, PC members knew that if they care about a paper they will be heard, and with positive attitude by the PC.
A few weeks that the comments are out, and I did not get huge amount of complaints. But I am sure there are many more complaints that are out there. Some that I did get were amusing, such as a complaint on not receiving rejection comments for a paper that was never submitted. Others could potentially be justified. But I hope members of our community realize how much effort all of the PC have put into the selection, and that even if mistakes are unavoidable they are usually correctable.
There are a few things left to do: Selecting best papers out of an incredible (and unusually large) set of candidates, setting the program, producing the proceedings, etc. But I can already envision a wonderful FOCS in lovely Berkeley, October 2013. See you there!