This year, I’m on the program committee for IFL, the annual Symposium on Implementation and Application of Functional Languages. It’ll be held at Northeastern University in Boston this October, and the call for papers is open!

Unlike most academic PL venues, IFL uses a post-symposium review process. You have to submit a draft paper (or an extended abstract) by September 1 September 8, but those papers won’t be formally reviewed; the program chair (this year, it’s Sam Tobin-Hochstadt) will just check that they’re on-topic. All submissions that pass this lightweight screening are eligible to be presented in a talk at IFL.

Then, once the symposium is over, authors have the opportunity to submit a revised full article for the formal review process. The idea is that you can incorporate feedback from discussions held during the symposium into your paper. Those submissions will be reviewed in the standard way, and the program committee will choose papers for the published proceedings.

I really like the IFL model. If you have a cool idea to give a talk about, but you’re not sure it’s substantial enough for a full paper, IFL gives you a low-pressure venue for doing so. While at IFL, you can get in-person advice for how to flesh out your idea, instead of the usual impersonal review process. If, in the process of preparing your IFL talk and then talking about it with people at the symposium, you end up realizing that your idea is actually awesome, and you’d rather submit it to a big-name venue, you’re under no obligation to submit anything for the formal IFL review process. On the other hand, if you decide that you don’t want to move forward with your idea after all, then that’s fine, too; you can just be done with it. There’s no downside.

Incidentally, the IFL 2014 program committee might be the closest to a gender-balanced PC I’ve seen at a PL conference. If you submit a paper for the formal review process (and if there are three reviewers per paper, as is usually the case for these things), your paper is likely to be reviewed by a woman! It’s unlikely, but possible, that your paper will be reviewed by three women! In any case, it’s nice to not have to be The Token Woman on the committee. I don’t know if having a gender-balanced PC will affect the gender balance of submissions, but I’m pretty sure it can’t hurt.

So, please consider submitting a paper to IFL! I look forward to reading yours!

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