Organising a Successful Online AI Conference: Lessons from SoCS 2020

Daniel Harabor, Mauro Vallati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The 13th Symposium on Combinatorial Search (SoCS) was held May 26–28, 2020. Originally scheduled to take place in Vienna, Austria, the symposium pivoted toward a fully online technical program in early March. As an in-person event SoCS offers participants a diverse array of scholarly activities including technical talks (long and short), poster sessions, plenary sessions, a community meeting and, new for 2020, a Master Class tutorial program. This paper describes challenges, approaches and opportunities associated with adapting these many different activities to the online setting. We consider issues such as scheduling, dissemination, attendee interaction and community engagement before, during and after the event. We report on the approaches taken by SoCS in each case, we give a post-hoc analysis of their their effectiveness and we discuss how these decisions continue to impact the SoCS community in the days after SoCS 2020. This work will be of interest to organisers of similar conferences who may be considering the switch to an online format.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAI Magazine
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Oct 2020

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