Doctoral Symposium July 2 DeadlineDoctoral Symposium Call for Participation

Submission Deadline July 2, 2008
Notifications August 1, 2008
Deadline for camera-ready copy August 14, 2008
Symposium Date October 20, 2008
Submission link (Proposers only) Submission System
Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


The OOPSLA 2008 Doctoral Symposium provides useful guidance for the completion of the dissertation research and initiation of a research career. The symposium consists of a dinner on October 19, followed by a full-day workshop on October 20. The Symposium will provide an interactive forum for doctoral students in one of two phases in their doctoral progress, Apprentices and Proposers:

Apprentices are students who are relatively new to research, are not ready to actually make a thesis proposal, but are interested in learning about structuring research and getting some research ideas. Apprentices serve as observers during the symposium, can attend the symposium dinner, and will participate in providing feedback to the Proposers.

Proposers are students who have progressed far enough in their research to have some preliminary results and a thesis proposal, but have enough time before graduating to incorporate the advice and suggestions discussed in the symposium. Accordingly, doctoral students who have advanced to candidacy but are at least one year away from dissertation completion are invited to apply as Proposers. At the workshop, each Proposer will give both a short "elevator talk" and a longer research presentation. Students accepted as Proposers are eligible for reimbursement of conference-related expenses up to $1000.

Acceptance Criteria

Candidates for Proposers will be evaluated on two main criteria. First, a proposal will be judged according to traditional standards for research merit. Is the problem well motivated? Is the proposed solution novel and technically sound? Will the solution be properly evaluated? What is the potential impact of the research if successful?

Second, a proposal will be judged according to the potential impact of the Doctoral Symposium on the candidate and the research. The candidate must demonstrate that there is substantial intellectual work remaining, which can benefit from the guidance of the Doctoral Symposium. A concrete description of this remaining work along with a timeline for finishing the dissertation are required for Proposers.

There are several additional ways in which potential benefit of the Doctoral Symposium can be exhibited, and proposals should make these clear. For example:

  • The candidate lacks local expertise or resources in the particular research area.
  • The candidate requires guidance on which of multiple possible directions to take the research to complete the dissertation.
  • The candidate is unsure how best to evaluate the research.

Finally, the committee will take into account considerations of diversity when choosing candidates.

Submission Process

To be considered as an Apprentice, you must send email directly to the track chair, providing name and contact information for you and your advisor. Further, your advisor must send a letter of recommendation directly to the track chair by July 2, 2008. Up to four Apprentices will be chosen.

To apply as a Proposer, please submit a two-page description of your dissertation research, keeping in mind the acceptance criteria above. Submissions must be in ACM SIGPLAN 10 point format. Templates for Word and LaTeX are available here. Electronic submission of proposals is required through the OOPSLA submission system. Additionally, your advisor must send a brief statement of your dissertation progress to date and a statement of recommendation directly to the track chair by July 2, 2008. Up to eight Proposers will be selected. Proposers are expected to attend the symposium dinner and to participate in the workshop for the entire day.

Symposium Details

At the workshop, Proposers will present both of the following:

  • a 20-minute description of their research, which should address all of the following issues:
    • Thesis: What is the thesis that the dissertation advances?
    • Motivation and Goals: What is the overall research vision? Why is it important?
    • Technical Problems: What particular problem(s) within this vision are you solving? What makes these problems interesting and challenging?
    • Technical Approach: What are the key ideas and insights underlying your solution(s)? What artifacts are you producing to illustrate your solution? How will you evaluate and validate your results? What is the current status, and what remains to be done?
    • Related Work: How does your approach advance the state of the art?
    • Questions: What questions do you have for the panelists and other participants, to help you with your research?
  • a two-minute overview (the elevator talk) of the above, focusing on the high-level motivation and approach rather than the low-level technical details

Each symposium Proposer will have a two-page paper published in the OOPSLA Companion. Proposers are strongly advised to also have a poster at the OOPSLA Poster session and to participate in the ACM Student Research Competition. These venues provide students with an opportunity for additional feedback and suggestions on their dissertation work, contacts for further interaction, and experience in communicating with other professionals.

For More Information

For additional information, clarification, or questions, please contact the Doctoral Symposium Chair, Todd Millstein, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The Doctoral Symposium Committee