Danielle Belgrave, Microsoft Research Cambridge, UK

Bob Williamson, Australian National University/ Data61

Tutorial Chairs, Organizing Committee NeurIPS 2020

The call for proposals for NeurIPS tutorials is up, with proposals due 17th June. This year, we the tutorial chairs, Danielle Belgrave and Bob Williamson, would like to share with you some of the changes we’re putting in place for 2020 as well as some tips on how to write a great tutorial proposal.

We listened to your feedback: Logistics and Content

Based on the feedback we received from last year’s tutorials, we decided to open up tutorials on both Sunday and Monday. There will be a total of 18 tutorials in all: 6 on Sunday 6th December and 12 on Monday 7th December. This arrangement was chosen for a number of reasons. The main reason was that, in the feedback from last year, many people stated that they would prefer tutorials to be spread out over 2 days so that they don’t clash with the affinity group meetings. We hope that by spreading tutorials out between the two days, more people will have the opportunity to attend tutorials of interest without missing out on attending affinity group workshops. We have also increased the number of tutorials based on demand and feedback. This change will allow us to feature a larger variety of topics by running tutorials in parallel. On the Monday of the conference, there will be 3 parallel sessions with 4 tutorials running per session.

In terms of content, we are encouraging more back-to-basics tutorials for people who want a grounding or a refresher in a particular topic. Additionally, we would love to see submissions of more practical, “hands-on”-style tutorials for people who want to dive into more implementation-focused content.

Now it’s your turn to help make NeurIPS tutorials a great forum for sharing knowledge! We plan to offer a combination of tutorials from speakers that the chairs will invite and tutorials proposed by the NeurIPS community. The chairs will ask 10 to 12 top presenters to give tutorials on specific topics of interest to the NeurIPS community. These will be accompanied by 6 tutorials selected from those submitted via the call for tutorials. This year, we will also explore remote presentations.. We will also ask those submitting proposals to indicate whether they would be willing to present their tutorial at a meetup, and presented virtually at the main conference. These tutorials will be streamed in the main conference.

You can find instructions for submission on the NeurIPS conference site.

Here are a few tips for submitting your proposal:

1. Choose a topic of interest or emerging interest

We welcome proposals for tutorials on either core machine-learning topics or topics of emerging importance for machine learning broadly construed. This year, we also encourage tutorials with a more hands-on, practical nature so that attendees can work on problems around algorithmic implementation in machine learning. We will consider any topic, provided that the proposal makes a strong argument that the tutorial is important for the NeurIPS community. Tutorials should be of interest to a substantial portion of the community and should represent a sufficiently mature area of research or practice.

2. Present from the perspective of the wider machine-learning community

A NeurIPS tutorial should not focus exclusively on the results or tools of the presenters or their organizations, and should be more reflective of the research within the wider machine-learning community. A tutorial should provide a balanced overview of an area of research. It should also provide a balance between known results and open problems.

3. State with clarity the goals and prior knowledge expected and learning outcomes

What are the objectives of the tutorial? What is the benefit to attendees? What are the expected learning outcomes (in terms of knowledge, skills and understanding)? Why is this tutorial important to include at NeurIPS? Tutorials can be pitched at a range of levels of expertise, but the target needs to be made explicit in the prior knowledge that is expected. It is also helpful to provide a clear and detailed outline. The tutorial is 2 hours in length, so think about what material will be presented during this time and also how the tutorial can be structured and presented in an engaging and informative manner.

4. Consider co-presenting with people with different levels of experience

We strongly encourage co-presenting of tutorials in general, but we also encourage people with different levels of seniority to co-present. Doing so can give people who are early-career researchers an opportunity to learn from more senior researchers and also give senior presenters an opportunity to mentor early-career researchers. It also adds a fresh perspective to the presentation of topics.

5. Consider whether the topic has been presented before in a similar fashion

We discourage tutorial topics that overlap heavily with tutorials presented at NeurIPS or ICML in the past few years. We also aim to select tutorial presenters who have not presented a tutorial or keynote at NeurIPS or ICML in the past five years. We believe that doing so will help to foster more diversity in the tutorial presentations and give others an opportunity to present.

6. Structure your tutorial proposal

Each accepted tutorial will be approximately two hours long. Proposals should be no more than five pages in the format described in the call for proposals.

Now over to you! We are looking forward to reading and reviewing your great tutorial proposals.

Best of luck!

Danielle Belgrave and Bob Williamson

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