Friday, November 04, 2011

SoCG and ACM: Relationship status - Complicated.

Mark de Berg (secretary of the SoCG steering committee), sent out an email to the compgeom mailing list that starts:
Since its start 27 years ago, SoCG has always been affiliated to ACM. This means that the proceedings are published by ACM, and that the symposium is organized “sponsored by ACM” (more precisely, sponsored by ACM SIGACT & ACM SIGGRAPH) or “in cooperation with ACM”. The latter happened only a couple of times, namely when SoCG was in Korea in 2007 and when it was in Denmark in 2009. Being affiliated to ACM has certain advantages, but also certain disadvantages, as detailed below. Hence, at the business meeting of this year’s SoCG in Paris, an alternative was discussed: organizing SoCG as an independent symposium, with the proceedings being published by Dagstuhl in their LIPIcs series (see below). A straw poll was taken, and the vast majority of the participants wanted the Steering Committee to investigate this issue further, which we do through this opinion poll. We hope you want to participate in this important poll.

If you have an interest in how the relationship between SoCG and the ACM continues (or doesn't), I'd strongly encourage you to participate in the poll. The poll documents will eventually be are posted on, and in the meantime here's a google doc you can read. 


  1. It seems there is tension not just at the society level but also between SoCG community and the general theory CS community. A defensive withdrawal into a comfortable and small community may not be scientifically healthy in the long run though it may be fine in the short term.

  2. There are differing views on whether this is a 'defensive withdrawal' or an acknowledgement that the center of mass of the community lies in a slightly different direction. One example is the planned CG:APT "super-workshop" at SoCG this year on Computational Geometry and Applications, whose goal is to encourage the interplay between theory and practice that geometers indulge in on a regular basis (disclaimer: I'm on the PC).

    Having said that, I have my own views on whether SoCG should leave ACM or not, and once I organize them I might post something.

  3. @Chandra - this is much more of response to ACM lack of flexibility and making the conference both more expensive and painful to organize.

    I think assigning it any spiritual meaning is uncalled for at this point.

  4. @Sariel - maybe so, but the record of SoCG being held at at the exact same time as FCRC does not inspire confidence.

  5. Interesting development.

    I guess there are precedents - the International Association for Cryptographic Research (IACR) is not affiliated with ACM, IEEE or SIAM, but is organizing several great conferences (e.g., CRYPTO).
    Although the membership of IACR is about 1500, which gives it a substantial critical mass.

    BTW, @Chandra: I dont think there is any tension between SoCG and the broader *algorithms* community. E.g., SODA typically has dozen(s) of CG papers, and many CG folks attend it regularly. Of course the issue of CG presence at STOC/FOCS has been outstanding for many years now.


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