Guidelines for Annual Meeting Organizers
About Annual Meeting
The Annual Meeting is the flagship meeting for the entire SIAM community. In particular, the meeting provides:
- a forum for ideas in a wide range of applied mathematics and computing, and application areas
- an outlet for cutting-edge science in cross-disciplinary fields
- a meeting place for SIAM members, in particular those not associated with a SIAM Activity Group
- opportunities to meet people in different fields
- student-oriented activities (e.g. Student Days)
- recognition of excellence in the community (through prizes and awards)
- professional activities and development (Career Fair, Professional Development Evening, Workshop Celebrating Diversity, Association for Women in Mathematics [AWM] workshop)
- networking opportunities
- a place to recognize prize winners
- a place for the business meeting
- publicity (e.g. by generating articles for SIAM News)
- opportunities for recruiting new members
With all these activities the Annual Meeting fosters a spirit of community.
These guidelines apply to the SIAM Annual Meeting; other SIAM Conferences, Symposia and Workshops have their 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, topical speakers, minitutorial speakers, and minisymposium organizers. The co-chairs review submissions and recommend acceptance or rejection.
It is the responsibility of the Organizing Committee to ensure broad representation of plenary speakers, topical 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 the community. 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 budget for the Annual Meeting is set by the SIAM office, and the registration fees by the SIAM Board. The goal is to stage a high quality event at the lowest possible registration fee. In contrast to other SIAM meetings, the Annual Meeting receives no external grant support. SIAM has never made a profit on an Annual Meeting and the budget is tight. The co-chairs should keep this is mind when they make decisions that have a financial impact, such as travel costs for invited speakers, special events, number of meeting rooms, and nonstandard audio-visual equipment. When in doubt, contact SIAM's Conference Director.
The SIAM office is responsible for all financial commitments, signing of contracts, and holds final authority over all decisions with financial implications.
Meeting Site and Dates
The site and date for the Annual Meeting are determined by SIAM's Committee on Programs and Conferences, which is chaired by the Vice President for Programs. The co-chairs should NOT contact a hotel, university, or other site without the explicit consent of SIAM's Conference Director.
- Invited Talks: The Annual Meeting may be held jointly with one or two SIAM Activity Groups and will usually contain up to four SIAM Activity Group tracks (invited topical speaker, minisymposium track, and contributed sessions). A SIAM Activity Group meeting held jointly should happen at the beginning of the Annual Meeting so as not to conflict with SIAM Board and Council meetings. A sample format for a meeting joint with one SIAM Activity Group is available here. The standard format has two types of invited speakers: plenary and topical.
- Plenary talks are 45 minutes. They should be accessible to a wide audience. They sketch the history of the area, describe today's context or applications, and discuss prospects for the future. If the meeting is joint with a SIAM Activity Group there is one joint plenary speaker selected in cooperation with the SIAM Activity Group.
- Topical talks are 30 or 45 minutes, in parallel with another topical talk. Although they may be more specialized than plenary talks, topical talks target a general SIAM audience. They should introduce the research area and present recent results. Associated with each SIAM Activity Group track is one topical speaker selected in coordination with the SIAM Activity Group.
More information about invited talks and SIAM Activity Group tracks specific to your meeting will be discussed in an introductory conference call with the Executive Director, SIAM Meeting Manager, and Director of Programs and Services.
Five minutes of each talk are allotted to introduction and questions.
- Minitutorials: 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. It 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.
- Tracks: A track is a sequence of events devoted to a research area. It consists of a minimum of four minisymposia spread over two consecutive days, a topical speaker, and contributed sessions.
Up to four SIAM Activity Groups will be asked to provide tracks at the Annual Meeting. The Organizing Committee may also select other themes for tracks. SIAM Activity Groups or track organizers may also recommend to the Organizing Committee a plenary speaker in the research area targeted by the track.
- Other Events: In addition to the scientific program, the following events are part of the Annual Meeting: AWM Workshop, Workshop Celebrating Diversity, Teachers' Day, Student Days, Career Fair, Professional Development Evening, Prize Luncheon, Prize Lectures, John von Neumann Lecture, I. E. Block Community Lecture, SIAM Board, Council, and committee meetings. Although the co-chairs are not responsible for these events, they should keep in touch with the coordinators of these events to avoid scheduling conflicts.
To Do List
The check list below describes activities to be completed by a deadline relative to the start of the meeting. Absolute deadlines for specific meetings are emailed to the co-chairs.
20 Months: Select 7-14 Organizing Committee Members
The Organizing Committee plans the scientific program of the meeting. 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.
- Ex officio members: SIAM Vice President for Programs
- Organizing Committee members must be approved by SIAM Vice President for Programs before invitations are issued.
- A representative from each of the SIAM Activity Groups sponsoring a track should be on the Organizing Committee.
- If the meeting is joint with a SIAM Activity Group a member of the SIAM Activity Group Organizing Committee should also be on the Annual Organizing Committee.
- Liaison from Workshop Celebrating Diversity Working Group
- The co-chairs chair the Organizing Committee.
- The co-chairs receive complimentary registration and up to 14 Organizing Committee members receive complimentary registration.
- It is preferable that Organizing Committee members be SIAM members.
It is up to the co-chairs how much they involve the Organizing Committee in the following steps.
20 Months: Select 5-10 Themes for the Meeting
The themes are areas of concentration for the scientific program. They are represented by invited speakers, minisymposia, and tracks.
The purpose of the themes is to attract people to the meeting. The themes should reflect the interests of the SIAM community, span a wide range of areas, and be exciting and forward looking. In addition, participants can also contribute talks and minisymposia on any topic of interest to SIAM.
- Include the themes of the tracks sponsored by the SIAM Activity Groups.
- The Organizing Committee may also select other themes.
- Balance traditional SIAM areas with new or interdisciplinary areas.
- Implement a theme as a collection of lectures (e.g. plenary speaker, topical speaker, minisymposia).
15-12 Months: Invite Plenary and Topical Speakers
- Typical number of speakers per day: two plenary, two-four (parallel) topical
- The number of plenary and topical speakers will change if there is a joint SIAM Activity Group meeting.
- Leave enough plenary slots for prize lectures and the past president's address. See the SIAM Prizes. Prize winners are selected by a prize committee. Contact SIAM's Director of Programs and Services concerning the prize lectures for that year.
- Strive for diversity in research area, gender, minority status, and occupation (industry, government labs, and academia).
- Someone who has been an invited speaker at one of the past four Annual Meetings should not be invited again. SIAM's Director of Program and Services has a list of past speakers.
- Plenary and topical speakers must be approved by SIAM's Vice President for Programs before invitations are issued.
- Issue invitations to the invited plenary and topical speakers. The conference co-chairs may delegate this responsibility to other members of the Organizing Committee 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 plenary and topical speakers to get a final title and abstract.
- Expenses for plenary and topical speakers are limited to $1,500 per speaker traveling within North America. Speakers traveling outside North America will be reimbursed up to $2,500. Direct the speakers to the SIAM Reimbursement Guidelines. If a speaker cannot cover the remaining expenses, ask for an estimate and a statement requesting support for these expenses. Submit the estimate and statement to SIAM's Conference Director.
- Do NOT promise additional funding without written confirmation from the SIAM office.
15-12 Months: Invite Minitutorial Speakers
- The number of speakers in a minitutorial can vary between one and three. 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.
- 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.
- A minitutorial is an important ingredient of the Annual Meeting. To accommodate the 2-hour 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.
- It is suggested that the meeting have at least one minitutorial session. Proposed minitutorials require approval from the Vice President of Programs. Minitutorials are by invitation only and only those proposed by members of the organizing committee will be considered.
- 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. Do NOT promise additional funding.
- Invite minitutorial speakers by phone and get a commitment and a working title in writing (email is acceptable). The SIAM office will follow-up to obtain a final title and description.
15-12 Months: Solicit Minisymposium Organizers
- Ideal number of high quality minisymposia: 40-60
- Organizing Committee members solicit minisymposia to realize the meeting themes.
- Number of minisymposia per meeting theme: two-four or more. Themes representing SIAM Activity Groups tracks or new areas may require four or more minisymposia to attain a "critical technical mass" and attract an audience.
- For any SIAM Activity Group not designated to provide a track, contact SIAM Activity Group Program Directors and Chairs to solicit SIAM Activity Group-sponsored minisymposia (they will be distinguished in the conference program). See the list of SIAM Activity Groups. Every SIAM Activity Group which is not holding a meeting within six months of the Annual Meeting should be solicited to participate with at least two minisymposia.
- Solicit minisymposium organizers by phone or email. Then obtain a commitment in writing, and a minisymposium title. Contact SIAM's Conference Director.
- Direct organizers to the SIAM Minisymposium Guidelines. They must set up their minisymposium through the SIAM Conference System (CMS). The CMS is accessed through the conference website.
- Minisymposium organizers and speakers are NOT reimbursed for their expenses. In particular, they have to pay the registration fee.
- Co-chairs should monitor the minisymposium proposals that are being submitted. Some themes may require a more vigorous recruitment effort, and Organizing Committee members may need to actively solicit more minisymposia.
12 Months: Call for Papers
The call for papers is an invitation to organize a minisymposium or give a contributed talk.
- Prepare a short statement for the call for papers. Describe the meeting themes. Make it sound exciting. The SIAM office will provide a template.
6 Months: Review Abstracts
The SIAM office will forward to the co-chairs the abstracts of the contributed presentations and the minisymposium proposals, approximately two weeks after the submission deadline.
- Review minisymposium proposals for quality and diversity of speakers. The Organizing Committee may have to suggest revisions or reject minisymposia. In the case of rejection encourage the organizer to place his/her speakers in a contributed session. The SIAM office handles correspondence with organizers and speakers of a rejected minisymposium.
- A minisymposium should not have more than two speakers from the same institution.
- Review abstracts of contributed presentations. The Organizing Committee may have to reject contributed presentations. Watch out for outlandish claims or pseudo mathematics.
5-6 Months: Schedule Scientific Program
- Schedule plenary, topical and minitutorial speakers. Try to minimize topical conflicts.
- Integrate Workshop Celebrating Diversity into the scientific program. Communicate with Workshop Celebrating Diversity Organizers to insure that no important workshop events coincide with plenary talks.
- The SIAM staff will group contributed abstracts into sessions of eight talks with a common theme (six or seven talks are also acceptable). 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.
- The SIAM staff will order the talks in each contributed session and determine a chair person.
Choose a chairperson who is likely to attend the meeting and show up for the session. In the absence of any information, choose a chair person from the continent of the meeting site.
- The Co-chairs select session chairs for the plenary sessions. Direct them to the SIAM Session Chair Guidelines.
2-4 Weeks: Send Out Last Minute Reminders
- To plenary speakers: Their talks are scheduled for 45 minutes. They should be accessible to a wide audience. They sketch the history of the area, describe today's context or applications, and discuss prospects for the future. Five minutes of the talk should be allocated to introduction and questions.
- To topical speakers: Their talks are semi-plenary, i.e. in parallel with other talks, and scheduled for 30 or 45 minutes. They target a general SIAM audience. They should introduce the research area and present recent results. Five minutes of the talk should be allocated to introduction and questions.
- To minitutorial speakers: Their talks are tutorial and introductory. They should coordinate their presentation with the other speakers in the session. The talks should get an audience of non-experts interested and excited about the topic.
Contact Conferences Staff