On behalf of the program committee, it is my pleasure to present the program of the 2017 ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications!
Originally focused on object-oriented programming, OOPSLA has grown in scope to include programming languages, tools, and techniques in multiple paradigms that address the diverse challenges of modern software development.
It was my goal to form a program committee that had both deep knowledge of the field and a diversity of backgrounds in research, demographics, seniority, geography, and career paths. I used Frank Tip’s PC-miner tool in conjunction with personal contacts and recommendations to identify a pool of highly-qualified candidates that met concrete criteria for research expertise and area match. The PC was selected from this pool with the approval of the OOPSLA steering committee. I was truly impressed by the level of expertise and dedication that the PC brought to the reviewing process, which I believe is reflected in the program they selected.
This year’s committee recognizes in particular the important contributions of women in our field, with 50% female representation (excluding myself as the chair). That recognition in fact extends to SPLASH 2017 as a whole, where two of three keynotes are given by women. We still have much work to do, and conversations about gender balance in service roles will continue; we must be careful to avoid overburdening any segment of our community. However, I believe that highlighting role models at OOPSLA can make our community more welcoming and encouraging to underrepresented populations, and points to a future in which equal representation can become the norm rather than the exception.
After passing an initial viability scan, every paper received 3 reviews, and decisions were made in a consensus process. We looked for papers that a PC or EPC member would advocate for in terms of significance and novelty, and that provided sufficient evidence for making a solid contribution to science. Papers conditionally accepted in the first round of review were revised by authors, and then all papers were reviewed a second time to verify that any minor flaws identified in the first round were fixed. Doug Lea, the OOPSLA 2000 PC chair, led the discussion of papers with which I had a conflict of interest.
The PC accepted 66 of the 223 submitted papers (29.6%), well within the historical range of OOPSLA acceptance rates. In my view, it reflects a community that holds high standards, yet—in the very best of OOPSLA traditions—is open to a broad range of ideas and contributions.
We also had an excellent external program committee (EPC), whose expertise added to the PC’s and allowed us to obtain a high-confidence, expert review for nearly all submitted papers. The EPC reviewed all papers submitted by PC members. SIGPLAN policy states that papers submitted by program committee members should be held to a higher standard in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety. We implemented this by requiring the EPC to have a higher degree of confidence that a PC paper meets the quality bar than we would require for a non-PC paper. In the end, we accepted 4 of 10 PC submissions.
This is the first year in which OOPSLA papers appear in an issue of the Proceed- ings of the ACM on Programming Languages (PACMPL). OOPSLA has followed a journal-quality, 2-phase reviewing process for several years now. I am delighted that this year’s papers are now appearing in an actual journal, due to hard work by the steering committee of OOPSLA and other conferences, SIGPLAN and ACM leadership, and perhaps especially the efforts of OOPSLA’s past steering committee chair Cristina Lopes, who has been a strong advocate for this change.
One of my personal goals was to make the OOPSLA 2017 program freely available for all to read at the site of record: the ACM digital library. I worked with the OOPSLA steering committee and the PACMPL board to write a proposal to the ACM publications board, and I am thrilled that they agreed that not only OOPSLA, but all PACMPL papers would be open access in perpetuity. I especially thank SIGPLAN for paying the publication fees for authors who were not able to cover this, the ACM publications board for offering us a significant discount on the usual fee, and SIGPLAN leaders such as Jan Vitek and Michael Hicks who led initiatives and surveys that laid the groundwork for PACMPL’s open access.
It has been both a privilege and a pleasure to serve as program chair. The OOPSLA 2017 program is a product of the authors who wrote papers encapsulating the best research in our field, and the dedicated PC and external PC members who ensured the program meets the very highest standard of quality. I thank them for their hard work and inspiration. I also thank Gail Murphy, the general chair of SPLASH, who has been the best of partners in putting together a vibrant event.
Once again, welcome to OOPSLA, and enjoy the program!
Carnegie Mellon University
OOPSLA 2017 Program Chair
Principal Editor of PACMPL Volume 1, Issue OOPSLA