Week 24: Now The Review Work Begins

…And just in time for the holidays

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At least here in the United States, with next week’s Thanksgiving holiday and Christmas decorations already appearing in stores, there’s a sense that vacation season is around the corner. In contrast, on the technical program committee, we’re gearing up for real work, which in many ways is just now beginning. The deadline for invited content to DAC was last week and now we are in full throttle reviewing the submissions for panels, tutorials, workshops, special sessions and co-located events. The review of invited content always happens in open and vibrant discussions in our executive committee conference calls, a much different process than the blind peer review of research papers. If there’s interest out there, perhaps in a future blog I’ll post one of the Excel or PowerPoint files prepared by the content chairs that summarize the submissions and provide the jumping off point for these discussions.

We just went through a ranking of the panel submissions. Valeria Bertacco, panel chair, led the process, which involved all reviewers ranking the panels and writing a short assessment note about each one. She arranged the survey in such a way that we could only submit it after we ranked all the panels. This way none of the reviewers could claim ignorance. I can report that we’ve received some excellent proposals that will help fuel the discussions.

Unlike other conferences, DAC does not just select a panel and then let the submitter/organizer take care of the rest. The panel committee, as well as the executive committee, is part of the entire planning process from submission to final panel presentation. We start the discussion by asking a slew of questions about each submission: Is it the right topic? Is it the right angle? Does it invite different perspectives? Nobody wants to be in a panel discussion where everyone including the moderator has the same opinion. Once we hone in on the topic we start identifying possible panelists. And once we have our list of final panel topics, abstracts, panelists and moderators, we will take one final look at the overall balance of corporations, institutions and individuals before we start the invitation process. The panel committee and the original submitter/organizer are involved in the discussions as plans for each panel evolves. It is a very interactive process, one designed to ensure that a diversity of opinions and content are presented at a consistently high level of quality that you expect at DAC.

We follow the same iterative approach for special sessions and tutorials. Between now and February the technical program chairs have their work cut out for them. But more about that work later. For now I have three reminders:

  1. Don’t forget that the deadline for research papers is coming up. Abstracts are due today (Nov. 21); manuscripts are due Tuesday, Dec. 2.
  2. Please send me your ideas for sessions in the DAC Pavilion, which is conveniently located on the main exhibit floor and open to all attendees. Should we dedicate a whole day in the Pavilion to IoT? Are there specific tear-downs you would like to see? Do you have any specific ideas for fireside chats? I’m going to start working on the Pavilion pretty soon. We will start with the invitations for our SKY Talks. Make sure you help shape the program.
  3. And even though those of us on the executive committee are likely to be reviewing submissions, if you’re celebrating it, please enjoy your Thanksgiving next week. I, for one, remain thankful to be chairing DAC and to have such great colleagues on the executive committee.

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