MLSys 2021 - Call For Workshop Proposals

Wednesday, April 7, 2021,  Virtual-only conference

Jan 29, 2021 05:00 PM PST or

Overview

Following the MLSys main conference, workshops on a variety of current topics will be held on Wed, April 7, 2021 (to be verified with organizers). We invite researchers interested in chairing a workshop to submit proposals. Workshop organizers have several responsibilities, including (1) coordinating workshop participation and content, (2) publicizing and providing the program in a timely manner, and (3) moderating the program throughout the workshop.

Workshops provide an informal forum for researchers to discuss important research questions and challenges. Controversial issues, open problems, and comparisons of competing approaches are encouraged as workshop topics. Workshops are a structured means of bringing together people with common interests to form communities. Good workshops should include some form of community building.

Organizers should plan for six hours of workshop meetings. Due to COVID we expect that workshops will be virtual and we will work with workshop organizers to accommodate the hosting of slides, talks, and virtual activities.

Potential workshop topics

  • Robust ML. This includes robustness against (1) data-quality and outliers, (2) adversarial attacks on algorithms through data, and (3) hardware failures.
  • Energy-Efficient and/or Energy-Aware ML. The energy required to have a system perform a learning or prediction task will become critical as ML systems are used everywhere.
  • Edge Computing. Computing and data-processing on low-powered edge devices in a world of evolving standards; 5G is around the corner and there is an interesting interplay between high-bandwidth, mobile devices, and distributed inferences.
  • Federated Learning. This includes highly asynchronous learning and prediction algorithms.
  • Data-as-a-Service. This topic encompasses approaches to standardize the notion of data readiness, data quality, and pre-trained models (which can be viewed as compressions of the training data).
  • ML Systems Orchestration. Increasingly, ML algorithms are part of a larger computational system and are required to be auto-tuning.
  • New Hardware-accelerated ML algorithms including quantum computing, optical computation, and hardware-based samplers.

Other topics that are relevant to an appreciable fraction of the MLSys community will also be considered.

Criteria of Proposal Evaluation

Workshop schedules should encourage lively debates, stimulate the production of new ideas and the discussion of controversial issues. To this end, workshop proposals should be designed to attract a medium sized audience, and to cover a more precise research topic. Below, we include the criteria by which workshop submissions will be scored.

  • Mechanisms for dialog among attendees: Since the goal of the workshop is to generate discussion, sufficient time and structure needs to be included in the program for this. Proposals should explicitly articulate how they will encourage broad discussion.
  • Confirmed invited speakers and panelists: The quality of proposed invited speakers (including scientific pedigree and presentational ability) will be considered. Workshop organizers are encouraged to confirm tentative interest from proposed invited speakers and or panelists and mention this in their proposal.
  • Diversity of speakers and organizers: This includes diversity of viewpoint and thinking regarding the topics discussed at the workshop, as well as gender, race, affiliations, and seniority. If a workshop is part of a series, the organizer list should include people who have not organized in the past. Organizers should articulate how they have addressed diversity in their proposal in each of these senses mentioned above.
  • Impactfulness of workshop topic: Proposals should list explicitly what the problems are they would like to see solved, or at least advances made, as part of their workshop. They should explain why these are important problems and how the holding of their proposed workshop will contribute to their solution.

Access to the content of the workshop to those who cannot attend during the time of the workshop: This might include (1) recording of talks, (2) publishing short working papers or posters on the web, (3) having a follow-up special issue of a journal, and (4) curating and maintaining a web page with a range of content.

Assessment Process

The workshop chairs will provide written assessments of the proposals against the criteria listed above. The workshops chairs might appoint external reviewers depending on the volume of submitted workshops. The assessment reports will be considered by the workshop chairs who will jointly decide upon the selected workshops. The final decisions will be made by the workshop chairs via consensus and judgement; we will not simply add up scores assigned to the different criteria.

Hard Constraints/Workshop Requirements

  1. Global Notification Deadline of acceptance of workshop contributions prior to March 1, 2021 5:00 PM PT. A timeline should be included in the proposal that will allow for this. This deadline will also be published on the MLSys main web page and cannot be extended under any circumstances.
  2. Managing Chair and Reviewer Conflicts of Interest
    • Workshop chairs (Joey, and Theo) cannot be organizers or give invited talks at any workshop, but can submit papers and give contributed talks.
    • Workshop chairs cannot review or shape acceptance decisions about workshops with organizers from within their organization. (For large corporations, this means anyone in the corporation world-wide.)
  3. Managing Organizer Conflicts of Interest
    • Workshop organizers cannot give talks at the workshops they organize. They can give a brief introduction to the workshop and/or act as a panel moderator.
    • Workshop organizers should state in their proposal how they will manage conflicts of interest in assessing submitted contributions. At a minimum, an organizer should not be involved in the assessment of a submission from someone within the same organization.

Submission Format and Instructions

A mlsys.cc account is required to submit a workshop application. Interested parties must submit a proposal by January 14, 2021 5:00 PM PT. Proposals should be submitted electronically at the following URL:  https://easychair.org/my/conference?conf=mlsys21workshops

The application form has the following fields with this required content.

  • Title: Keep the workshop title short and descriptive.
  • Organizers and biographies: Include short biographies that highlight both organizational experience and technical expertise.
  • Workshop summary: 2-3 paragraphs summarizing the workshop topic, including the problems you would like to see solved, why these problems are important, and how the workshop will contribute to their solution.
  • Tentative schedule: Include a list of tentative/confirmed speakers with a brief description of each (clearly stating which have confirmed). Explain how you will encourage discussion throughout the day.
  • Diversity commitment: Give an explicit statement on how the workshop will address diversity of all forms, as described in the guidance above.
  • Access: Describe anything you plan to do to allow those unable to attend in person to engage, as described in the guidance above.
  • Previous related workshops: List related workshops at NeurIPS, ICML, or other venues. Describe what makes this workshop enticingly different to previous workshops held at NeurIPS, ICML, or other venues.
  • Any other relevant information

Preference will be given to workshops that encourage contributed content and that reserve a significant portion of time for open discussion or panel discussion. A diverse group of speakers are more likely to bring diverse and surprising viewpoints on a topic. As a result, we encourage workshop organizers to be cognizant of designing panels and speaker lists that are inclusive. We strongly recommend that each workshop include no more than 12 talks per day.

MLSys does not provide travel funding for workshop speakers. The organizers of each accepted workshop can name four individuals per day of the workshop to receive complimentary workshop registration.

Important Dates for Workshop Submissions

  • Workshop Application Open: Nov 04, 2020
  • Workshop Application Deadline: Jan 29, 2021 05:00 PM PST
  • Workshop Acceptance Notification: Feb 05, 2021
  • Workshop Organizer Notifications: Mar 01, 2021

Workshop Chairs 2021

Joey Gonzalez, Berkeley
Theodoros Rekatsinas, Apple and University of Wisconsin – Madison