Timing of CCC

In order to better serve the community, the Computational Complexity Foundation (CCF) is considering changing the timing of the Computational Complexity Conference (CCC). Since its inception, CCC has been held in the period from June till mid July, around the same time as STOC or somewhat later. Several years CCC was co-located with STOC, which facilitated attendance but precluded sequential submission to both conferences. Some years CCC was late enough in the season and STOC early enough so as to enable STOC rejects to be resubmitted to CCC, which helped in attracting submissions to CCC. For a couple of years, joint CCC/STOC submissions were allowed.

The timing of CCC was brought up a few years ago. The suggestion was to try and co-locate with STOC whenever CCC is in North-America, while maintaining the relaxed atmosphere of CCC. A new factor since then is the theory fest that has been developed around STOC. It makes co-location less desirable to some because the combined event becomes too long; some others would like CCC to become part of the theory fest irrespective. Joint CCC/STOC submissions were deemed undesirable for several reasons.

The goal of this post is to start a community-wide discussion about the timing of CCC. Here are three possible options that make sense logistically:

  1. Status quo (June-July)
  2. Late summer (second half of August)
  3. Winter (January-February)

Here are some of the pros and cons of those options.

  • Status quo

    Pro:

    • Option of becoming part of theory fest.
    • Less conflicts with teaching and easier use of university facilities (lecture rooms, dorms).
    • Weather conducive to travel.

    Con:

    • Submission conflicts with STOC and ICALP.
    • Expensive travel.
  • Late summer

    Pro:

    • Avoids submission conflicts with STOC and ITCS.
    • Less conflicts with teaching and easier use of university facilities (lecture rooms, dorms).
    • Weather conducive to travel.

    Con:

    • Submission conflicts with FOCS, ICALP, Random.
    • Narrow window for scheduling the conference.
    • Expensive travel.
  • Winter

    Pro:

    • Avoids submission conflicts with STOC, FOCS, ICALP, Random.
    • Enables co-location with a complementary conference (SODA).
    • Cheaper travel.
    • Flexibility in review period (window of 4 months avoiding conflicts with STOC and FOCS).

    Con:

    • More conflicts with teaching and harder to use university facilities (lecture room, dorms).
    • Submission conflict with ITCS.
    • Winter weather.
    • Transition year with only half a year between successive CCCs.

We would like to hear what you view as the pros and cons of the various options. At a later stage we’ll have a poll to get a quantitative sense of the preferences within the community.

9 thoughts on “Timing of CCC

  1. I would vote for winter timing (though I am fine with summer too).

    I have another suggestion. Can we allow submitting papers that are currently under review in a journal?
    This might attract stronger submissions in those situation when the author(s) plan(s) to submit to a journal in any case, and would like to shorten the whole publication cycle.

  2. Dmitry, could you say a bit about the reasons for your preference? At this point, rather than votes, we’re interested in finding out what people see at the pros and cons of the various options. In particular, there may be some that we aren’t aware of or that we may have missed for another reason. At a later point, we’ll have a poll where we’ll collect individual votes.

    I’d rather keep this forum focused on the timing of CCC, but I think we have adequately addressed your other suggestion. Please check out the simultaneous submission policy in the CFP for CCC’18, and write me personally if you feel it isn’t adequate. I’ll bring it up with the CCF Board then, and we can discuss it at the CCC’18 business meeting if you want.

  3. Dieter, thank you!

    You are absolutely right, I simply missed the change of the formulation regarding simultaneous submissions (the last time I needed that “degree of freedom”, I couldn’t find any conference in the field that allowed it).

    Speaking of the dates, what I do find a bit inconvenient is the “floating” regime of the last few years. So, I think that making it more or less consistent is more important than the choice itself.

    The reasons why I personally prefer winter are subjecive: I agree with the above list of arguments, to me the “pros” of winter are the most convincing and the “contras” are less significant (the weather counts as an advantage – assuming it remains correlated with the seasons the way we are used to, of course).

  4. Is it obvious that late summer would cause conflicts with FOCS submissions? If CCC would be in, say, late August (and FOCS would stay in October), and if people on both sides are interested in coordinating, then maybe there could be a week or two between CCC notification and FOCS deadline? Or maybe not — I didn’t do any detailed calculations, but am just asking since the answer was not obvious to me.

    I personally kind of like the idea of co-locating with STOC, I have to say (and I was one of the persons voting for being part of FCRC, at least if I remember correctly, although I can also see the reasons against this). Perhaps I should make a second post after having attended CCC + STOC in a few months from now — I am looking forward to it and hope it will be great, but maybe afterwards I will just be totally exhausted and will never want to do it again. 😉

  5. The difficulty in fitting CCC after STOC and before FOCS lies in the review periods rather than the timing of the conferences themselves. This year there were 8 weeks between STOC notification (February 9) and FOCS submission (April 6). For a comfortable fit, we’d need 12 weeks: 1 week from STOC notification to CCC submission, 10 weeks for the usual CCC review period, and 1 week from CCC notification to FOCS submission. We could consider shrinking the CCC review period somewhat but not by enough, I think.

    Yes, I recall your argument in favor of FCRC :). Co-location with STOC certainly has its advantages, especially for people from overseas. That’s why two years ago we recommended to favor co-location with STOC whenever CCC is in the US (as long as we can maintain the CCC atmosphere). In the mean while, we got to realize the importance of one of the disadvantages, namely that STOC rejects cannot be submitted to CCC.

  6. A few years ago (around when I was “retiring” from the CCC conference committee) I pushed a bit on the idea of having CCC in the winter. I’m glad it’s being discussed! Here are some thoughts.

    – First, I would vigorously oppose the status quo and vote for any other option, unless there is some kind of forcing function to keep STOC’s submission/notification window and CCC’s window from overlapping (such as what happened this year). To me this is the strongest CON to the status quo, and it is very significant. I am certain that CCC suffers when this happens. In general, my support of any move of CCC is conditional on having a submission deadline *not* during Nov-Feb and *not* during Apr-June. SODA was very wise to deliberately not ‘compete’ with STOC/FOCS in this way, from its beginning.

    – A big reason why I thought winter is good: potential for co-location with ITCS and/or SODA. ITCS and SODA will be co-locating in 2019. Perhaps if it is a success (I have every reason to believe it will be) then that will add more evidence. Given the massive attendence I have witnessed at SODA over many years, it does not seem to be a huge barrier for theory folks to make it to a winter conference. I personally think a winter Theoryfest with SODA/ITCS/CCC would be a major attraction. All three are truly unique conferences at their core, and all three are quite different from STOC/FOCS in ways that are obvious to their attendees (even the ways they are different from STOC/FOCS are different from each other), so I think bringing them together would make for a very unique experience. CCC is a small cozy conference with a high-powered technical program, crucially having longer talks than any other conference I attend, giving more time in my mind to digest the technical stuff. SODA is a giant (in comparison) conference with a vast program, much shorter talks, but huge opportunities for outside discussion with many other folks. ITCS is small like CCC but broader than both SODA and CCC, with a very deliberate emphasis on new concepts and frameworks, with PC members introducing papers themselves, and novel side events. It’s three different ways to have a theory conference, and I wonder if each could learn some tricks from the other.

    – Another potential CON for winter that’s worth keeping in mind is CCC’s charter to be outside of North America on occasion (in which case co-location with SODA would be infeasible every year), necessarily making travel to CCC a long journey for some, every year. Winter could well complicate this.
    I sympathize, but also see some PRO in it. For one, I basically never have a chance to travel internationally in the winter, so I appreciate the novelty. More importantly, *because* CCC is often held far away from many attendees’ home countries, I expect travel to/from CCC would be *significantly* cheaper in mid-January, possibly leading to more attendees from opposing continents. (Personally for me, MIT has no classes during the month of January, so conferences in January are particularly nice for the faculty and students. However, for schools on the quarter system, January is much worse. In general, I don’t know how many universities are off for most of January, or not.)

    – Another PRO for winter which deserves more emphasis: a submission deadline during the summer. This makes it much easier to finally finish a manuscript that one’s been sitting on for a while (this is probably the #1 reason why I have a number of SODA papers…)

    – I was hoping the discussion might be also about early August, instead of late August. It seems to me that late August should include “POTENTIALLY MORE conflicts with teaching and easier use of university facilities (lecture rooms, dorms)” as a CON. Certainly this is true compared to the status quo. I think most universities (except for the few left on the quarter system?) start their academic year in late August or thereabouts, and I would imagine the disruption could only be worse than a disruption in January.

    – These various interferences with different academic calendars could be an argument for the status quo. At any rate, I’m for having CCC in the winter! If it were not possible to frequently co-locate with SODA and/or ITCS, then I’d lean towards keeping the status quo (conditioned on the first point I made, of course).

  7. I had a discussion with Paul Beame whether the review periods for STOC and FOCS may shift somewhat in the near future. It does not seem likely. This is both good and bad news for CCC.

    Good: The STOC notification date won’t move to later in the season (there was some rumor STOC might shrink its long period between notification and the conference). This means the above “late summer” option can be extended and run from the later part of July till the end of August without affecting any of the stated pros.

    Bad: There is no hope of fitting the CCC review period in between STOC notification and FOCS submission.

  8. I was originally opposed to winter, but I think Ryan convinced me :). (With all his caveats.) I think many universities on the semester system – even if they don’t have all of January off like MIT – still don’t start their Spring semester until mid-January. Which means having a conference in the first couple weeks of the calendar year often allows many academics to come. I suspect this is one of the factors that lets so many people attend ITCS, SODA, and, for that matter, the AMS Joint Math Meetings.

  9. Just to add very quickly that I have thought some more (not too much, though 😉 ) regarding the timing of CCC and actually am beginning to like the idea of winter more and more. Now, this might be partially due to that this summer is looking to be absolutely crazy in terms of travelling, but in general I find that summer is a challenging period to travel for family reasons. Sometime in January would be much easier in this regard. Turn of the month August-September would also be better than what we have now (but not earlier in August, which I believe is hallowed vacation season for much of Europe).

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