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Apr 15, 2010

April: Message from VP

As most of the readers of this newsletter know, the conference board of the IEEE Signal Processing Society oversees all aspects of the conferences the society organizes. The board meets twice a year at ICASSP and ICIP, and conducts its business via e-mails and telephone conferences as necessary in between face-to-face meetings. The most recent conference board meeting was held in Dallas during ICASSP 2010. The majority of the meeting was spent on strategic discussions about how to enhance the quality of SPS conferences, improve access to a diverse group of people, and provide better service to volunteers who organize conferences. While the final draft of a plan is still in the works, there are a few ideas discussed at the meeting that I wish to share with you.

First, ensuring high quality of the technical program should be the foremost priority of all conference organizers. A rigorous paper review process is key to the creation of a high quality technical program. The most important part of the process is to select competent reviewers as well as ensure that they have manageable review loads and set high expectations for careful and thorough reviews. I encourage you to devise and implement innovative methods of ensuring high quality of paper reviews, and share with me the results of your efforts.

Second, our conferences and workshops should be more attractive and easy for students, researchers from economically challenged countries, and engineers from industry to attend. Student registration rates should be kept as low as possible. I recommend that the early student registration rates be no more than the incremental cost of adding one more attendee at the event. Conference organizers should seek outside resources whenever possible to support student participation and increase participation of researchers from economically disadvantaged locations. Conference organizers should recognize the reasons why engineers from industry attend conferences and what they wish to get out of conferences are not always the same as those of academic researchers. Efforts to address these differences and to make our conferences and workshops attractive to engineers from industry must be part of the planning process of all our conferences. I look forward to hearing from you about your efforts to enhance access to your conference and their results.

I wrote in the last issue about the Society’s efforts to improve infrastructure support for paper processing, conference accounting and volunteer training. Our conference services manager, Lisa Schwarzbek is in the process of setting up several advisory committees that will help guide the development of the tools for each of these tasks. This is your opportunity to make sure that the tools we develop and you use in the future meet your needs. With your help the conferences will transition to the new tools without significant investment of additional time and resources. If you would like to be part of these advisory committees, please send an e-mail to Lisa at l.schwarzbek@ieee.org.

As always, I am eager to hear your opinions as well as feedback on all aspects of the conferences operation of the IEEE Signal Processing Society. Please send me a note at mathews@ece.utah.edu to share your thoughts.

- V. J. Mathews, VP-Conferences, mathews@oregonstate.edu