SGB Meeting Minutes April 6, 2017

Welcome, Introductions (Matthews)

Matthews welcomed the group and reminded the leadership about the Google docs that are now available. She encouraged the leaders to review these documents, add to them and use them as a resource. Feedback can be given before the meeting during the meeting and after the meeting. The Global Practices document was organized and can now be referenced by SIG Chairs seeking information regarding activities in other SIGs.

Each of the SIG Leaders introduced themselves.

Welcome, ACM President

ACM President Hanson welcomed the SIGs and spoke about the Turing 50th celebration which is scheduled for the end of June in San Francisco. There was a big announcement this week, Sir Tim Berners-Lee was named the 2016 Turing Award recipient. Hanson thanked the SIGs for their help with the event. Many are supporting financially and sending students.

One of the things we take pride in is being an international organization we have activities going on in a lot of locations and we’re trying to branch out and not think of just our regional councils but we want to have activities in these places and a better connection with computer societies and local communities around the world. Hanson spoke of the CCF relationship and how ACM worked out a relationship of joint activities. ACM will send a rep to all their board meetings: Jane Prey from Ed Board attended a meeting recently and Joe Konstan will go to their next meeting with a focus on publications. She encouraged SIG leaders to contact local societies and communities in the locations that they have conferences.

Hanson has heard many opinions regarding the travel ban which came out on a Friday afternoon. ACM issued a response by Saturday morning indicating that we believed in the free exchange of information. Majority of individuals she heard from were supportive of what was said. She thanked the SIG leaders for starting with the ACM statement when issuing their own statements. Many included the handling of conferences by utilizing live streaming and videotaping speakers and she encouraged them to talk to each other about how to deal with people traveling internationally.

As former chair of SIGACCESS, she had an editorial in CACM talking about digital accessibility. There was a redo of the ACM website making it fully accessible. If you’re developing content that goes on to there are guidelines that will allow you to make them accessible. She has encouraged ACM to caption videos and you’ll see videos captioned on the website and YouTube channel. SIG Services is your go-to for conference accessibility. HQ knows the rules and what to do to accommodate them.

ACM and SIGs are doing well. Finances are good membership is good and lots of people are interested in conferences. It’s time to invest in the future. There are generations coming up that we’ll need to serve differently. ACM went to SXSW this year trying to attract that demographic and determine how to serve them in future.

ACM’s Future of Computing Academy is the next generation. We’re selecting candidates to come together as an academy and determine what they see as the future. 387 applications came in and 213 were full applications. Committee is meeting to select people that should belong. Their first meeting will be in June. The applications were hugely dispersed geographically and not US centric by any means.

Report from ACM CEO

Schnabel spoke briefly about membership and finances. ACM’s membership has dropped, it’s a slow trend particularly in the US and he hears the same thing from the SIGs. The level of participation in programs is great and increasing but tendency for people to sign up its dropping slowly. We need to think of the generation that isn’t engaging in membership organizations and we need to determine what is next. It’s an ongoing topic for ACM.

Finances of ACM overall are very healthy. SIGs collectively are over half of ACMs budget and pubs and membership the remainder. SIGs run considerable surplus and the conferences make more of a surplus than anything else. While we’re not asking anyone to spendthrift, SIGs can spend collectively on programs. Overall ACM fund balance is very healthy. The fund balance is important because there are uncertainties going forward.

On the membership side, ACM completed a comprehensive survey and received positive responses. We need to do some work on the practitioner side and we’re determining what that means. We’re looking at ways to offer a smaller set of membership packages. ACM also completed a survey of DL, there isn’t a sense that the revenue is going away in the time frame we’re looking at. Over $3M coming to SIGs this year. Members and users would like us to move forward with a data and software repository, enhanced search and view of conferences in the DL coming closer to the view you experience when you go to conference. The final one is the preprint side. Davidson added that we are in active conversations with Archive and working with them and other scholarly publishers trying to figure out how to better collaborate.

Breakout sessions in the fall SGB meeting hit on societal aspects of computing and we need to think about hat as we go forward. We’re moving from a tech discipline to a socio-tech discipline. We’ll need to focus on the fact that every sector of society is a digital computing sector and that’s not how we’re organized. We need to think about hos that will impact the content of our meetings.

Conferences give us a great opportunity to interact locally. CCF is willing to partner with us if we want to hold conferences in China feel free to call on us for help with that.

Future of Computing Academy is exciting. Fellow’s Academy will launch within the next year. TF to focus on activities and will come up with ways the Fellows can engage on the future of ACM, representing ACM to media and selective mentoring activities.

ACM has an engaged and active practitioner board looking for a variety of activities such as the webinar series. Looking to do more case studies and get content from journals that has interest to practitioners in that community.

We’re determining ways to engage ACMs conferences with the entrepreneurial community. CHI, MOD and KDD had VC office hours at their conferences SC had start-up workshop and they’ve identified that as one of the things to continue. Schnabel sought input on which conferences would be the best opportunities for VC office hours. They’re not looking to get best deals, it’s more of an interaction and getting to know people. We had panels at SXSW talking about their experiences as start-up entrepreneurs and investors. There is potential for doing that at conferences.

For SIGCOMM, there is a negative bias to VCs because they operate in an atmosphere of total privacy and not sharing ideas. That’s how they work and the SIG does not want to bring that into their events. There are several SIGCHI conferences CHI, UBICOM, RECSYS and UIST that could be interested. Another strategy is to look at industry topics and consider co-location with industry events.

Beame commented that the notion of membership does not necessarily resonate with the younger generation. We all should think about what are we providing other than discounts on conference registration fees. We need to add services. Schnabel indicated that the single thing we heard most in the survey is the importance of networking. For researchers that is conferences but practitioners need something else. Beame suggested helping to keep up to date on work going on that is important to their own work. ACM is talking about that more on the pubs side. We need to better understand member interests so that we can target - here are 5 papers that came out in your field. Adve indicated that SIGARCH is targeting students by starting a pilot mentoring program which has been well-received. Long term investment with the hope that once they become members they stay members.

ACM has several policy activities and there is an interest in having input in membership from SIGs if they have specific policy or ethics activities. Any SIGs with interest were asked to contact Schnabel. USACM has talked to leaders regarding policy issues SIGS might be interested in commenting on. You might be surprised on the range of topics you could be asked to comment on. Matthews suggested that leaders that would like information specific to a SIG or if you’d like an USACM update for newsletter let her know.

As a final note, Schnabel said that the Turing Celebration will be great and although physical places are limited and oversubscribed it will be live streamed and captured.                                                                   


Davidson let them know that Bernie Rous retired in December as Director of Pubs and Scott Delman has taken on the role. Bernie is staying on to help with transition. Davidson indicated that plagiarism has become a huge problem and there are more and more incidences. There is a committee led by Gene Spafford. They bring in other experts as needed.

The number of incidences is on the rise and there are 2 places in the pipeline we’re asked to deal with them: at submission or after publishing. Ideally we need to catch things early. We have plagiarism detection software available that is called Ithenticate. It will be made available to all conferences. It comes from an organization called CrossRef a consortium of scholarly publishers and has a huge database that it compares things to. It can be set up for any ACM sponsored conferences. The software is professionally supported and there are training videos. You can do bulk submissions and reporting is available.  If a report indicates similarities and differences you need to review them and make a judgement as to what action to take. You can contact Scott or Deborah Cotton for access. Each conference would designate 1 or 2 individuals using the service. This is a service sold by CrossRef and it’s quite expensive so this is a great benefit for ACM conferences.

Is this going to be a requirement – no, each community needs to decide if its right for them. Is there a list of banned authors? No, we do not want to maintain a banned author list. If there are multiple violations within a community, the leadership may let authors’ know that they cannot submit.

Ithenticate is not integrated with submission systems now. We want to see what kind of uptake we get and then we’ll determine if it’s necessary. We are giving limited access to 1 or 2 people for each conference to monitor usage. This is for ACM conferences rather than cooperation.

There is a service that ACM is making available to members and it is of interest to SIGs. The services is called Overleaf. It is a tool for collaborative writing and publishing. It’s based on LaTeX and supports collaborative writing and Davidson indicated he has used it. Some groups will find it useful on multi-disciplinary collaborative projects. ACM templates are in Overleaf and they support them. Individuals sign up for an account and they are free and you can work on a paper together. There are links set up allowing authors to get to them and customer support for ACM templates.

Why Overleaf? It seemed to be the one farthest along and the pricing was reasonable. We’ll see what kind of uptake there is. The templates and the support are being provided by ACM. It’s the freemium model

Ioannidis spoke to the group about PACM. PACM is a way to make high quality conference proceedings into journals. A lot of conferences are of quality that you would assign to journals. A PACM series can be established. It must be of high quality, can be multiple conferences can have issues. Guidelines and process can be found here.  The Pubs Board has approved a 3-year experiment for gold open access for this series. SIGs should examine if their high-quality proceedings want to be published in PACM. There is a committee overseeing PACM and the Chair will be discussing a SIG Rep with Jeanna.

ACM is looking toward some level of standardization to capture SIG and conference website traffic in DL. Conversations will start about having common website templates. Not mandatory but it will happen.

ACM has established a relationship with kudos for author tools to make publications more widely accessible. ACM has paid the fees and is experimenting with CACM. Results seem positive, individual authors are using this. We are exploring this to increase our impact.

Viability Process

Cappo explained that Will Tracz had flight difficulties and was unable to make the meeting. She had worked closely with him on the new viability process so he asked her to fill-in for him and present the process and report on those reviews that were completed.

The new review process begins with ACM HQ coordinators sending the SIG; leaders activity reports outlining details regarding membership, conferences, leadership, finances and past viability reviews. In addition, a reach report is sent outlining downloads citations and other information regarding the community being reached. They also provide the leaders with the mission’s statement and description of the SIG that ACM has on file.

The SIG Leaders are being asked to respond to a few questions:

  • Ways in which the SIG is healthy and viable organization
  • What should SIG be doing better? Concerns about future and addressing them
  • What do you consider to be flagship conference activities?
  • 1-3 best practices that contribute to success of SI that might be beneficial to other SIGs
  • Concerns you would like feedback on
  • Volunteer development process
  • Strategy for communicating with membership

The SIG Viability Advisor and the Director of SIG Services review the responses and recommend and action for SGB EC approval. The recommendation is either a request for continued status for the standard 4 years or a suggestion for the SIG to come back sooner to address concerns or issues. The SGB EC reviews the recommendation and all the back-up material and makes a final decision on program status.

The SIG Leaders is notified of the decision and it is then reported to the SGB. A benefit to the new process is that it is no longer necessary to wait for face to face meetings to deal with viability. They can be done throughout the year making it easier for those writing the reports and those reviewing the reports.

Once the decision is issued, the viability adviser and the Director of SIG Services will work with the SGB Chair to select best practices and challenges to populate future SGB meeting agenda. The SIG Leaders will be asked to report on best practices and challenges and lead discussion at SGB meeting or via a Google Doc.

ACM HQ will record the decisions and schedule the next review as noted in the recommendation.

14 reviews were recently submitted and the SGB EC has reviewed and made decisions on 6 of them. The others will be taken care of over the next few weeks. The SGB EC congratulated the following SIGs on their program performance and found them viable for the next 4 years:

  • SIGMOD                             

SIGMIS was also reviewed and the SGB EC is concerned about their viability. During the SIGMIS 2015 program review, the SGB EC expressed concerns regarding volunteer development, the conference acceptance rate and attendance at the SIGMIS-CPR conference. The SGB EC acknowledged the efforts of SIGMIS leaders to begin to address these issues and expects the in-coming leadership to continue. The SGB EC found SIGMIS viable to continue its status for the next year and we will schedule a program review in 2018.

Matthews reminded the group that the Best Practices document was always available for updating and she encouraged the leadership to continue to utilize it. Cappo will add a link to the document in the set of program review questions allowing easy access for the SIGs under review.

Conference Culture Tradeoffs and Issues

Matthews noted the links to the Global Program Report out. A lot of that discussion was about having best practices for conferences to rotate and which SIGs go to which area of the world. How does rotation impact student scholarships and other components? We want to think through issues and share best practices. Visas have become a hot issue in US with the travel ban and how do we want to handle or support more types of access to our conferences. How do we make the experience in the DL more like being there. How often do we rotate how do we support people that can’t get there or don’t want to get there? She encouraged everyone to look at the document. It’s a nice example of collecting information from the meeting and there has been an impact from that document in thinking about global strategy.

Balancing geographic diversity with the impact of travel on climate change. SIGPLAN began thinking about their conference activity -  17 with 4 or 5 flagships moving all over the world. The leadership realized that a culture that has more and more meetings all over is a contributor to climate change. Air travel is a big problem now and in foreseeable future.

We need to think about what we can do. Initial draft of document was shared with SGB and they were encouraged to make comments and suggestions. We should better understand impact and compute carbon footprint by holding a conference. PLDI was about 700 tons of carbon. We could develop software and figure out the carbon footprint for attending conferences and then we would know how much we spent on each conference. We could then employ carbon offset and activity that counteract.

We could move away from in person SIGPLAN PC meetings. Consensus is outcome is better when people can talk in person. For some you fly for 2 days and participate for 10 minutes. We may use PC meetings to explore remote interaction possibilities.

Note:  - SGB EC supported development of carbon calculator post meeting.

Videotaping at Conferences

Medvidovic led taskforce that looked at Capture/Streaming at ACM conferences. This came from a discussion at the last SGB meeting where there were several suggestions with regard to the importance of live-streaming and capture to showcase and further the reach of ACM events. Live streaming of events could be used as a member benefit. The “what do we capture” discussions ranged from keynote and plenary to entire events. Having some consistency in this area could add member benefits and could lead to experimentation for virtual conferences. Medviovic went through the decision’s that each conference needed to make such as what gets captured, how much, how it gets captured, who captures it, dissemination, content storage, equipment and costs. Conferences can capture slides and audio, slides, audio and speaker, slides, audio, speaker and sign-language interpreter, etc. Conference can capture tech papers, workshops, panels, tutorials and courses via high-end capture stations, camera’s and accessories, low end devices or a mobile phone. Conferences can be captured by SIG or conference reps, venue personnel or an outside vendor. The capture can be disseminated immediately through live streaming, after the fact as is or with post-production. I can be stored with ACM, YouTube, DL. If equipment is purchased it would need storage facility. If a vendor is hired, you don’t need to worry about storage, the equipment and the storage is their responsibility. Each conference can pay or the SIG can pay or ACM can pay with contributions from the SIGs. The costs range considerably depending on what is chosen.

Comments from SIG leaders indicated a range of preferences on what would work for their events. Some SIGs have only a single conference while others have multiple events. Some believed capturing the entire event was important while others had a need to be more selective. SIG leaders were encouraged to continue experimenting and sharing experiences.

Responding to Critical Time Sensitive Issues

Matthews indicated that Hanson had touched on this topic during her welcome. She was impressed by the SIG response to the travel ban starting with ACM’s response.

New EIG process

McCauley reported as Chair of the Emerging Interest Group Task Force. The other members of the TF were Sarita Adve, Simon Harper, Prakash Panangaden, Cherri Pancake and Donna Cappo. They were charged with establishing a process for chartering EIGs and developing the rules of operation. EIGs can be the starting point for a SIG, conference or new technical activity. Several groups have already inquired about this new status.

In March of 2016, the SGB voted to establish Emerging Interest Groups with the following expectations:

Proposals would be announced to all SIGs and EIGs would only be established after consultation with related SIGs.

  • EIGs would be established for a renewable definitive term
  • Operational rules would be established by the SGB EC

EIGs are to have a lightweight structure, come in and out easily, would be chartered by the SGB and known as the Emerging Interest Group on X. The EC Development Advisor and Director of SIG Services receive proposals, discuss with the SGB EC, Announce to SGB, consult with overlapping SIG leaders and the SGB EC approves/disapproves based on input.

To start an EIG, proposers submit a request outlining the interest area, include what is currently available to community, consider current SIGs and why EIG is needed and provide a list of activities, audience to be served, goals for affiliating with ACM and key organizers with CVs. CVs are being asked for so that we can familiarize ourselves with the proposers are of expertise. Their activities may include electronic news, distribution lists, conferences and workshops as well as cavities and interest to the EIG community. EIGs will not have awards, elected officials or a fund balance or representation on the SGB. They will be monitored by and the responsibility of the SGB EC with assistance from SIG Services. The Chair will be appointed by the SGB Chair. EIGs may have membership, distribution lists, electronic news. They’ll be reviewed and renewed every 2 years by the SGB EC. EIGs with a 2+ year history may suggest or be invited to submit a proposal for moving to SIG status or joining an existing SIG. Each EIG is responsible for having a web page, the leader is expected to participate in occasional video conference calls and meet the goals they set. The SGB EC is expected to be responsive to all queries and to monitor activities. The SGB is expected to direct leaders seeking to start a EIG to the SGB Development Advisor and they are expected to be responsive to all queries. ACM has received interest from groups on:

  • Smart Connected Communities
  • Connected Health
  • Computing and Social Good
  • Technology Enhanced Learning
  • Safety and Cars

Breakout Discussion: Summer Schools, other Education Outreach and your SIG Experiences

Group 1

Development Fund to support at least 20 students, review at EC level and fund as appropriate

No need to only hold in summer

No proceedings, just reports

Support outside events by application.

Hold Visioning workshops – bring outside groups in and vice versa bring tutorials to people in other groups like CCC workshops

Offer honorarium for speakers

Hold tech briefing on outside topics

Keep video archive of this

Group 2

Support organizing groups at university level but don’t organize directly

Horizontal activity to enable SIGs to work together

Co-sponsor summer schools

Federated set of conferences offering schools 2 days before of afte

No fees and educators contribute time

Provide scholarships

Corporate sponsors are OK but must make it fair

May be driven by funding model

Remote attendance can be offered

Should teach cutting edge subjects

Chance to meet leaders in a small group

Disseminate ideas

Focus on Grad students

Group 3

Phrasing – call it a Bootcamp

Audience is faculty, students, k-12 teachers

Funding – full, partial

Goals are to attract people, educational, make progress, outreach, diversity, offer a sense of community

Types are project, research or geographical

Secure internal and external funding

Offers visibility

Post-event report

Breakout Discussion: SIGs Publicizing their Field

Group 1

Outreach – bring undergrads to conferences

Hold mentoring workshops

Leaders attend each other’s conferences


Ted Style talks for the public at major conferences – do a day for general public

Connect research to practice (what went into iphone)

CRA as a model for public education

Blog – solicit and invite content

Social media coordination

Key Observation – ownership by person to run effort

Make membership worth it, 2 extra days to submit for members.

Group 2

Give monetary awards for seed

Recognition awards for service

Create list of social media efforts/outlets

Invite outsiders to panel sessions

MS student research completion

How to gain respect for soft skills

Lack of depth/breath (small SIGs)

Promote conferences on listserv

Marketing committee

Sponsor student at Grace Hopper

Host networking event at conference

Have regional reps that actively engage the community

Group 3


Huffington post blog

ACM Press releases

Press contacts through ACM

Invite a journalist to a conference (also student journalist)

Identify people who are talented at publicity

CCC vision workshops

Organize cross-SIG/disciplinary evens

Suggest people for funding agencies

Popular books/TV shows/movies/comics

Create a general audience bookshelf list

Brag sheet for interestng/cool/inventive results/news

Rename ACM