Vision Calendar Program Registration Hotel Boston Workshops Tutorials Organizers History Sponsors ICSE 98
ICSE 97:

Expanding the Community

Anthony I. Wasserman
ICSE 97 Program Co-Coordinator
Site Menu

Everyone associated with planning ICSE 97 has focused from the outset on expanding the community of attendees for the conference. We have looked toward increased scope of topics and a broader range of attendees, while still preserving the traditional technical program that has served the conference well over the years.

As a co-founder of SIGSOFT and a veteran of ICSE conferences from the very beginning, I have seen ICSE conference attendance shift to be dominated by the academic and industrial research communities, with much lower participation from practicing software engineers and their managers. Those people often attend other technical conferences, such as OOPSLA and CHI, or commercially-sponsored conferences, such as Software Development or Object World. As a result, there has been less interaction between these communities, despite a substantial overlap in interests.

We have also seen a major expansion in the scope of application development. Software engineering issues are relevant for graphical user interface development, for WWW-based applications, and as part of rapid application development processes. We felt that ICSE 97 should attempt to address those issues as part of the overall conference program, both with traditional research submissions and with other conference activities.

In thinking about the ICSE 97 conference, we were strongly influenced by the CHI and OOPSLA conferences, large, successful conferences that bridge the research and "practitioner" communities. Above all, we wanted to make ICSE the "must attend" conference for those interested in the state of the art of software engineering. Conferences succeed not only for the quality of their technical programs, for also for the broader exchange of information at the conference. The best conferences fulfill a social role as well as a technical role, so that participants annually plan their budgets and schedules to include that conference. What are we doing to make ICSE the "must attend" conference, and to increase its appeal to the professional community? Here are some of the steps we are taking:

  1. We are greatly expanding the number of invited speakers. ICSE has always had invited Keynote Speakers, and that tradition will continue. I am pleased to report that Ed Yourdon has accepted our invitation to be a Keynote Speaker.

    Beyond that, however, we are inviting speakers who will bring an industrial perspective to the conference. These speakers will include well-known technologists and consultants, many of whom are regular speakers at commercially-sponsored conferences. Because they have designed or built innovative tools or applications, they have made a significant contribution to software engineering. At the same time, though, they are highly unlikely to prepare a research-oriented paper that would be accepted under the strict and highly selective criteria of the Technical Program Committee. These invited presenters will be blended into the conference program.

    In this effort, I have been assisted by a Professional Program Committee, whose members have made valuable suggestions for topics and speakers. Of course, I would also welcome additional suggestions from SEN readers.

  2. We are expanding the number of tutorials and workshops. Conferences such as CHI, OOPSLA, and SIGGRAPH have many tutorials. A very large percentage of the conference attendees also register for at least one tutorial. The tutorials are of high quality and are less expensive than those sponsored by commercial organizations.

    Workshops are like conferences within a conference, allow groups with specialized interests to meet and discuss their field. Workshops are typically less formal, with participants submitting position papers rather than full papers that will compete with submissions to the ICSE 97 technical program. By co-locating the workshops with the overall ICSE 97 conference, the workshop benefits from joint publicity, while the conference itself increases the size of the participant community.

  3. We are planning a commercial tools exhibit, separate from research demonstrations. This exhibit will be organized by a professional conference management firm, Danieli and O'Keefe, which is also responsible for registration and other conference logistics. D&O'K have managed other similar conferences, including Tri-Ada and the ACM Multimedia conference. They will be contacting hardware and software vendors this summer, trying to encourage them to exhibit at ICSE 97. Since ICSE has not previously had such an exhibition, D&O'K will need assistance to put together an exhibition where many of the major vendors of software engineering products and services are represented.

    If you work for a vendor that could potentially be an exhibitor at ICSE 97, it would be very helpful if you could contact the person responsible for trade shows in your company and tell them about ICSE 97. It would also be helpful if you could let me know the name and contact information for that person so that I can pass the information along to D&O'K.

  4. We are planning to introduce organization overviews. If you would like to describe your organization and one or more of its projects, you are strongly encouraged to submit a proposal. These overviews have been very popular at CHI and at other conferences. They serve as a good way to disseminate information about your organization's activities, and also as an effective recruiting tool.

Finally, we have selected an attractive venue. The conference will be based at the Sheraton-Boston Hotel, in Boston's Prudential Center, near Back Bay with its restaurants and shops. Boston is among the most interesting of American cities, with a broad range of sightseeing activities and lots of American history. With the conference immediately preceding the Memorial Day holiday weekend in the U.S., ICSE 97 provides a great opportunity to combine an outstanding technical conference with a post-conference vacation. The weather should be good, too. Just don't even think about driving in Boston, though! Mark your calendars for the week of May 19, 1997, and put ICSE 97 in your 1997 budget.

1997 International Conference on Software Engineering
Last modified: 10 May 1997