The CSAIL Student Committee (CSC) held a joke conference on April Fool’s Day featuring what they called “simply the best papers.” The conference was open to the entire CSAIL community and had “named sessions, awkward nametags, a ‘banquet,’ conference coffee and cheese platters,” according to an email sent to CSAIL.
The conference, SIGTBD, calls for papers in all areas of computer science research that focus on creative solutions to “problem spaces that may be obsolete or unrealistic even by academic standards and are often of debatable research taste,” on its website.
Papers needed to meet some unusual requirements, such as that authors needed to be ordered by descending number of vowels rather than level of contribution. Authors with accepted papers needed to write a tweet-length abstract and had the option of submitting a Vine video and 8.5″-by-11″ illustration to advertise their talk.
The organizers also included technical jokes in their instructions, saying that authors writing their paper with LaTeX were encouraged to use a provided class file, but authors using Microsoft Word should “give up on following any of the formatting requirements and submit in whatever format you please.”
SIGTBD was organized by MIT PhD students and made ample use of hashtags in its advertising and informational material. Talks included “A Data Driven Analysis Framework and Erotica Writing Assistant” and a keynote entitled “Classification Trees for Determining Mood Affiliation of Males with Androgenic Alopecia.”
The conference ran from 12:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. last Friday.