Sunday, May 31, 2009

STOC 2009, Business Meeting

Sampath Kannan gave his overview from the NSF. It was actually very positive (the last slide ended with "CCF is alive and well") -- there seems to be a wave of new funding, and funding rates have been relatively high (and improving) over the last few years, way ahead of the "low teen" years around 2004-2005. Sampath also gave some strong verbal support to applied theory, pushing for more theory interactions with the rest of computer science (and other areas) and for a theory of experimental algorithms. He suggested there may be discussions upcoming for a Theory+CS systems program. I admit I was very pleased to hear such a strong message in support of applied algorithms in particular.

Salil Vadhan presented the outcomes of the Theory Visions workshop from last year, with the goal to produce "nuggets" to help highlight excited efforts going on in theory to communicate to the NSF and other computer scientists. Example nugget titles include Algorithms for Understanding Data on a Massive Scale, P vs. NP, Making Economic Theory Tractable, Achieving Privacy and Utility, Efficient Computation in the Physical Universe, Computational Approaches to Modeling the Brain and Cells, Commuting as a Commodity, etc. The nuggets will be up at

The Godel Prize was awarded. I gave my conference report (I'll get the slides up at some point). Local arrangements report. Various other reports (SIGACT budget, STOC 2010 Boston, STOC 2011 FCRC). New Business - Theory of Computing, an open access journal, at Princeton workshop Aug 25-29 on Barriers to Complexity Theory. New conference -- Innovations in Computer Science (ICS) to take place in China (most/all expenses paid) in 2010-201. "ICS aims to regain and support the interest in works that are focused on exploring novel directions in computation and communicating new conceptual messages (e.g., introduction of a novel model, problem, or technique)."

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