January 7, 2020

PEARC20 FAQs

How should I prepare for the virtual conference if I am a presenter?
If you are planning to present your talk live, we recommend you consider the following while preparing for your presentation.

  • Test your WIFI connection. Invite colleagues or friends and share with them your presentation. Through this test, you can check if you have the appropriate bandwidth for your live presentation. This is also a good way to practice.
  • Choose a plain or basic backdrop. PEARC20 has virtual backgrounds that you can use to simplify your background as bookcases and artwork distract the viewer from watching the presentation.
  • Avoid wearing a busy pattern (especially stripes) top or shirt as they can create optical illusions on camera. If you plan to use a virtual background, be wary of black or white tops or shirts as they can blend with the background.
  • Center your webcam so that you are looking at the camera straight on and not up or down at the camera.
  • Make sure your lighting is in front of or over you and NOT behind. Backlighting can cause a shadow on your face is not visible on the screen. A simple desk or table lamp behind your camera can make all the difference.
  • Make sure your microphone is close enough that you can be heard clearly. Try to be in an area that is free of external noises.

Can I use a virtual background?
We would like to encourage attendees to use their virtual backgrounds if your internet connection and device can support the background. Please use a basic background that is not distracting, and we encourage images of waves and beaches to fit this year’s conference theme!

There are also PEARC20 branded backgrounds available to use. Feel free to load up your backgrounds before the conference to promote PEARC20!

What ACM template do I use for my camera-ready submission?

Per ACM guidance, all papers included in the proceedings of PEARC20 must be in the NEW template, available from https://www.acm.org/publications/proceedings-template. This is not the interim template, which still uses two columns, but the new template, which can be distinguished by the use of no columns.

Below are the direct links to the NEW template. We strongly recommend using the LaTeX format at present.

Information about the new ACM templates is online at https://www.acm.org/publications/taps/word-template-workflow if you want to read the whole explanation of the history behind the template changes.

I am using the new ACM template and now my page length is way past the original submission maximum. Now what?

Many things about the new format are different, particularly the “information density.” Early experiences suggest that page count goes up by ~50% when converting from the former interim template to the new one. The template should not affect the Authors’ ability to convey all of the information contained in papers originally submitted at 8 pages in the old format. Please do not be worried about changing the length when you comply with the new template. This year, the PEARC technical committee has approved the following adjusted page limits for camera-ready submission:

  • 15 pages total in the new template for full papers
  • 7 pages total in the new template for poster papers

To ensure that everyone has time to adjust to the new formats, we have extended the submission of camera-ready copy to “midnight anywhere on earth” Monday, May 18.

It is real work do to the conversion. The new style has a much cleaner visual style, and as a single-column format, it’s just a ton easier to do tables. Thus far, it has seemed not to be horrendous to anyone, but it’s not trivial. Therefore, we recommend you don’t wait to start this effort at 5 am EDT Tuesday. Also, note that authors are required to upload .pdfs and source documents (.tex preferred).

If I do not want to do a full paper, what options for presenting my ideas and experiences are there?

While the sponsorship of PEARC20 has changed, the conference remains about community and about sharing of information. Three clear options other than submitting a paper include:

  • 2Propose a lightning talk – a 5 minute discussion without a paper (see below)
  • Propose a BOF – get together with some of your colleagues and propose a Birds of a Feather session. This might be particularly valuable say for a group of sysadmins or a group of application experts. Propose a BoF and have the option of a group of you to give talks (without papers) and share and discuss your experiences. BoFs can be 60-90 minutes long. It does not take many people at all to put together an interesting BoF that will be of value to many people.
  • Submit a poster. Posters can be submitted just as a Poster, or with a short (4 page) Poster paper (see below). The poster sessions are a great way to convey your ideas to small groups of people at a time during the poster sessions at the conference.

How will PEARC20 handle submissions and reviews for “Lightning talks”?

Lightning talk submissions will happen on the same timeline as full paper submissions – due February 17, 2020. The submission process will be straightforward. Submitters will fill out the author’s information for the primary author and any co-authors in Easychair. Then they will cut and paste their abstract into the abstract box that is part of the Easychair submission. Lightning Talks will be evaluated at the same time as full papers in an effort to select the best content, and Full Paper Presentations and Lightning Talk presentations both take place in the same rooms and in the same time slots.

Should I be encouraged or discouraged by the discussion of acceptance rates?

You should be encouraged. The calculation of an acceptance rate provides a new additional opportunity for contributors to not only share but to gain reputation valued in their institutions and in grant work.  It does not exclude sharing if you do not have a full paper to submit.

An acceptance rate of “closer to 60% than 90%” speaks to the percentage of full (8-page) papers that are accepted for inclusion in the proceedings and given “full paper length” speaking time slots (most likely 20 minutes each). Recall that lightning talks will take place during the same session and have the same audience as full length papers.  

PEARC20 is now an ACM-sponsored technical conference; it is the nature of such things to have acceptance rates well below 100% for papers. The reason for this is that it is not generally true that 90% to 100% of papers submitted to any scientific conference are essential contributions to our collective body of scientific and technical information. Ultimately the quality and quantity of submissions, as well as the available session time determine the acceptance rate.  It is not an arbitrarily set target.

PEARC20 submissions will go through a one-stage process in which one of the following two outcomes will occur:

  • “Your paper was accepted for inclusion in the proceedings at 8 pages of length, and here are ways you can improve it…”
  • “Your paper was not accepted for presentation and inclusion in the proceedings at 8 pages in length for the following reasons….”  

It is expected that a few papers may be rejected because they are not relevant to PEARC. For relevant but still rejected papers, authors will receive sufficient feedback and a week to turn around and submit as a poster with the option to submit a revised, 4 page version of their paper for inclusion in the proceedings. This is an approach that ACM-SIGUCCS takes. 

Not all rejections mean defeat. For some authors, the best and most widely cited papers are 4-page poster papers.  The program committee hopes that you will feel encouraged to submit full length papers. The peer review process is designed to give authors thoughtful feedback from their fellow community members to improve the clarity of writing about one’s work. Papers by first time senior authors and senior student authors will receive special consideration.  However, if you cannot submit a full-length paper, there are still many submission types that allow sharing your work at PEARC20.

I’m a system administrator, which track should I submit to?

The PEARC20 committee desires and seeks input from all members of our community. Last year sysadmins indicated that they did not see a clear place in the Call for Participation last year for things that sysadmins care a lot about. There is a definite place in one track that focuses specifically on hardware innovations (Advanced research computing environments – systems and system software), and another place that focuses on system software, (Application software, support, and outcomes). Your content is wanted and welcomed in a variety of formats.

Co-located meeting and workshop planning. How should I submit my request?

We encourage folks planning co-located events such as workshops and meetings that are not a part of the conference to submit via EasyChair before January 22nd, 2020. Any co-located events scheduled to occur during PEARC20 will not be included in the conference proceedings. If you desire to have your event in a listed proceeding, then you would be in charge of arranging this with ACM or the sponsor of the meeting.