Linkage (technical)

Having seen a talk recently by John Ioannidis on how medical research is (often) bunk, this finer corrective by Larry Wasserman was nice to read.

Computer science conferences are often not organized by the ACM, but instead there are different foundations for machine learning and vision and so on that basically exist to organize the annual conference(s). At least, that is what I understand. There are a few which are run by the ACM, and there’s often debate about whether or not the ACM affiliation is worth it, given the overheads and so on. Boaz Barak had a post a little over a week ago making the case for sticking with the ACM. Given the hegemonic control of the IEEE on all things EE (more or less), this debate is new to me. As far as I can tell, ISIT exists to cover some of the cost of publishing the IT Transactions, and so it sort of has to be run by IEEE.

As mentioned before, Tara Javidi has a nice post up on what it means for one random variable to be stochastically less variable than another.

Paul Miniero has a bigger picture view of NIPS — I saw there were lots of papers on “deep learning” but it’s not really my area so I missed many of those posters.

David Eppstein’s top 10 cs.DS papers from 2012.

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4 thoughts on “Linkage (technical)

  1. In the computer science community, there is a debate about whether conference organizers such as the ACM and the IEEE are worth having. The debate basically boils down to:
    Against: Federal dollars fund research which is performed researchers who are not by employees of (ACM|IEEE) and reviewed by other researchers who are also not employees of (ACM|IEEE) and the (ACM|IEEE) demand copyright and place the result of the work behind paywalls from which they profit; vs.
    For: You just don’t understand publishing.

    Of course, organizations such as USENIX and IACR manage to run excellent CS conferences without these practices.

    • Sure, I understand the “against” argument pretty well, but I think the “for” argument is a bit more nuanced. Maybe “journal publishing is dead” but I don’t think that IACR has a super-great system for organizing the documents that they publish — it’s basically an FTP server. I’ve heard very little reasonable justification for paywalls except for old thinking at IEEE and ACM.

      Another tick on the “for” side for IEEE is that many electrical engineers who are not researchers at all are still members because IEEE offers more job-related stuff, networking opportunities, etc. IEEE also does all the standards work and so on. It’s all fine and well for academic engineering to give IEEE the boot but then they will lose some of the institutional connection to industry (leaving only the personal connections). It’s not clear that this is a winning strategy for the research ecosystem in EE as a whole.

      I guess the point is that the the against side is entirely academia-centered (which makes sense) but limiting the arguments to being about publishing and whether you can put on a good conference is missing some of the point I think.

      • I think ACM/IEEE should separate the publishing from the rest of what they do. The paywalls shouldn’t fund their other activities.

        Maybe the IACR isn’t the best example, but USENIX certainly is. All of the publications appear on the relevant conference webpage and in many cases, links for the video or audio of a talk are present as well.

  2. Not so long ago (around 2000?) there was serious talk of ITSoc leaving IEEE. The institute was in financial trouble thanks to the dot-com bust, and righted itself by raiding the financial reserves of the societies (as they had a right to do, but hadn’t done before). There are probably some oldsters around who know more.

    Anyway, staying in IEEE was the right decision because the IEEE brand is incredibly valuable. This is why new “open publishing” initiatives haven’t caught on — because none of them have the legitimacy and history of a major organization behind them, like IEEE or ACM.

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