Conference Policy


Policy Document
Association for Logic Programming (ALP)
Executive Committee of the ALP
JUNE 3, 2017

1. INTRODUCTION

The Association for Logic Programming (ALP) has supported two tracks of major Logic Programming conferences a year: the International Conference on Logic Programming (ICLP) and the International Logic Programming Symposium (ILPS), (formerly named the North American Conference on Logic Programming (NACLP)). Since 1999, ALP has been holding only one conference per year, namely, ICLP.

If you are interested in organizing a future ICLP, then you need to make a proposal to the Executive Committee (EC) of the ALP. A proposal consists of volunteering to be General Chair of the meeting and to be responsible for the budget and local arrangements in a proposed city. A proposal should include some discussion of any special features of the proposal that would bear on its selection. Further guidelines for what a proposal might include are given below.

The EC will select one from the proposals submitted (or solicit further proposals). The EC will independently select a Program Chair for the meeting to be responsible for the technical program.

  • ALP President: Torsten Schaub (torsten@cs.uni-potsdam.de)
  • ALP Treasurer: Andy King (A.M.King@kent.ac.uk)
  • ALP Conference Coordinator: Marco Gavanelli
  • ALP EC Mailing Address: alpec@listserv.cc.kuleuven.ac.be

2. CONFERENCE ORGANIZATION
The following may give you an idea of what a proposal to organize an LP meeting (conference or symposium) might contain. What you have to do is to give enough information so that the ALP EC has confidence that you would be able to bring it off, and it would be a good and profitable meeting. The proposal should answer the following questions, should highlight its strengths and point out its vulnerabilities. Note that some of these questions (e.g. timing) may best be answerable at this stage through constraints.

  • Where will the meeting be held?
  • When will it be held?
  • Who will lead the general and the local organization? Have they organized such events before? If so, which ones? Who will handle registrations, local organization, etc. Will you need to pay some company to do it, or can you handle it yourself, within your own organization or through some other non-profit organization? If so, what experience do they/you have and what support will they give you?
  • What are the conference facilities at the proposed site (hotel, resort, university facility)? What is their track record (e.g. how did previous conferences held at that location do)? Describe conference rooms, space for informal meetings, opportunities for entertainment, possibilities for conference banquet/cruise/social event, space for allied workshops or conferences before and after the meeting such as LOPSTR (International Symposium on Logic-Based Program Synthesis and Transformation), LPNMR (Logic Programming and Non-Monotonic Reasoning), WFLP (Workshop on Functional and Logic Programming), CHR (Workshop on Constraint Handling Rules), CP (Constraint Programming), FLOPS, etc.
  • In the recent past ICLP has been co-located with other logic-related conferences in the FLoC (Federated Logic Conference) event every four years: Copenhagen (2002), Seattle (2006), Edinburgh (2010), Vienna (2014). Continuing with this tradition fixes the place every four years. FLoC 2018 is set to be held in Oxford.
  • It has also been co-located in the past with IJCAI (Pasadena 2009, Melbourne 2017).
  • Do you have ideas for attracting exhibitors, or getting outside contributions to the meeting?
  • What will be the financial model? What kind of outlay is expected? What will be the registration fees? What is the break-even point (in terms of number of attendees)? How many attendees would you anticipate? Which local organizations/industries might sponsor the event (or sub-events, e.g. cruise, invited speakers/tutorialists etc), and with what arrangements/conditions (usually sponsors are acknowledged in all conference materials, including Proceedings)? Does your National Research Council (or equivalent) have grants specifically designed for supporting conferences, for instance for invited speakers or for students?
  • How accessible and “safe” is the site? How will participants travel to and from the site? Can deals be negotiated with an “official” airline carrier for the conference?
  • What kind of Internet connectivity and computational support can be provided at the site, for presenters as well as participants?
  • Will volunteer student assistance be available in the organization?
  • What local research groups in logic programming will be supporting the organization activity?
  • Will someone from your organizing group be available to talk with available organizers at the previous LP event?
  • Do you have any special reason you’d like to organize it? (e.g. to emphasize a particular subarea of LP, or to raise the consciousness of LP in your country, or to reward hard-working contributors?)

A meeting proposal is essentially a kind of sales job to the EC. They have to be convinced that, of the alternatives available, yours will be the best for the LP community.

If you are asked to organize it, then you will be appointed General Conference Chair, and the EC will choose and appoint a Program Chair for it. You will be asked to prepare a budget for the meeting. Examples of previous budgets are available from the conference coordinator (CC), Marco Gavanelli.

Organizing a conference can be a lot of work, but it is a wonderful service to the community, and it can be very rewarding personally.

3. RESPONSIBILITIES OF CONFERENCE GENERAL CHAIR
The responsibilities of the conference General Chair include:

  • preparation and management of the conference budget, local arrangements, exhibits, decision on and invitation of the banquet speaker, additional sponsorship.
  • active seeking of external funds and sponsorships. These should cover at least the hotel costs and possibly travel expenses of all invited speakers. Invited speakers DO get free registration to the conference. If the external funds permit, a similar arrangement should be made for invited tutorial speakers. In any case, these costs should not be incurred on ALP. The conference coordinator might have suggestions, such as a list of sponsors, that sponsored previous editions of the conference.
  • advertising, including the initial call for papers, and for publication of the final program.
  • accounting for all the monies (i.e., performs as conference treasurer unless another is appointed.) Appropriate procedures, which will be available from the ALP treasurer, must be followed so that all monetary transactions can be audited.
  • preparing and distributing calls for papers and participation. Publicity is needed at two levels:
    • publicizing the call for papers to maximize the number of high quality submissions; and
    • publicizing the call for participation to maximize attendance to the conference and affiliated workshops.

The General Chair may have posters printed and mailed to prospective attendees along with additional tourism material. The cost of printing the poster and mailing publicity material should come out of the conference budget. The General Chair may appoint a publicity chair for electronic publicity of both the call for papers and the call for participation (relevant mailing lists on which to advertise can be obtained from the CC). The General Chair is also responsible for maintaining the conference website (he/she may, of course, delegate this task to an appointed conference webmaster). Call for participation should include a mention of the availability of limited funds to support people in need. After the conference is over, a full list of the participants should be sent to the ALP secretary for integration into the mailing list.

  • Workshops: If there are to be informal workshops either before or after the meeting, which has been customary, the General Chair is responsible for appointing a workshop coordinator (or doing it him/herself) to organize the workshops. The conference budget normally includes the cost of the meeting rooms for the workshops (but usually this is gratis, or costing a minimal fee, from the Hotel). See the section on Workshop Organization later.
  • Tutorials have also been associated with meetings. If the tutorials are to be out of the mainstream of the meeting, then the General Chair is responsible for their organization. If the tutorials are inline with the paper presentations, then that responsibility falls to the Program Chair. The General Chair and the Program Chair will jointly decide which form of tutorials to hold. In either case, the cost, if any, of the tutorials must be included in the conference budget. (Pre-conference tutorials must be budgeted to at least cover their own expenses.)
  • Unless s/he explicitly declines, the General Chair should be a member of the Program Committee for all duties (with possible exclusion of paper reviews, due to lack of time.)
  • ICLP has traditionally had a ([C]LP)/Prolog programming competition, organized on one of the evenings during the conference after a session in the main conference and runs for approximately 2 hours. The General Chair may seek for a coordinator (or a team) to organize the competition. The General Chair should also provide logistical support for organizing the competition — mainly space. Machines and software are usually provided by the participants. All expenses, including those for prizes (usually symbolic, such as T-shirts or diplomas) given to the winners are charged to the conference budget.

4. PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR (APPROVED) GENERAL CHAIRPERSONS

  • The preliminary budget should be submitted to the budget auditor: Marco Gavanelli
  • The seed money request (up to US $10,000 ) should be submitted to the treasurer: Andy King (A.M.King@kent.ac.uk). Note: no seed money will be provided before the budget auditor has approved the budget.
  • Every request of fund from participants should be forwarded to the conference coordinator: Marco Gavanelli
  • The current list of ALP members should be requested from the conference coordinator: Marco Gavanelli
  • The contact person for ICLP proceedings at Cambridge University Press (see Section 6): Samira Ceccarelli (sceccarelli@cambridge.org)

5. PROGRAM CHAIR & COMMITTEE

  • The Program Chair for an ALP conference is selected and appointed by the EC. The Program Chair (before contacting any prospective PC members) will make an initial proposal to the EC (normally electronically, and through the CC) of a list of names of people suggested to make up the program committee (normally electronically.) The program Chair will aim at gender diversity as well as at geographic and research area diversity when composing program committees. The list will be annotated to indicate how various sub-fields within LP are adequately covered, and to show an appropriate geographical
    distribution of members. The list may indicate alternate members. The EC will, in a timely fashion, make comments and suggestions to the Program Chair, who will then revise the list according to the suggestions (with further interaction with the EC, if necessary) to a final proposal, which the EC must finally approve. At this time, the Program Chair should formally contact the prospective members. Minor adjustments, due to inability of some nominees to serve, is left to the judgment of the Program Chair in consultation with the ALP CC.
  • Program Chair (in consultation with the program committee) is responsible for all of the technical program, including the call-for-papers, the choice of invited speakers (except the banquet speaker), and any inline tutorials.  Invited talks must be logically related. The Program Chair will chair the program committee meeting which determines the accepted papers.
  • The Program Chair is the editor of the Proceedings of the meeting. This involves working with the editor at CUP  to set dates for when the final papers must be ready.
  • A program committee member may submit to the conference at most ONE paper on which s/he is author or co-author. (The Program Chair may, at his/her discretion, forbid PC members from any submission. In this case, the members must be so notified at the time they are asked to serve on the PC. The Program Chair may also lift this one-paper restriction in consultation with the ALP EC.) The Program Chair must not be the (co-)author of any submitted paper.
    Papers submitted to ICLP and conferences sponsored by the ALP must not have been previously published or currently submitted for publication elsewhere.
  • Authors whose papers are accepted are expected to be at the conference to present their papers. If an author has an unusual need and is otherwise unable to attend the conference, the ALP will do its best to provide some funds (out of a fixed budget) to support attendance. Such petitions are to be made to the CC.  See also Section 11.
  • Invited speakers do not normally receive a fee or support for their attendance. They DO get free registration to the conference. In case the invited speaker is not in the mainstream of the field and the Program Chair (in consultation with the Conference Chair) wants to attract that speaker, the General chair can include support for the invited speaker. That support must come out of the conference budget.  See also Section 11.
  • Tutorialists do not normally receive a fee or support for their attendance. They DO NOT get free registration to the conference. In case the invited tutorial speaker is not in the mainstream of the field and the Program Chair (in consultation with the General Chair) wants to attract that tutorialist, the General chair can include support for the tutorialist and waive his/her registration fee. All such support must come out of the conference budget. See also Section 11.
  • Program Committee meeting: most conferences nowadays use electronic means (web sites like EasyChair and email) to distribute and discuss papers. However, if a a physical meeting is required, no funds should be allocated, except for seed money to host it, and for general things the organization hosting the PC meeting cannot cover. PC members are expected to pay their own way to the PC meeting. Exceptions can be decided by the conference organizers after consultation with the CC. The Program Chair is encouraged to use a public domain web-based conference manager (e.g., EasyChair) for managing the paper submission and selection process.
  • PC members are expected to pay their way to conference if they attend. In exceptional cases they could apply to the CC to get support from the monies allocated to the conference by the ALP. It has been customary to have a dinner for the PC during the PC meeting and for this to be paid out of the conference budget. Non-attending PC members may obtain a copy of the Proceedings free-of-charge by applying to ALP central.
  • The Program Chair may request that his/her reasonable travel expenses be paid from the conference budget. This should be done only in cases where the Program Chair cannot find support for his/her travel from other sources (such as a research or travel grant, or his/her institution or company).
  • Members of the PC who are reviewing the same paper are encouraged to interact to explore and resolve disagreements. The Program Chair is expected to encourage productive discussion lead paper reviewers to an unanimous decision, and ask for additional reviews if necessary.
  • Inclusion of poster session(s) is encouraged and up to the Program Chair to organize, either from a separate Call-for-Posters or from selections from submitted regular papers. Posters should appear as part of the published proceedings distributed at the conference.
  • Inclusion of a separate applications track with slightly different reviewing standards is also encouraged. These papers should appear as part of the published proceedings distributed at the conference.
  • The General Chair in consultation with the Program Chair and the Program Committee may elect to provide a cash or in-kind award for the best paper, the best applications paper, the best student paper, or whatever criteria they wish to come up with. The cost of the award should be included in the conference budget.

An indicative schedule for the Program Chair is the following:

  • 15 months (before the conference date): Send the proposed program committee to the EC or the President. The EC will comment on this proposal within two weeks and, if needed, will propose some
    alternative candidates.
  • 14 months: Extend the invitations to the program committee members.
  • 13 months: Finalize the final form of the program committee and initiate a discussion on invited speakers and tutorialists with the program committee.
  • 12 months: Send out the invitations to invited speakers and tutorialists. The invited speakers should be asked to submit a paper to the proceedings. Send the call for papers and the call for workshops proposals.
  • 7-8 months: Deadline for submissions.
  • 5 months: Notification of acceptance/rejection.
  • 3 months: Deadline for the final text.

6. REVIEWING AND PUBLISHING

Starting in 2010, ICLP switched from publishing with Springer Verlag to Cambridge University Press (CUP) and Schloss Dagstuhl. After the meeting in Cork (ICLP 2015), the technical communications are published as Schloss Dagstuhl Open Access Series in Informatic (OASIcs). Full conference papers of 14 pages are published in a special issue of TPLP.

Papers are peer-reviewed by at least three PC members as usual and in particular the reviewing needs to ensure accepted papers keep the quality standards expected from a Journal. In order to guarantee this, full papers go through two rounds of reviewing.

Some papers not accepted as full papers after rejection either at the first or second round of reviewing, are given the opportunity to be converted into technical communications, mentioned in the foreword, and electronically published by OASIcs. Therefore, the possible stages of a paper are:

  1. Rejected after first round.
  2. Recommended as TC after first round.
  3. Accepted to go to second round (incorporating corrections and / or clarifications to the reviewers).
  4. Recommended as TC after second round.
  5. Recommended as full paper after second round.

Authors of full papers are given the possibility of including supplementary material which is not part of the paper itself (i.e., it is not an appendix) and which is electronically posted together with the paper by CUP. Authors of TCs can choose between submitting a full-length paper (14 pages) or a short (2-3 pages) extended abstracts. This should allow authors to submit a long version elsewhere if they wish. All regular papers and regular TCs will be presented during the conference. TCs are given a shorter slot at ICLP.

7. ORGANIZATION OF CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS

The General Chair, in consultation with the Program Chair, may appoint a Workshop Coordinator. The Workshop Coordinator will have the responsibility of:

  • Preparing and advertising the call for workshop proposals
  • Making selections from these proposals
  • Scheduling the selected workshops
  • Helping in the management of workshop registration
  • Overseeing the printing/pricing/distribution of proceedings of these workshops
  • Providing general supervision for the workshops.
  • Acting as a liaison between the General Chair and the individual workshop organizers.

The ultimate organizational authority/responsibility for conference workshops, of course, rests with the General Chair. The organization of the individual workshops (call for papers, selection of papers, developing the workshop program, call for participation, etc.) will be done by the proposer(s) of the workshop. The Workshop Coordinator should avoid multiple workshops on similar topics and should explore the possibility of merging such workshops.

The call for workshop proposals should be made at about the same time as the first call for papers for the main conference.
The selection of workshops should be done at the latest by the deadline date set for submission of papers to the main conference. The call for papers for individual workshops should be sent out by the workshop proposer(s) at the latest by the deadline date that the Program Chair has set for receiving reviews from referees. The publicity of the workshops should be in full swing by the time the acceptance/rejections results for the papers submitted to the main conference are communicated. The workshop proceedings and the workshop program should be ready at least two weeks in advance of the deadline for early registration for the main conference.

8. DOCTORAL CONSORTIUM

ICLP uses to have a doctoral consortium (DC). PhD students present their work, either by giving a general overview and the results obtained so far, or submitting a piece of work more similar to a paper. Its goals (Taken from http://dc-iclp15.cs.bath.ac.uk/goals/) are:

  • To provide doctoral students working in the fields of logic and constraint programming with a friendly and open forum to present their research ideas, listen to ongoing work from peer students, and receive constructive feedback.
  • To provide students with relevant information about important issues for doctoral candidates and future academics.
  • To develop a supportive community of scholars and a spirit of collaborative research.
  • To support a new generation of researchers with information and advice on academic, research, industrial, and non-traditional career paths.

DC works in a fashion similar to a workshop: two co-chairs, appointed by the ICLP PC Chairs, select a program committee and draft a call for contributions, which are evaluated and, if necessary, selected. Customarily one of the co-chairs remains for the next edition and the other co-chair is replaced, so that there is continuity in the
organization. The PC chairs give suggestions for the replacement, consulting the conference coordinator and the ALP president for confirmation.

Attendance to the DC is encouraged by giving students authoring accepted papers a discount in the main conference. In recent years this was materialized in the form of a reduced rate for ICLP: students with accepted DC papers (and registering for the DC) were given a registration to ICLP.

One submission to the DC may be given the “Best DC Presentation” award and presented in the main conference.

Short summaries of accepted DC papers have been published as [online] supplements to the ICLP papers.

9. TEST OF TIME AWARDS.

ICLP offers two different awards to work which has been foundational and proved to resist the time and, in some cases, be the starting point of new research lines: the 10-year test of time and the 20-year test of time, which respectively go to papers accepted in the ICLP held 10 and 20 years before.

The PC chairs are in charge of selecting these papers. They usually use bibliometric indicators and, more importantly, their judgement of how influential these papers have been in the field of Logic Programming and Computer Science in general since they were published. The authors of these papers are invited to present them, usually putting the results in perspective and giving a historical view of how the results presented in these papers evolved.

10. TRAVEL AID

The ALP may provide the CC with a budget for each adopted conference; this budget will be used on behalf of the conference to (1) waive registrations fees, partially or totally, (2) contribute to travel
expenses in order to support students or others who are in serious need.

This money may also be used to provide support to workshops associated with the conference. The CC will determine how the money is to be distributed.

The amount of money allocated will be determined on a conference-by-conference basis, taking the ALP’s current fiscal situation into account. Depending on the form of event, this amount was in the past in the range US$4000 to US$7000.

The following guidelines in the allocation of funds to individuals are suggested: People in the following situations should be given priority: (a) one who is to present an accepted paper at the conference, (b) one from an area with obvious economic difficulties, (c) students, (d) researchers coming back to, or retraining into, our field after a period of child raising, for instance.

The CC will collaborate with the conference organizer and program chairperson to take their suggestions into account and to use the money appropriately to meet the needs of the conference. A major goal should be to maximize the number of people able to attend, so in general smaller amounts of money should be given to larger numbers of people, rather than vice versa.

The monies will be distributed in the following way. The CC will determine who is to receive what amount. This will be conveyed to the conference organizers who will deduct the amount from the registration fee (if it is done in time) and will, at the conference, give a check to the recipient for the remaining. This will guarantee that the recipients indeed attend the conference and will give them the money in such a way that they can use it to pay hotel or other expenses at the conference. The conference accounting will account for these monies separately, so they can be effectively charged to the ALP, and not directly to the conference bottom-line.

Calls for papers and programs will include a mention of the availability of funds for supporting people in need. In the past student speakers and other speakers in real need were supported to the level necessary (but cheapest travel/accommodations were required.)
Travel aid to students is usually provided through the doctoral consortium: the student applies to the DC and gets a fair support together with the other students. It is responsibility of the Program and General Chair to check that all students are able to apply to the DC (e.g., if the affiliated events includes a school, students should be able to apply to the DC after getting the notification from the school).

11. DUTIES FOR SUPPORTED PERSONS

In general, the ALP support comes with some duties, depending on the reason and type of the given support.

All people getting some support (free registration, travel support, awards, etc.) are supposed to thank the ALP in the paper (if possible) and in the presentation (in the slides, including the ALP logo).

All people getting some support should provide, on request, a title + abstract or short paper to the ALP newsletter.

Students accepted at the Doctoral Consortium should be available to help with the organization, e.g., by staying at the reception desk, helping with the projectors, etc.

12. BUDGET POLICY

  • The budget auditor for all conferences provides guidance on budget preparation, and s/he MUST approve the budget before any conference expenses are incurred. After the budget is approved the ALP can provide funds in advance of the meeting to underwrite expenses incurred up to US$10,000, unless very special needs arise. In addition the budget auditor must review all hotel contracts before they are signed.
    Currently Marco Gavanelli, the CC, is the budget auditor.
  • The ALP is the sponsoring organization for these meetings. As such the ALP gets the profit or incurs the loss. Other organizations can be “co-sponsors” and have their name on conference advertising, but they will not share in the profits or losses (unless there are exceptional circumstances and the ALP EC agrees otherwise.)
  • The conference budget should be designed to break-even at quite a pessimistic estimate of attendance. The idea is that a conference should be profitable. The conferences are the major source of income for the ALP and these monies are needed make advances for future conferences, support student participation in ALP activities, to support ongoing administrative efforts, etc.
  • Conference budget should include the cost for proceedings, if any, including the costs for publication of Technical Communications (OASIcs), and workshop proceedings (e.g., workshops proceedings have been provided as USB stick in some cases).
  • The shipping charges are paid by the conference organizers directly.
  • The budget policy regarding invited speakers, tutorialists and Program Committee meeting is as stated in the list of responsibilities of General Chair. The General Chair will make a special effort to locate those funding sources specifically destined to Invited Speakers (e.g. in Canada, this is the only item that conference funds from NSERC can be used for) and apply for them on time (typically if not successful in the first application, there is still time to apply the next time around if one starts early enough). As well, when preparing a budget for a sponsoring company, it is recommended to include Invited Speakers’ costs in the budget.
  • Free registration: General Chair, Program chair and Invited speakers get free registration, but all others pay (including ALP president, CC, and EC members.)
  • The ALP carries insurance in the U.S. for liability for conferences for suits brought in the U.S. Conference budgets do NOT need to contain such an item.
  • After the conference, once all the accounting has been completed, the General Chair must provide the ALP treasurer with a detailed breakdown of the final accounts, prepared in accordance with ALP guidelines. These guidelines are determined in consultation with the ALP’s accountant for auditing purposes, and will be provided to the General Chair. Moreover, the General Chair must make sure that all invoices, checks and other records of income and expenditure are kept and can be produced if required by the ALP or its accountant.