SIGCOMM Planning: Conference Roles

A description of the volunteer roles associated with the SIGCOMM Festival.

ACM Sigcomm Festival Roles

The General Chairs also appoint chair(s) for N2Women in coordination with N2Women organization. GCs are also encouraged to appoint an organizer for the Outrageous Opinions session to ensure full communication between GCs and PC chairs.

General Chair

  • Coordinates the roles of the Executive Committee and fills-in where required.
  • Appoints the members of the Executive Committee.
  • Principle contact for fundraising.
  • Organizes and runs the Executive Committee Teleconferences.
  • See also the ACM's description.


Publicity (may be split as publicity/publications)


  • Creates and maintains conference web pages
  • Creates templates for:
    • Workshop pages
    • Registration page (coordinates w/Registration)
  • NOTE: All conference and workshop pages must be located on the ACM webserver
    • Shadow sites can be used, but must NOT be cited on emails or promotional material (flyers)
    • All data must be uploaded to the ACM server by conference close

Local Arrangements

  • Proposes sites and venues for various events:
    • Conference
    • Workshops/tutorials
    • Welcome reception
    • Banquet
    • Student dinner
    • Various other meetings (not in the conference budget; just helps with suggestions and reservations):
      • Sigcomm conference exec+1 (next years')
      • Sigcomm SIG executive committee
      • PC+1 (next years')
      • Transactions on Networking (ToN)
      • CCR
      • Sigcomm award dinner (Sigcomm awardee, student paper awardee(s) and advisor, SIG Exec and Conference Exec).
  • Coordinates with the ACM determine availability, rates, and options (food selection, etc.)
    • NOTE: The ACM typically negotiates the prices and perks of all big-ticket items, including room rates, main venues, large dinners, banquets, etc.
    • The "various other meetings" typically involve suggesting restaurants/locations and making reservations.
  • Coordinates food selection
    • General suggestions:

      - avoid typical banquet fare where possible
      (chicken, salmon)

      - have something healthy available
      (esp for breaks - not just cookies and cakes;
      include fruit, granola bars, nuts, or the like)

      - have something substantial and healthy for
      breakfast (this does NOT apply as much this year)
      i.e., granola or yogurt - in addition to the usual

  • Coordinates details on network access at the festival
    • FYI, the ACM doesn't coordinate this, but they do restrict what we can do
      • We can do what we need to follow local/national laws, e.g., regarding traffic monitoring or logging
      • We have not arranged permission to do anything beyond what is required for these laws, i.e., if you want to support an experiment to log the data, you need to find out what the ACM legal needs for you to proceed (i.e., what policies are permitted, what agreements registrants have to sign, etc.) AND you need to present that to the SIG and conference committee for approval in advance
    • We provide
      • bandwidth to the Internet at least sufficient for nominal email access (we don't intend to provide an environment to conduct full business, just to stay in contact)
      • Wireless access
      • Non-NAT'd access where possible for at least some participants (some NAT'ing interferes with VPNs required for email; it's useful to check Microsoft VPN [PPTP] and IPsec VPN capabilities; in previous years, Joe Touch's TetherNet system has been used for this purpose)
    • We don't always support enough bandwidth for realtime video - see below.
  • Coordinates ordering and configuration of a bag or other promotional item with the publicity chair.
  • Coordinates ordering and distribution of a promotional shirt (tee-shirt or [preferably] polo shirt); this shirt is distributed to the designated student volunteers and this year's executive committee, so they may be more easily identified.
  • Coordinates videotaping and/or multicast of sessions
    • In the past, we've used both CMU's endsystem multicast and U. Mich.'s end host multicast for live broadcasting. This requires substantial resources and can load the network bandwidth heavily; at this point, we recommend videotaping for off-line viewing rather than supporting realtime remote participation.
    • Videotaping should be digital, archival, and easy to process (e.g., DV rather than direct to DVD or analog). It should also be reasonably high quality (i.e., not MPEG-4, so we currently avoid direct-to-harddisk recorders). A PC should NOT be required (the tapes provide an archive-quality backup, while a hard drive does not). A single student volunteer can be assigned to coordinate taping,a and the price of a modest camcorder can be budgeted (which the student can keep afterwards).
    • The camcorder should plug into a direct feed from the house audio if possible.
  • Gathers material to handout at the meeting:
    • Local maps
    • List of local restaurants
    • List of local attractions
  • See also the ACM's description.


  • Solicits workshop proposals
    • via general email solicitation
    • via targeted invitations to propose
  • Coordinates decision on which workshops to hold
  • Coordinates with individual workshop chairs as to the remainder of the process once selected


  • Solicits tutorial proposals
    • via general email solicitation
    • via targeted invitations to propose
  • Coordinates decision on which tutorials to hold
  • Coordinates with individual tutorial presenters as to the remainder of the process once selected
  • Tutorial reimbursment is typically as follows (last modified 2005):
    1. full economy airfare max advance discount
      (subject to a budgeted maximum)
      (per presenter of a single tutorial,
      1-person max for 1/2 day, 2 for full)
    2. Sigcomm conference registration
      this excludes other tutorials and workshops.
      they do not register for their own tutorial.
      (per presenter of a single tutorial,
      1-person max for 1/2 day, 2 for full)
    3. 2 nights lodging in the US; 3 when elsewhere
      (per presenter of a single tutorial,
      1-person max for 1/2 day, 2 for full)
    4. 2 days per-diem in the US; 3 when elsewhere
      (per presenter of a single tutorial,
      1-person max for 1/2 day, 2 for full)
    5. honoraria ($600 half day, $1200 full day)
      PLUS 10% of the net profit
      (split among presenters of a single tutorial)
  • Reimbursement typically happens as follows:
    • Tutorial chair tells tutorial presenters the procedures (early) and then reminds them right before the conference.
    • After the conference the tutorial chair (typically - or treasurer) sends ACM an email with names and a list of what each will be reimbursed for and the honorarium for each person.
    • The tutorial chair tells the presenter to send the travel expenses and US tax ID (if available, i.e., SSN) to the tutorial chair, who (upon review and approval) forwards them to the ACM address.
    • The conference treasurer (approx. two months later) verifies via the "CIP" (conference status) that the checks have been sent.
  • Finally - and this is critical - the slides need to be collected in advance. If we don't receive the slides by the deadline date, we must cancel (and they forfeit all compensation).

    Also, if the author uses slides other than those submitted in advance, he/she forfeits all compensation as well.

Student Poster

  • Solicits student posters
  • Coordinates poster selection process
  • Coordinates with poster presenters both before and during the meeting

Travel Grant

  • Solicits travel grant funds
    • EARLY: writes grant requests, typically for the NSF and foreign agencies
    • May coordinate with General Chair to allocate a portion of sponsorship funds
    • Coordinates with conference coordinator on travel grant funds sponsored by the SIG (e.g., Geodiversity and other general purpose funds)
  • Decide what expenses are eligible (e.g.: The only travel expenses that can be reimbursed are: air travel, hotel, and conference registration). Note that ACM does not reimburse fees related to obtaining a visa or any fees paid to travel agents.
  • Solicits travel grant applications
  • Coordinates travel grant decision process
  • Coordinates grant reimbursement procedure with applicable agencies (e.g. ACM for SIG sponsored travel grants) or the Treasurer
  • Reimbursements are handled via an ACM online reimbursement system.
    • Abbi Sumandal ( is the contact person for SIG sponsored travel grants and coordinates the travel grants that will be charged to the conference account.
    • Abbi will send the travel grant chair that will coordinate reimbursements a link to the online system. The travel grant chair then enters the names and email addresses of the award recipients as well as the individual amounts of each grant (minus the registration value, if registration was pre-paid, i.e., the award recipient did not have to pay for registration up-front but instead was given a registration code generated by the registration system to register without making a payment). Once this info is entered, the system will automatically email the travel grant recipients the instructions on how to submit their receipts to ACM so that they can get reimbursed.
  • A useful FAQ, which the students/award recipients also receive via the online system,  can be found here.


  • Solicits bids for registration from the ACM
  • Coordinates selection of a registration vendor
  • Answers all registration queries before and during the festival
  • Coordinates registration process during the festival
  • Gathers list of local assistants, e.g., student volunteers (as limited by the budget)
  • Coordinates student registrations and complimentary registrations with the Treasurer
  • See also the ACM's description.
  • Note that the SIG provides a 1-year membership for non-member registrants
    • These funds are provided by the SIG; the registration chair should provide that list to the SIG

Conference Coordinator

  • Acts as a contact point for questions not addressed elsewhere
  • Helps collect information from previous organizers and handoff to subsequent event organizers

Program Committee Chairs

  • Selects the Program Committee (PC)
  • Helps write the call for papers
  • Solicits paper submissions from specific research groups (coordinates with Publicity)
  • Holds the PC meeting
  • Gathers final papers to forward to the publisher
  • See also the ACM's description.
  • Determines the student award winner, who receives:
    • invitation to the award dinner; their advisor is also invited
    • honorarium $500 (split if multiple students are awardees, which is the exception not the rule)
    • economy advance-booked air travel
    • 4 nights hotel
    • 4 days per diem
    • ground transportation as needed to get to the hotel
    • registration to the conference only
    • a plaque, coordinated by Lauren Thompson (updated 2009)
  • Tells the information services director who the student award winner is, or posts directly to after the award is announced.
  • Nominates papers for fast-track in ToN (The SIG will pay over-length charges for up to four extra pages for up to three papers nominated by the TPC chairs of a SIG-sponsored conference to ToN. See details here) and CACM research highlights (after the conference ends, by October. See details for the nomination process for CACM research highlights here).

Award Chair

  • Solicits and coordinates nomination of the Sigcomm Award winner
  • Awardee receives an honorarium from the SIG, and travel, registration for the conference, and a room.
  • Sends the information services director the description of why the awardee was selected suitable for publication on the page, or posts directly when announcing the award.

Chair of Individual Workshops

  • Select Workshop program committees
  • Write workshop call for papers (coordinate with Publicity)