CCC’s Declaration of Independence

Recently, the participants of the Conference on Computational Complexity (CCC)—the latest iteration of which I’ll be speaking at next week in Vancouver—voted to declare their independence from the IEEE, and to become a solo, researcher-organized conference.  See this open letter for the reasons why (basically, IEEE charged a huge overhead, didn’t allow open access to the proceedings, and increased rather than decreased the administrative burden on the organizers).  As a former member of the CCC Steering Committee, I’m in violent agreement with this move, and only wish we’d managed to do it sooner.

Now, Dieter van Melkebeek (the current Steering Committee chair) is asking complexity theorists to sign a public Letter of Support, to make it crystal-clear that the community is behind the move to independence.  And Jeff Kinne has asked me to advertise the letter on my blog.  So, if you’re a complexity theorist who agrees with the move, please go there and sign (it already has 111 signatures, but could use more).

Meanwhile, I wish to express my profound gratitude to Dieter, Jeff, and the other Steering Committee members for their efforts toward independence.  The only thing I might’ve done differently would be to add a little more … I dunno, pizzazz to the documents explaining the reasons for the move.  Like:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for a conference to dissolve the organizational bands that have connected it with the IEEE, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Mathematics and the CCC Charter entitle it, a decent respect to the opinions of theorist-kind requires that the participants should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident (but still in need of proof), that P and NP are created unequal, that one-way functions exist, that the polynomial hierarchy is infinite…

23 Responses to “CCC’s Declaration of Independence”

  1. Dan Riley Says:

    I used to be an IEEE member. I quit over a wide variety of publication and conference policies that I could not support (also see Matt Blaze on the subject). If I were a complexity theorist, I’d certainly sign the letter of support.

    I am a physicist, and I feel fortunate that I can unequivocally support the American Physical Society (APS) as among the “good guys”. In computing, I think the closest equivalent is probably USENIX, so that might be someplace CCC could look if they want useful organizational assistance.

  2. Shmi Nux Says:

    Are you participating in any public events/giving public lectures while in Vancouver? For those of us unwilling to shell out $500 just to see and hear a minor celebrity.

  3. Scott Says:

    Shmi Nux #2: LOL, sorry, no! If any readers from Vancouver want to meet for dinner Wednesday or Friday nights, send me email and we can coordinate.

  4. quax Says:

    Yay to open access proceedings!

    Aaron Swartz would have been happy to see that.

  5. Clément Canonne Says:

    As a graduate student (and thus having way less impact or legitimacy), does it make sense to also sign the letter, or would it only ruin its purpose by “diluting” its significance?

  6. Luca Turin Says:

    We miss you at the Quantum Bio meeting on Galiano Island, sorry you couldn’t come!

  7. Scott Says:

    Clément #5: Sign it.

  8. Scott Says:

    Luca #6: I’m sorry too! Hope you have a great conference.

  9. Clément Canonne Says:

    Scott: thanks!

  10. Ex-CCer. Says:

    How about lapsed complexity theorists? (I.e. we would answer “Yes.” to “Are you now, or have you ever been, a complexity theorist?)

  11. Scott Says:

    Ex-CCer: Sure, sign!

  12. Thelma Dellingham Says:

    Ok, ok, but what about this?

    How about algorithmic game theory researchers who work entirely on the “algorithms” side and haven’t published in CCC (but know people who have)?

  13. Scott Says:

    Thelma #12: Err, if you think there’s a Ω(1/poly(n)) chance you might someday submit a paper to CCC, then go ahead and sign.

  14. Aspiring theorist Says:

    How about an undergraduate CS major who is going to apply to grad schools next year, for complexity theory?

  15. Scott Says:

    Look everyone, just decide for yourselves. I’m not the one who’s managing this letter anyway. :-)

  16. Jay Says:

    How about those who can’t decide for themselves?

  17. Scott Says:

    Jay #16: Find another commenter to decide for you. I’m going to sleep now.

  18. Vadim Says:

    Ok, Scott, what if there’s a complexity theorist who signs for exactly those complexity theorists who don’t sign for themselves. Should this theorist sign for him or herself?

  19. Scott Says:

    Vadim: Yes, they should sign, because they’re a complexity theorist.

  20. Dieter van Melkebeek Says:

    Let me take some of the load off Scott’s shoulders in fielding questions about who can sign the letter. You should have some connection to computational complexity – ideally a clear one but that is not necessary. If you’re in doubt, feel free to email me, or simply sign; we’ll get back to you in case we’re unclear about the connection.

  21. Jordan Says:

    Signed, because there’s nothing more annoying than a paper not being on arxiv. Careful everyone, this move may lead to a hierarchy collapse.

  22. Jon Says:

    By coincidence and IEEE conference, ISIT 2014, is 2 blocks from my current apartment. ISIT has sent me many submissions to referee in the past.

    To add insult to drudgery, the IEEE wants $1100 for non-member registration. I think I’ll pass on attending.

    I think it may be time for some Elsevier-like action against this dodgy organizaiton.

  23. Rahul Says:

    “violent agreement” was nice.

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