Guidelines for Conference Organizers


These guidelines apply to all SIAM Conferences, Symposia and Workshops with the exception of the SIAM Annual Meeting which has its own set of guidelines.

The primary role of the organizing committee is to design the technical program, including selection of themes, invitation of plenary speakers, minitutorial speakers, and minisymposium organizers, and scheduling of all sessions. The committee also reviews proposals for contributed presentations, posters and short courses and may choose to accept or reject such proposals.

It is the responsibility of the organizing committee to ensure broad representation of plenary speakers, minitutorial speakers, and minisymposium organizers in all aspects of the program; these aspects include relevant scientific disciplines, industry, and geographic balance.

A special attempt should be made to include speakers and topics from industry which plays a vital role in SIAM. In addition, it is the policy of the SIAM Board to urge organizers to include women and underrepresented minorities in the selection of high profile participants in the conference such as members of the organizing committee, invited speakers, and minisymposium organizers.

The following guidelines are listed by organizing activity and are ordered chronologically by nominal date at which the activity should occur. The Chairperson of the Organizing Committee (Chair) for the conference will receive a set of deadlines specifically tailored for his/her conference. If you have any questions about SIAM policy or need clarification at any time, consult with SIAM's Director of Programs and Services or Conference Director.

Selection of the Organizing Committee Chair (24 months before conference)

The SIAM Vice President for Programs, except for SIAM Special Interest Activity Group (SIAG) Conferences, selects the Conference Chair.  For SIAG conferences, the SIAG Chair in consultation with the SIAG Program Director selects the Conference Chair.  The SIAM Vice President for Programs must approve the selection. This process is started at the business meeting of the conference immediately previous to the one being planned.

Selection of Organizing Committee (24 months before conference)

The Chair, with approval from the VP of Programs, selects the committee members. It is the policy of SIAM to urge Conference Chairs to include women, underrepresented minorities, industrial members, and government lab employees in the selection of high profile participants (this includes members of the organizing committee, invited plenary speakers and solicited minisymposium organizers). SIAM encourages the inclusion of junior scientists in the organizing committee.

Up to ten members of the Organizing Committee will receive complimentary registration for a meeting with up to 400 budgeted paid attendees. Organizing committees of meetings with over 400 budgeted paid attendees are allowed one (1) additional complimentary registration for every additional 200 budgeted paid attendees, up to a total of 14 complimentary registrations. For policy of reimbursement of Chair and (Co-Chair if applicable) and organizing committee, contact

Finalize Conference Site and Dates (24 months before

In the case of a SIAM Activity Group Conference, the Chair of Activity Group may be asked to participate in the selection of location (city) and dates. The Organizing Committee Chair will be asked for his/her input. This process is started at the business meeting of the conference immediately previous to the one being planned. This site selection input is dependent upon the nominal date at which the activity should occur.

SIAM's policy is to have meeting site selection finalized 24 months prior to conferences. Final selection of the actual site and dates of the conference are the responsibility of the SIAM office. Most conferences are three days in length. In no case should a Chair, or any member of the organizing committee, or Activity Group, contact a hotel, university, or other site without the explicit consent of SIAM's Conference Director. SIAM signs all contracts for the conference.

Invite Plenary Speakers & Obtain Titles (18 months before conference)

The conference themes should be expressed in the program by a series of invited plenary presentations, for example: as a general rule of thumb, there should be 2 invited plenary speakers each day.

Plenary speakers must be approved by SIAM's Vice President for Programs,  Seek approval prior to extending speaker invitations (include speaker information and URL.)

The meeting co-chairs issue invitations to the invited speakers. They may delegate this responsibility to other members of the OC for one or more speakers if they choose.  Invitations may be issued any way the co-chairs choose including by phone or by email. The chair/inviter should follow up a phone-based invitation with an email to provide the speaker with a written record of the conference date and location, reimbursement policy and any topic requests from the organizing committee. (S)he should request written confirmation of the acceptance (email is acceptable). Chairs may request a tentative title, but SIAM staff will follow up with invited speakers to get a final title and abstract.

SIAM does give free registration to all Invited Speakers regardless of their affiliation. Invited Speakers are also invited on a complimentary basis to all special events held in conjunction with the conference. For policy of reimbursement of expenses for Invited Plenary Speakers, contact

Invite Minitutorial Speakers & Obtain Titles (18 months before conference)

A minitutorial is ordinarily a two-hour session whose purpose is to highlight a future direction or emerging area. A minitutorial can be a quick introduction to a hot topic, or it can survey an area of broad interest.

A minitutorial must be attractive to the large and varied SIAM community, including members from industry, students, practitioners, theoreticians, physical and biological scientists, engineers and computer scientists. A minitutorial should get an audience of nonexperts interested in and excited about a new topic.

Format: The number of speakers in a minitutorial can vary between 1 and 3.  When determining how many speakers to invite, please keep in mind: Different speakers provide different points of view; it is difficult for a single person to give a good 2-hour tutorial.  However, seamless transitions between different speakers require coordination and thought.

Exposition: It is imperative that a minitutorial be truly tutorial and introductory.  The exposition must be outstanding.  Speakers should avoid technical jargon and formalism, and instead focus on intuition and insight. A minitutorial should cover all aspects of a problem: applications, as well as computational and theoretical issues.

Scope: A minitutorial is an important ingredient of the annual meeting. To accommodate the session it may be scheduled in a minisymposium slot, and will be featured prominently in conference announcements, along with the list of invited speakers.

A minitutorial provides a service to the mathematical community at large. The slides of the talks and, if possible audio recordings, are archived on the SIAM web site so as to be widely accessible.

Approval: It is suggested that the meeting have at least one (1) minitutorial session.  Proposed minitutorials require approval from the VP of Programs, Minitutorials are by invitation only and only those proposed by members of the Organizing Committee will be considered. 

Reimbursement: SIAM will provide up to $500 per speaker of a minitutorial for travel expenses, not to exceed $1500 per minitutorial (in the case of 3 speakers that's $500 per speaker), plus free conference registration for the speakers.

Invite minitutorial speakers by phone and get a commitment and a working title in writing (e-mail is acceptable). The SIAM office will follow-up to obtain a final title and description.

Solicit Minisymposium Organizers & Obtain Session Titles (18 months before conference)

The Chair should solicit minisymposium organizers for 2-4 minisymposia to complement conference themes and plenary speakers. Especially for forward looking themes, it is important to have enough sessions to obtain a 'critical technical mass' sufficient to attract conference attendees and potential program participants. Remain aware of SIAM's commitment to include minisymposium organizers and speakers from industry and from minority groups.

Solicit minisymposium organizers by phone and get commitment and a working title in writing (e-mail is acceptable). The SIAM office will follow-up to obtain a final title, description, and a list of speakers in the minisymposia. When speaking to potential minisymposium organizers, it is important to clarify that no expense will be reimbursed and no registration fees are waived.

Budget Preparation (6-12 months before conference)

The budget for the conference is determined at least 6 months prior to the conference and is the responsibility of the SIAM office. Preliminary registration fees are set at the creation of the budget. SIAM sets fees to recover costs and does not receive excess revenues from the conference. It is important for organizers to understand this when considering decisions for the conference that have financial impact (e.g. travel commitments to participants, including invited speakers, special events, expanded number of conference rooms, non-standard audio-visual equipment.) When in doubt, contact SIAM's Conference Director.

Final fees are set just prior to the completion of the preliminary program and will reflect changes in cost or in expected grant revenue. These fees are approved by SIAM's Executive Director, Director of Finance and Administration, and Technical Director. The SIAM office is responsible for all financial commitments, signing of contracts, and holds final authority over all decisions with financial implications.

SIAM includes in the budget process (2) two separate funds that may be used at the discretion of the Chair.

Organizers Fund : to support conference related activities, committee meetings, organizational expenses.

Conference Support Fund: to provide partial financial support for travel expenses for conference participants who may not otherwise be able to attend the SIAM conference.

Prepare the Call For Papers (12 months before conference)

The Chair reviews the copy for the call for papers and prepares a short statement inviting member and non-members to participate and explaining some of the exciting features of the program.

Invite Forward Looking Session Organizer (9 months before conference)

It is suggested, but not required, that a forward looking session be organized for every conference. This session should summarize the current research and important trends presented at the conference, particularly with regard to opportunities for future development. It should include a discussion of where the field is going, and identify outstanding problems and new research opportunities. The intention is to give attendees some perspective of the area and alert people to emerging topics and trends. Identify hot topics with funding potential, new applications, and requirements of applications in terms of mathematical models, approached, and methods. It may be organized as a panel discussion with time allotted for discussion among attendees. The organizer should prepare questions for the panel. Assign someone to take notes and provide a written summary of the session to be posted on the conference archives and future meetings web site and the SIAG web site for SIAG conferences. Panelist can be selected from invited speakers, organizing committee members, and minisymposia organizers or speakers who are attending the meeting. There is no funding to cover panelist’s expenses.

Construct the Scientific Program (6 months before conference)

After the abstracts and minisymposium proposals are received at the SIAM office, they will be sent to the Chair for review. The committee should review the minisymposium proposals for quality and diversity of speakers (organizers have 3 weeks to review after receipt from SIAM). SIAM discourages minisymposia that have more than two (2) speakers from one institution. The committee may have to reject contributed minisymposia. In this case, it is SIAM policy to encourage the minisymposium organizer to place his/her speakers in a contributed session. The SIAM office handles letters to the organizers and speakers in case a minisymposium is rejected.

After review of the abstracts, scheduling of the program begins. The first step is to schedule the plenary speakers, followed by the invited minisymposia and minitutorials. This forms the skeleton for the scientific program and allows the themes to be highlighted. The SIAM office helps to facilitate this procedure.

Next the contributed abstracts need to be combined into coherent sessions of (4) four to (6) six presentations, with (6) six being the nominal target. In each session, the presentations should be ordered from first to last. SIAM discourages contributed lecture sessions in which most of the speakers come from the same organization or if all co-authors on the papers being presented in a contributed session are from the same organization. Each such contributed session should be given a short title. Contributed presentations and poster presentations may be rejected by the committee. If an abstract is deemed inappropriate for the conference, this should be conveyed to the SIAM meeting manager and a letter will be sent informing the submitter.

Finally the contributed minisymposia and then the contributed sessions and poster presentation session should be scheduled. The SIAM office helps to facilitate this procedure and sends a letter informing the submitter that his/her presentation has been accepted and providing the scheduled time for the presentation.

Program Schedule Completed (5 months before conference)

The conference Chair along with selected organizing committee members completes the program schedule and submits it to the SIAM meeting manager. The Chair selects session chairs to introduce speakers and manage the sessions. In addition, the Chair provides a Program Overview which is a list of meeting topics along with sessions that address each topic. SIAM assembles the program and meeting rooms are assigned. The Conference Director works with the Chair and the SIAM meeting manager to facilitate this task. The preliminary program is circulated for final review and approval.

Publications Resulting from the Meeting

Any proceedings or journal issues (SIAM or other) to be published (such as a "Special Issue of the SIAM Conference on ...") must be approved by SIAM. Requests for approval should be submitted to the Director of Programs & Services, Linda Thiel,, who will coordinate the request among the appropriate people.

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