New TCS Awards List

David Woodruff compiled a list of major awards that are relevant to the theoretical computer science community.  Included is a brief description of each, a link to the nomination instructions, and examples of researchers from TCS and related fields that won the award in the past.  See https://thmatters.wordpress.com/tcs-awards-list/.  (Also available under the “Resources” tab at TheoryMatters.)  Nominate a deserving theorist!

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Graduating Bits/New TCS Book

  1. One great tradition at the ITCS conference is the “graduating bits” session, where graduating PhD students and postdocs give brief overviews of their research in advance of going out on the job market.  See here for instructions on how to apply (the deadline is January 8, 2018, and the session is four days later).  Hopefully these talks will be recorded and archived as well.
  2. Avi Wigderson has a new book coming out, Mathematics and Computation, with a draft freely available on the Web.  In addition to being a great overview of many of the “greatest hits” of theoretical computer science, the last chapter (Chapter 20) lays out how TCS has influenced and connected to the life sciences, the social sciences, and technology.

Opening for NSF CCF Division Director

Rao Kosaraju will be stepping down soon from his position as Director of the Division of Computing and Communication Foundations at NSF, after several years of terrific service.  The official job announcement for a new director was just posted.  This is an extremely important position — please consider applying!

NSF Program Director opening in Algorithmic Foundations

In the US, most of the funding for TCS comes from the NSF.  It’s crucial for our community that good people serve at the NSF.  There’s a new opportunity to do so, with an opening for a new Program Director in the Algorithmic Foundations (AF) area: see job announcement here.  This is for a rotator position, which is generally two years in duration.  Please consider applying!

NAS Held Prize

Here are the details on a brand-new prize that is highly relevant to the TCS community:

The National Academy of Sciences has initiated the Michael and Sheila Held Prize. The prize of $100,000 will be presented annually.  The Prize honors outstanding, innovative, creative and influential research in the areas of combinatorial and discrete optimization, or related parts of computer science,  such as the design and analysis of algorithms and complexity theory. The prize is intended to recognize recent work(defined as published within the last eight years). The prize was established in 2017 by the bequest of Michael and Sheila Held.

The selection committee consists of Richard Karp, Kurt Mehlhorn, Christos Papadimitriou, Eva Tardos, and Avi Wigderson. Nominations are due on October 2, 2017, and information about the submission process can be found at http://www.nasonline.org/held.

FOCS 2017 travel support

Aravind Srinivasan reports that the information for applying for FOCS 2017 travel support is now available at http://focs17.simons.berkeley.edu/travel_support.html.

2019 BIRS-CMO program in Banff and Oaxaca: Call for proposals

There have been a number of exciting TCS workshops held in Banff over the years, and now there is a sister workshop center in Oaxaca, as well.  If you’re interested in organizing a workshop at either center, see the instructions below.

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The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is now accepting proposals for its 2019 program. BIRS will again be hosting a 48-week scientific program at its station in Banff. BIRS is also hoping to run an additional 20-25 workshops at its affiliated station, Casa Matemática Oaxaca (CMO), in Mexico.

The mandate of BIRS is to provide an environment for creative interaction and the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the mathematical, statistical, and computing sciences, and with related disciplines and industrial sectors. Each week, the station hosts either a full workshop (42 people for 5 days) or two half-workshops (each with 21 people for 5 days). As usual, BIRS provides full accommodation, board, and research facilities at no cost to the invited participants, in a setting conducive to research and collaboration.

The deadline for 5-day Workshop and Summer School proposals is Thursday September 28, 2017.

Proposals need to take into account that BIRS is committed to increasing the participation of women and other under-represented groups in mathematical sciences research and their applications. Full information, guidelines, and online forms are available at the BIRS website: http://www.birs.ca

In addition BIRS will operate its Research in Teams and Focused Research Groups programs, which allow smaller groups of researchers to get together for several weeks of uninterrupted work at the station. September 28, 2017 is also the preferred date to apply for these programs. However, proposals for projects involving Research in Teams or Focused Research Groups can be submitted at any time – subject to availability – they must be received at least 4 months before their requested start date.

Proposal submissions should be made using the online submission form at: https://www.birs.ca/proposals

Nassif Ghoussoub, Scientific Director,
The Banff International Research Station

TCS Wikipedia Project

Shuchi Chawla is leading an effort to improve the quality of TCS entries on Wikipedia.  She has put together an advice document for researchers who want to help (also available from Theory Matters under the “Resources” tab), and at the bottom of this post is a spreadsheet where you can contribute suggestions for entries that to be created or improved.  From Shuchi:

Wikipedia is a great resource for people outside of the TCS community to learn about TCS topics, and provides an educational and outreach opportunity for our community. Our community should ensure that important TCS topics get adequate and accurate coverage in Wikipedia through articles written by experts. Unfortunately, writing or editing articles for Wikipedia, and ensuring that the edits are not overwritten, can be a daunting task. It is a task best addressed as a community effort rather than by a few individuals. This post is our attempt to mobilize the community towards this effort and to offer advice on how you can support this effort.

There are many ways to contribute:
– Edit articles that do not have enough substance
– Create new articles for missing topics
– Organize a group effort at your institution, e.g., as an assignment in a graduate course, or an “edit-a-thon” at a workshop or conference
– Suggest articles that need editing
– Last but not the least: please email us if you have advice or stories to contribute to this article.

We are grateful to David Eppstein for providing much of the information and advice for this blog post. Thanks also go to Scott Aaronson for sharing with us his and others’ experiences in editing TCS Wikipedia articles.

Suggesting articles that need work:
Below is a list of articles that currently have little or no coverage on Wikipedia and are most in need of contributions. To contribute to this list, follow this link and edit the spreadsheet appropriately. If you are working on an article, we would appreciate it if you can make a note of it on the spreadsheet.

Theory Fest (aka STOC) Registration is open

From Sanjeev Arora:

Theory fest is an expanded/enhanced STOC with a raft of exciting events and activities.  June 19-23 2017 in Montreal. Please check out the full schedule at  http://acm-stoc.org/stoc2017/

The registration portal is now open. Despite a 5-day schedule plus evening poster+beer sessions, the early registration fee has been kept down to only US$380 (and US$210 for students). We hope to see you there! Early registration ends May 21.

Note that it is still possible to submit a poster until May 1; the call for posters is http://acm-stoc.org/stoc2017/callforposters.html

Writing for a Broad Scientific Audience

Many results in theoretical computer science are of interest to a broad scientific audience.  One way to reach that audience is to publish in venues aimed at them, such as Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).  What’s the best approach for writing for such venues?  Ryan O’Donnell collected advice from a number of TCS researchers who have successfully published in these venues in the past.  See this document for the summary (also available from Theory Matters under the “Resources” tab).