Joe Mitchell has been keeping detailed statistics on SoCG acceptance rates for years. Here's a graph (also in PDF), distilled mostly from Joe's numbers, showing the number of papers submitted and accepted to SoCG every year since its inception.
A few points about this graph:
- I counted only full papers, not short communications (1995–1997) or video descriptions (1993–present). There is no record of how many short communications were submitted in 1996, so the record low submission count shown in the graph is actually an overestimate!
- From 1997 until 2001, the SoCG program included seperate "theory" and "applied" tracks. The submission and accetpance rates for the theory track are shown separately. The acceptance rates for theory and applied papers were always roughly equal.
- The huge spike in submissions in 1997—more than twice as many as 1996, and almost twice as many as in 1998—follows the introduction of the applied track. Most of the new 1997 submissions were applied-track papers from outside the usual SoCG community. After a dismal 21% acceptance rate, the the submission pool very quickly swung back to the traditional computational geometers submitting the usual number of papers.
- There was a spike in submissions in 1989 when the conference was first held in Europe, and again in 2000 when the conference was first located in Asia.
- The dip in 1996 mirrors a temporary increase in the number of geometry papers at STOC, which was also part of FCRC that year.
- The number of accepted papers has remained virtually constant for 21 years. The shortest programs were in 1986 (34 papers) and 2002 (35 papers). The largest number of papers was in 2004 (49 papers). The 2004 program included a day of parallel sessions; nobody seemed to object (or notice). With these three exceptions, there have been 41±3 SoCG papers every year. As a result, there is no significant correlation between the number of submissions in year n and the number (or fraction) of papers accepted in year n-1.
- Just in the last three years, there has been a significant increase in submissions that does not seem to be correlated with any external factors—location, cost, previous acceptance rates. The field simply appears to be growing significantly. Is this a reflection of the turn-of-the-century faculty hiring boom? Of the .com crash (more smart people going to grad school instead of industry)? Of CARGO and ITR funding? Your guess is as good as mine.