January 7, 2020

PEARC20 Technical Program FAQs

After the announcement about PEARC20 submission deadline changes, the committee received comments and questions about the PEARC20 technical program. Now that PEARC20 is an ACM sponsored conference, many changes are visible in the technical program processes. Full length talks at the conference as part of the conference program are associated with full length papers submitted to the conference, peer-reviewed and accepted. Yet, that is not the only way to get content into the technical program. There are plenty of other options. 

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:

  • Propose 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.

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.