Saturday, March 21, 2009

Blogroll alert, and some musings on community.

Noam Nisan has a new blog on algorithmic game theory. This is great stuff. I must add that I'm finding Dick Lipton's blog fascinating reading, not only for the heavy research content, but the great historical perspective he brings to a number of well known problems.

p.s (snark alert) It does seem unfortunate that computational geometry blogs (and data structures) don't appear to be recognized as part of the theoretical computer science blogosphere, but in a world where SODA is viewed as a conference not worth attending, I guess this is small potatoes. (end snark alert)

p.p.s From an organizational perspective, it doesn't matter terribly whether geometry papers get published exclusively in SoCG/SODA, appear in STOC/FOCS, etc. Similarly, although Luca is concerned about crypto forking off from STOC/FOCS, I don't think there's a real problem with people naturally aggregating around a common topic area in their own conference. I'm also not too caught up with "name wars" despite my snark above.

The problem is really along other dimensions: the tenure process (what is your field and who evaluates you/writes letters), and even more crucially, the funding process. For many years, geometry was funded from a separate sub program of CCF than the rest of theoryCS (at least theoryA). This was a good thing (more money) and a bad thing (CG was clubbed in with solid modelling, graphics, and symbolic methods).

Now of course geometry has been folded back into the larger Algorithmic Foundations umbrella, and here's where perceptions start to matter. If AF gets defined (de facto) as STOC/FOCS stuff, geometry proposals are going to get short shrift (also because they tend to have more application-oriented material as well). This would be true for any other area that has forked off into its own community.

I didn't submit to the theory program last December, and I don't know how panel deliberations are going, but I'm curious as to whether there's been any noticeable change ?

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