The ICML paper deadline has passed. Joelle and I were surprised to see the number of submissions jump from last year by about 50% to around 900 submissions. A tiny portion of these are immediate rejects(*), so this is a much larger set of papers than expected. The number of workshop submissions also doubled compared to last year, so ICML may grow significantly this year, if we can manage to handle the load well. The prospect of making 900 good decisions is fundamentally daunting, and success will rely heavily on the program committee and area chairs at this point.

For those who want to rubberneck a bit more, here’s a breakdown of submissions by primary topic of submitted papers:

66 Reinforcement Learning 52 Supervised Learning 51 Clustering 46 Kernel Methods 40 Optimization Algorithms 39 Feature Selection and Dimensionality Reduction 33 Learning Theory 33 Graphical Models 33 Applications 29 Probabilistic Models 29 NN & Deep Learning 26 Transfer and Multi-Task Learning 25 Online Learning 25 Active Learning 22 Semi-Supervised Learning 20 Statistical Methods 20 Sparsity and Compressed Sensing 19 Ensemble Methods 18 Structured Output Prediction 18 Recommendation and Matrix Factorization 18 Latent-Variable Models and Topic Models 17 Graph-Based Learning Methods 16 Nonparametric Bayesian Inference 15 Unsupervised Learning and Outlier Detection 12 Gaussian Processes 11 Ranking and Preference Learning 11 Large-Scale Learning 9 Vision 9 Social Network Analysis 9 Multi-agent & Cooperative Learning 9 Manifold Learning 8 Time-Series Analysis 8 Large-Margin Methods 8 Cost Sensitive Learning 7 Recommender Systems 7 Privacy, Anonymity, and Security 7 Neural Networks 7 Empirical Insights into ML 7 Bioinformatics 6 Information Retrieval 6 Evaluation Methodology <5 each Text Mining, Rule and Decision Tree Learning, Graph Mining, Planning & Control, Monte Carlo Methods, Inductive Logic Programming & Relational Learning, Causal Inference, Statistical and Relational Learning, NLP, Hidden Markov Models, Game Theory, Robotics, POMDPs, Geometric Approaches, Game Playing, Data Streams, Pattern Mining & Inductive Querying, Meta-Learning, Evolutionary Computation

(*) Deadlines are magical, because they galvanize groups of people to concentrated action. But, they have to be real deadlines to achieve this, which leads us to reject late submissions & format failures to keep the deadline real for future ICMLs. This is uncomfortably rough at times.

Surprised to see that many Reinforcement Learning papers. Didn’t know the area was *that* active!

Do you have any stats on how many genetic algorithm, genetic programming, ant optimization and swarm optimization submissions there were? I’m assuming those all got bunched up under “optimization algorithms”.

Also, it seems you have a section for “Neural Networks” and one for “NN & Deep Learning”. If the “NN” there stands for “Neural Networks”, shouldn’t those stats be merged (or further divided)?

So it looks like your blog advertisement for ICML was successful. ðŸ™‚

Very interesting, this and Researchers aim to chart intellectual trends in Arxiv http://www.nature.com/news/researchers-aim-to-chart-intellectual-trends-in-arxiv-1.10103 by Eric Hand, Nature News 24 February 2012 make we wonder if other conferences keep track of submissions and if this could be an interesting dataset for scientometrics.

Back of the envelope calculations tell me that the PC is large enough so that the load will be near the usual 7-8 papers per PC member. Does it mean you were expecting the increased number of submissions?

For gnosis, areas are very fluid, with different names year to year, and the names having different meanings. The kind of optimization you mention probably has only a few submissions at ICML.

For Lev, we assumed submissions <= 700 when planning.

Ready to take some of the load if you are planning to recruit new reviewers.

Would we be informed if our submission was one of the instant rejects ? I’m now paranoid after you made that point ðŸ™‚

Yes, all instant rejects were informed within the first day.

With 900 submissions, will the size of the conference increase or will the acceptance rate drop significantly?

I’d rather have the conference grow, as necessary. It’s not good to have a situation where there are two papers that everyone concurs is worth publishing, but one must be rejected, as decisions become political.