The Role of Workshops

A good workshop is often far more interesting than the papers at a conference. This happens because a workshop has a much tighter focus than a conference. Since you choose the workshops fitting your interest, the increased relevance can greatly enhance the level of your interest and attention. Roughly speaking, a workshop program consists of elements related to a subject of your interest. The main conference program consists of elements related to someone’s interest (which is rarely your own). Workshops are more about doing research while conferences are more about presenting research.

Several conferences have associated workshop programs, some with deadlines due shortly.

ICML workshops Due April 1
IJCAI workshops Deadlines Vary
KDD workshops Not yet finalized

Anyone going to these conferences should examine the workshops and see if any are of interest. (If none are, then maybe you should organize one next year.)

2 Replies to “The Role of Workshops”

  1. I think another reason workshops are a good venue is that people will present less than fully baked work, will say things that aren’t 100% airtight but convey a lot of important intuition and will ask hard questions, be critical and generally feel less constrained to be “correct” or “polite”. That makes for a pretty high rate of bits of the sort it is hard to get by reading papers. For all but the best speakers in a normal (large audience) conference setting it isn’t clear that attending their talk buys you more than looking at their paper plus their posted talk slides. What I really want to know are things like “ah yes,that algorithm is beautiful but it doesn’t actually *work*” or “basically what’s going on here is just a clever way of approximately doing X” or “this theorem is a crucial widget that you need to have in your pocket”.

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