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TCuARCH May 2018 Update

May 12, 2018

Dear members of the TCuARCH Community,

It is with great pleasure that I send you the May 2018 TCuARCH community update. As you can see below, the new MICRO Steering Committee (SC) is making great progress in MICRO conference governing bylaws, analyzing MICRO-2017 Survey data, improving transparency, re-organizing MICRO Test-of-Time Award Committee, and MICRO-2018 organization.

We all agree that all conferences in the computer architecture community can do better in diversity and data transparency. I believe that the MICRO SC, SigMICRO, and TCuARCH are approaching this important challenge in a thoughtful way, carefully thinking through any unintended consequences of our moves. Looking at the progress reported below, I personally believe that MICRO will come out significantly better than its peer conferences in diversity and transparency.

  1. MICRO Conference Bylaws. The new MICRO SC (https://www.microarch.org/) has been iterating on the Bylaws for MICRO conference governance. Just to remind everyone, this new SC was formed in late 2017 after the previous SC resigned. The new SC consists of highly accomplished researchers in the MICRO community and is diverse in terms of gender (2 women, 7 men), institutions (2 industry, 7 academia), geographic areas (2 Europe, 7 US), and race (4 Asians, 5 White).

    The new SC is reviewing a draft that is the result of intensive reviews, discussions, and revisions. This version draws on good features of the bylaws of CGO (a sister conference of MICRO, also sponsored by TCuARCH) and other related conferences. It has a clear set of rules for SC member nomination, election, and term limits. It also has a set of clear rules and guidelines on nominating and selecting SC chair(s), general chair(s) and program chair(s). Its rules are more open to community nominations and input than the existing conference bylaws that I am aware of. The SC is still deliberating on any potential unintended consequences caused by any of the rules.

    We expect to have the new bylaws in place and hold the next election before MICRO-2018 that will be held in October 2018.
  2. MICRO-2017 Survey. The entire MICRO-2017 survey data set has been organized, plotted, and delivered to MICRO SC, SigMICRO, and TCuARCH for review. I have completed a preliminary analysis myself. As expected, while the community desires more diversity, it is somewhat divided in terms of what to change. There will be multiple conference calls to discuss next steps and action items in May.
  3. Transparency. The MICRO SC co-chairs have been collaborating with me to assemble a comprehensive data set about MICRO SC, GCs, PCs, and PC members. This effort is supported by a postdoctoral researcher at the IBM-Illinois Cognitive Computing Systems Research Center (C3SR) whose research involves the ingestion and analysis of unstructured natural language data. These data will be made available at the MICRO website for transparency. The availability of such comprehensive data set will help address the problem of conclusions made based on incomplete data. I plan to present the data at MICRO-2018 and perhaps in the IEEE MICRO Magazine.
  4. Test-of-Time Award Committee. Pradip Bose is forming a new MICRO Test-of-Time Committee. I will provide more update when more progress is made.
  5. MICRO-2018. TCuARCH has completed review and approval of the MICRO-2018 conference budget request. The General Co-chairs (GCs) and Program Co-chairs (PCs) were recruited and selected by the previous SC and are quite diverse. The selection was made before the MICRO-2017 protest. For GC, both are men, but one is Asian in Japan from and the other is White in US. For PC, one is Asian woman in US and the other is Asian man in US. This continues the trend of more diverse GCs and PCs that started in 2016. The previous SC was already taking steps to recruit diverse candidates and improve the diversity of the general chairs and program chairs long before the protest at MICRO-2017.

    Due to the organizers’ excellent fundraising efforts, the registration fees of MICRO-2018 will be lower than both MICRO-2017 (Boston) and MICRO-2016 (Taipei).
  6. TCuARCH 2018 budget. The 2017 CGO, ISPASS, and MICRO conference organizers have made great progress closing their conference books. Please join me to thank them for their great service to our community. I am now working to finalize the first TCuARCH budget under the new IEEE financial model, which would allow us to use conference surplus funds for new initiatives such as childcare support at our conferences.
  7. Sexual misconduct. TCuARCH and TCCA have been in discussion with ACM SigARCH on the ACM CARES initiative. We are working towards a coherent strategy for ensuring that our conferences provide a safe environment for technical discussions and collaborations. As I stated in the March 2018 update, I would like to encourage anyone who has experienced or witnessed any inappropriate behavior in the microarchitecture community, especially at a TCuARCH sponsored conference, to please contact me at w-hwu@illinois.edu with specific details so that I can work with the IEEE Ethics and Member Conduct committee and staff to investigate and take action on any such offense. We cannot tolerate any sexual misconduct in our conferences.

About the Author

Wen-mei Hwu is a Professor and AMD Jerry Sanders Chair in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Wen-mei serves as the current chair of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Council on Microarchitecture (TCuARCH).

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