Making Sigmetrics a “jourference”

The CFP for this year’s Sigmetrics is now being widely circulated and it includes something very new — it takes Sigmetrics a step towards the hybrid journal/conference, a.k.a., jourference model.   This represents the culmination of more than two years of discussions and work by the Sigmetrics board (of which I’m a part of), so I’m pretty excited to see how the experiment plays out!

Why go to the jourference model? 

For those who have somehow managed to avoid all the debates about the pluses and minus of the conference models in CS, I won’t rehash them here.  You can find in depth discussions here, here, here, and many other places…

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A new ACM proposal for integrating conference and journal publication models

The relative merits (and problems) of the conference and journal publication models are an ubiquitous topic of conversation at almost every conference/workshop I’ve ever attended.    It’s been great to see lots of experiments with adjustments to the models in recent years at, e.g., ICML, VLDB, SIGGRAPH, etc.   For various reasons, these venues have been willing and able to be quite bold at experimenting with the publication models and creating various “jourference” hybrids.

It seems that the success of these experiments may now have given birth to a broader solution.  This month’s CACM outlines a proposal for a new approach toward merging conference and journal publication models in CS.  They also devote a point/counterpoint to a discussion of the relative merits of the proposal.  If you haven’t yet seen it, give it a read and be sure to fill out the survey afterwards.  This is a crucial issue for the CS community in my mind.

To put myself out there a bit — I think the proposal is a great option for CS, and I hope that we can move to a model like this across the ACM.  I think the conference publication model is great at allowing fast publication and creating a sense of community in different research areas, but that it has lots of very significant issues that come from the lack of time for revisions to address reviewer comments and the challenge of creating “journal versions” after the fact (duplicated review effort, awkwardness in assessing novelty, etc.).  As anyone who has worked at the interface of CS and other fields knows, this issue creates significant hurdles for visibility — especially for students — while also leading to significant duplication of reviewing effort from the community.

EC & Sigmetrics accepted papers are out

I’m a little late in posting about this, but at this point the schedule for Sigmetrics is up, as is the list of accepted papers at EC.  So, it’s a good point to take a look at each to compare.

First of all, congrats to all the folks in RSRG with paper(s)…we managed to get one in at both conferences again this year, to extend our streak to 5 years in that regard!  (Though my personal streak got broken this year with a gap on the EC side…)  Here’re the two papers:

  • Online Convex Optimization Using Predictions. Niangjun Chen, Anish Agarwal, Adam Wierman, Siddharth Barman, and Lachlan Andrew (Sigmetrics)
  • Finding Any Nontrivial Coarse Correlated Equilibrium Is Hard. Siddharth Barman and Katrina Ligett (EC)

Second, it’s always interesting to look at the trends in the accepted papers at the two conferences.  On the Sigmetrics side, there is a marked drop in papers related to data centers / cloud applications and also in papers related to energy.  In both cases, this seems to be (at least partially) a consequence of the emergence of new top-tier conferences focusing on those areas with similar deadlines.   I know this happened in my case… These papers have been replaced by the emergence of a class of papers at the intersection of control and learning (our paper is one such example) and the continued expansion of papers on markets & social networks.  There are two sessions this year full of papers that could easily have been submitted to EC instead.

In contrast, topics in the EC submissions seem pretty stable.  There is again a large focus on mechanism design and computational advertising models.  One area that seems to have grown considerably though is papers related to online/sharing economies and networked marketplaces, with a number of papers focusing on uber/airbnb-type applications.

Happily, there is (for the first time I believe) one paper with energy markets as the focus (from Kesselheim, Kleinberg, Tardos)!  I’ll be excited to take a look at that… So far, I haven’t taken the plunge and sent our work on that topic to EC (which is why I didn’t submit this year), but maybe it’s time to give it a shot.

Announcing NetEcon 2015

I’ve posted before about the growing overlap in topics between the EC & Sigmetrics communities.  Increasingly, the conferences are having sessions on very similar topics, but looking at the topics with very different perspectives.  This was especially true for last year’s conferences.  While some folks manage to cross the boundaries between these two communities, for the most part this has proven difficult (at least for my attempts)…

I think there’s a lot of value in finding ways to bring folks from these two communities together, which is one reason why I’m happy to announce NetEcon 2015, which I’m co-chairing with Patrick Loiseau and Aaron Roth.  NetEcon is a workshop with a long history of bridging CS and Economics, and this year we’re hoping to take advantage of the fact that Sigmetrics and EC are co-located as part of FCRC to bring those two communities together as well.

To highlight this, we have three exciting keynotes lined up.  One from Economics (Rakesh Vohra), one from the EC community (Eva Tardos), and one from the Sigmetrics community (R. Srikant).  Additionally, to be consistent with the differing publication styles across the communities, we will allow accepted papers to have a 1-page abstract appear in the proceedings in order to ensure that the full version of the papers can be published in other venues without issue.

So, there’s no excuse not to send in your best on-going paper or work-in-progress!

Sigmetrics finally has a journal

I’m a little late with the announcement, but I’m definitely excited to pass on the word about a new ACM journal: Transactions on Modeling and Performance Evaluation of Computing Systems (ToMPECS).

Despite its long history, Sigmetrics has never had an ACM journal to call its own — it’s papers are scattered over a long list of journals.  So, I think this is great news! …and it’s thanks to a lot of hard work from a lot of people in the community, especially Carey Williamson and Don Towsley.

Though Sigmetrics folks led the way in the formation, this journal is meant to be much broader than simply Sigmetrics.  From the website, here’s the scope:

It solicits and will publish articles that:

  • Define, develop, and assess new performance evaluation methodologies, including analytical techniques, experimental design, formal methods, instrumentation techniques, mathematical modeling, optimization, queueing theory, reliability analysis, simulation, statistical analysis, stochastic modeling, verification and validation, and workload characterization;
  • Provide new insights on the performance of computing and communication systems; or
  • Introduce new settings within which performance modeling and evaluation can play an important role.

Target areas for these performance evaluation methodologies include traditional areas such as computer architecture, computer networks, database systems, distributed systems, enterprise systems, fault-tolerant systems, file and I/O systems, memory systems, multimedia systems, operating systems, peer-to-peer networks, real-time systems, sensor networks, software systems, storage systems, telecommunication networks, Web-based systems, and wireless networks, as well as up-and-coming areas such as data centers, green computing and communications, energy grid networks, on-line social networks, and networks at large.

The editorial board is quite broad, and strong.  So, it looks like things are off to a good start!

A report from (two days of) Sigmetrics

Well, June is conferences season for me, so despite a new baby at home I went off on another trip this week — sorry honey! This time it was ACM Sigmetrics in Austin, where I helped to organize the GreenMetrics workshop, and then presented one of our group’s three papers on the first day of the main conference.

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What’s hot at EC and Sigmetrics this year?

It took a little while after the acceptances went out, but now the lists of accepted papers are up for both Sigmetrics and EC for this year’s conferences. Our group was lucky enough to get 3 Sigmetrics papers and 4 EC papers in this year, so Caltech will be strongly represented at both places once again!

From the looks of it, both conferences will be quite interesting, and I’m definitely looking forward to attending them in June… Happily, they are taking place during back-to-back weeks, rather than during the same week like last year.  (Many of us bounced back and forth between them last year, which was only possible because Sigmetrics was in Pittsburgh and EC was in Philly.)

One thing I’ve talked about already in an earlier post is the growing overlap between Sigmetrics and EC among young researchers, e.g., nearly all of the recent Sigmetrics Rising Star award recipients have some ties to the EC community through the Network Economics field.  Happily, this year, the accepted paper lists highlight that the connection, though still weak, is growing.

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