Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A sincere "Thank you" to the Program Committee..

[The following was sent to the IJCAI program committee this morning]

Dear IJCAI-16 Program Committee members:

Last night, I sent out decision notifications to the authors of the
2,294 papers submitted to IJCAI this year.

For the past three months, I have had a birds eye view of the IJCAI
program commitee in action. For the last ten of those days, I had the
additional privilege of poring over the reviews and discussions of a
broad swath of the IJCAI papers.

IJCAI reviewing is by no means perfect; no conference on a subject as 

diverse as AI, and a 2000-strong program committee, can possibly hope to
be. So, part of the experience, no doubt, was like watching the
proverbial sausage getting made.

But then there is the other part. The heady and gratifying experience
of seeing the many amazingly conscientious reviewers hard at work.  I
have seen papers with close to thirty comments, and reviewers having
highly intellectual discussions stretching over multiple days about
the subject matter. I have seen quite possibly the longest meta-review
ever written anywhere in science. I have seen SPC members and Area
Chairs asking me to wait just a little more, so they can try and find
additional reviewers in the last minute to make sure a paper gets a
fair evaluation.

Above all, I have seen many many papers getting a quality of reviewing
that other fields can only dream about.

The whole experience made me remember afresh why I agreed to take on this
seemingly masochistic responsibility in the first place.

Thank you for all your help!  Let 
me end with this gem from one of the meta-reviews:

"The positive reviewers fought for the papers, and the negative
finally cheered up in their opinion. At the end, the paper is not a
homerun, but after all IJCAI-16 is a conference where people like to
discuss the results."

Warm Regards
Subbarao Kambhampati
Program Chair, IJCAI-2016

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