SIGCOMM Planning: Getting Started

The most daunting part of running a large conference like Sigcomm is getting started. The following are some basic suggestions on how to begin, including some notes on mundane administrative issues.

  • General Chair

The General Chair sets the tone of the conference organization, and it's important that they are organized, proactive, and enthusiastic.

First, plan to arrange teleconference calls; these will happen monthly in the begining, and increase in frequency in busy periods, notably when site planning increases (early Fall) and when final planning increases (late Spring). There is no budget for these calls per se; if they need to be billed, please coordinate with the treasurer and make sure they are added to the budget. If possible, use telconference tools like Skype or a SIP number.

Contact the Conference Coordinator or SIGCOMM Information Services Director to setup the email list, typically named "", where XXXX is the year of the event.

Expect to hold the first teleconference in early Spring around 1.5 years in advance of the event. The first teleconference should focus on mutual introductions, and reviewing a list of tasks.

It is the Chair's responsibility to run the conference calls and keep on schedule; the Conference Coordinator is there for backup, not lead. The Chair may delegate some of this task to a vice chair, if appointed.

The Chair should also plan to send in the preliminary TMRF as soon as possible to identify the parties involved in the meeting to the ACM, as well as to get the event entered into the ACM's calendar.

    • Treasurer - get a copy of the previous year's budget plan (Technical Meeting Request Form, or TMRF). Plan to send in updates to the TMRF periodically. The final TMRF, with near-final budget numbers including final fee schedules, estimates for costs, etc., must go the ACM by early Spring of the year of the meeting.
    • Publicity - Start gathering email list, and check list posting policies (end2end-interest in particular). Start preparing the initial call for papers, which must be final about 4 weeks before the previous years' Sigcomm event. The purpose of that CFP is to announce the location and dates; everything else - everything, including the submission date, etc. - is subject to change (e.g., when the final CFP comes out in early Fall).
    • Web - Coordinate with the publicity chair to pick a logo for the conference and prepare a shadow website for the meeting. The primary website is a - this should be a copy of your local shadow site. The Sigcomm site should NEVER point to the local site, however.
    • Local Arrangements - Start scouting locations, and prepare a list of alternatives for consideration. Do not discuss costs or contact venues for availability; the ACM will do that. Note that the budget does NOT provide for professional assistance with local arrangements.
    • Workshop - Start preparing the call for workshop proposals; this should be included in the initial call for papers.
    • Tutorial - Decide whether tutorials will be offered, and prepare the call for proposals for the initial call for papers if so.
    • Publications - Contact the ACM printing service (typically Sheridan) to determine the schedule for printing the conference proceedings; keep delivery delays in mind when determining the schedule. Be ready to decide whether the workshop program will also be printed by Sheridan or by a local printer.
    • Student Poster - Add a statement to the early CFP regarding posters.
    • Student Travel Grant - Gather co-chairs from each of Asia, EU, and USA to help prepare applications to government agencies (NSF in the US) or regional organizations to solicit travel funds. This needs to start VERY early.
    • Registration - Determine whether to use an ACM-recommended registration service, or use an in-country service. The latter can be useful when non-US currency and/or tax issues arise.
  • Conference Coordinator

    The CC's primary role is 'institutional memory', and serves as an interface to the SIG. The CC will typically send a note to the General Chair to begin the process.

  • Program Committee Chairs

    Help prepare the initial call for papers; update the topic list and preliminary TPC list (if it will appear on the early CFP). Note: the publications chair determines the final date for author copy; all other dates are determined from that. The dates on the initial CFP are preliminary.

  • Award Chair

    Time to solicit nominations for the SIGCOMM award.

  • Chairs of Individual Workshops

    These aren't selected yet.