NIPS 2018 Workshops FAQ

(Document updated: Sept. 6, 2018)

Friday December 7 and Saturday December 8, 2018

Palais des Congrès de Montréal, Montréal CANADA

Where are the accepted workshops listed?

I want to edit the organizers, abstract or schedule for my workshop. How do I do this?

  1. Under the Calls menu on, visit Workshop Application. (If you have multiple applications, you will need to select one of them.)
  2. You may change your application as often as needed during the meeting including changing or re-ordering the organizers and updating the abstract. These changes should automatically reflect in the online schedule, the Workshop PDF download, (and in the moble application with some delay once it's released). 
  3. On the first page of your workshop application where you set the Title, there is a button in the lower right that lets you edit the schedule of your workshop. Be sure to watch the amaturish Video tutorial for the schedule editor.
  4. After you edit your workshop abstracts, organizers, or schedule, you may want to verify that it looks okay in the program.  Click here (may take up to 30 secdonds). 

I'm putting out a call for papers for my workshop: any recommended deadlines?

Yes, by all means. Please aim to send accept/reject notifications 6 weeks before the conference begins, ideally on Monday October 29. The reason for this many speakers and presenters will require a visa to come to Montreal, and people will also need to make travel arrangements in advance.

We also ask you to please add your final list of workshop speakers in the workshop schedule by Monday November 12. This will allow us to make available the limited pool of reserve tickets for each workshop, so the speakers who have not yet been able to register to NIPS can do so.

What schedule guidelines should I follow? Are there common coffee breaks, start/end times?

We're not enforcing a common schedule, but there will be coffee served at 10:30am and at 3pm.  Here's the typical recommended schedule for workshops:

7 - 8:30 am: There will be NO coffee served early morning.

8:30 am: Typical workshop start time

10:30 - 11:00 am: Coffee break (mornig)

12 - 2 pm Lunch on your own

3 - 3:30 pm: Coffee break (afternoon)

6:30 - 10:30 pm on Saturday closing banquet

Some of my invited speakers need visa letters, how do I get them one?

Edit the scheudle as metioned above using the button on the first page of you workshop application. It's important that you have your invited participants listed in the schedule editor using their account email; this ensures that their visa letter of invitation is correctly annotated with their presentation in your workshop. Doing this early and correctly will help your participants get a visa letter as they register. Only paid registrants can get an invitation letter.

What happens if the meeting sells out before I confirm all my workshop presenters?

Presenters who are entered correctly in the schedule editor get access to a reserve pool of tickets. The workshops will fill the venue to capacity. Please keep the number of presenters to a reasonable number of about 20. 

Given NIPS sold out in record time (under 12 minutes), many organizers, invited speakers and contributed speakers do not have, at the moment, a ticket for NIPS. To address this, we have set aside a pool of reserved tickets we will allocate to each workshop, and which will be managed by workshop organizers.

Will NIPS provide funding for the speakers in my workshop?

NIPS does not provide travel funding for workshop speakers. In the past, some workshops have sought and received funding from external sources to bring in outside speakers. Any outside funding must be handled intependently of NIPS. 

NIPS provides 4 complimentary tickets to the organizers of each workshop. These may be given to anyone including yourself, your students, or your presnters. Once the comps are given, any conference fees the recipient has paid are refunded. For that reason, they cannot be retracted once given. You may assign these comp tickets on the first page of your application using the button in the lower left. These tickets are not subject to the sellout; consider waiting until a few days before the conference to use them in case the reserve tickets are gone and you still need to get someone in to present at your workshop. You may apply your comps for up to 3 weeks after the meeting. 

I want to swap the day of my workshop, how do I do this?

Please reach out to organizers of workshops on the day you want to change to, and see if they would be happy to swap. If you do reach an agreement, please reach out to us before finalizing the decision so this can be reflected correctly in the schedule.

Publicizing your workshop 

When publicizing your workshop or competition, you may mention the hashtag #NIPS2018

What was the selection process for the 2018 NIPS Workshops?


NIPS 2018 Workshops Review And Selection Process


We received 114 workshop applications in 2018, and we were only able to accept 39 because of space constraints in Montreal.

A Workshops Program Committee (PC) with 9 members (listed at the bottom of was formed, and every workshop proposal was reviewed by 2 PC members.  PC members assigned scores to each submission along the 9 dimensions made public on the Call for Proposals (  The scores were mean-normalized for every PC member, and the two normalized scores assigned to every proposal were added up to form the final score.

Workshops were ranked by final score.  The PC met for a total of 4 hours (in two sessions), where most of the discussion was focused on the proposals with mid-range scores.  For specific areas where there was more than 1 strong submission, an “asymmetric merge” process was adopted: the strongest submission as judged by the PC was accepted, and the organizers of the accepted proposal were encouraged by the Co-Chairs to reach out to the organizers of closely related strong submissions that didn’t make the cut to offer to team up in order to build an even stronger workshop.  The "asymmetric merge" process was used for a small handful of cases.

Based on a final discussion with the PC, we identified a small group of proposals that were right at the accept boundary, and we conducted an additional round of reviews where the entire PC was invited to stack rank these proposals.

Where possible we tried to encourage diversity through asymmetric merges, and we did not give substantial weight to the prior history of a given workshop.  The philosophy behind this is that NIPS Workshops should be a cradle for emerging topics and people, and that if a workshop series “graduates” and spins off as its own conference series (like the Fairness, Accountability and Transparency seris for example), this is considered a success.

The Workshops Co-Chairs abstained from organizing any workshops this year, and they did not make any voting decision on any workshop they had any relation to. Two PC members are organizers of accepted workshops.  One PC member was a co-organizer of a workshop we discussed, and they withdrew themselves from the discussion.  Another PC member is a co-organizer of a workshop that was accepted, but they neither reviewed it nor were part of the discussion. 

Joaquin Quiñonero-Candela & Suchi Saria
NIPS*2018 Workshop Co-Chairs

Technical issues with workshop submission go to