To those who might be interested in having a future SODA conference take place outside North America:I'm still hoping for Guanajuato.
As you may know, local arrangements for SODA have to date always been handled by SIAM. The conference Department at SIAM has wide experience in organizing conferences in North America, but typically relies on help from local organizers when a conference they sponsor takes place elsewhere.
This presented difficulties when, at last January's SODA, the Business Meeting voted a preference for holding the 2011 SODA in Paris. SIAM and the SODA steering committee were unable to find any French organization that was prepared to handle the meeting in Paris. One organization might have been willing to host the meeting in the Parisian suburbs, but we judged that most of the voters for Paris would not have voted for "suburbs of Paris".
(No hotel was available in the second vote-getter, the Virgin Islands, and so SODA will be back at San Francisco, the 3rd-place choice, in 2011, January 22-25.)
In light of the experience in finding a location for the 2011 SODA, we are going to change the ground rules a bit for the 2012 site selection. Proposals of sites outside of North America will still be welcome, but to be considered, they must include the details of what group will handle local arrangements, where precisely the conference will be held, and what the expected hotel costs will be. In other words, the kind of information typically provided by groups proposing to host STOC or FOCS. (Proposals from groups that can collect registrations and take financial responsibility are preferred because of the added costs of SIAM providing these services in a country outside North America.)
If you are interested in making such a proposal at the SODA 2009 Business Meeting, please contact Kirsten Wilden (email@example.com) for more details about what kinds of information SIAM will need about your proposal.
There has also been some thought that costs for SODA in North America could be reduced if local arrangements were placed in the hands of local volunteers, as they are for FOCS and STOC. If anyone wishes to propose to host SODA 2012 in this way, their detailed proposals will also be considered at the Business Meeting. (Again, contact Kirsten Wilden at SIAM in advance.)
And of course, proposals for sites that the SIAM conference staff can handle on their own can be made as usual.
Hope to see you all at SODA 2009 in Austin, January 16-19.
David Johnson, SODA Steering Committee Chair.