Friday, January 29, 2010

Why can't Workshop #1 be next to #2 which is next to #3?

As the symposium approaches, we thought we'd give you a little peek into the sordid underbelly of making the event work. At the same time, I can apologize for perpetuating my SIGCSE pet peeve: workshops scattered in irrational patterns.

Can't good symposium leadership put Workshop #1 next to #2 next to #3?

I've now been Workshops Coordinator, Program Chair, and Symposium Chair three years running, and not a one of those years has had the workshops lined up properly.

So, what's the deal? Early-binding, late-binding, and resource allocation.

The early-binding is the workshop numbers. Unfortunately, those are published rather early in the process. This year, that was even before we had finalized the prices for A/V equipment and for power. So, allocation of workshops to rooms was purely on the basis of rough room size and our guesses about which workshops would be popular. Even the exact number of seats in each room is only now being settled as we choose the balance of theatre- and classroom-style seating. The process was complicated even more when we determined that we wouldn't have wireless in the Hilton meeting rooms, forcing us to shuffle some Wednesday workshops into newly
reserved convention centre space.

The late-binding is the actual association of workshops to rooms. Sure, we published room numbers for the workshops, but because those room numbers don't go into the proceedings, we had some grace to make adjustments on the basis of all those other factors listed above plus
early registration numbers! (Many thanks to our Publications Chair Dave Musicant for gracing us with that grace by virtue of his sleepless nights this very weekend!)

Our grace ends this weekend as the publication deadline for the program looms. At that point, the workshop-room assignments will be quite literally bound.

So, we moved some workshops around to save money on provision of power to seats and use of A/V equipment and to put apparently popular workshops into larger rooms.

(The ultra-popular workshops right now, by the way, are two cell phone related offerings, Workshops #6 on iPhones and #22 on Android. You're too late for #22; it's full!)

Now we're almost done, and the mapping from numbers to rooms is a mess.

So as you wander aimlessly about searching for your workshop, please excuse us for the dubious UI, and let your mind drift to other things. Like the way all your favourite papers are running against each other in the same session. That's entirely the PCs' fault. ;^)

See you in a month and a half!



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Local Attractions during SIGCSE

We've just posted a list of location attractions in Milwaukee, just in case you need something besides the SIGCSE Symposium to occupy your time!

View the list at