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NeurIPS 2019 Call for Post-Conference Workshops

Friday, December 11 and Saturday, December 12, 2020
Vancouver Convention Center, Vancouver, Canada

Submit at:

Following the NeurIPS 2019 main conference, workshops on a variety of current topics will be held on Friday, December 13 and Saturday, December 14, 2019. We invite researchers interested in chairing one of these workshops to submit proposals. Workshop organizers have several responsibilities, including coordinating workshop participation and content, publicizing and providing the program in a timely manner, and moderating the program throughout the workshop.

With the rapid growth and interest in NeurIPS and its associated workshops, the competition for workshops has intensified. In order to attempt to mitigate confusion and anxiety regarding what is expected, the workshop chairs have agreed on the following guidance for proposals to hold a NeurIPS workshop in 2019. Organizers of workshop proposals should take care to respect every piece of guidance provided here, and to provide explicit answers to the questions implied throughout, as well as explicitly addressing the selection criteria listed below.


Workshop Goals

  1. Workshops provide an informal, cutting edge venue for discussion of work in progress and future directions. Good workshops have helped to crystallize common problems, explicitly contrast competing frameworks, and clarify essential questions for a subfield or application area. 

  2. Workshops are a structured means of bringing together people with common interests to form communities. Good workshops should include some form of community building.


Selection Criteria

  1. Degree to which the proposal is focused on an important and topical problem, and the degree to which it is expected that the community will find the workshop interesting, exciting, and valuable. 

  2. Intellectual excitement of the topic. Is it likely to break new ground, or merely reiterate tired, old debates?

  3. Diversity and inclusion, in all forms. (See expectations below.)

  4. Degree to which the proposed program offers opportunity for discussion.

  5. Quality of proposed invited speakers (including scientific pedigree and presentational ability). Workshop organizers are encouraged to confirm tentative interest from proposed invited speakers and mention this in their proposal.

  6. Degree to which the organizers have offered means to engage in the workshop for those unable to attend in person.

  7. Organizational experience and ability of the team.

  8. Other dimensions in the expectations not explicitly listed in these criteria.

  9. Points of difference. What makes this workshop enticingly different to the hundreds of NeurIPS workshops held previously?


Assessment Process 

The workshop chairs will appoint a number of reviewers who will provide written assessments of the proposals against the criteria listed above. Their reports will be considered by the workshop chairs who will jointly decide upon the selected workshops (subject to the notes on COIs listed below). The final decisions will be made by the workshop chairs via consensus and judgement; we will not simply add up scores assigned to the different criteria.


Hard Constraints/Workshop Requirements

  1. Global Notification Deadline Prior to October 1, 2019: By submitting a workshop proposal, workshop organizers commit to notifying those who submit contributions (including talks and posters) to their workshop of their acceptance status before October 1, 2019 to allow time for visa acquisition. A timeline should be included in the proposal that will allow for this. This deadline of October 1 will be published on the NeurIPS main web page and cannot be extended under any circumstances.

  2. Managing Chair and Reviewer Conflicts of Interest

    • Workshop chairs (Jenn, Marzyeh, Shakir, and Bob) cannot be organizers or give invited talks at any workshop, but can submit papers and give contributed talks.
    • Workshop reviewers cannot review any proposal on which they are listed as an organizer or invited speaker, and may not accept invitations to speak at any workshop they have reviewed after the workshop is accepted.
    • Workshop chairs and reviewers cannot review or shape acceptance decisions about workshops with organizers from within their organization. (For large corporations, this means anyone in the corporation world-wide.)
  3. Managing Organizer Conflicts of Interest

    • Workshop organizers cannot give talks at the workshops they organize. They can give a brief introduction to the workshop and/or act as a panel moderator.
    • Workshop organizers should state in their proposal how they will manage conflicts of interest in assessing submitted contributions. At a minimum, an organizer should not be involved in the assessment of a submission from someone within the same organization. 


Other Guidance and Expectations for Workshop Proposals 

  1. We encourage, and expect, diversity in the organizing team and speakers. This includes diversity of viewpoint and thinking regarding the topics discussed at the workshop, gender, race, affiliations, seniority, etc. If a workshop is part of a series, the organizer list should include people who have not organized in the past. Organizers should articulate howthey have addressed diversity in their proposal in each of these senses.

  2. Since the goal of the workshop is to generate discussion, sufficient time and structure needs to be included in the program for this. Proposals should explicitly articulate how they will encourage broad discussion. 

  3. Workshop proposals should list explicitly what the problems are they would like to see solved, or at least advances made, as part of their workshop. They should explain why these are important problems and how the holding of their proposed workshop will contribute to their solution.

  4. Workshops are not a venue for work that has been previously published in other conferences on machine learning or related fields. Work that is presented at the main NeurIPS conference should not appear in a workshop, including as part of an invited talk. Organizers should make this clear in their calls and explain in their proposal how they will discourage presentation of already finalized machine learning work.  (Presenting work that has been published in other fields is, however, encouraged!)

  5. We encourage workshop submissions of varying scopes. Organizers should state whether their workshops are meant to be large-attendance talk format, or small group presentations. Organizers should articulate what they hope to achieve from the format proposal beyond the talks listed.

  6. With the extraordinary growth of NeurIPS, and noting the finite capacity of venues and the impossibility of accurately predicting attendance, organizers should explain how they will provide access to the content of the workshop for those who cannot attend in person. This might include recording of talks, publishing short working papers or posters on the web, having a follow-up special issue of a journal, curating and maintaining a web page with a range of content, or other ideas.

  7. Workshops should allow for choice of attendance based on content. Good workshops will put talk titles up publicly prior to site publication and note the archival status of their submissions. Organizers should articulate how they will do this.

  8. Organizing a workshop is a complex task, and proposals should outline the organizational experience and skills of the proposed organizers (as a team). We encourage junior researchers to be involved in workshop organization, but prefer some collective experience in organizing a complex event.

  9. UPDATE: The vast majority of workshops will be scheduled for one day due to space constraints and the large number of proposals we expect to receive, but we will consider two-day workshops in special circumstances.  If you request a two-day workshop, please specify whether you would be willing to run the workshop in a single day if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions From Past Workshops

  1. Workshop Series
    We neither encourage nor discourage workshops on topics that have appeared before. Membership of an existing sequence of workshops is irrelevant in the assessment of a workshop proposal (it neither helps nor hinders). Workshop proposals will be evaluated solely on their merits for this year’s conference.

  2. Overlapping Proposals
    We will not forcibly merge proposals. If multiple strong proposals are submitted on similar topics, we will choose a single proposal to accept. We will then reach out to the organizers of the rejected proposals to ask whether they would like us to share their proposals with the organizers of the accepted workshop. The organizers of the accepted workshop may then optionally initiate a merge. 


Key Dates

  • Workshop Application Deadline: June 3, 2019 (6 p.m. Pacific Time)
  • Workshop Notification: July 23, 2019 
  • Mandatory Cutoff for Workshop Organizers to Notify Participants of Accept/Reject Decisions: October 1, 2019
  • Workshops: December 13 and 14, 2019


Submission Format & Instructions

Organizers should submit proposals as a single PDF file on CMT.  We suggest the following headings for your proposal, although a proposal can come in any format that allows the evaluation criteria to be assessed.  We expect most proposals to be around 3 pages.

Suggested headings:

  • Title: Keep the workshop title short and descriptive.

  • Organizers and biographies: Include short biographies that highlight both organizational experience and technical expertise.

  • Workshop summary: 2-3 paragraphs summarizing the workshop topic, including the problems you would like to see solved, why these problems are important, and how the workshop will contribute to their solution.

  • Tentative schedule: Include a list of tentative/confirmed speakers with a brief description of each (clearly stating which have confirmed). Explain how you will encourage discussion throughout the day.

  • Diversity commitment: Give an explicit statement on how the workshop will address diversity of all forms, as described in the guidance above.

  • Access: Describe anything you plan to do to allow those unable to attend in person to engage, as described in the guidance above.

  • Previous related workshops: List related workshops at NeurIPS, ICML, or other venues.  Describe what makes this workshop enticingly different to the hundreds of NeurIPS workshops held previously.

  • Any other relevant information


Workshop Chairs

Jennifer Wortman Vaughan, Microsoft Research
Marzyeh Ghassemi, University of Toronto
Shakir Mohamed, DeepMind
Bob Williamson, Australian National University and Data61


Workshop Program Committee

Pieter Abbeel, UC Berkeley
Alekh Agarwal, Microsoft Research
Francis Bach, INRIA
Leon Bottou, Facebook AI Research
Tamara Broderick, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Tiberio Caetano, Gradient Institute
Kyunghyun Cho, New York University
Kyle Cranmer, New York University
Yann Dauphin, Google
Marc Deisenroth, Imperial College
David Duvenaud, University of Toronto
Barbara Engelhardt, Princeton
Amir-Massoud Farahmand, Vector Institute
Rafael Frongillo, University of Colorado, Boulder
Stephen Gould, Australian National University
Tom Griffiths, Princeton
Roger Grosse, University of Toronto
Sanmi Koyejo, University of Illinois
Simon Lacoste-Julien, MILA
Honglak Lee, University of Michigan and Google
Qiang Liu, University of Texas at Austin
David Mimno, Cornell
Claire Monteleoni, University of Colorado, Boulder
Naila Murray, Naver Labs
Sebastian Nowozin, Google
Konstantina Palla, Microsoft Research
Razvan Pascanu, DeepMind
Doina Precup, McGill and DeepMind
Irina Rish, IBM
Dan Roy, University of Toronto
Kate Saenko, Boston University
Ruth Urner, York University
Fernanda Viegas, Google
Adrian Weller, University of Cambridge
Sinead Williamson, University of Texas at Austin
Ole Winther, Technical University of Denmark
Angela Yu, University of California, San Diego


Jennifer Wortman Vaughan, Marzyeh Ghassemi, Shakir Mohamed, and Bob Williamson
NeurIPS 2019 Workshop Co-Chairs

Technical issues with workshop submission go to