Open Until August 31
Lightning Talks


Technical Program


The OOPSLA technical program has some familiar events and some new ones. As usual there will be Invited Speakers, Technical Papers, Onward!, Panels, Practitioner Reports, and Tutorials—and in addition we will have Essays and Lightning Talks.

To contribute to the Technical Program please read the Call for Papers.

Technical Papers

Technical papers will remain at their traditional high standard for research quality. A single program committee will review all technical submissions. An author can choose to submit either a research paper, an essay, or an Onward! paper. Each submission will be peer-reviewed, and accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings. Papers in each of these categories will be judged by criteria suitable to them. This way the technical program can provide the widest possible means to contribute to the field.

The Program Committee

The committee is broken into focus areas, such as theory, implementation, patterns, essays, and Onward!. A reviewer can be in several focus areas. Each group is encouraged to discuss and come to conclusions about the papers in their area before the program committee meeting. A focus group can use subreviewers as is the current custom.

The program committee reviews all research papers, all Onward! papers and presentations, and all essays.


To avoid papers being rejected for having small flaws, a shepherding process is used. A paper is shepherded if it is agreed at the program committee meeting that it would be acceptable with small revisions, and both a shepherd and an anonymous 2-person review subcommittee volunteer to execute the process. The author or authors are informed that the paper has been rejected, but might be accepted after a brief shepherding process. The shepherd works with the author(s) to make the suggested changes. The revision period is two weeks. The shepherd's communication with the author(s) are forwarded to the 2-person review committee. At the end of the period, the shepherd informs the subcommittee of the results of the process and forwards the revised paper. The subcommittee determines whether the changes satisfy the requirements of the full committee. The paper is accepted only if a new version of the paper is submitted and both reviewers agree that it should be accepted.

Paper Review Criteria

All submitted papers are reviewed according to these criteria:

  • Technical contribution—how substantial is the contribution
  • Novelty—how novel or innovative are the ideas
  • Substantiation—how well substantiated is the contribution (e.g., proof supplied, implementation completed and tested, experiments performed according to accepted methods)
  • Presentation—how clearly written and presented is the material
  • Argument—how compelling or well-made are the arguments in the paper
  • Art/Craft—how well does the paper demonstrate, describe, or promote excellence of artistry or craft in architecture, design, implementation, methodology, or documentation

The program committee focus areas determine how much to value each of these criteria; for example, technical papers in the past have valued technical contribution and substantiation about the same, with a lesser concern for the presentation, and little consideration for the argument or art/craft. The focus area of essays will likely value the presentation and argument above all else, and Onward! will value novelty most highly.

All the reviews comment on these criteria, and a cover letter is sent to the authors explaining what each focus area valued and their selection criteria.

In all cases, the reviews of submissions are of suitable rigor to satisfy academic standards—it's just that some of those academic standards are appropriate to computer science, others to philosophy departments, and others to anthropologists, as examples. The idea is to use all means available to move forward the art, craft, science, and mathematics of programming, systems, languages, and applications.

Research Papers

Research papers present the regular, ongoing research results of the field. As such, research papers describe substantiated new research or novel technical results, advance the state of the art, or report on significant experience or experimentation. In past years, the technical program paper sessions have consisted entirely of research papers.

Each research paper will be afforded a 30-minute speaking slot and allocated about 20 pages in the proceedings.


Onward! presents technical papers describing new paradigms or metaphors in computing, new thinking about objects, new framings of computational problems or systems, and new technologies. Papers in Onward! aren’t aimed at advancing the state of the art—they're aimed, instead, at altering or redefining the art by proposing a leap forward—or sideways—for computing. An Onward! Track paper need not contain a fully worked out theory or implemented system, but must be well thought out, well-written, and compelling in its vision or uniqueness of thinking.

The Onward! track consists of papers, presentations, panels, invited talks, a keynote, a session on Breakthrough Ideas, and a film festival. A paper is peer-reviewed to a high standard, and as such represents a serious contribution to the furthest forefront of the field. A presentation is an approach, an idea, a possible new paradigm, or a possible new metaphor that is well-thought-out enough to be presented but perhaps is not ready for full peer review.

Each Onward! paper and presentation will be afforded a 45-minute speaking slot. A paper will be allocated about 20 pages in the proceedings, while a presentation will be allocated 4 pages in the Companion.

The Breakthrough Ideas session is a set of about twenty short ideas for changing the way we program or use computers, how we view computation, and how we balance order and chaos. These will be solicited by the Onward! program chair, and published in a separate publication. A Breakthrough Idea presentation is 5-minutes long and its companion micro-essay is 250 words long; the micro-essays will be published in a venue to be determined.

As we've learned from past Onward!s, some ideas are not suitable for standard slideware and talking-head presentation. This year we are inaugurating a film festival for those ideas, concepts, insights, and oddities that require a more thoroughly multi-media presentation. Films are solicited by the Onward! chair, and unsolicited submissions are accepted by the Onward! program committee. Each film will be screened during the conference with a special back-to-back screening of all the films one evening—probably very late.


Some ideas are the result of research and others of reflection. Sometimes it takes someone sitting down and just thinking about how things are connected, what a result really means, and how the world really is. Some of the most impressive products of civilization are its essays—philosophy, for example, is reflection captured in essays. An essay presents a personal view of what is, explores a terrain, or leads the reader in an act of discovery. Some contributions to computing come in the form of philosophical digressions or deep analysis. An essay captures all these—one at a time or all at once.

Each essay will be afforded a 45-minute speaking slot and allocated about 20 pages in the proceedings.

Lightning Talks

A Lightning Talk is a 5 minute presentation on any topic of interest to the OOPSLA community; it can be a new idea, technology, an evaluation, an observation, a complaint, an explanation, a suggestion, a report of success or failure, a call to action, a description of a technique, or a lament.

Lightning Talks will be afforded a 5-minute speaking slot and published in the Companion (limited to 250 words—longer submissions will be edited to that length by the Program Committee).

Practitioner Reports

Practitioner Reports focus on software and software development in actual practice. These reports provide the opportunity for practitioners to report on their experiences, and for researchers to present case studies of practice. Reports may concern software systems themselves, or the development process and related issues. Approaches of perennial interest include how new concepts are actually used in real projects, and how practice requires coming up with novel ideas. This year, we particularly encourage reports that focus on application software, presenting motivation, resulting design, and perspectives on the application in practice.

Related Reading

Some of the reasoning behind the changes to OOPSLA can be found in this essay. A guide to successful submissions to OOPSLA can be found in this essay.