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TechDebt 2020
Sun 28 - Tue 30 June 2020
co-located with ICSE 2020

The 42nd International Conference on Software Engineering
June 24, 2020 – July 16, 2020

ICSE, the International Conference on Software Engineering — the world’s premier software engineering conference — is going virtual. Originally scheduled to occur in Seoul, South Korea in May of 2020, the conference will now occur over the three-week period of June 24, 2020 through July 16, 2020. The main conference itself will occur over the period of July 6 through July 11, with Co-Located Events and Workshops scheduled for the weeks before and after that.

ICSE is a truly global conference, and in keeping with that, we are structuring the main conference so that it allows truly global participation. This means, for one thing, that we will not be scheduling all of the conference events over single uniform blocks of time. Doing so would force entire sectors of the ICSE community (e.g., an entire third of the world) to attend events in the middle of their nights. Doing so would also force presenters from those sectors of the ICSE community to present their work in the middle of their nights. Yes, a third of the world and a third of ICSE’s presenters could choose to forego sleep, but which third of the world should we ask to to do that? Who shall we treat as second-class citizens? Our answer to that is, nobody.

Instead, we’re going to try something entirely innovative. We’re structuring the ICSE main program to allow everybody who registers to participate directly, synchronously, in at least two thirds of the ICSE plenary sessions and technical sessions, without needing to stay up all night. All of the plenaries and technical talks will be live-cast to public livestreaming services such as YouTube or (for our friends in China) iQIYI, free of charge. But there’s a lot more to ICSE than technical talks. The conference itself will happen over text, voice, and video in ways that go well beyond the livestreams. Here are some of the things you’ll be able to do if you register and participate in the virtual conference:

  • Ask questions to the presenters during and after their talks, and strike up conversations with them one-on-one.
  • See what everyone else has to say about the talks, and see other people’s questions.
  • Chat (text, voice, and video) with other participants. (Don’t be shy!)
  • Add people to your chats, make it a group, move to video if desired.
  • Visit the posters and demos and talk to their authors.
  • Participate in “Birds of a Feather” sessions about topics that interest you.
  • Attend special live events.
  • Mingle, and connect with other participants!

We haven’t even mentioned Co-Located Events or Workshops yet. These will be scheduled at the preference of their organizers. Many of them will follow a broad structure similar to that just described for ICSE’s main event. Others will be scheduled in longer time blocks that their organizers believe best suit their attendees. You’ll have to wait a little longer to see a more detailed schedule, but there will be plenty of opportunities to be involved in a wide range of ICSE events over the three-week period of Virtual ICSE 2020.

You could stop reading now, but if you would like more details on how we’re going to pull this off, keep going.

Begin by considering time zones around the world, as shown in the following table:

Example City --- Melbourne Seoul Beijing Mumbai Paris London Sao Paolo New York Seattle
Pacific Time Band 00:00-03:00 10:00-13:00 09:00-12:00 08:00-11:00 05:30-08:30 02:00-05:00 01:00-04:00 21:00-00:00 20:00-23:00 17:00-20:00
Indian Time Band 07:00-10:00 17:00-20:00 16:00-19:00 15:00-18:00 12:30-15:30 09:00-12:00 8:00-11:00 04:00-07:00 03:00-60:00 00:00-03:00
Atlantic Time Band 15:00-18:00 01:00-04:00 00:00-03:00 23:00-02:00 20:30-23:30 17:00-20:00 16:00-19:00 12:00-15:00 11:00-14:00 08:00-11:00
"Almost-All" Time Band 13:30-14:30 23:30-00:30 22:30-23:30 21:30-22:30 16:30-17:30 15:30-16:30 14:30-15:30 10:30-11:30 09:30-10:30 06:30-07:30

The top two rows in the table list time zones from around the world, and examples of cities in those time zones. The first column indicates “time band” names (see below). The second column lists time ranges, in 00:00 to 23:59 format, in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The cells beneath all of the other columns translate the UTC times in the second column to times in their respective time zones. (You can translate UTC times into your local time using a converter like this one: https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html?iso=20200707T000000&p1=1440")

We structure the main conference around three “time bands”, each three hours long. In each of these time bands, people in two thirds of the time zones in the world (indicated by orange shading) can tune in synchronously to events that are held in those time bands without undue inconvenience (i.e., without sacrificing sleep). Our Virtualization Chair has named these time bands after the oceans that sit within them, and here’s what they do for us (and you):

  • The Pacific Time Band allows participants in the Americas and in East Asia / Oceania to participate in synchronous events.
  • The Indian Time Band allows participants in East Asia / Oceania, and in Europe / Africa / Middle East / India to participate in synchronous events.
  • The Atlantic Time Band allows participants in Europe / Africa / Middle East / India and in the Americas to participate in synchronous events.

(One tricky thing to be aware of: when considering the Pacific Time Band, events that are in East Asia / Oceania in the morning on a given date actually occur in the evening on the previous date in the Americas. For example, when the first event of the main program ICSE is held, at 09:00 KST on July 7 in South Korea in honor of our host country, it will be 20:00 EDT on July 6 in New York City.)

We are scheduling events associated with the Main Program of ICSE 2020 within the “Pacific”, “Indian”, and “Atlantic” time bands just described. In general, we will use the first two hours in each time band for plenary sessions, and for regular sessions offered in three parallel tracks. These will be live-cast to public livestreaming services as noted above, with audience members participating synchronously in discussions and question/answer sessions. We reserve the third hour in each time band for smaller events such as Poster and Demo sessions and Birds-of-a-Feather sessions that can take place in Zoom Meetings. All of the events that occur “live” in the first two hours of each time band, however, will also be recorded, and the recordings will be made available so that people who cannot attend sessions synchronously can “attend” them asynchronously at their leisure, later.

There is an additional one-hour-long time band, the “Almost-All” Time Band, that allows everyone except for persons in Oceania (sorry, dear friends) to meet in a time that falls between 6:00AM local time and 11:30PM local time. We will use some of the hours in this time band for special events.

How does all of this translate into an ICSE Program? See the following table, in which we’ve moved the “Almost-All” Time Band up so that the Bands are listed in chronological order from the top row to the bottom row:

July 7 July 8 July 9 July 10 July 11
UTC Time Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Pacific Time Band 00:00-03:00 Keynote Sessions with parallel tracks Sessions with parallel tracks Award Ceremony Sessions with parallel tracks
Indian Time Band 07:00-10:00 Sessions with parallel tracks Keynote Sessions with parallel tracks Sessions with parallel tracks Sessions with parallel tracks
"Almost-All" Time Band 13:30-14:30 Special Event Special Event Special Event Special Event Special Event
Atlantic Time Band 15:00-18:00 Sessions with parallel tracks Sessions with parallel tracks Keynote Sessions with parallel tracks Sessions with parallel tracks

We think there will be something for everyone in the main program of ICSE 2020, and something for everyone in the satellite events. We’ll post more details as we get closer. Meanwhile, check out the registration rates on our Registration page. ICSE 2020 is very affordable. In fact, at these rates, you can probably afford to “send” all of your students, or colleagues, or employees, to ICSE 2020.

We hope to “see” all of you there.

Gregg Rothermel and Doo-Hwan Bae, General co-Chairs.
Jane Cleland-Huang and Darko Marinov, Program co-Chairs.
Crista Lopes, Virtualization Chair.

May 29, 2020