conferences often have higher citation indices and greater venue impact compared to related computing journals.3,4 The importance of conference publications within this community is consistent with a 2011 NRC report, A Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States,5 which indicates that “for the field of computer science, refereed conference papers are an important form of scholarship.”

In this report, conferences are the preferred venue over journals for the computer science-focused areas described in Sections F.1.3F.1.6 for several reasons. First, these conferences tend to have a much shorter time from submission to publication than journals in the area, resulting in the most recent, significant innovations appearing at the conferences first.6 Second, conferences provide a larger sample size than journals of highly recognized recent top-quality research. Third, the conferences identified by the committee often have more focused research interests compared to journals that would publish related (albeit less recent and possibly less regarded), but broader works.7

For example, in advanced architecture research, relevant to the challenges described in Chapter 1, architecture papers appear in a wider range of journals that include more than just computer architecture (e.g., IEEE Transactions on Computers, ACM Transactions on Computer Systems, and IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems). Achieving the same level of topical focus would require disaggregation of the journal data on a paper-by-paper basis. This is simply not feasible for the wide range of conferences selected and papers analyzed for this report. Thus, analysis of conference papers allows a more focused assessment of the research areas identified by the committee as critical for sustaining computing performance and the shift to multicore processors, as opposed to computer science generally.

Similar to prestigious journals, premier conferences in each of the targeted hardware, architecture, and software research areas are highly competitive and conference submissions are rigorously peer-reviewed. Conferences are also competitive publishing venues because representation is professionally beneficial. Conferences provide an opportunity for researchers to share new research, to learn from others, and to gain exposure to recent and significant research efforts.8,9

F.1.2 Determination of a Nation’s Paper Contributions at Conferences

As a proxy indicator for a nation’s technology-specific research capabilities, the committee analyzed the weighted distribution of authors for research papers given at the conferences listed and described in Sections F.1.3F.1.6. To do this, the committee noted the home nation for each author (defined as the geographic location of that author’s affiliation listed on each paper’s title page) and computed each nation’s weighted authorship contribution to each conference paper. It is important to note that this analysis does not distinguish between a U.S.-based author who is a U.S. citizen and a U.S.-based author who is not a U.S. citizen (and may eventually return to his or her home country), which may, in some cases, diminish a nation’s research representation at the sampled conferences.10


3It is worth noting that industry participation in these conferences may be limited by the demise of central research labs, less emphasis on outside presentations and publications, and reluctance to report on the most important research that companies are performing.

4As one example, CiteSeer, which keeps statistics about computer science publications, reports a venue impact of 0.14, 0.08, and 0.6 for three architecture research conferences analyzed in this report (High-Performance Computer Architecture, International Symposium on Computer Architecture, and the International Symposium on Microarchitecture, respectively) compared to 0.02 and 0.01 for two related architecture research journals: IEEE Transactions on Computers and IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, respectively. See Last accessed on August 15, 2012.

5NRC, 2011, A Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States, Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press (available online at

6This is particularly relevant to the analysis of recent conference papers in Appendix F.2.

7One exception of a journal that is equally regarded with a similarly themed premier conference is the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits (JSSC). JSSC publishes approximately 200 papers per year, with the papers typically being 10-15 pages long. By comparison, the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) typically publishes the same number of papers, but each paper is 3 pages long. As both venues are highly regarded and may represent a similar sample of annual papers, a more in-depth analysis of contributions in this area would benefit by addressing both ISSCC and JSSC.

8David Patterson, Lawrence Snyder, and Jeffrey Ullman, 1999, “Best Practices Memo: Evaluating Computer Scientists and Engineers for Promotion and Tenure” in Computing Research News, June. Available at Last accessed on August 15, 2012.

9NRC, 1994, Academic Careers for Experimental Computer Scientists and Engineers, Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press (available online at

102010 National Science Foundation data show that the share of non-U.S. citizens receiving U.S. doctoral degrees in natural sci-

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