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UBC Computer Science faculty chairing conferences across the globe

Chairing or co-chairing a conference requires an extraordinary amount of time. But for UBC’s Computer Science faculty members, the opportunity is a distinct honour and an ideal way to serve the international academic community.

Professor Joanna McGrenere explains, “This type of service for the research community is incredibly important. The role brings some visibility not only to the individual and department, but also to UBC as an institution.” Professor McGrenere is one of seven Computer Science faculty members who have been asked to serve major chair roles in esteemed international conferences in the field this year or next.

Although COVID-19 has affected the ability for some of the events to go ahead, others are still on the books or presented online. The variety and numbers of UBC Computer Science researchers asked to take on these roles speaks volumes to the internationally-renowned research strength within the department.

Kevin Leyton-Brown



Kevin Leyton-Brown, an expert on AI and director of CAIDA, will be Program Co-Chair for the 35th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence. It is one of the world's top AI conferences, to be held in Vancouver, Canada during the first week of February, 2021.The conference will feature a diverse technical track, student abstracts, poster sessions, invited speakers, tutorials, workshops, and exhibit and competition programs. Last year's conference received over 8,000 technical paper submissions and attracted many thousands of attendees

Cristina Conati




Cristina Conati was Program Chair of ACM IUI 2020, the 25th annual conference of the intelligent interfaces community, which had been scheduled for March in Italy. The annual event is the premier venue for presenting research at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and  Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). Unfortunately this year's conference was cancelled due to COVID-19, but the accepted papers can be found in the official ACM proceedings on the conference website.

Ron Garcia





Ronald Garcia is the Deputy Program Chair of the ACM/SIGPLAN International Conference on Functional Programming (ICFP) 2020 which is scheduled to take place in New Jersey at the end of August. The conference explores programming language concepts and tools, focusing on design, implementation, practice, and theory. Its members are programming language developers, educators, implementers, researchers, theoreticians, and users. Professor Garcia will also be the Program Chair for ICFP 2021.

Karon maclean






Karon MacLean is the General Co-chair for the User Interface Software and Technology Conference (UIST) in October 2020, scheduled to be held in Minneapolis. UIST is the primary and most prestigious international conference in the area of ‘technical HCI'. It involves the invention of new technology and interaction methods for HCI such as: tangible and ubiquitous computing; virtual and augmented reality; graphical and web user interfaces; multimedia; haptics; and new input and output technology and techniques.

Joanna McGrenere





Joanna McGrenere is the Technical Program Chair (TPC) for ACM CHI 2020, which was to be held in Hawaii at the end of April. This ACM flagship conference is focused on HCI and typically attracts about 3,000 attendees. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference has been cancelled, but the accepted papers will be availablein the official ACM proceedings on the conference website.

Rachel Pottinger





Rachel Pottinger is General Chair for the 2020 ACM SIGMOD/PODS (Special Interest Group on Management of Data) Conference, that was to be held in Portland, Oregon, USA from June 14-19. The conference will now be held  virtually, so Pottinger has been busy restructuring the event for an online delivery. The conference is a leading international forum for database researchers, practitioners, developers, and users to explore cutting-edge techniques, tools, and experiences in all aspects of data management.

Margo Seltzer

Margo Seltzer is the Program Chair for
EuroSys 2020, which was supposed to be held in Crete, Greece, but will now be held virtually, in late April. EuroSys brings together professionals from academia and industry, and has become a premier forum to discuss systems research and development with operating systems, software and hardware, database systems, real-time systems, network middleware, and distributed, parallel or embedded computing systems.

COVID-19 or not, in-person or virtual, these UBC Computer Science professors have much to share at an international level and will continue to drive forward their areas of research, furthering advancements in the field.