October 25, 2010

Sigcomm 2010 in New Delhi

SIGCOMM broke new ground this year when we held our annual
in India for the first time. This was a first not only for
SIGCOMM, but apparently for ACM as well, as we became the first
SIG (among 34) to hold its flagship conference in India. ACM has been
making an effort to expand its visibility beyond the U.S. and SIGCOMM
(thanks largely to efforts of my predecessors on the executive
committee) has been in the lead among SIGs in this department.

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December 10, 2009

Reflections on CoNEXT 2009

Last week I attended the CoNEXT Conference in Rome. I had heard a lot about this conference, which is now in its fifth year, but had never previously attended. As SIGCOMM chair, I was recently added to the steering committee for CoNEXT, so it seemed like the right time to correct this omission in my conference-going history. Also, as I noted in my recent editorial, we're keen to grow the set of quality venues for publication of papers of interest to the SIGCOMM community, and CoNEXT is well on its way to becoming such a venue. In fact, based on the quality of this year's program, I would argue that it is already of comparable quality to the SIGCOMM flagship conference. Of course, it's hard to measure quality objectively, but I heard enough favorable comments about the papers to convince me that this perception was widely shared. CoNEXT also accepts papers on a wide range of networking topics, with new architectural approaches, wireless networking, peer-to-peer, security and management all receiving good coverage this year.

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August 04, 2009

Proposal: A Technical Steering Committee for SIGCOMM

Over the last several months, the SIGCOMM Executive Committee has worked on a proposal to introduce a Technical Steering Committee (TSC) for the SIGCOMM conference. The overriding goal of the proposal is to create a body with the expertise and institutional memory to advise PC chairs on technical matters. We hope to strike a balance between providing effective, informed guidance to PC chairs while also giving them appropriate autonomy. We have been gathering input on this proposal, and the current draft appears below. Please note that this is a draft -- we very much want to receive feedback on it from the community. We plan to discuss it at the Community Feedback session in Barcelona. Comments are also welcome on the blog or via e-mail.

Technical Steering Committee, Draft Proposal


The role of the Technical Steering Committee is to oversee the technical aspects of the conference. It selects and oversees the PC chairs, and it serves as a knowledge repository for best practices related to the PC and paper selection process. The TSC is expected to maintain publically documented policies and to develop policies with input from the entire SIGCOMM community.


The members and chair of the TSC are appointed by the SIGCOMM Chair. There are 6 members, and membership lasts three years. Every year, one of the PC co-chairs is appointed and serves for the next 3 years. In addition, each year the SIGCOMM Chair appoints a representative member of the Sigcomm community to complete the TSC who then serves for 3 years. Such members should be senior people with some history in the SIGCOMM conference community and experience in conference organization
or program committees. (Note: in the start-up year, 6 people will need to be appointed with terms ranging from one to three years; in steady state, 2 members' terms expire and 2 new members are appointed each year.)

Rationale: past experience indicates that a small committee is likely to function more efficiently. One PC chair from each year is sufficient to provide input from that year's process, and the TSC is of course free to consult the other chair (or chairs from prior years). The presence of outside members is intended to ensure that the committee is open to new ideas while the presence of previous years' PC chairs aims to maintain knowledge of what has and hasn't worked well in recent years.


The TSC has ultimate responsibility for the functions described below (i.e., it is not purely an advisory body). It is expected to gather input from the SIGCOMM community in the process of performing these roles.

1) Select PC chairs.

2) Give guidance and advice to PC chairs on the paper selection process. The TSC is the repository of knowledge about what has happened in previous conferences and PC meetings. (Ideally the TSC will maintain private records to facilitate preserving and transferring knowledge).

3) Provide assistance and recommendations on PC makeup, including PC composition and the pros and cons of specific PC members. PC chairs retain final decision on PC membership but are required to consult with the TSC before making their decision.

4) Set policies and provide advice related to award paper selection, conflict of interest policy, dual-submission and plagiarism.

5) Maintain an active dialog with the SIGCOMM community related to technical aspects of the conference (e.g., topic coverage, paper quality, etc). An open dialog via a website or blog is a good idea.

6) Give guidance/advice on other aspects of the technical program and process. For example, integrating on-line or other possibly-new Internet-based components, panel discussions, new reviewing methods, reviewer feedback, etc.

June 24, 2009

Help fill holes in the ACM Digital Library

The ACM Digital Library is missing some early editions of the Computer Communications Review (CCR), among other SIG newsletters: http://www.acm.org/publications/dl-documentation/missing_newsletters/

To complete the archives, please consider loaning your old CCR editions to the ACM DL so that they can capture the early work of the community for the record. Contact Craig Rodkin (rodkin@hq.acm.org) for further details.

May 14, 2009

What does the EC do?

From time to time (perhaps especially during SIG elections) people ask what it is that the SIGCOMM Executive Committee actually does. Here is a quick summary of what the EC does:
  • The EC supports conferences. There are three kinds of conferences the SIG supports: Conferences that the SIG sponsors generally manage their own budgets and try to break even or make a small profit, but the SIG bears the financial risk and keeps a modest (and ACM-required) fund balance to handle this risk. Conferences that the SIG is in cooperation with do not get financial support from the SIG, but the SIG helps with publicity, etc. The EC decides which conferences and workshops the SIG will sponsor, and which it will be in cooperation with. The EC works to ensure appropriate conference and workshop content is in the ACM Digital Library. The EC coordinates with the steering committees of the conferences it supports, and it looks for opportunities to nurture new research areas and to expand participation geographically.
  • The EC acts as the Steering Committee for the annual conference. To that end:
    • The EC runs the selection process for the conference venue. It sets policy for geographic location, solicits venue proposals in an open call, and selects the conference venue. Conference venue selection also entails selecting the conference organizers (general chairs).
    • The EC oversees the conference budget, and has ultimate responsibility for the long-term interests of the conference.
    • The EC selects the Technical Program Chairs.
    • The EC sets standards and policies for technical aspects of the conference.
    • The EC responds to policy concerns as they arise, codifies best common practices, timelines, and tasks for organization of the conference.
  • The EC oversees budgets. Because the SIG is financially responsible for the conferences it sponsors, the EC makes sure budgets are sound.
  • The EC oversees grants for specific purposes, such as the GeoDiversity Travel Grants.
  • The EC sponsors awards and decides what awards the SIG will give. The Awards Chair oversees the selection process for two major awards, and also looks for opportunities to nominate SIGCOMM membership for other awards (eg, ACM awards, ACM Fellows, and IEEE awards).
  • The EC sponsors publications:
  • The EC works to establish dialog within the community, eg, at the annual meeting and via the mailinglist, blog and web site.
  • The EC maintains the SIG web site, which hosts pages and papers from conferences, documents SIG policies and organization, and provides news to the community.
  • The EC plays a role in SIG elections by selecting the chair of the nomination committee.
  • EC members represent the SIG in the SIG Governing Board, represent the SIG for its periodic Program Review, and participate in cross-SIG and overall ACM committees.
  • The EC is responsible for the governance of the SIG. In particular, the EC is responsible for:
    • Preparing the SIG Annual budget,
    • Preparing the SIG Annual report,
    • Maintaining and Revising SIG Bylaws,
    • Deciding on and providing member benefits,
    • Setting membership fees, and
    • Preserving SIG history.