Virtual Conferences

ACM has posted a report on resources useful for organizing virtual conferences:

We provide concrete advice for events of all sizes. We discuss the tasks required of organizers, specific platforms that can be used and financial considerations. We collect examples of conferences that have gone virtual and lessons learned from their experiences.

As both heavy users of these technologies and researchers responsible for developing them, the ACM community is especially well-positioned to offer advice that we hope will be helpful to other groups dealing with the same problems.

I liked this retrospective on a virtual conference: Reflections on Eurosys 2020 | SIGARCH

Are we thinking about this like computer scientists?

In recent years, platforms like Slack, Discord, Zoom, BlueJeans, Hangouts, Teams, Skype, SkypeForBusiness (I’ll stop here) have become quite commonly used in software engineering and research settings, and the current pandemic has dramatically increased their use and uptake.

However, for the most part, these are all walled gardens. Sure, there’s some interoperability, mostly with older proprietary “room” systems to avoid enterprise customers having to ditch their existing investment in conference room hardware, but to do my day job remotely as well as attend Eurosys this year I’ve had to install at least 7 different systems on the computers and phones I use, all of which have largely overlapping functionality, but none of which does quite enough.

Neither do any of these systems have an API that facilitates changing the client. Most have “cloud-based” APIs designed to increase the value of the service, but you are forced to buy into the basic interface provided by the vendor.

More resources: