Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Impromptu LiCS 2016

Yesterday Shankar asked me to say a few words about the history of LiCS (Logic in computer Science), which is completing 30 years now. (wow, the vastness of my old age still surprises me, when I'm not looking...)

Since he mentioned it after 3pm, and since the said few words were supposed to be pronounced at 5pm, I improvised.  kind of. I warned him that I'd like to point out again the lack of diversity in the LiCS community and that I'd like to show two slides: Orna Kupferman's main slide, pointing out the problems from  LiCS2013 (below) and Brigitte Pientka and all of us spreadsheet of invited speakers in TCS, still being compiled.

The bottomline for LiCS: 30 years, 130 invited LICS speakers, 12 female, less than 10%. This is after all the effort that the discussion in 2013 produced.

I ended up adding a joke or two and there was some discussion of the code of conduct that SIGLOG is trying to get  accepted for all of our conferences. The PDF is here.

(apparently Ella Fitzgerald was having problems to find gigs, so Marilyn Monroe "convinced" a bar owner to book Ella, promising that she'd sit at the bar every night Ella sang. It was a success for both, they say, but it might be an internet folktale, who knows.)


  1. Hi V, here's a difficult admission for me. I was on the programme committee for a fairly early LiCS. I think there was one other woman on it whom I didn't know, and I did know some of the men. I was two years post doc and had previously had two papers accepted at LiCS. After 2 hours or so of the discussions I had a little cry in the ladies' toilets because I felt I had been talked over and ignored and patronised in a way I hadn't experienced for a while. I have never told anyone this but your blog brought it back to me. I picked myself up of course and went back in to be a bit more assertive and it did get better -- at least I felt better. I am sure nobody was doing anything deliberate, and I expect everyone (female) knows that feeling of speaking and nobody noticing, and a man repeating your words...I hope it has changed, it probably has. It sounds really pathetic of me, but I still remember the horrid moment very clearly and that's over 20 years ago. To be fair, I was probably the youngest and least experienced person at the meeting. I am sure my inclusion was an honest attempt to include a woman. I wouldn't want to be negative about anyone present, it's a long time ago, other times, and I was probably being fairly 'under-stated' (as I used to be accused of.... not any more :-)

    1. Thanks for the great comment, Carolyn! unfortunately I don't think it has changed much. Every one I talk to still seems to have their own crying in the restroom moments. A lot of them, actually. my goal now is to provide the data showing that the playing field is not level, despite efforts to make it so. that "implicit bias" still rules supreme. I could be wrong though, please send over any evidence that you may have, one way or the other.