Finally, a vote!

After many months of delays (which are entirely my fault), the final community vote on the future relationship of ACM and SOCG will take place at the end of June 2014.   We expect to close voting on June 30 and announce final results on July 1.

As discussed at the SOCG 2013 business meeting, the vote will be between two options:

  1. Continue our existing relationship with ACM, with the understanding that ACM will approve any good-faith request for in-cooperation status outside the United States.  (Violation of this understanding triggers our immediate departure, regardless of the outcome of this year’s vote.
  2. Leave ACM and organize the conference independently, with proceedings published by LIPIcs and financial backing provided through other means, starting as soon as practically possible.

The steering committee intends for this to be the final vote on the sponsorship of the conference for at least five years.

We hope that this vote will address two concerns that arose in previous votes.

First, participation in the previous votes was very sparse, with only 87 people voting in 2012.  For the current vote, we will use the same process used for the most recent steering committee election, which attracted more than 250 votes.  Votes will be collected by BallotBin (http://ballotbin.com/).  Specifically, each subscriber to the compgeom-announce mailing list will receive an email containing a voting code and a link to BallotBin allowing them to vote.  If you are interested in voting on this issue, please subscribe to compgeom-announce as soon as possible.

A second point of concern was that ACM and SIGACT representatives were given insufficient time to respond to position statements by the steering committee.  To that end, I have already invited Paul Beame (SIGACT chair) and Donna Cappo (director of SIG services at ACM) to provide statements (either together or separately) clarifying SIGACT’s and ACM’s positions on the main topics of contention. In particular, I asked for official answers to two specific questions raised by the steering committee:

  1. Conferences can be organized either “sponsored by ACM” and “in collaboration with ACM”. Would SoCG organizers outside the US always be allowed to use the “in collaboration” option, if so desired?  Would organizers within the US be allowed to organize “in collaboration”, if so desired?

  2. ACM allocates a percentage (currently 13%) of the budget of any ACM symposium to the sponsoring of the SIGs involved. In other words, the symposium pays ACM a “fee”, which, in the case of SoCG goes to SIGACT and SIGGRAPH.  For some conferences part of this fee is regularly set aside and returned to future editions of the conference, for example to pay for invited speakers, best paper awards, and/or student travel. Would this also be possible for SoCG and, if so, would it be possible to put this into a formal agreement?

I also invited Paul and Donna to provide broader statements on the relationship between ACM and SOCG, as well as questions back to the SOCG community and steering committee.  I will post Paul and Donna’s replies as soon as I receive them.

In the week leading up to this year’s SOCG, I will post short summaries of the most important issues informing the vote. Suggestions (and even guest posts!) are more than welcome. 

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About Jeff Erickson

I'm a professor of computer science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and the chair of the steering committee for the International Symposium on Computational Geometry.
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