VL/HCC 2012


Graduate Consortium

Recent advances in computing have led to continually deeper integration between computers and human society. People now swim in a "sea" of socio-technical systems that synthesize large numbers of contributing users with vast amounts of source code. Examples include social media systems, open source repositories, online marketplaces and massively multiplayer online games.

Yet as the socio-technical systems in this sea have grown in complexity, their underlying computation has become increasingly difficult for people to express, manipulate, and understand. For example, when users put data into a system, they may be unable to anticipate and control how their data will be used by other people or by software in the system. As another example, when software developers create a new system that is designed to be secure, it is difficult for them to foresee all the ways that attackers will try to compromise that system. These problems are complicated by the fact that a system's software often contains defects and that different users or agents simultaneously might take actions toward differing goals. With this support, the research community has provided numerous methods, models and tools to help end users express, manipulate, and understand socio-technical systems. At an even deeper level, other research aims to develop new theories sufficient for understanding the complicated, unstable, sometimes-emergent behavior that results when large numbers of diverse, unpredictable humans are coupled to unreliable software.

The goal of the 2012 VL/HCC graduate consortium is to advance knowledge and understanding of solutions to these problems. This year, we are seeking a broad variety of submissions within the scope of the VL/HCC conference.

Why you should participate

  • Present your work to a smaller, more attentive audience before the conference
  • Get detailed, critical, constructive feedback from a diverse panel of experts
  • Meet other students working on similar problems prior to the main conference
  • Compete for NSF funding, to help cover your cost of attending VL/HCC

NSF funding has been granted to support student travel. All students are eligible to receive this funding, regardless of location or nationality.

Who Can Participate

The consortium is open to both master’s and PhD students worldwide. Participation is particularly encouraged from PhD students who are close to proposing a thesis, as well as from members of groups identified by NSF as underrepresented in the sciences and engineering. If multiple applicants from a particular university apply for the consortium this year, then no more than two per university will be selected to participate. To be eligible, each applicant may have participated no more than once in the VL/HCC graduate consortia of past years.

Application Process

Email the following items with VLGC2012 in the subject line to Andrew Fish ‹ Andrew.fish@brighton.ac.uk›:

  • A 2-page research abstract, formatted as a PDF in the standard IEEE Conference Proceedings format. NOTE Accepted participants’ abstracts will be included in the conference proceedings. To make it easier for you to write a successful abstract, we provide examples from past years below.
  • Your curriculum vita (CV), as a second PDF file. This CV should mention whether you have previously participated in any graduate consortia at any conferences.
  • A letter of recommendation sent directly by your thesis advisor. This letter should summarize your accomplishments and describe how far along you are in your master’s or PhD program. In addition, if you are a member of a group designated by NSF as underrepresented, then the letter may mention this fact.

Selection Process

For one-third of the slots, students who have participated once before will be given priority. The remaining slots will be given to students who are new to the event. Each student from the returning group will be linked with new students in a mentoring arrangement. See Who Can Participate above for additional selection criteria.


Selected students will be asked to present their work at a poster session during the main conference. Details will be provided to accepted applicants.

Travel Support

NSF has granted funding to support participation, including:

  • Full conference registration
  • Travel stipend ($1000 for students traveling from the US, $400 from elsewhere)
  • Shared hotel room for full VLHCC conference
  • Dinner and lunch during the graduate consortium


The consortium event will be a full day the Sunday before the main conference. All participating students are expected to attend the main conference. Other conference attendees are invited to attend the consortium, to listen to the presentations, to interact with participants, and to give feedback to presenters. More details will be provided, including times and locations.

Examples of Successful Graduate Consortium Applications

To be successful, a submission to VL/HCC Graduate Consortia generally has to have the following parts:

  1. The paper starts with a sentence or two that describes a real-world setting.
  2. It then identifies a problem in that setting.
  3. The remainder of the paper's introduction outlines an approach for solving that problem.
  4. In a subsequent section, the paper describes a prototype or preliminary study showing the feasibility of that approach.
  5. The paper explains why more work is still required in addition to this prior work.
  6. The paper concludes by describing future work that will build on this prior work in order to finish completing the approach.
  7. Somewhere along the way, the paper explains how the approach builds on, or differs from, other related work.

We have annotated three excellent submissions that exemplify the pattern described above. We hope that you will find these examples thought-provoking and helpful as you design your own submission this year.

Panel Members and Organizers


Updated on May 22nd, 2012 | §Permalink