Dear attendees,

We are looking forward to welcoming you to the first-ever virtual ISCA! We believe the ecosystem we have put together will allow you to get the maximum out of this worldwide event. Here we would like to tell you a little about how things will work out.

Event Schedule: Main track events will take place at three different time slots each day, Monday through Wednesday (June 1–3). (We are still working out the details of workshops and tutorials.)

  • The “global slot” is 10 AM – noon New York time (UTC-4). This slot will host live keynote presentations, the new industry track session, the SIGARCH/TCCA business meeting, and the awards ceremony. We have picked this time slot so that it can be attended by the majority of the world during waking hours (7 AM – 9 AM San Francisco time; 4PM – 6 PM Brussels time; 10 PM – midnight Beijing time). All events will be recorded for those who miss them.
  • The “technical slots” are noon – 2:30 PM New York time (UTC-4), and 8 PM — 10:15 PM New York time (UTC-4). These will host the paper sessions, as well as mini-panels (see below). Unfortunately, Slot 1 is not ideal in many parts of Asia, whereas Slot 2 is not best for Europeans. Do no fret, however, as we have a plan for this—please keep reading.

Technical Sessions: All technical sessions will comprise three components:

  1. A prerecorded presentation of the talk will be available a full week beforehand, as will the full papers. Therefore, attendees will have a chance to go over the program and watch the talks that interest them.
  2. A Q&A forum and a discussion board, also available a full week in advance. In the Q&A forum, attendees may pose questions to speakers, read what other questions are being asked, and upvote the ones they like. In the discussion board, attendees can debate the work in free form throughout the conference.
  3. A live Q&A session will take place during the assigned time slot, with the speaker present via video webinar. The speaker will give a live recap (up to four minutes) of the talk, and then answer questions from the Q&A forum, generally by popularity (number of attendee votes). This session will be recorded, and it will remain available to watch for those who may have missed the live event.

Mini-Panel "Coffee Breaks": What could be better than a controversial panel on a hot research topic? How about a dozen panels? We have put together thirty-minute mini-panels, two at the end of each technical session. Their goal is to seed community discussion on topics that were "hot" among this year's paper submissions. These will be broadcast live as well, and the interaction with each panel will be through its own Q&A forum and discussion board. will be typically Program Committee members, and each panel has been given latitude to self-organize.

Discussion Boards: As you may have noticed, every event has an associated discussion board (this is an obvious nod to our ASPLOS 2020 colleagues). Attendees will have access to all discussion boards from a week before the event through at least the end of June. Importantly, attendees will be able to form their own discussion boards. (This includes a discussion board about job opportunities.) We recognize that this may lead to a myriad of them, but we'd rather err on the side of letting attendees take discussions wherever they want. Think about it as zig-zagging around groups of people chatting during coffee breaks, trying to find one that looks interesting to you.

One-on-One Contact: The platform allows all attendees to fill out a "virtual business card" (this includes a LinkedIn profile, which can optionally be used to log into the platform), and to share it with others. It also makes it easy to search for other listed attendees and to contact them.

Registration Cost: ACM/IEEE member registration is US $30; student and life members receive a 50% discount. Registration for non-members is USD $60 and USD $30, respectively. Although it may seem that the ideal registration cost for a virtual event is zero, we do not believe this is the case:

  • First, the event does cost money; a few examples: Program Committee meeting costs were about $12,000; virtual event software will run about $5,000; technical paper production and publication costs about $2,000; etc.
  • Second, we’d really like to keep trolls away, so that people genuinely interested in the conference can enjoy it. Think about it this way: Typical completion rate of a MOOC course is 5%; the other 95% either never show up or use up resources but ultimately drop the class. We believe the most effective way to accomplish this is to assign a dollar value to the event.
  • Third, we will consider requests for registration waivers on a case-by-case basis. However, for each attendee asking for a waiver we will require that the request be sent as a digital letter (PDF, JPG, PNG, etc.) with a university or company letterhead, explaining the circumstances.
  • Fourth, we are deferring all industry sponsorship funds for the organization of ISCA 2021, which will take place in... wait for it... Valencia, Spain (yesss!). (Sponsors will be acknowledged in both ISCA 2020 and ISCA 2021.)

We are actually very excited at the low registration cost—about 5% of the cost of attending a physical conference. This was possible in part by SIGARCH's and TCCA's generous support at a moment's notice. Our hope is that many more people will register to the conference as a result of its low cost (plus the savings from not having to travel). In particular, we are hoping that it will enable research groups to have every single student participate.

Availability of Technical Contributions: For the main track, we have negotiated with the IEEE Computer Society a very attractive dissemination plan that will ensure technical contributions are widely accessible:

  • All technical papers in the main track will generally be available worldwide for free download from May 22 to June 30. After that, they will be available through the ACM and the IEEE digital libraries (and, historically, the authors' web sites).
  • All prerecorded technical presentations and materials will be available behind the conference paywall from May 22 to June 30. After that, they will become available worldwide for free (unless the authors tell us otherwise).
  • Recorded live performances (keynotes, Q&A sessions, and mini-panels) will be made public worldwide after June 30 only if expressly requested by speakers.

We would like to reiterate our excitement at the prospect of welcoming you to ISCA 2020. We hope that this setup will prove engaging, and that it will encourage everyone to register and help us make this a truly unique event, by posing and voting on questions for all presenters, and by contributing to the mini-panels and discussion boards.

See you soon,

José Martínez and José Duato, General Co-chairs
Lieven Eeckhout, Program Chair