Author: Antoine Amarilli <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 2021 20:53:56 +0200
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+title: Climate change at EDBT/ICDT 2021
+The [2021 edition of EDBT/ICDT](https://edbticdt2021.cs.ucy.ac.cy/) took place
+online, and featured a session on climate change, the second one taking place at
+that conference. I chaired this session, and we had the pleasure of having
+[Benjamin Pierce](https://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/) ([University of
+Pennsylvania](https://www.upenn.edu/) and [Clowdr
+CIC](https://clowdr.org/about/)) as an outside guest.
+The session gathered up to 40 participants. It featured a
+that summarized the issue of climate change and the previous climate change
+session, as well as the
+[report](https://tcs4f.org/climate-crisis-and-edbticdt) written as a conclusion
+of that session. Then, we had a discussion featuring members of the community
+and Benjamin Pierce. Several topics came up during the discussion:
+- The **[TCS4F manifesto](https://tcs4f.org/)**, and whether EDBT/ICDT ought to
+ sign it
+- The question of **timezones** when organizing online conferences. There are no
+ straightforward solutions to this problem, but the switch to online
+ conferences encourages experimentation with the format, e.g., having very
+ short days or even a weekly meeting instead of contiguous full days.
+- The impact of online conferences on **networking for early-career
+ researchers**. There are no easy answers here, but online conferences also
+ make it possible for more people to attend, including people that would not
+ have otherwise had the funding or the opportunity to travel. There is a
+ [post on the SIGPLAN
+ about that topic.
+- The **right format to adopt** for conferences in the future, including the
+ options of merging conferences, splitting them up geographically,
+ thematically, etc. About this, there
+ is again a [relevant post on the SIGPLAN blog](https://blog.sigplan.org/2021/03/16/sigplan-and-climate-change-a-look-back-and-a-look-forward/)
+- The (mostly one-time) **cost** of adjusting to a new model
+- The **impact on climate change** that our community can have, in addition to
+ flying less (when it becomes possible again). About this, Benjamin Pierce
+ pointed out the [paper](https://arxiv.org/abs/1906.05433) outlining how
+ machine learning research can help address climate change issue.
+- The **need for statistics** to understand how people engage with online
+ conferences, including how many participants actually attended sessions etc.
+- (In follow-up discussion:) the question of **estimating the carbon footprint
+ of trips avoided** thanks to the switch to an online conference.
+- The challenges in **giving a social aspect** to online conferences, which are
+ the topic of ongoing research, and are being addressed by Benjamin Pierce's
+ [Clowdr](https://clowdr.org/) platform.
+- The **format of hybrid conferences**, and the fact (pointed out by Benjamin
+ Pierce) that once conferences stop being fully online by necessity then they
+ will have to be hybrid by necessity, for several months if not years.
+- The switch at SIGPLAN to the
+ **[PACM](https://www.acm.org/publications/pacm/introducing-pacm) series** for
+ proceedings, to decouple the conference publication (similar to a journal
+ publication) from the fact of going to the conference itself. This is used
+ by almost all SIGPLAN conferences.
+The session concluded with a poll to gauge the opinion of the people present. At
+that stage of the session, there were only 16-21 people voting, so this is only
+informative. We asked:
+- **Do you agree that EDBT/ICDT should adapt its practices (post-COVID) to
+ mitigate climate change?**
+ - 15 answered yes, 4 were unsure, no one answered no
+- **Do you believe that EDBT/ICDT should commit to the IPCC goals of reducing our
+ emissions by at least 50% before 2030 (relative to pre-2020 levels)?**
+ - 10 answered yes, 6 were unsure, 1 answered no
+- **Should EDBT/ICDT authors be guaranteed that they do not have to physically
+ travel to the conference (if they cannot or do not want to)?**
+ - 11 answered yes, 3 were unsure, 2 answered no
+- **Would you personally be ready, in future years, to only physically travel to
+ EDBT/ICDT every other year (and reduce your emissions by 50%)?**
+ - 12 answered yes, 7 were unsure, 2 answered no
+- **What is your preferred model for EDBT/ICDT in the (post-COVID) future?**
+ - 15 preferred an on-site conference every year but with high-quality
+ remote participation
+ - 3 preferred an online conference every year, but with one or many attractive "hubs"
+ - 2 preferred to alternate between on-site and online
+ - no one wanted to return to business as usual, or to move to "something
+Let's continue this discussion about the future of the conference model, in the
+hope that going forward we can adjust to a sustainable model that serves the
+goals of our community!