Community at Scale at RecSys 2018

3 min readSep 25, 2018


Since its inception, RecSys has been a place to build a community. What started with 117 people meeting in Minnesota in 2007 has grown to over 750 converging next week on Vancouver, BC for its 12th edition.

Our driving principle in planning RecSys 2018 has been to maintain that sense of community even as the numbers grow. We wanted to facilitate rich conversations among colleagues in a wide range of settings, experiences, and disciplines: industry and academia, human and algorithmic emphases, students and established scholars, and countries around the world that have been the hallmark of RecSys.

To that end, we’ve brought back the single-track format from the earlier days of the conference. This will make it possible for everyone to hear both the state of the art in new research and fresh perspectives from our industry speakers. The result will be fast-paced technical sessions interspersed with more reflective keynotes and our industry talks.

To encourage discussion and conversation, this year we are introducing poster lunches: each day, a different set of posters will be on display. This will provide a touchpoint for further discussing the presented work while also giving visibility to contributions from across the conference tracks and workshops. Each day’s lunch will highlight the day’s oral presentations and a selection of demos, in addition to that day’s featured tracks:

  • Wednesday will feature the short papers.
  • Thursday will showcase late-breaking results and the doctoral symposium students’ work.
  • Friday will be all about workshops: each workshop will have a poster, and some have selected featured papers for poster presentation during this day’s lunch.

We’re also adding workshop madness before the closing session on Friday. In this mini-session, workshop organizers will briefly explain the purpose and highlights of their workshops. Our goal here is to help people at the main conference be more aware of the great work and emerging topics in our strong workshop program, and the doctoral symposium poster session will enable the next generation of RecSys researchers connect to the broader community.

In addition to the traditional Best Paper award, as we grow we want to recognize more types of contributions, including those of our reviewers. This year we will award Best Long Paper, Best Short Paper, and Best Reviewer awards at the conference banquet overlooking the bay at the Vancouver Convention Center.

We have made efforts to ensure that everyone can be part of the RecSys community. Humberto Corona is serving as the first Inclusion & Accessibility Chair, working to make the community welcoming and approachable to everyone. It is our hope that this role will continue in future years.

Since 2014, RecSys has offered a platform where all conference attendees who identify as female can celebrate and connect with other women in the community, fostering diversity in RecSys. Thanks to the SIGCHI Development Fund Program for Internationalisation, Diversity and Inclusion Events, this year we have organized a Women in RecSys breakfast, which from now on will be part of RecSys’ main program.

We look forward to seeing you in Vancouver!
Michael Ekstrand & Sole Pera — General Chairs
John O’Donovan & Xavier Amatriain — Program Chairs

The 12th ACM Conference on Recommender Systems will take place in Vancouver, CA, 2nd-7th October 2018




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