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Christoph Lenzen <[log in to unmask]>
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Christoph Lenzen <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 31 Jul 2020 13:26:38 +0200
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Dear Distributed Computing Community,

we would like to rekindle the discussion on possible changes in the 
format of PODC and DISC. We will bring this topic up at the PODC 
business meeting, so please be there if you would like to participate. 
The PODC Zulip forum can serve as a platform for having some preliminary 
disucssion already beforehand.

As a reminder, below are the results of the survey conducted end of last 
year. Participation has been high enough to consider this a fairly 
representative snapshot of opinions at the time, but please bear in mind 
that the pandemic might have affected many participants' view on the 

Christoph, Jukka, and Stefan


Dear Distributed Computing Community,

there have been 117 responses to the conference model survey. With this 
turnout I believe that we get a solid picture of the community's current 
stance. You can browse the results here:

I'll summarize what I believe to be the salient points.

1. A strong majority wants to move to multiple deadlines per year: 61.5% 
voted for doing this with both PODC and DISC, and another 21.5% want to 
at least try this out with one of the conferences. Only 10.3% are against.

Many comments pointed to other conferences that implemented this model 
successfully. It should also be noted that - as comments highlighted - 
having 3 deadlines is not a magic number; 4, having 4 between PODC and 
DISC together, of even 12 are all valid options. I simply chose one 
possibility to keep things tractable.

2. There is a less overwhelming, but still very clear majority in favor 
of transitioning the conferences to being journals (58,1% for, one 
quarter against).

*=> I suggest that the steering committees propose concrete ways of how 
the above two points could be implemented.* If there are several viable 
options, querying the community in the same way as done here might be a 
good option.

 From my point of view, it is worth asking whether we should still 
consider PODC and DISC as separate conferences/journals after the 
corresponding changes. I don't see any difference in terms of topics 
between the two, and I don't see a substantial gap in quality within 
recent years (if there is any). However, as the responses to the other 
questions suggest, opinions are likely to be much more divided on this 
issue and dependent on implementation.

3. There's no clear picture regarding colocation. 44.5% are against 
colocating PODC and DISC, while 47% are in favor - and for many of these 
the details matter.

4. There's some tendency to change how conference time is used (under 
the assumption that the submission model is changed), but this was also 
the point where most respondents didn't want any change or didn't 
know/didn't care (about one quarter each). The only concrete change that 
has clear support is having more keynote talks.

=> While there's substantial support in favor of deviating from the 
current model on these points, there are also significant concerns, and 
on both points the specific implementation matters a lot. This is also 
reflected by diverse individual comments.

I propose to have a more detailed discussion within the community, 
especially on colocation (where less than 10% didn't care!), once the 
first two points have been decided on. This will narrow down the 
solution space and enable consideration of more concrete options.