|UPDATE: Umesh has posted a writeup of the original proposal for introducing "brief descriptions" in FOCS. It is a very well made argument. Enjoy!|
As we now know, FOCS 09 papers are due on April 2nd, and here is the novelty, a "brief description" is due a week later, on April 9th. These brief descriptions should fit within two pages. They may be informal, and need not meet the standards of a formal publication. Now, there are examples online.
Umesh Vazirani, a true sage, described the rationale for these brief descriptions better than anything I have heard: in a FOCS submission, you tend me make results general, details as needed to convince the referee of the correctness, and be scholarly. On the other hand, in informal discussions with an expert colleague or while giving a talk on the same result, you have a different conversation, one based more on intuition, getting quickly to the novelty and insights. The brief discussions will hopefully have this flavor.
ps: Everyone understands why brief descriptions are better after the deadline, not before. :)