Simons Institute for ToC: Opportunities and Deadlines

The Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing would like to announce the following opportunities and deadlines:

- First annual round of Research Fellow positions (deadline Jan 15, 2013).
- Biannual call for program proposals (deadline Dec 15, 2012).
- New (temporary) website, which in addition to the above also gives details of upcoming programs and other activities in 2013-14.

The topics of the research programs for Fall 2013 are “Real Analysis in Computer Science” and “Theoretical Foundations of Big Data Analysis,” and the topics for Spring 2014 are “Algorithms and Models in Evolutionary Biology” and “Quantum Hamiltonian Complexity.”

NSF CCF Medium-Size Proposal Deadline *October 9*

This is a reminder of the upcoming October 9 “Medium-Size” deadline for NSF proposals in the Computing and Communication Foundations (CCF) Core Programs.

Medium-size projects have a total budget of 500,001 to 1,200,000 USD and durations of up to four years.  They are typically awarded to small groups of 2-3 researchers, who need not be from the same institution.  So they can be a great way to initiate or support an existing collaboration.  Single-PI proposals requesting support for multiple students and/or postdocs are allowed as well.  Note that “a Collaboration Plan is required for all Medium proposals with more than one investigator” (which could include workshops, students from one institution spending time at the other, etc.)

An additional note (this appears to be a new policy): “In any contiguous September through December period, an individual may participate as PI, Co-PI or Senior Personnel in no more than two Small, Medium, or Large proposals submitted in response to the coordinated solicitation (where coordinated solicitation is defined to include the Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS): Core Programs, the Computer and Network Systems (CNS): Core Programs and the Computing and Communication Foundations (CCF): Core Programs solicitations). For example, between September 2012 and December 2012, an individual may participate as PI, co-PI or Senior Personnel in one proposal submitted to a core program in CCF and in a second proposal submitted to a core program in CNS, or an individual may participate as PI, co-PI or Senior Personnel in two proposals submitted to an IIS core program, etc.”

Good luck with your proposals!

Simons Institute Call for Proposals

The Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing has a Call for Proposals for semester-long programs in the year 2014 (Spring or Fall).  Deadline July 15, 2012.

From the CFP:

  • A typical program is organized by a group of 4-6 Organizers, who will oversee the scientific content and issue invitations to others to participate. Most of the Organizers are expected to be in residence for a substantial portion of the program.
  • The following figures give a rough idea of the scale of a typical semester-long program. The core participants consist of about 30-35 long-term (one month or more, ideally full semester) visitors, including the Organizers. These would typically include about 15-20 faculty, 6-10 postdocs, and 5-15 visiting and local graduate students. The program would typically include two or three week-long workshops during the semester, each of which attracts an additional 30-35 people. There will also be an introductory intensive course at the start of the program, and a week-long reunion workshop one year after the end of the program. The Organizers receive a budget that is intended to provide partial salary and expenses support for visitors, based on need.
  • The Institute is committed to identifying programs that can potentially lead to substantial advances in the field, rather than “business as usual.” In keeping with this objective, we particularly encourage programs that bring together two or more distinct groups of researchers with related interests (some of which may lie outside theoretical CS) who do not generally collaborate on a regular basis; programs that seek to define an agenda for a relatively new subfield; or programs that propose a novel and timely attack on major open problems.

For more information about what a proposal should look like and how to submit, see the Simons Institute Call for Proposals.


NSF Solicitation on Big Data

NSF has a new solicitation out on Core Techniques and Technologies for Advancing Big Data Science & Engineering (BIGDATA).  Deadline is June 13 for mid-scale projects ($250k-$1m per year) and July 11 for small-scale projects (up to $250k per year).  Note that these “smalls” are substantially larger than Core Program smalls since the above is per year.  Bala Kalyanasundaram is the point-person for our (Algorithmic Foundations) community.  If there are enough proposals from AF, they might be able to have an AF panel.

According to the solicitation, this program

“aims to advance the core scientific and technological means of managing,  analyzing, visualizing, and extracting useful information from large, diverse, distributed and heterogeneous data sets so as to: accelerate the progress of scientific discovery and innovation; lead to new fields of inquiry that would not otherwise be possible; encourage the development of new data analytic tools and algorithms; facilitate scalable, accessible, and sustainable data infrastructure; increase understanding of human and social processes and interactions; and promote economic growth and improved health and quality of life.”

Proposals should focus on one or more of the following perspectives:

  1. Data collection and management (DCM)
  2. Data analytics (DA).
  3. E-science collaboration environments (ESCE).

The description of the data analytics thrust in particular lists a number of algorithmic, data structure, mathematical modeling, and statistical directions.  See the solicitation for more information.

Remember, June 13 for mid-scale and July 11 for small-scale.  Good luck everyone!

NSF Workshop on Research Directions in the Principles of Parallel Computation

There will be a one day NSF sponsored workshop on Research Directions in the Principles of Parallel Computation immediately following SPAA on June 28th in Pittsburgh.   The purpose is to brainstorm about possible research directions in the theory of parallel computation.  The workshop offers travel grants for students and the registration is free to all.   Also, the early registration deadline for SPAA is May 25th.


DARPA Call for Proposals on “big data” (XDATA)

DARPA-BAA-12-38: XDATA is a call for proposals by DARPA on “big data”. Abstracts (not required, 4 pages) due April 20.  Proposals due May 30.

From the announcement:

The XDATA program seeks to develop computational techniques and software tools for analyzing large volumes of data, both semi-structured (e.g., tabular, relational, categorical, meta-data) and unstructured (e.g., text documents, message traffic). Central challenges to be addressed include a) developing scalable algorithms for processing imperfect data in distributed data stores, and b) creating effective human-computer interaction tools for facilitating rapidly customizable visual reasoning for diverse missions.

Proposals are encouraged from diverse areas of expertise including computer scientists, electrical engineers, statisticians, computational biologists, applied mathematicians, econometricians, economists, and others, groups with experience processing large amounts of data and/or visualizing information.

As always, when you think DARPA, think demo, though this BAA seems fairly algorithms-friendly.  Since it is probably too late to put together an abstract if you are just hearing about this for the first time, standard advice is to contact the program manager if you are interested in submitting.  Also if anyone would like to guest-blog about experiences/advice regarding DARPA from a TCS perspective, please feel free to contact any of us on the CATCS.


Upcoming deadlines

Two upcoming deadlines:

  • Simons Graduate Fellowships in Theoretical Computer Science.   Deadline May 1.  These are 2-year awards and the intent is to offer 5 awards per year.  “The intent of the program is to support graduate students who have already produced outstanding results.  Awards will be based on the quality of the applicant’s research contributions, as outlined in the Research Statement, and the strength of the letters of support. To be eligible the applicant must be a Ph.D. student at a U.S. institution of higher education. A track record of outstanding results in theoretical computer science is the key criterion.”  Limit of one application per university.  See:
  • STOC (in NYC) early registration deadline April 19.  See:  Note that on Saturday May 19, in addition to a tutorial in the morning by Michael Kearns (on algorithmic trading and computational finance), STOC is having a  workshop program  in the afternoon with 4 workshops in parallel.  The workshops are:
    • Computational Sustainability
      Steven Phillips, Kirk Pruhs, David Shmoys
    • Algorithms for Distributed and Streaming Data
      Ashish Goel, Andrew McGregor, Sergei Vassilvitskii
    • Algorithms for Memory-Sensitive Computing
      Michael Bender, Martin Farach-Colton
    • Unique Games Conjecture and Related Advances
      Sanjeev Arora, Moses Charikar

    Tutorials and workshops will be at NYU.

New NSF solicitation on Big Data

A new NSF solicitation on Big Data was announced yesterday.  This program “aims to advance the core scientific and technological means of managing,  analyzing, visualizing, and extracting useful information from large, diverse, distributed and heterogeneous data sets.” Within TCS, some natural connections include efficient algorithms, machine learning, streaming and online algorithms, and privacy.

Deadlines: June 13 for “mid-scale” projects, July 11 for “small” projects (see solicitation for specifics).

Here is the announcement yesterday by Farnam Jahanian, head of CISE:

This afternoon at a White House event, the Administration unveiled a Big Data Research and Development Initiative, which creates enormous opportunities for extracting knowledge and insights from large and complex collections of digital data. The CISE community is well poised to become an active participant in this new initiative.

NSF Director, Dr. Subra Suresh, joined other federal science agency leaders to discuss cross-agency plans and announce new research efforts to address big data. NSF will direct its current efforts to develop new methods to derive knowledge from data; construct new infrastructure to manage, curate and serve data to communities; and forge new approaches for associated education and training.

The cornerstone of the announcements includes a joint NSF-NIH solicitation on foundational research for big data. The “Core Techniques and Technologies for Advancing Big Data Science & Engineering,” or “Big Data” ( aims to advance the core scientific and technological means of managing, analyzing, visualizing and extracting information from large, diverse, distributed, and heterogeneous data sets in order to accelerate progress in science and engineering research.  Specifically, it will fund research to develop and evaluate new algorithms, technologies, and tools for improved data management, data analytics, and e-science collaboration environments.

Upcoming deadlines

Two upcoming deadlines:

  • NSF Expeditions.  For ambitious projects involving a large team, funded at a level up to $2m/year for up to 5 years. Princeton’s CCI is one such expedition.  Preliminary Proposal Deadline: March 10.
  • Women in Theory workshop being held at Princeton June 23-27, 2012. Intended for graduate and undergraduate students in the area of theory of computer science.   Application Deadline: February 29.

Postdoc positions

A quick roundup of postdoc and faculty positions currently advertised at whose deadlines have not yet passed:

Check for further updates.


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