UIST Committee Responsibilities
Overview of Responsibilities
15-24 Months Before the Conference
Choose a program chair
Prepare the preliminary TMRF
Choose a site, hotel, and dates
Choose the program chair either at the UIST conference where you are named
general chair or shortly after the conference. The program chair will work
hand in hand with you so it is important to fill this committee position
as early as possible. The program chair should be informed that normally
it is good to evenly divide the program committee between industry and
academic researchers. This balance will 1) reduce the cost of your program
committee meeting because industry will often pay part or all of their
employee's travel costs, 2) ensure a wide range of views, and 3) involve
industry people in key conference positions, which might make them more
willing to sponsor the conference.
As soon as possible after being appointed conference chair, contact ACM
Sig Services and introduce yourself to the person at Sig Services that
you will be working with. The current UIST chair should be able to tell
you whom to contact. During this first contact, ask the Sig Services person
to send you the preliminary TMRF form. This form must be filled out and
approved by the sponsoring and cooperating Sigs before a hotel contract
can be negotiated. Currently, Sigchi and Siggraph sponsor UIST and Sigsoft
is a cooperating Sig.
Site, Hotel, and Dates
ACM should help you in your negotiations with the hotels. They may have
had experience with hotels in your selected site and they may be able to
steer you away from "bad" hotels. ACM also has a policy of having you prepare
some type of conference specs that hotels can bid on. However, the bids
you get back are for your information only and you can do with those bids
what you please. Consequently, you will probably identify a couple hotels
in the early going that you are seriously interested in and will do most
of your negotiationg with them. The bids will be in all likelihood a "pro
The principal things you care about in the hotel negotiations are 1)
the number of rooms you must guarantee, 2) the date when they will release
the conference's block of rooms, and 3) the amount the hotel wants to charge
you for meeting space. Most hotels will not charge you for meeting space
if your room guarantees are large enough. Your goal is to shoot for the
minimal possible hotel guarantees. In general, remote sites will net more
rooms because attendees will not have alternative hotel options. Urban
areas will net you less rooms because attendees have other hotel options
and can also stay with friends and relatives. In 1999 we ended up with
485 room nights in the Grove Park Inn in Asheville. These were distributed
The Grove Park Inn was held at a remote site however so these room nights
will probably be less in an urban area. I believe that UIST98 netted about
270 or so rooms in San Francisco. Also note that the UIST99 conference
in Asheville attracted 170 attendees and the UIST98 conference in San Francisco
attracted 250 attendees, so the siting of the conference does significantly
impact your room nights. As far as the date when the hotel releases your
block of rooms, you should try to make that date no earlier than a month
before the conference. The closer you can push that date toward the conference,
Friday night: 2
Saturday night: 68
Sunday night: 115
Monday night: 119
Tuesday night: 119
Wednesday night: 59
Thursday night: 3
When getting meeting space, consider whether or not you want a speaker
prep room. We had one at UIST99 and no one used it (I forgot to announce
that there was one and no one ever inquired about the lack of one). Given
that everyone is giving their talks on laptops these days, you probably
do not need one either. The only reason to have one is if a speaker is
using 35mm slides and they want to practice their talk. It can't hurt to
try to reserve space for a speaker prep room and then drop it if no one
uses a 35mm projector.
Finally, when selecting dates bear in mind that UIST attendees prefer
a Wednesday-Friday conference to a Monday-Wednesday conference because
they do not like to have to go back to work after the conference is over.
However, if the hotel has a strong preference for a Monday-Wednesday conference,
you should accede to their wishes. The conference is usually held during
the last two weeks of October or the first three weeks of November. It
is most common to have it in the first two weeks of November.
12-15 Months Before the
Select your demos, panels, and technote chairs
Demos, Panels, and Technote
These selections should be made in consultation with your program chair.
UIST2000 will not have a technote chair and it may not have a panels chair.
These decisions can be made in conjunction with your program chair. These
chairs should be decided before your "pre-UIST" conference (the UIST held
one year before your UIST) so that they can find committee members at the
Right Before the Prior
Decide on deadline for papers
Prepare Call for Participation (CFP)
Prepare survey form
Deadline for Papers
You will want to set the deadline ahead of the prior year's UIST so that
you can include it in the CFP. It is not necessary to have the deadline
set and in the CFP but it helps. The deadline is normally set for early
May for a conference held in early November. You can adjust this deadline
if the conference is either later or earlier than early November.
Prepare Call for Participation
The call for participation should minimally tell conference attendees where
your conference will be held and when it will be held. It is also helpful
if you have a papers deadline so they can mark it on their calenders. Usually
the CFP will also list the sponsoring and cooperating SIGS and the conference
and program chairs. If you have the panels, demos, and technote chairs
already appointed, it doesn't hurt to have them on the CFP either.
The survey form can be used to gather feedback from conference attendees
that you think might be helpful to you. The survey form should be distributed
at the previous year's UIST conference. Typically the same survey form
is used from year to year with little or no modification.
During the Prior Year's UIST
Choose your remaining chairs
student volunteer chair
paper proceedings editor
video proceedings editor
web proceedings editor
local arrangements chair
Hints on Choosing your Chairs
Student volunteer chair: Often someone will volunteer or the current chair
will have a good suggestion about someone to ask
Treasurer: Try to get the previous year's treasurer. Treasurers often serve
for multiple years
Registration chair: This is a thankless job. Sometimes a student has done
it. Sometimes a departmental financial person has done it. You might want
to try to get ACM to handle it, in which case you may not need a registration
chair. The registration form and scripts take very little time to create
since you can use the previous year's form and script. Hence if ACM will
handle the credit cards and checks, there is not much reason to have a
Publicity chair: Try to get the previous year's publicitiy chair. They
often serve for multiple years. In a pinch you can do this job yourself,
especially if you are a control freak.
Sponsors chair: You might decide to do this yourself or you might try to
find someone who has connections. If you can find someone with connections
willing to do it, it can result in significantly more sponsorships and
take a burden off your shoulders.
Proceedings chairs: These chairs were all established realtively recently
(1998) to help with the assembling of the proceedings. It appears that
people are willing to do these jobs for multiple years. It can't hurt to
The video proceedings is the most time consuming and it helps to get someone
from a company with video production facilities to volunteer. If this happens,
there is a good chance the company will pick up the cost of producing the
video tapes. Otherwise you may have to have the conference foot the bill.
The paper proceedings person needs to worry about the cover design and
the inside material. If you decide that you do not want a fancy cover,
you might consider handling the paper proceedings yourself. It's not supposed
to take much time. It is also something that the program chair might handle.
The web proceedings person needs to acquire PDF files from the others and
send the files to ACM. I am not sure how much or how little work is involved
in this effort.
Local Arrangements Chair: Try to get a person who lives in the same city
as the conference site. Often you can get a student to perform this function.
You may also decide to do it yourself. The local arrangements chair may
do such things as:
Prepare literature describing activities to do in and around the conference
Arrange for a tour either the day before or after the conference (in 1997
a tour was arranged for after the conference that visited sites in and
around Banff and in 1998 a tour of the Napa Valley was arranged for the
day before the conference). Typically you have to guarantee a certain number
of seats with your own money so there may be some personal financial risk
involved in such a tour. George Robertson (UIST97 chair) or Beth Mynatt
(UIST98 chair) can give you more details about arranging tours.
Place information on the web site about transportation options to and from
the airport and transportation options to the site (which airports are
nearby and what airlines serve those airports).
Place information on the web site about the conference hotel (often you
can just put a link to the hotel's web site) and about the conference rates.
Place a weather forecast on the website right before the conference.
Right after the Prior Year's
Start the conference web site
Prepare advertising blurbs for the SIGCHI and SIGGRAPH bulletins
Consider an ad in Interactions
Design UIST logo (can be deferred until later)
Conference Web Site
The conference web site is www.acm.org/uist. You should contact ACM as
soon as the prior year's uist is over and obtain an account on the ACM
computer system, so that you and your publicity chair can set up the site.
Initially the site will consist only of the CFP. As you develop registration
forms, get sponsors, etc. you will find yourself adding content to the
Blurbs for SIGCHI/SIGGRAPH Bulletins
The blurbs for these bulletins need to be relatively brief. Typically the
bulletins want an ascii text blurb. The bulletins have extremely long lead
times so even if you get your blurb to them shortly after the previous
year's UIST, they still may not appear until the March or April editions.
Ad in Interactions
You may or may not want to place an advertisement in Interactions. Opinion
is divided as to whether it makes any difference or not. If you decide
to put an add in Interactions, you probably want it to appear about a month
before the registration deadline. It seems we get enough paper submissions
without the ad but that it might be helpful in drumming up registrants.
If you decide to place an ad in Interactions, you should contact the magazine
shortly after the prior year's UIST to figure out what their lead time
Design UIST Logo
The design can be done at any time and usually is done by a student with
good graphic arts taste. Often the job of finding a person to design the
logo is delegated to the student volunteer chair. The logo can appear on
advertisements, the advance and final program, the web site, etc. It is
not crucial however.
Contact potential plenary/invited survey speakers
Distribute fliers to various conferences
Plenary/Invited Survey Speakers
Good plenary and invited survey speakers can help pump up conference attendance.
Hence you often are going for plenary speakers with some name recognition
and invited survey speakers with either name recognition or hot fields
that you think UIST attendees would be interested in. Of course, plenary
speakers with name recognition are often in high demand so you may not
be able to land the ones you want. For this reason it is good to start
as early as possible after the previous year's UIST in attempting to line
them up. That way you can always try other people if your initial selections
turn you down. You also won't go crazy if it takes them a few weeks to
respond. The same caveats hold for invited survey speakers.
Financial incentives for plenary speakers
Financial incentives for invited survey speakers
For UIST99 we offered the plenary speakers a $1,000 honorarium. They may
decline it but it's nice to offer it.
All travel expenses reimbursed
Free conference registration
For UIST99 we offered the invited survey speakers a $500 honorarium
Free conference registration
They pay for hotel and travel
During the year leading up to your UIST you will want to distribute fliers
to conferences whose attendees might consider attending UIST. Usually you
will send a bunch of fliers to one of your conference committee members
who is attending the conference and they will simply put the fliers in
the appropriate place. Usually we do not ask conferences to stuff our fliers
in their registration packets. Potential conferences you might want to
consider sending fliers to are:
The flier will typically be an expanded version of the CFP you distributed
at UIST. The flier should contain additional information about the conference
since you should not assume that attendees from other conferences are familiar
with UIST. The flier should be sure to include the conference web-site.
Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI)
Contact potential sponsors
Prepare the budget and TMRF
Open a bank account
If you decide to do it yourself, find out from the previous year's chair
whom the contacts were at the previous year's sponsors. This is a good
place to start. You should prepare some type of email request and mail
it to the people you have targeted.
Normally you should start sometime in February so that the people you ask
have time to press their managers/companies for sponsorship money.
The going rate for the past few years has been $1500.
Typically you pitch the benefits that their sponsorship will have on student
attendees. Sometimes sponsors will also want to sponsor targeted activities,
such as the opening reception or the demos reception.
The incentives you can offer are the inclusion of the company's logo on
1) printed material such as the proceedings, final program, advertisements,
2) the UIST web-site, and 3) slides at the opening plenary.
Send a nice thank you note by both email and postal service when you have
a check in hand. Also send a nice thank you note when they agree to the
sponsorship but wait until the check arrives before you send them the formal
thank you note.
Usually someone will agree to sponsor the informal party for student volunteers
at the conference. I have no idea how this sponsorship is usually obtained.
For UIST99 the student volunteer chair made the solicitation for this sponsorship.
UIST99 sponsor request letter
UIST99 thank-you letter
Budget and TMRF
Try to get working on the budget as early as your ACM contact will allow
you because ACM will probably sit on it and as the days to the conference
dwindle away, you will start getting nervous. Hence, the sooner you get
the budget to ACM, the better off you will be.
The budget is prepared using an ACM-supplied excel spreadsheet and the
TMRF is prepared using a number of Microsoft Word documents. You can get
the files for the budget and TMRF from your ACM contact. You should be
aware that there is a bug in the ACM spreadsheet which causes the breakeven
figures to be way off. Don't worry about that. The figures for projected
surplus/deficit are correct. The TMRF is relatively straightforward to
complete if you just follow the directions. The budget is a different matter:
Most UIST conferences have averaged about 200-210 attendees. UIST98 in
San Francisco had 250 attendees and UIST99 in Asheville, NC had 170 attendees.
These two conferences represent the outliers. I believe that all other
conferences came within the 200-210 attendee figure. The ACM spreadsheet
gives you the various categories of registrants (early/late ACM members,
early/late non-ACM members, early/late students, and complimentary). The
easiest way to project figures for each category is to figure out the proportions
from the previous year's conference, assume they will hold the same, and
then estimate each category based on your projected attendence and these
proportions. Usually you will give complimentary registration to the student
volunteers, the plenary and invited survey speakers, and some members of
your conference committee. You probably do not want to give complimentary
registration to all your committee members, especially if their companies
can afford to pay for it. Some committee members, such as your program
chair, your treasurer, your registration chair, your sponsors chair (if
you have one), and your publicity chair, do so much that you should generally
readily agree to a request for a complimentary registration. Other chairs,
such as the proceedings chairs, may require more thought, especially if
the budget is tight.
The second big source of revenues is from sponsors. Normally there have
been about 4-6 sponsors for UIST. UIST99 had 13 sponsors but that was unusual
and you should not count on duplicating that feat. The normal rate for
sponsors is $1500.
The third source of revenues is from proceedings sales and banquet/reception
sales but these will be quite small. Proceeding sales seem to number around
10 and banquet/reception sales number less than 5. Price your banquet and
reception tickets reasonably so that spouses can attend. I felt that my
greatest mistake at UIST99 was pricing the tickets so that I fully recovered
the cost of the person at the banquet/reception and all that did was chase
away the two or three spouses who wanted to attend. If you price the tickets
reasonably, say at half your cost, you're going to lose a little money
but only a small handful of people are going to buy the tickets and you
won't incur a lot of ill will.
Call for participation: We typically do our own typesetting of the CFP
using Microsoft Word or some other document formatter. Hence the cost of
the CFP is typically limited to making copies and mailing it to the conference
site or to people whom you want to distribute it at other conferences.
You can use the previous year's numbers as the estimates for the CFP.
Advance Program: The publicity chair typically typesets and designs the
advance program using Microsoft Word or some other document formatter.
We then send the advance program to ACM and they make copies of it and
send it out. You can use the previous year's conference numbers as your
estimates for the advance program.
Final Program: The program chair typically typesets and designs the final
program using Microsoft Word or some other document formatter. The program
chair then runs off enough copies for each conference attendee and sends
the copies to the conference site. You can use the previous year's conference
numbers as your estimates for the final program.
Advertisements: Sometimes we have placed an advertisement in CACM and sometimes
we haven't. I felt it would be a waste of money so I never did. I think
if you do want to advertise, that Interactions would give you a bigger
bang for your buck. If you decide to create an ad, you will have to contact
the advertising departments of the appropriate magazines to determine how
much an ad will cost.
Committee expenses cover the cost of your conference committee. The ACM
budget spreadsheet has another section for program committee expenses.
There will be two main expense items for your committee: travel expenses
and the committee luncheon at the conference. Travel expenses are by far
the larger of the two. They include the cost of housing your student volunteers
and any committee members to whom you decide to grant free housing/travel.
For UIST99 only the sponsors chair and the general chair had their housing
and travel covered. It is rare that you would give free housing or travel
to your committee members. The program chair is the one exception to this
rule. The sponsors chair was the exception for me because he generated
a substantial amount of sponsor revenue.
Your other expense is the committee luncheon. You'll usually have to
guess at a per person figure but figure high because both restaurants and
hotels have a way of charging you an arm and a leg. $25-30 per person is
not an unduly high figure to expect. Whom you might want to invite is discussed
more in the section Committee Appreciation
Registration expenses should be pretty minimal and you should be able to
estimate them from the previous year's expenses.
On-Site Logistical Expenses
These expenses are incurred at the conference hotel and typically will
appear on the master account:
Meeting room expenses: Our conference usually is able to guarantee enough
room nights that we get the meeting space for free or at a nominal charge.
UIST98 in San Francisco was an exception. The conference hotel charged
a little more than $1,000 for the meeting space. If you hold the conference
in a location where hotel space is in short supply, your leverage will
be reduced and you might have to pay meeting room expenses. However, it
seems that if you stick to your guns you should be able to negotiate them
down (apparently the San Francisco hotel wanted to charge much more than
they eventually did charge). You may want to put in an estimate for some
signage but this amount is typically pretty small. You should check with
the conference hotel to see whether they will allow it (the Grove Park
Inn in 1999 said no) and if they will allow it, whether you can produce
your own signs or whether the hotel will do so and charge you. Obviously
your estimate can be much lower if you will produce your own signs.
Audio Visual expenses: You need to pay close attention to your AV requirements
because it's easy to forget to include something in the budget and find
out later that it should have been there. Also remember to take the AV
prices and multiply by 3 because you will need the AV equipment for 3 days.
Computer Data Display: Every presentation at UIST99 was done with a computer
data display so make sure you put it in the budget. ACM does not have a
space for this equipment so you will need to put it under "Other". Usually
either a Mac or a Windows laptop will work with these devices. You should
make people bring their own laptops. It's not problematic for the SVs to
set things up so that speakers can switch their laptops between talks.
VCR: Usually an ordinary VCR will suffice. Sometimes an author will request
a more sophisticated VCR with four heads and shuttle control. It's better
to go with the generic VCR in your budget and deal with a more sophisticated
VCR if someone wants it (you can decide whether or not to say no). You
should not need a monitor for the VCR since it should be possible to plug
it into the computer data display device and project the VCR's image that
Overhead projector: It used to be that you needed two but one should suffice
these days. There's a good chance that you'll be the only person to ever
use it (for conference announcements and the like).
35mm projector: Put one in the budget but not a single speaker used one
at UIST99. When you send out the list of AV equipment to authors, tell
them that there will not be a 35mm projector unless they request
one. If no one requests a projector, you can save the cost of renting one
at the conference (although you might decide you want one for comfort sake).
Screens: Most hotels provide AV packages that include screens with other
AV equipment, such as overhead projectors, so you probably will not need
to break this item out as a separate expense.
Microphones: You will probably want three types of microphones: 1) a microphone
affixed to a podium, 2) a lavalier microphone, and 3) a microphone in the
aisle for questions. I thought no one would want to use a microphone affixed
to a podium and was wrong--75% or more of the speakers at UIST99 used the
podium. Wireless lavalier microphones are much more expensive than ones
with wires ($125 versus $25 at UIST99) but they allow speakers much greater
mental freedom (no wires to trip over). Wireless lavalier microphones also
tend to require some sort of stereo enhancer/mixing device. I'm afraid
I'm not a stereophile so I forget the exact name of the device but I know
it cost me an extra $40 a day in unanticipated expenses.
Network: If you want your demoers to be able to use the Internet, be prepared
to pony up some money to use the hotel's internet connection (they may
even have to install one). You should find out what the hotel can do for
you with regards to internet connections. At UIST99 we did not have an
internet connection and no one complained. I would expect that they will
become more necessary in the future though.
Demo expenses: You will need to account for internet connections (discussed
previously), electrical outlets, monitors, food for the demoers and SVs
who help with the set-up, food for the reception, and miscellaneous supplies
such as power strips. For UIST99 the demos budget was as follows:
Demos might be cheaper if you hold them at a local university since it
will supply all your equipment needs and might even spring for the food.
At UIST99 we told demoers that they had to bring laptops and that did not
cause any problems. In the past we have gotten CPUs from Microsoft and
Sun but I'm told by former demos chairs that getting and shipping the CPUs
is a pain in the neck. A former OOPSLA general chair told me that OOPSLA
also found it to be a big pain in the neck and has stopped providing CPUs.
The bottom line is that you can try to get Microsoft and Sun to provide
CPUs (you will ship them back when you're done) but it will be an enormous
$1200: Desserts for the reception (food is discussed later).
$100: Pizza and soda for set-up
$300: Electrical outlets (12 @ $25)
$450: Monitors (10@$40 + $50 delivery)
$100: Internet connections (we never used one though)
$50: Misc supplies (power strips, poster board, etc)
Message Boards: They are easy to overlook in the budget but hotels will
still charge you $25-30 a day for one so you'd better remember to include
them! You should only need one for your registration table.
Tables: You need them for both registration and for people to place their
handouts on. Two should suffice. Ask the hotel whether they will provide
them gratis (fat chance!) or whether you need to budget for them.
Laser Pointer: $30 a day at UIST99--don't forget to include it in your
budget like I did!
Conference Food and
Food and beverage expenses will be far and away your biggest expense item
so it helps to pay close attention to this category. Your food and beverage
occasions will be roughly broken down as follows:
Reception the evening before the conference starts.
Occasionally a sponsor will pick up the tab or at least provide a hefty
chunk of money for it. Don't count on it though.
The conference hotel should be able to provide you with a list of items
that you can serve at this function.
Many of the attendees will treat the reception as their dinner. If you
do not want them to treat it as their dinner, you should make it clear
on the web site that you plan to only serve light appetizers/desserts so
that they know to provide dinner for themselves.
About 12 food items per attendee seems to be the right estimate for what
will be consumed.
Not everyone who is registered will show up at the reception. It seems
as if you should usually estimate that about 67% of the attendees will
show up at the reception.
Usually a cash bar is provided with one free drink per attendee. You can
print up reception tickets and have attendees hand the reception tickets
to the bar tender. Our attendees are not big consumers of alcohol so you
should strongly suggest to the hotel that only one bartender is needed
(they will want to give you two and have two bar stations).
Two coffee breaks a day. If the conference has only one afternoon session
on the last day then you will only need to budget one coffee break for
The conference hotel should be able to provide you with a menu of coffee
The hotel will offer you either fixed price menu coffee breaks or allow
you to order a la carte. Make your life easy--order the fixed price coffee
breaks even though they may cost you more. You'll be reduced to a nervous
wreck if you try to order a la carte and then watch attendees snarf down
The morning break is usually healthy, the afternoon one is usually decadent.
Morning breaks might consist of fruits, yogurts, and rolls. Afternoon breaks
might consist of cookies, ice cream, brownies, and chocolate (many of the
attendees love chocolate!).
Our attendees love bottled water but it may be expensive so you should
weigh these two factors in deciding how much bottled water to supply
Our attendees also love herbal teas.
Coffee should always be provided. The fixed price coffee breaks might omit
tea so check on this and order coffee as an extra if necessary. One of
my fixed price coffee breaks did not contain coffee and I did not notice
until one of the break captains pointed this fact out to me. I got the
coffee but it was another budget item I missed.
Coffee is the only required beverage. You can mix and match among juices,
sodas, teas, and bottled water for the other beverages. They do not need
to all be present at every break.
A demos reception.
You might get a sponsor or local university to pick up the tab. Don't count
Desserts often work well here. You do not want to be serving dinner or
dinner-like appetizers unless you wish to watch your budget sink deep into
the red. The participants can get dinner elsewhere if the demos are held
at night. If the demos are held during a coffee break, you can fold the
reception into the coffee break.
Order a la carte for this reception. The desserts won't cost you that much.
A la carte means that they will keep replenishing the food trays as they
are depleted. At UIST99 they set the food trays with a fruit display and
28 dozen brownies and cookies. That accommodated 170 people.
Coffee, tea, and sodas are nice beverages to offer. In an evening reception
decaffinated beverages should be emphasized. Again order a la carte. At
UIST99 we used 3 gallons of hot cider, 1 gallon of coffee, 1 gallon of
decaf coffee, and 10 packets of hot tea.
A cash bar is typically not provided.
Your options are a buffet or a sit down meal. A buffet will cost more per
person but you won't have to give the hotel as precise a number. A sit
down meal will be less but: 1) you will have to give the hotel a precise
number so you probably will have to over-estimate, 2) you will have to
decide on one or more dishes to serve and then figure out how to ensure
that each attendee gets what they ordered, and 3) you will have to deal
with vegetarians who can't eat any of your dishes (hotels don't have often
pure vegetarian dishes). Buffets seem to be the option most conference
chairs opt for. Good hotels will ensure that there are vegetarian items
and also that there are a wide selection of items to choose from. One conference
chair ordered just one meal for a sit-down dinner which eliminated the
decision about whom got what but it did cause some conference attendees
to complain (you should get a hard shell however because no matter what
you do you will get complaints).
You can go with each a cash bar or offer wine/beer at each table (the hotel
might have a say as to how alcoholic beverages will be served). If you
go with a cash bar, decide whether you want to give attendees a free drink
or not. See banquets for a description of potential
pitfalls if you have a cash bar and do not give free drinks. You should
only need one bartender and one station because our attendees are not big
drinkers (the hotel will probably try to have two bartenders and two stations).
Typically some type of entertainment is provided. The entertainment most
often has been a banquet speaker but UIST98 had a "fun" panel and UIST99
had a theme party (arranged by the hotel). You probably do not need to
reimburse the speaker if they come from the community.
A committee luncheon (typically budgeted with the committee
expenses rather than here).
One continental breakfast a day.
The conference hotel should have a list of breakfast menus.
The hotel will offer you either fixed price breakfasts or allow you to
order a la carte. Make your life easy--order the fixed price breakfasts
even though they may cost you more. You'll be reduced to a nervous wreck
if you try to order a la carte and then watch attendees snarf down the
A student volunteer party.
Usually someone steps in and sponsors this party. You can also probably
just say that the money is coming from the sponsors pot if no one explicitly
sponsors the party. The bill came to $600 at UIST99. I was told that the
bill has been escalating in recent years and that it might be time to put
a lid on things (i.e., don't budget as much as this--of course you have
to deal with the ramifications, not me :)).
Room service for the organizational meeting
and the package stuffing meeting.
It's nice to offer the student volunteers sodas/bottled water and munchies
during the packet stuffing (but make sure their greasy fingers don't soil
the registration materials).
Beer, soda, and munchies are typically ordered for the organizational meeting.
About 20-30 people usually attend. They do not drink that much alcohol
so don't have the hotel bring enormous amounts of beer to the room (this
happened at UIST99 and I was left with a couple dozen bottles of unopened
beer--that might not be a problem if you've got friends and want to relax
the next evening :)). You might want to arrange for this room service at
the same time that you order the rest of the food and beverages because
this is a rather large order for room service and they may have trouble
throwing it together on the spur of the moment.
Ask your ACM contact how much each proceedings will cost and then budget
for that amount.
The section on plenary/invited
survey speakers covers the expenses associated with speakers. You will
need to estimate transportation costs (air fare, travel to and from the
airport, and parking) and meal costs for your speakers. The rest of the
expenses should be known (honorariums and hotel rooms). If in doubt use
the previous year's numbers. Be careful though because the previous year's
numbers may be low if one or both speakers declined to be reimbursed (at
UIST99 one of the speakers refused to be reimbursed, thus lowering our
Program Committee Expenses
These expenses will probably be second only to your food and beverage expenses
and they are tricky to estimate. The two major components are travel costs
and committee dinners. In the last few years we have been lucky to find
companies (Xerox and Merl) that have agreed to provide meeting space and
breakfast/lunch free of charge. By the time you write the budget your program
chair should have an idea of whether or not such an arrangement can be
made. If not you will also have to budget meeting room space and breakfast/lunch
on the day of the program committee meeting.
Each program committee member is reimbursed for their hotel, transportation,
and meals. The meetings are usually held on a Saturday so that attendees
can get the cheaper Saturday layover fare. You should only reimburse for
two hotel days. If the committee members wish to stay longer that's their
right but they should pay for it. The conference typically provides dinner
for the committee members on both Friday and Saturday nights so there should
be no dinner costs to reimburse (however some members may not be able to
make the Friday dinner so you may need to reimburse them). Often you will
have to reimburse the other meals on the members' travel days. If breakfast
and lunch on Saturday is picked up by a sponsoring organization then you
do not need to budget or reimburse for those meals.
The tricky part about estimating the expenses is that you do not know
how many members will have all or part of their expenses reimbursed by
their organizations. Usually the program chair should try to have a 50-50
split between industry and academic researchers. You should expect to reimburse
all the academics but you will get some help from the industry people.
You might estimate that about 2-3 industry people will pay for themselves.
Estimating air fare is next to impossible. I broke it down by the distance
people had to travel (west coast, midwest, and east coast) but it didn't
help. In the end I underestimated program committee expenses by $7000 (I
estimated $4000 and they were $11000) so don't be surprised if you're ambushed.
The program committee dinners are easier to estimate. They tend to have
a high per person cost because the wine flows freely at these functions.
$35-40 a person is the cost I incurred for each of the two dinners (entrees,
dessert, wine, tax, and tip add up).
These expenses are pretty much impossible to estimate. Take them from the
previous year's numbers or estimates, whichever are available.
They get 9% and you can't change that.
ACM puts a contingency of 15% into the spreadsheet and they include this
figure when they calculate your surplus or deficit. Consequently it is
almost impossible to budget a surplus. Previous chairs have negotiated
this figure down to 5%. I left it at 15% and with it had a few hundred
dollar deficit which ACM approved (the contingency is pure profit to ACM).
However, I missed some things in the budget (e.g., SV party, SV housing)
which would have made the deficit higher. I still think ACM will approve
your budget as long as it shows a reasonable surplus without the contigency.
Opening a Bank Account
As soon as the TMRF is approved you can open a bank account through ACM.
It's good to open the bank account as early as possible so that you can
deposit sponsor's checks and use it to reimburse expenses as they are incurred.
Until you have a bank account ACM will reimburse expenses. Also if you
do not have enough money in the account to reimburse an expense, ACM will
take care of it.
Program committee meeting
Program Committee Meeting
Your program committee chair runs the show. He or she determines where
it is held, where the dinners are held, etc. You decide the budget. Other
than that you just show up. One of the things your program chair will need
to know is the deadline for authors to submit their final versions so that
this deadline can be included in the authors' acceptance letters. See Preparing
the Proceedings for information about how to set this deadline.
Prepare advance program and post it to the web site
Send the advance program to ACM so they can send an advance mailing
Get the paper and video proceedings editors working on their respective
As soon as the program committee meeting is over, you should get the program
chair to mail you the names of the accepted papers and their authors. You
will also want to get the names and authors of panels, demos, and technotes.
The program chair should also send you a grouping of papers by sessions
(this is the program chair's responsibility and prerogative, not yours).
With this information in hand you should rough out the advance program.
This program should include times and dates for the paper sessions, opening
reception, demos, coffee breaks, and banquets. You can always change the
schedule--that's why it is called an advance program. The advance program
should be posted to the web site as soon as possible after the program
committee meeting. Your publicity chair may be able to help you with the
formatting of the advance program.
Once the advance program is set, it should be sent to ACM. Usually your
publicity chair designs the advance program mailing and sends it to ACM.
Hence you should not have to be too involved with the mailing. ACM will
send the mailing to all the members of the sponsoring SIGS. I do not know
if they send it to members of the cooperating SIGS.
Preparing the Proceedings
ACM has a deadline by which the papers must be submitted to them in order
for them to have the proceedings published by the conference date. Either
you or your proceedings chair should find out when this deadline is and
then require the authors to have their final papers submitted about three
weeks before that deadline. That gives you or your proceedings chair time
to prepare the printed matter and also to get the papers from tardy authors.
The video proceedings is more informal. Shortly after the program committee
meeting your video chair should send an email message to authors with accepted
papers and encourage them to submit videos. The video chair should set
a deadline for doing this. The videos will be spliced together onto a tape,
copies will be made of the tape, and the copies will be shipped to the
conference site. Enough copies should be made for attendees and a few additional
ones should be made for sales at the conference.
Shortly after the program committee meeting the web proceedings chair
should also send an email message to authors with accepted papers giving
them instructions on how to prepare electronic versions of their papers
and when they are due. The web proceedings chair should talk to ACM to
figure out what formatting conventions should be used and when the papers
should be due. Typically the electronic and paper versions will be due
at the same time.
The three proceedings chairs may want to team up with the program chair
and send one unified email to the authors rather than three separate emails.
August / Late Summer
form to the web site
Send email announcement with the advance program to various news groups
(publicity chair's responsibility)
Paper proceedings need to go to ACM (proceedings chair responsibility if
you have one)
Student chair should start thinking about t-shirts
Contact the local chamber of commerce and find out what kinds of brochures
they can provide
Get credit card authorization from ACM (talk to your ACM contact about
how to do this)
The registration form should be posted roughly two months before the early
registration deadline. If possible you would like the registration form
to be posted before the advance mailing is sent out by ACM. However, most
people will not register until immediately before the deadline so even
if the form is posted after the advance mailing it should not be much of
a problem. The early registration deadline should coincide with the day
that the hotel releases the room block. Since registrants will probably
be registering and reserving a hotel room at the same time, it makes sense
to make the two dates concurrent.
Typically you or the student volunteer chair will try to find someone with
some graphic design capabilities to design a t-shirt for the student volunteers
and committee members. Student volunteers wear the t-shirts at the conference
while they are on duty, which permits attendees to readily identify them.
You may decide to make additional t-shirts to sell to conference attendees
as well. To avoid confusing people at the conference, the shirts you sell
to attendees should probably be a different color than the one you give
to the student volunteers and your committee members.
Chamber of Commerce
It's useful to be able to stuff the registration packets with information
about the city in which the conference is being held, including restaurants
and things to do. The local chamber of commerce usually has some kind of
informational packet that they will be happy to provide you in quantity
for free, as long as you ask for it long enough in advance. If you can,
have them ship the packets to the conference hotel so that you don't have
to lug them there yourself. Your local arrangements chair can handle this
task for you if you have one.
30 Days Before the Conference
a final email announcement with the advance program to various news groups
Ensure that videotape production is almost complete (video chair)
Contact ACM and make sure that the paper proceedings are at the printers
Talk to the conference hotel about your registration numbers
Place preliminary food/beverage/AV orders with the conference hotel (see
Make hotel arrangements for plenary speakers and student volunteers
Order supplies you will need at the conference
About 30 days before the conference is when the hotel will probably release
your room block. At this point you should talk to the hotel to figure out
what your room numbers are. This will give you an idea of how many complementary
rooms you will be getting, and will also give you an idea of whether or
not you will have to pay any financial penalties because you failed to
meet your room guarantees.
A couple weeks before the room block will be released by the hotel you
should reserve hotel rooms for your student volunteers and plenary speakers.
The rule of thumb is that you place two student volunteers to the room
and that the student volunteer chair gets a room to their self. Plenary
speakers also get a room to themselves. The invited survey speakers are
responsible for making their own hotel reservations. Typically you can
place the cost of the hotel rooms on the conference's master account. This
is often a good time to speak to someone about establishing such an account.
Supplies that you will need at the conference include:
Wearing badges around the neck seems to be very popular with our attendees.
We ordered 100 chains for UIST99 and we quickly ran out (registration was
Chains that allow people to wear the badges around their necks.
Perforated sheets on which you can place registration reciepts, badges,
banquet tickets, reception tickets, etc.
Manilla envelopes to hold the registration packets
At a minimum the badges should contain the attendee's name and affiliation.
You may want to spruce up the badge with some type of art or logo. The
person who designed the conference logo or t-shirt might also be willing
to design the badges.
Things to include in the final program:
Names of sessions and the names of the papers they contain
Rooms where every event will be held (including the sessions)
Times of every event (including the coffee breaks, lunch, receptions, town
meeting, etc.). Do not include the organizational meeting on the
final program. That is an invitation-only event.
Give people lots of time for lunch (at least 1:45)
3-7 Days Before the Conference
Finalize your food/beverage/AV orders
Ensure that ACM has shipped the paper proceedings to the conference hotel
Ensure that the videotapes have been shipped to the conference hotel
Ensure that next year's conference chair ships or brings the CFP and survey
forms to the conference
Ensure that chamber of commerce brochures about the conference city are
shipped to the conference hotel
Gather your registration supplies
Meeting space: If classroom style is being used, tell the hotel to put
seats at the back of the room so that late arrivals do not have to stand.
ACM has a list of registration supplies that you should probably carry
with you in their handbook for conference chairs. You should also bring:
a list of pre-registrants,
extra banquet and reception tickets
extra registration receipts. You can use the extra receipts for onsite
registration, proceedings sales, extra banquet and reception ticket sales,
At the Conference
Committee appreciation luncheon
About three hours before registration is scheduled to open, assemble a
group of about 6-7 student volunteers who have arrived early and stuff
the registration packets. Registration packets will typically contain:
At the registration table you will have:
The perforated sheet containing the attendee's badge, registration receipt,
and banquet and reception tickets
The final program
A chamber of commerce brochure describing local restaurants and areas of
Xeroxed copies of the invited survey speakers' talks (optional)
Call for participation for next year's UIST (optional)
Calls for participation from other conferences who have sent CFPs
The registration table should be manned throughout the conference. The
first evening you may want three student volunteers manning the desk and
the first day you will probably want two student volunteers manning the
desk. Thereafter one student volunteer should suffice.
It helps to have an easleboard at the registration table on which you can
post announcements and an extra table on which attendees can place handouts.
videotapes (the conference's video program)
chains for the badge holders
extra banquet and reception tickets for sale
Many of the conference attendees will use the reception as a substitute
for dinner so the food will fly off the trays in the first half hour or
so. Do not panic and order a lot more food. You might arrange for
a couple trays of food to be brought out at the beginning of the second
hour. If you decide to do this, make sure that the food services staff
knows to hold these trays in reserve and do not panic themselves and bring
the trays out too soon. Once people get over their initial binging on food,
they do not seem to eat much the rest of the evening. At UIST99 we ran
out of food in less than an hour. I then ordered three additional trays
of food (300 items) which arrived with about an hour and a half to go.
Only about half of that food was eaten. Make sure you introduce yourself
to the reception captain at the beginning of the reception and make your
wishes about food service clear.
It is customary to take the plenary speakers to lunch on the day on which
they give their talks. Usually you have a lunch party of 5-6 people, which
means that you can invite 3-4 other people. Typically you invite one student
who is interested in the area and a couple other attendees whom you think
might be interested in the speaker's area. You might also invite your program
chair as one of the 3-4 other people. You should pick up the tab for lunch
and charge it to the conference.
Committee Appreciation Lunch
Sometime during the conference it is customary to take your conference
committee out to lunch and to pay for it (charge it to the conference).
If the committee's lunch corresponds with the day on which one of the plenary
speakers is giving a talk, then the lunch can double as a lunch for the
plenary speaker (i.e., invite the plenary speaker along). The list of people
you can invite to this lunch is up to you and varies from year to year.
It always includes the conference committee, but can also include the program
committee and/or the student volunteers. For UIST99 the student volunteers
were invited and were encouraged to sit with committee members (we had
tables set for 8 people at the conference hotel and we told the student
volunteers that only three SVs were to sit at a table and they weren't
to sit together). This arrangement worked out very well and the SVs were
pleased at the opportunity they got to meet senior researchers in the area.
In other years program committee members were also invited to the luncheon.
My philosophy was that the program committee members had been thanked for
their week at the program committee meeting and that the lunch should be
used to thank the conference committee members. Your philosophy may differ.
Remember, you're the boss so you can invite whomever you want!
There shouldn't be much for you to do here. Make sure you introduce yourself
to the banquet captain at the beginning of the banquet. Also decide whether
or not to collect banquet tickets. At UIST99 we did not collect banquet
tickets and it came back to haunt us because the attendees thought the
tickets entitled them to a free drink at the bar and we ended up footing
the tab (and we hadn't budgeted for this cost because we had budgeted for
an all-cash bar). Generally non-UIST people are not going to wander into
the banquet so you do not have to collect the banquet tickets unless you
want to. Also, if you have a bar and you want the attendees to get one
free drink, then you will not collect the banquet tickets since they will
use them at the bar.
Your demos chair should oversee the set up of the room. You should allow
the demos chair to tell the SV chair how many SVs to allocate to the reception.
Typically there will be a fair amount of effort involved in setting up
the equipment before the demos and tearing it down after the demos. During
the demos there typically is not a big need for SVs. It helps to set up
the food away from the equipment so that people eating food are well clear
of the demos.
Usually it helps to talk to your coffee break captain about any problems
they foresee at the next coffee break. At UIST99 they told me at one coffee
break that I had not ordered coffee for the next coffee break, an oversight
that might have proved unpleasant!
This meeting is typically held after the last session on the night of the
banquet. Your role is easy. You introduce next year's chair and they run
the meeting. Typical topics are feedback from the attendees about innovations
in this year's conference, suggestions for next year's conference, etc.
This meeting is where you discuss conference business, next year's chair
discusses next year's business, and a chair is selected for the conference
two years hence.
You should arrange with room service prior to the meeting to have beverages
and munchies delivered (see room service for the
You can start giving your room number to people at the banquet. Former
conference chairs, program chairs, bigwigs in the field, and people you
would like to see get involved in UIST organization should all be invited.
After the Conference
Pay all bills
Write thank you notes to the hotel
Finalizing the TMRF means filing a final expense report using the
same spreadsheet you used for preparing the budget (use a new file though).
Your treasurer is in the best position to complete this final expense report
because your treasurer should have all the receipts.