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June 07, 2005



Many have said it before, and I'll say it again. It hurts the field to claim that the are only 41 worthy papers in Computational Geometry.

How can we ask the NSF for extra funding claiming that Comp. Geom. is a hotbed of activity when our main conference has only 41 papers? Contrast this with, say SIGGRAPH. Who can argue that there is interest in that field on the face of their wildly successful conference?

I know of at least one case where the paper was rejected in SoCG and accepted in STOC (!!).


Great summary! (Pros: can choose to drink beer while reading summary. Cons: Not in Italy.)


I love statistics. Here are some to ponder.

Statistics for the past few SOCG's:

Attend ACM/Student Location
2005 120 E 320 / 176 Pisa (no banquet, add E 60, no student discount)
2004 180 $ 260 / 98 Brooklyn
2003 124 $ 330 / 155 FCRC (no banquet)
2002 143 E 200 / 100 Barcelona
2001 153 $ 285 / 125 Tufts
2000 129 Hong Kong

It seems the more you pay, the smaller the attendance, and
the banquet is removed.

This year there were E20,000 (E167 per person) in expenses excluding
overhead, VAT, credit card fees, proceedings and banquet. Not included
were meals, banquet, food at the coffee break, or cake or beer at the
business meeting.

For comparison, let's see what would have been charged last year without
the banquet.

Total (per person)

$4547 ($25) Coffee Breaks (6, with food)
$4160 ($23) Welcome reception
$2340 ($13) Invited speakers (1 local, one not, same as this year)
$1157 ($ 6) PC Dinner (Nobu)
$ 638 ($ 4) 4 color pen, paper, folder, name tag
$ 207 ($ 1) Beer, ice, tubs for beer (Yes, there was beer!)
$ 105 ($ 0.58) Flour, sugar, etc for Herve to make a cake for the business meetings
$ 8 ($ 0.04) Ice (for beer)
$ 4 ($ 0.02) Bottle openers (for beer)
$ 0 ($ 0) Room rental, general office supplies, copying (e.g. the program), secretarial support,
students to work the registration desk, projectors, amplification,
custodial support, internet.

Total: $13,162 ($73 per person)

Of these expenses, $9,000 was covered by Raindrop and CATT,
our sponsors. There was about the same level of sponsorship
this year.

Total (after sponsors): $ 4,162 ($23 per person)

Thus, adding ACM's 18% tax, the proceedings ($2000) and the credit
card fee (0.0246X+1) would bring the total expenses for last year if
the banquet was not included to $7667, or $43 per person.

This is not a joke. Last year, if there was no banquet, SOCG would
have cost $43 per person on average (presumably faculty would be
higher and students lower).

These numbers show that conferences need not be high-budget affairs.
Don't we have some responsibility to the governments that generally
pay for our trips to limit this extravagance? Rock-bottom fees will
certainly help attract students and non-talking faculty to attend
without affecting in any way the exchange of ideas that is the whole
purpose of an academic conference. To socialize we can all just go
drink a beer.

Ken Clarkson

I should mutter a belated apology to Tarheels everywhere. If I attribute my outburst to certain traumas experienced in Raleigh at ages nine and ten, it is only to explain, not excuse.

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