We want the ICER 2021 experience to be as close to an in-person ICER as possible. Our goals are to enable shared discourse, community building and growing, and serendipity even in a virtual context. ICER 2021 will include a virtual form of the traditional roundtable discussions as well as networking opportunities.
To make this all possible, we selected Clowdr as our virtual conference platform. Clowdr is a social enterprise born during the pandemic within ACM SIGPLAN. Over the past few months we have seen Clowdr evolve quickly, supporting a series of ACM conferences such as ICSE, CSCW, and SPLASH, with a continuously growing feature set.
Here is a glance of the landing page we plan to have ready for you once you log into the ICER 2021 Clowdr site:
To give you a taste of what to expect, here are a few highlights of the virtual conference experience we are planning for you.
When you enter the ICER Clowdr site you will see a list of social rooms you can join. Those rooms are web pages that include a video and a text chat, including a feature to conduct quick polls and the ability to share your screen. On the list of rooms you can quickly see who is in a room right now so you can join them for a chat.
Unlike at a physical conference, where you only can go to the rooms that already exist, in this virtual ICER you also can create new public or private social rooms on the spot. This way you can meet with a couple of colleagues while still being aware of all the activities going on at ICER at that time. Here is a brief video about the social room experience:
We hope to see a lot of participants at ICER. Social rooms are one way to bump into them. But maybe you don’t know someone you see in a room, or you might want to learn more about an author with an interesting paper? Wherever you see a participant name in Clowdr, you can get a quick popup with that person’s profile. This may include their photo and any other information they decided to share with the ICER community. It also allows you to start a text or video chat with them right inside Clowdr.
When registering for Clowdr, please do populate your profile. Going to a conference is a lot about networking, and your profile makes it possible for others to find and contact you.
In addition to the standard social rooms, ICER’s Clowdr site includes an interesting new way to serendipitously meet people: shuffle rooms. During our breaks, join a queue to be placed into a conversation with a small random group of other ICER participants. Here is a brief video about the shuffle room experience:
Of course the core of the conference is its program. We expect a great set of talks presenting fascinating research. At ICER 2021 we try to approximate the physical ICER experience in a virtual setting. We will combine pre-recorded talks with a virtual version of ICER roundtable discussions and Q&A. In early July, authors will upload their pre-recorded talks to Clowdr, which will automatically generate captions and will allow authors to fix and improve those captions. During the conference, participants will enter a virtual room, watch the talk and discuss it at a virtual roundtable, and then participate in the live Q&A.
Besides research paper talks, the program of course will include poster sessions, lightning talks, and a great keynote by Tammy Clegg, all of them happening within Clowdr.
While a virtual conference never will be able to fully replace a physical conference experience, we are doing our best to mimic as many of the good aspects as we can. We haven’t figured out how to bring you the tasty food and the warm summer evenings, though. We’re sorry! But we are working hard on getting you whatever can be converted into bits and bytes. Please be lenient if some of those bits and bytes get jumbled along the way. This is the first time we’re doing this!
Physical or virtual, ultimately a conference is nothing without participants and their contributions. This year’s authors contributed a set of great papers and no doubt will present a series of inspiring talks. However, we all know that active participation beats passive attendance. Thus, please participate, by putting together an informative profile, by freely joining social rooms, and by participating in shuffle room sessions.
Online, on the upcoming ICER 2021 Clowdr site