Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Invited Talks, Take 2

Our community invites researchers to give prestigious talks. In a few recent instances, there have been discussions: should we invite a person when they have given invited before, in the same venue, or equivalent venue elsewhere? In each instance people involved know there are exceptions, so I am not talking about these instances, but the larger context, that we as a community seem to not want to repeat invited speakers. Why? May be we need to spread the honor of these invitations across the field, but function should triumph: researchers are polymaths capable of leadership in 2 or more areas, and capable of having more than one set of important things to say.



Blogger Mihai said...

To the contrary, I am exasperated that every single discussion starts with the same few names. Give those guys a break. We need new faces with fresh ideas.

7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We use several dimensions: area (complexity vs algorithms, algorithms/discrete math/applied stuff), geo (east/west coast, europe/US), job(academic/corporate labs), snob factors (high ranking univ, awards), freshness, etc. Of these, I find freshness (perhaps most) defensible. But I still find it surprising one can rule out a topic or speaker because "they have been".

- Metoo

4:23 PM  
Blogger Mihai said...

I think it's just too easy to become complacent. A committee takes no risk by given an award / invitation / etc to somebody who has a long list of accolades. So committees have to be forced to take risks, and try to guess the future forces.

I must add I've typically lost this argument on PCs where I've served :)

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cant imagine you losing arguments. :)

That aside, I like "taking risk" argument. I think PC Chairs have done that with PC members and it has been a successful experiment.

About invited talks (of different sorts), I like "topics and area" as a basis for decision, and guessing future --- fresh face or not --- is part of it.

-- Metoo

4:21 AM  

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