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Software-Generated Paper Accepted At IEEE Conference 235

Posted by kdawson
from the compelling-principles-of-electrical-engineering dept.
schlangemann writes "Check out the paper Towards the Simulation of E-commerce by Herbert Schlangemann, which is available in the IEEEXplor database (full article available only to IEEE members). This generated paper has been accepted with review by the 2008 International Conference on Computer Science and Software Engineering (CSSE). According to the organizers, 'CSSE is one of the important conferences sponsored by IEEE Computer Society, which serves as a forum for scientists and engineers in the latest development of artificial intelligence, grid computing, computer graphics, database technology, and software engineering.' Even better, fake author Herbert Schlangemann has been selected as session chair (PDF) for that conference. (The name Schlangemann was chosen based on the short film Der Schlangemann by Andreas Hansson and Björn Renberg.)"
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Software-Generated Paper Accepted At IEEE Conference

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  • Reviewers? (Score:5, Funny)

    by joelleo (900926) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @02:39AM (#26220397)

    They probably used automated reviewing software - the computers are conspiring against us! Next thing you know we'll have autogenerated legislation and automated reviews for congressmen to vote on. How long till we have automaton congressmen voting for autogenerated legislation with pork provisions for "free storage enhancement" for their cronies?? OMG! :)

    • by KagatoLNX (141673) <kagato@NOSPam.souja.net> on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @02:57AM (#26220481) Homepage

      In some ways, it already functions this way. There's just a lot of people waiting to be replaced with shell-scripts.

      • by Thanshin (1188877) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @04:57AM (#26221023)

        > In some ways, it already functions this way. There's just a lot of people waiting to be replaced with shell-scripts.

            That affirmation is completely false.
            Stop spreading your lies.
            You don't know what you're talking about.
            In soviet russia your post is wrong about you.
        else
            echo "--Syntax error"
            exit 1
        fi
        #-----This automated response was brought to you by:
        #-----CocaCola, General Motors, RIAA

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by jbacon (1327727)

        What color did you want that SQL database in?

        (See OP's sig for answer)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @03:58AM (#26220765)

      Actually, if you look at the details, this "paper" was accepted into the poster session for the conference. I've been on enough technical program committees to know that the standards for poster acceptance vary quite wildly.

      At some conferences, acceptance is done first and then papers are sorted into posters and presentations purely on the basis of what mode is most suitable to the material.

      In others conferences, all the rejected papers are automatically accepted as posters. Why? Because conferences have expenses and to recover expenses they need attendees. Many institutions only pay for travel and registration if their employees have papers accepted at the event. So, to allow people to attend, they have to accept more papers than they might want to. With the rise of for-profit conference organizing companies, there is even a profit motive in some cases.

      There is a vigorous debate within the IEEE whether such "pity accept" papers should be allowed into IEEE Xplore -- the long term archive of papers maintained for posterity. The decision is left to the conference organizers with the idea that including obvious junk in the archive actually has relatively low social cost since nobody would ever cite it or rely on it. So who cares. Others are embarrassed to have such crap in the company of more important work.

      • by LaskoVortex (1153471) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @05:13AM (#26221081)

        Actually, if you look at the details, this "paper" was accepted into the poster session for the conference.

        Most poster sessions consist of abstracts that are *rejected* for a speaking slot. They usually don't need to pass any more muster than to be properly formatted. A stylesheet takes care of that--no AI needed. The final say after rejection for a speaking slot basically comes down to an administrative assistant's being able to know which side is up and to have enough room in the left margin for binding. The idea is that a poster session attendee will have a liver presenter in front of the poster to explain the poorly written abstract.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ubrgeek (679399)
          While I haven't reviewed abstracts for conferences, I have reviewed them as part of my IEEE membership in the Computing Society. While there are some lax reviewers (I'm guessing that happens in all groups which accept papers, but I can only speak to the one to which I belong) the majority of peer review is quite tight, with what I would imagine are such a number of comments that the author might feel daunted in making changes.
        • How does presenting the liver help?
      • by Hays (409837) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @07:57AM (#26221917)

        It shouldn't have just been denied an oral presentation, it should have been caught by the program committee and never reviewed. You can't read 3 sentences of that abstract without knowing that it's garbage.

        Presumably someone DID review this and deny it an oral, but didn't follow up with the program committee to make sure it was pulled entirely.

        I've never been to a conference which pity accepts papers. CVPR, a IEEE conference on computer vision, has a 25% acceptance rate for posters. I think this paper is quite an embarrassment to IEEE.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          It shouldn't have just been denied an oral presentation, it should have been caught by the program committee and never reviewed. You can't read 3 sentences of that abstract without knowing that it's garbage.

          Presumably someone DID review this and deny it an oral, but didn't follow up with the program committee to make sure it was pulled entirely.

          I've never been to a conference which pity accepts papers. CVPR, a IEEE conference on computer vision, has a 25% acceptance rate for posters. I think this paper is quite an embarrassment to IEEE.

          Meh. As others have noted, it was for a poster session. This conference isn't in my field, but at the conferences I've been to in my field (astronomy and astrophysics), pretty much anything gets accepted for poster sessions. At AAS [aas.org] meetings, I've seen particularly wacky posters in extragalactic astronomy and cosmology all clumped together in a kind of ghetto; and back when I was a grad student, during free time between oral sessions or at the end of the day, someone among my friends and I would say "hey,

        • by D Ninja (825055) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @11:45AM (#26223517)

          Presumably someone DID review this and deny it an oral, but didn't follow up with the program committee to make sure it was pulled entirely.

          Sounds like my attempts to get laid last night!

          Ba dum tsh! I'll be here all week! Try the veal!

        • by bendodge (998616) <bendodge.bsgprogrammers@com> on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @02:15PM (#26224673) Homepage Journal

          For you lazy folks, here's the garbage abstract:

          Recent advances in cooperative technology and classical communication are based entirely on the assumption that the Internet and active networks are not in conflict with object-oriented languages. In fact, few information theorists would disagree with the visualization of DHTs that made refining and possibly simulating 8 bitarchitectures a reality, which embodies the compelling principles of electrical engineering. In this work we better understand how digital-to-analog converters can be applied to the development of e-commerce.

          The paper was generated by the SCIgen project at MIT. According to , the program is meant to generate garbage. [mit.edu]

          Our aim here is to maximize amusement, rather than coherence. One useful purpose for such a program is to auto-generate submissions to conferences that you suspect might have very low submission standards.

          When I read the Slashdot summary, I totally missed the point. The point is that some MIT folks have created a garbage paper generator and are mocking the 2008 International Conference on Computer Science and Software Engineering.

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          I've been to a few. They can be pretty hilarious. Make sure it's somewhere interesting, preferably with a beach, though.

    • by Mr2cents (323101) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @06:40AM (#26221503)

      My personal theory is that the reviewers were thinking "Whatever they're smoking, I hope they share it".

  • proving my point... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @02:40AM (#26220405)

    ...that peer reviewed journals (at least in computer science) are crap. 1) peer review is an old boys network, 2) people don't look at substance, they look for fancy buzzwords of the month and equations that look hard (you're rewarded for the more convoluted your paper is!), and 3) the way the system is setup, 99% of what is published is crap...people at universities and labs are forced to produce as many publications as possible to get promoted. It would be unfair of me to say that all of it is useless, but it's definitely inefficient. Look at where the great ideas in computer science and software development come today...they come from the community through things like open source (e.g. Linux, BitTorrent, etc). The academic community just rides on their coattails...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JohnFluxx (413620)

      A professor will typically publish around 500 papers. That's about one paper every two weeks. I cannot see how anyone can produce a high quality paper, including doing the research, in two weeks, every two weeks.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I don't know any professors that proflic. That would take a lot of graduate students... An associate professor can typically count on getting tenure with 3 top tier publications at most institutions.

        • by Trepidity (597) <.gro.hsikcah. .ta. .todhsals-muiriled.> on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @04:49AM (#26220981)

          A grad student wouldn't even be hired as a tenure-track professor with only 3 top-tier publications at most institutions in CS. This is partly because CS mainly uses a conference publication model, not a journal model: you distribute your work in 6- to 10-page bite-sized pieces. You might sometimes collect some of these into a 30-page journal article, but often people skip that step entirely (why bother re-writing-up your research when it's already out there in some form).

          A grad student looking to be competitive as a hire at a top-tier research university typically is expected to have 4-5 publications in top-tier conferences or journals (journals don't actually usually get more cache; in some areas, they get less). This is somewhat mitigated if you're in an area that only has one, very competitive top conference: so a graphics grad student obviously doesn't need 5 SIGGRAPH papers to be a competitive candidate. But an AI student should have a good smattering of AAAI and IJCAI papers, plus a few in the top tier conference of their specific area (ICML, IUI, AAMAS, etc.). A professor looking to get tenure at a top institution typically will have 10-30 publications at such venues.

          • by Nursie (632944)

            Reading this I'm more glad than ever that I just did my undergraduate degree and then skipped out to industry.

            • Why do you think the standards for entry are so high? They're trying to justify wasting that extra 2-4 years....
      • by XDirtypunkX (1290358) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @03:25AM (#26220615)

        It's called pipelining. You're doing multiple pieces of research over long periods in parallel. Large parts of the research and dog work are handed off to grad-student units to be completed and then introduced back into the main pipeline.

        Then the professor goes to the toilet and squeezes out another paper while reading the results of the grad student's dog work.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by kabloom (755503)

          The publications are usually coauthored with the grad students who did the research.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        A professor will typically publish around 500 papers. That's about one paper every two weeks. I cannot see how anyone can produce a high quality paper, including doing the research, in two weeks, every two weeks.

        Be careful with numbers. That 500 figure you're quoting includes all papers with a given professors name on it, including (but not limited to):

        - pretty much every paper produced by one of their postgrad students.
        - pretty much every paper produced by one of their postdocs.
        - pretty much every paper produced by one of their research assistants.
        - repeat for political allies, old friends, the janitor, anyone else who is willing to allow them to give minimal input and a name in the title...
        - and their own papers

      • I know that professor. Trust me, he isn't doing anything but being the team leader and gets to attach his name to everything.
        He's successful because he applies for grant money, hires quality staff and administers multiple projects thanks to his years of expertise. (He also likes shaking hands of politicians and appearing on TV)
        The quality work comes from his minions (post doc's, etc) and he basks in their collective glory.
        </jealous>
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Miseph (979059)

          "He's successful because he applies for grant money, hires quality staff and administers multiple projects thanks to his years of expertise."

          So... he's a good and productive administrator? I can see being annoyed at hogging the publishing limelight, but it's pretty hard to fault someone for being a good leader.

      • er.. where do you get this stat of 'around 500 papers'? In what field(s)? Over what time period? As an example, Steven Weinberg, a nobel physicist has 211 papers listed in the SPIRES database. He got his PhD in 1957. This is not to say that SPIRES is the all encompassing authority on his published papers, but is is likely to be reasonably close.

    • by caerwyn (38056) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @03:47AM (#26220711)

      Just for an example of poor quality (though opposite to your comments about convolution), I was once handed a paper (I don't recall the journal or author, unfortunately, as this was several years ago) on fault detection in distributed networks.

      The entire point of the paper was "If you send a request and you don't get a response back for a while, something probably went wrong." I read over it a couple times, hoping I was missing something that actually had substance to it. No luck.

      That said, I don't think the academic community is entirely full of crap, or just riding on coattails. I do think a lot of that goes on, though, and I think it really pollutes the overall signal/noise ratio in the related journals- and from a distance, it does tend to just blur together into "crap".

      • by Chapter80 (926879) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @06:23AM (#26221419)

        The entire point of the paper was "If you send a request and you don't get a response back for a while, something probably went wrong." I read over it a couple times, hoping I was missing something that actually had substance to it. No luck.

        It was probably an attempt to satisfy the author's "[citation needed]" request in Wikipedia.

    • by PingPongBoy (303994) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @04:37AM (#26220933)

      There is a lot of crap, I agree, because many profs save time by having students write papers, and when you talk about riding coattails, the profs just put their name along with the student's name on the sometimes quite long list of authors. On the surface, there is a "structured" way of writing a paper so that it passes muster. After that, deep thoughts are typically not described in detail. The reader is "supposed to" have enough IQ or education to follow along.

      Is it an old boys network? Perhaps, but I don't really think so. The system works, as in it is maintainable rather than functional, rather than perfect, because there is enough money to keep below average students. After all, if you have only above average students, you will end up with below average students, below a larger average, but then you need above average profs and above average budgets. Just as subprime was aided by mandates to provide poor people with access to housing, universities have to admit bad performance.

      The problem is a lot of writers tend to gravitate to lower standards, partly to save time on writing, and partly because the system makes papers suck so badly that it becomes easy to become published - it's an artificial way of paving the road to academic recognition. Reviewers are inundated with garbage. They can't reject as many as they want because they have a "quota". Also, some people need an incentive to become researchers, trying to achieve something risky, and they aren't going to stay in the field if their papers keep getting rejected.

      There has to be a happy ending - if you want to figure out something, don't just search the literature. The exact answer isn't there. You have to solve the problems yourself and skim the papers for little insights into techniques or results.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by wintermind (160780)

        I'm not a computer scientist, so YMMV, but I frequently act as a peer reviewer for several agricultural journals. We have no quota with respect to acceptance or rejection, and are not compensated monetarily or otherwise for our service as reviewers. I've rejected papers before, and it seems like I've rejected more as time goes on. I've even had a couple of my own papers rejected -- not every paper is a winner. One thing I have noticed is that I review for a journal with a very high impact rating, and there

    • ...that peer reviewed journals (at least in computer science) are crap. 1) peer review is an old boys network, 2) people don't look at substance, they look for fancy buzzwords of the month and equations that look hard (you're rewarded for the more convoluted your paper is!), and 3) the way the system is setup, 99% of what is published is crap...people at universities and labs are forced to produce as many publications as possible to get promoted. It would be unfair of me to say that all of it is useless, but it's definitely inefficient. Look at where the great ideas in computer science and software development come today...they come from the community through things like open source (e.g. Linux, BitTorrent, etc). The academic community just rides on their coattails...

      I agree with the first part of your post, but at the risk of re-igniting the discussion that we've had [slashdot.org] here previously; it's quite a strech to say that the academic community simply rides the coattails of the opensource community. Yes, BitTorrent is something that would have cut it as Computer Science research but whilst Linux may be fun, useful, more secure than Windoze, and Free (as in speech) it has very little to do with computer _science_ research.

      Indeed there is a yawning chasm between what academi

    • by comp.sci (557773)
      Undoubtedly there are many issue with the peer review process but it's not an old-boys network as you claim. Every respectable journal or conference blinds all reviews so the reviewers don't know whose papers they are reviewing. Of course there are terrible conferences like this one (and many other commentators have mentioned this) since anybody can create a conference. Also, to say that all CS research is done by developers shows a lack of understanding what most true research in CS is.
    • ...that peer reviewed journals (at least in computer science) are crap. 1) peer review is an old boys network, 2) people don't look at substance, they look for fancy buzzwords of the month and equations that look hard (you're rewarded for the more convoluted your paper is!), and 3) the way the system is setup, 99% of what is published is crap...people at universities and labs are forced to produce as many publications as possible to get promoted. It would be unfair of me to say that all of it is useless, but it's definitely inefficient. Look at where the great ideas in computer science and software development come today...they come from the community through things like open source (e.g. Linux, BitTorrent, etc). The academic community just rides on their coattails...

      So this computer is an "old boy".

      clearly you know something the rest of us don't about the robotic overlords who rule us all from the shadows!

      GET HIM GANG!

    • First, this publication was not accepted to a Journal. It was accepted to a conference. That is a big difference both in the acceptance process and the quality expected.

      Second, read the Journal of Functional Programming or the proceedings of the International Conference on Functional Programming. I dare anyone who knows what they are talking about to call that 99% crap. (I choose these because I'm familiar with them; specialist in other CS areas may choose other publications.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kramer2718 (598033)

      I don't buy it. Academia may have some issues, but there are certainly things that Academia is good for and some things that an open-source-type community is good for.

      It has been a long time dince academicians have developed a new pulic worthy OS, but I would be highly surprised to see the public at large develope something as difficult, complex, abstract and important as the PCP Theorem [wikipedia.org] (probably the greatest recent comment on the P != NP conjecture--for those of you who are interested, the theorem says t

  • One may suspect that the original submission was heavily edited. (read: merely an inspiration for a real idea) That said, this should be in "idle."
    • Re:Editing (Score:5, Informative)

      by Pinky's Brain (1158667) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @03:15AM (#26220579)

      Did you read the paper? I'll just give you the abstract and let you decide for yourself if there was heavy editing ...

      "Recent advances in cooperative technology and classical communication are based entirely on the assumption that the Internet and active networks are not in conflict with object-oriented languages. In fact, few information theorists would disagree with the visualization of DHTs that made refining and possibly simulating 8 bitarchitectures a reality, which embodies the compelling principles of electrical engineering. In this work we better understand how digital-to-analog converters can be applied to the development of e-commerce."

    • Re:Editing (Score:4, Informative)

      by rite_m (787216) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @03:32AM (#26220657)
      This is a conference not a journal. CS journals do go through multiple revisions, conference acceptance usually don't go through any. If any, they go through atmost one, which may or may not be compulsory.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by xouumalperxe (815707)
        Granted, there's no 'A' to point at and say 'RTFA', but the summary says the paper was reviewed for the conference.
  • by myrdos2 (989497) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @02:43AM (#26220423)
    Let me be the first to say that random material implies a review board that is not at odds with itself. Interestingly, researchers are able to better understand material used in conjunction with algorithmic development and first principles engineering, which does not suggest a relationship between the reader and any given node.

    Furthermore, citations may be employed to enhance this phenomenon when used together with LaTeX and multiples of knowledge.
  • Sokal affair Redux? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @02:45AM (#26220431)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @03:38AM (#26220675)

      This is not especially like the Sokal affair. Its pretty obvious here that no-one read the paper.

      Consider, the first paragraph from the paper:

      The synthesis of ïber-optic cables is a natural quagmire. While such a hypothesis is entirely a theoretical ambition, it rarely conïicts with the need to provide operating systems to computational biologists. Similarly,for example, many methodologies measure vacuum tubes. The notion that hackers worldwide interfere with context-free grammar is largely bad. The synthesis of checksums would tremendously improve mobile information.

      or this:

      "We performed a quantized emulation on Intelâ(TM)s mobile telephones to prove the work of Italian mad scientist J. Dongarra."

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Mr. Slippery (47854)

      At least Social Text wasn't a peer-reviewed publication [tohoku.ac.jp]. IEEE doesn't seem to have that excuse.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Except that in that case it was a social science journal. There's another case where someone submitted a randomly generated CS or engineering paper to an conference organized by a group that's basically famous for running for-profit (and not much else) conferences.

      This one was submitted to an IEEE conference. Supposedly those are of some quality.

  • Sadly... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by KarrdeSW (996917) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @02:49AM (#26220441)

    This SCIgen system quite resembles how many undergrads I have seen write papers for many of their classes, not just computer science.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @02:52AM (#26220457)

    When asked to comment on the news story, the paper's author is quoted as saying: "How does Software-Generated Paper Accepted At IEEE Conference make you feel?"

  • Nothing new (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gzipped_tar (1151931) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @03:02AM (#26220499) Journal

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Scigen [wikimedia.org]

    Does this program pass the Turing Test?

    • Re:Nothing new (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @03:09AM (#26220531)
      I should think that journal peer review, done properly, is a far better turing test.
      • by tylerni7 (944579)
        Not really.
        Most of these papers just have an outline and the right parts of speech filled in, which is really easy to do. They probably just generated random ones until they found one that sounds correct.

        The Turing Test, however, requires that the program is able to understand what someone says and construct a response to it that makes sense. To do that really well, one needs an artificial intelligence of some sort.

        The paper generator would just spit out random papers every time it ran, and wouldn't
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      No, there has to be a conversation between two interlocutors for it to apply as a Turing test. I guess it would fail miserably, after all, it just generates likely sentences :
      Program : The Markovian pattern of the sequence implies the monotony of the problem
      Reviewer : What do you mean by "Markovian pattern" ? and How does it imply monotony ?
      Program : This can be answered by doing an inverse transformation of the semantic graph
      Reviewer : Are you trying to bullshit me a la Sokal ?
      Program : No, the Kullba
      • You're assuming that the reviewer actually does things like ask questions about the paper. There's a lot of ego in academia, and people tend to try to appear omniscient while reviewing, whether they know what the paper is talking about or not.

        It's a screwed up system.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by KangKong (937247)

      No, it just managed to be passed off as a scientist, which is a whole lot easier than being passed off as a normal human.

  • NSFW (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stoutlimb (143245) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @03:06AM (#26220521)

    The links from the wikipedia article aren't quite safe for work. Anyone watching the short film Der Schlangemann at work should at least turn down the volume, or not watch at all. Lucky for me my boss would probably just laugh.

    • The links from the wikipedia article aren't quite safe for work. Anyone watching the short film Der Schlangemann at work should at least turn down the volume, or not watch at all. Lucky for me my boss would probably just laugh.

      You know, if you're concerned about accidentally finding something on the net that would alert your boss to the fact that you don't actually do anything, and/or get you in trouble, you could try doing some work and waiting till you get home to surf....

      Besides, it's about a doll with a changeable penis size. How safe for work did you think it should be?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by TechForensics (944258)

      You do know "Der Schlange" is a German euphemism for "prick", don't you? "Der Schlange" = "The Serpent" = Trouser Snake.

      Adds a little dimension of humor, nicht wahr?

  • What, again? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by arrenlex (994824) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @03:12AM (#26220559)

    Again? Didn't they come out with software to detect this [slashdot.org] sort of thing last time it happened? [slashdot.org]

  • by binpajama (1213342) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @03:14AM (#26220571)

    The last time I checked, there were more than half a million papers on arxiv. The number of scientific papers in the world is increasing with the rate of increase in researchers looking for jobs, not with the rate at which problems are being discovered or solved.

    Since the currency of the research community is number of publications, and since administrative sections of universities have little or no competence in judging an academic's competence save statistics on papers published, why is it surprising to find that people publish low-quality work?

    I am reminded of the joke about string theory, `The number of papers in string theory is increasing faster than the speed of light. This is not a problem, though, since no information is actually transferred.'

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jd (1658)

      Since the number of problem-solvers is independent of the number of problems, and problem-solvers can examine multiple solutions to the same problem, along with a limited range of solutions for many problems, you can expect the number of publications to exceed the number of problems and the number of problem-solvers. However, you are correct that merely increasing the quantity of papers (which is all the current rules do) will cause the quality to suffer. The total thought put in to N papers over a period o

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @04:18AM (#26220859)

      Why is this shocking?

      1) Because a completely gibberish paper was reviewed and accepted by human reviewers, who presumably have expertise in computer science.

      2) Because IEEE is an old, respected organization that sponsors respectable CS conferences (e.g., FOCS).

  • by RyoShin (610051) <tukaro@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @03:28AM (#26220631) Homepage Journal

    ...does this mean that those who are supposed to review such things are either incompetent or don't bother with their job, or that many "professional science" papers are actually pure bullshit, so you can't tell the difference?

    • by Gribflex (177733) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @05:50AM (#26221253) Homepage

      I took a grad level course at the end of my degree in which the prof tried to subtly communicate this to the grad students.

      Each week we had to read and write a short review on a paper that had been peer reviewed and accepted into some CS or Eng journal somewhere. The topics were pretty broad, but all had something to do with the internet, or communication (the focus of the course).

      At the end of the course, the professor revealed that he had purposely selected papers such that one third were considered today to be 'good' papers, one third were considered to be valid, but poorly written, and one third were considered to be pure bunk but well written.

      He then posted a graph showing how people commented on each of the papers.

      Not surprisingly, nearly every student reviewed all of the papers in a positive light.

      I'm pretty sure that the professor was trying to teach a bit humility to the grad students. He also succeeded in proving "...that those who are supposed to review [the papers] are either incompetent or don't bother with their job, or that many "professional science" papers are actually pure bullshit, so you can't tell the difference?"

  • kind-of IEEE (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Trepidity (597) <.gro.hsikcah. .ta. .todhsals-muiriled.> on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @03:40AM (#26220683)

    This is kind-of an IEEE conference. There are core IEEE conferences, which are run by the IEEE, which this isn't. Then there are other conferences (lots of them), which the IEEE sponsors in one way or another, and indexes the proceedings of. They often see the latter as a free (or at least cheap) way of getting their name associated with something that might take off. On the other hand, as this shows, it can get their name associated in the other sort of manner as well.

    This seems to be a conference in China that was just founded, which leads me to believe the IEEE (like many stock investors) was duped in a rush to get their foot in the door of the Next Big Thing In China.

    Lots of organizations do something vaguely like that, although the IEEE does seem to be worse than most. Even if you look only at their own, "branded" journals (IEEE Transactions on Foo), they seem to be founding new ones ever other week, which range in quality all the way from well respected in their field, to kooky. If they aren't careful, they're going to start getting an Elsevier-level reputation.

    • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @07:55AM (#26221901)

      Even if you look only at their own, "branded" journals (IEEE Transactions on Foo), they seem to be founding new ones ever other week, which range in quality all the way from well respected in their field, to kooky.

      Don't criticize it, legalize it. Why not have an IEEE conference on Software-Generated Papers?

      It may sound wacky, but it will probably solicit plenty of entries.

      Hmmm ... so then the peer reviewers would also have to be Software-Generated. And Software-Generated attendees?

      I can see the host convention center manager saying, "These computer folks seem to get kookier every day."

  • by NinthAgendaDotCom (1401899) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @04:11AM (#26220815) Homepage

    Sokal, a professor of physics at New York University, submitted a paper for publication in Social Text, as an experiment to see if a journal in that field would, in Sokal's words: "publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair [wikipedia.org]

    • by Trepidity (597) <.gro.hsikcah. .ta. .todhsals-muiriled.> on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @05:24AM (#26221137)

      These seem to be testing different things. One of Sokal's claims, which he intended to demonstrate, was that gibberish and "postmodernist" academic writing are indistinguishable, even by people in the field. This was done especially through the wordplay connections of e.g. the "axiom of choice" with pro-choice politics, which is a fairly common but kind of weird tactic in a certain subset of that milieu. He more or less demonstrated that claim by his experiment especially the fact that at least one of the journal editors, months later, refused to believe that it was actually a hoax: he suggested instead that Sokal had been pressured/embarrassed into retroactively claiming a legitimate paper was a hoax, in order to avoid ridicule by the conservative physics establishment.

      This paper, on the other hand, demonstrates a different academic flaw: the proliferation of low-quality, minimal-to-no-review computer-science conferences. It is quite likely that nobody actually read this paper, and that the conference was not really run as a legitimate attempt to foster academic discourse, but as a way to either get money for someone, or pad a CV line for some editors/organizers, or both.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bytesex (112972)

        Yes, but the effect is the same. A nonsense paper got accepted by a prestigious institution. The only thing that makes the mirror-image of this nerds-get-a-dose-of-their-own-medicine-hoax incomplete, is that it wasn't perpetrated by a professor of literature. But that's all. Gloating over the Sokal affair by science students is from now on off-limits, you could say.

        • Another thing that makes it different is that this is a no-name startup conference in China with editors and a program committee nobody has ever heard of, whereas Sokal got his paper accepted to a well-known journal in the field, edited by some of its luminaries. If this paper had gotten accepted to say, Communications of the ACM, and fooled Donald Knuth into thinking it was genuine, it would've been more analogous.

  • Maybe the really pathetic thing about this story isn't the fake paper getting through, but rather the inane nature of the other real papers.
  • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @04:56AM (#26221015) Journal
    If only the paper looked like a legitimate thesis... But reading the abstract makes it obvious it is a joke :

    Recent advances in cooperative technology and classical communication are based entirely on the assumption that the Internet and active networks are not in conflict with object-oriented languages. In fact, few information theorists would disagree with the visualization of DHTs that made refining and possibly simulating 8 bitarchitectures a reality, which embodies the compelling principles of electrical engineering. In this work we better understand how digital-to-analog converters can be applied to the development of e-commerce.

    The first person to show me how digital-to-analog converters can be applied to the development of e-commerce wins an Internet.

    • by supersat (639745)

      By the time dial-up Internet was available, the PSTN was being switched digitally. You couldn't connect to the Internet without going through a DAC. DACs continue to be a vital component in many Internet access techonologies, such as cable modems, DSL modems, and wifi NICs. In fact, given the difficulty of getting purely digital signals to go long distances, I'm not sure the Internet (at reasonable speeds) would have existed without DACs.

      So, I'm pretty sure DACs are essential to e-commerce.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      My screen is a digital to analog converter. Now where's my Internet?

  • by kwikrick (755625) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @05:22AM (#26221125) Homepage Journal

    I do not personally know this conference, I've never attended or tried to get something published there. But I am a computer scientist, working in academia, and I always write my papers for conferences that are specific to my specialization (computer/graphics, CAD etc). This conference is so general in the topics that it accepts, I would expect the quality of papers (and therefore the review process) to be quite low. This is a conference you would send your paper to if you cannot get it accepted at a better conference.

    I think it would be much harder to get computer generated bla bla accepted at a conference on a specific topic.

    Why does IEEE sponsor such crap conferences? Because it's big business. Easy money. Other have said it here already: that's the problem with science these days, it's all about quantity, not quality. Hit your university board over the head with this stuff.

  • Review system flawed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zbharucha (1331473) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @06:36AM (#26221479) Homepage
    I am so glad that someone has gone ahead and done this to expose what an embarrassment the IEEE review system really is. A few months ago, I submitted a paper to the Wireless Communications and Networking Conference (http://www.ieee-wcnc.org/) which is also an IEEE conference. Since I had entered my research interests and since I had submitted a paper here, naturally I was also assigned some papers to review. Most of the papers I got were of extremely poor quality. By that I mean that besides the content being absolute rubbish, the authors could not even make their papers to conform to submission standards. In contrast, the paper we had written had gone through 4 stages of internal review and aside from me (the PhD student), the other three authors were very respected members of the community. I am not lying when I say that our paper was several orders of magnitude better than any of the ones I was given to review. Yet, when the deadline of notification for acceptance came, our paper had been rejected. All of us were shell-shocked when we saw the reviews. Three of the reviewers had not written a single comment but had just given haphazard grades. One of the reviewers seemed to be pissed off for some reason. I quote: "this paper is lying" was one of his scientific opinions of our paper. Out of 7 reviews, only one contained comments that were coherent, to the point and sensible. Another thing is that you can see when the reviewer was assigned the paper and when he reviewed it. Three of my reviewers literally took around 2 minutes to review my paper. How can you assess months of someone's work in 2 minutes. It just makes me so angry thinking about it! The problem with IEEE conferences is that they receive so many papers that the academics who are assigned to review them delegate them to their PhD and master's students. PhD students are fine, but anything lower than that is a complete travesty. The system itself is fundamentally flawed. If they could just reject papers that do not conform to the submission guidelines, IEEE could save themselves at least a third of the work. This way, people would have less papers to review thus being able to give each paper more of their attention. After all, this is someone's career here.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by philipgar (595691)
      First, you sound bitter from a bad experience with one particular IEEE conference. Every IEEE conference is different, and the IEEE is just a society that sponsors some of the conferences in the field, and doesn't necessarily perform quality control on them. That is handled by the conference organizers themselves, and better conferences tend to have better quality control. The people in the field should know which are the better conferences.

      Second, the fact that you reviewed a couple really awful papers
    • Should not be +5 Interesting. The above post is filled with so much unsupported assumptions and conflicts of interest, that it lacks any sort of credibility. The poster may have a point, but the facts used to back it up are so flimsy that it doesn't support his argument. The only thing I can conclude is that there is some sort of anti-academic vibe taking over slashdot which is strange considering that (I assume) most slashdot readers are more educated than the rest of the populous.

  • The event will in part about the latest development in artificial intelligence, and that paper could be a good (or very bad) sample on that topic.

    Or at least what an artificial intelligence (or natural stupidity) have to say about it.
  • by JamesP (688957) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @09:19AM (#26222337)

    It is enough to check the abstract (or better, just its last phrease is enough):

    Recent advances in cooperative technology and classical communication are based entirely on the assumption that the Internet and active networks are not in conflict with object-oriented languages. In fact, few information theorists would disagree with the visualization of DHTs that made refining and possibly simulating 8 bitarchitectures a reality, which embodies the compelling principles of electrical engineering. In this work we better understand how digital-to-analog converters can be applied to the development of e-commerce.

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

    HOW DA CONVERTERS CAN BE APPLIED TO E-COMMERCE?!?!?!?

    For the layman, this abstract reads like this: "We know that corn dogs are built with the assumption that Obama is the next president of the US and not of China. In fact, most scholars believe that children should not be given a lawn mower in school. Now we study how banana peels can be used to paint your house"

    • Obligatory paprika [wikiquote.org]

      e whirlwind of recycled paper was a sight to see. It was like computer graphics. That I don't support Technicolor parfaits and snobby petit bourgeois is common knowledge in Oceania! Now is the time to return home to the blue sky! The confetti will dance around the shrine gates. The mailbox and the refrigerator will lead the way! Anyone who cares about expiration dates will not get in the way of the glory train! They need to fully realize the liver of the triangle rulers! Now, this festival was decided by the third grade class with the telephoto camera! Move forward! Come together! I am the ultimate governor!

  • by edwinolson (116413) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @09:58AM (#26222589) Homepage

    Here's another factor to consider: skilled scientists do not appear out of the ether. Nor do they emerge fully formed from the head of Zeus. More often than not, they're smart (but inexperienced) young folks. They may not be native English speakers, either.

    Workshops and conferences can fill a nurturing role. Poster sessions play a big role: a little encouragement and hopefully some productive feedback during the session will help them become better researchers. Of course, recognizing substantial research contributions is extremely important, but the two goals are not in conflict.

    (slightly off-topic rant): The press likes to complain about how millions of dollars go to fund "ridiculous" research... like studying the DNA of bears in Alaska. From their depiction, you might think the money was being distributed to the bears by being covered with honey and shoved into hollowed trees. No, that money is going to fund graduate students, creating the next generation of researchers who will be there to drive our technology forward. The study of bear DNA might actually be really interesting, but even if it turns out to be unremarkable, those dollars still helped produce new researchers.

  • Any coincidence that the unintelligible paper submitted from CHINA got accepted? Is the West so culturally biased against itself that it throws out good judgement?

  • I'm serious. I've had three papers rejected by IEEE, and they except one that came out of a hidden markov model? That seriously pisses me off.

  • I guess this is one of those times I'm glad IEEE has a paywall.
  • It seems we have a candidate that has passed the Turing test. This work was judged as being of human origin by a panel of experts, to the point of invitation. Is this a failure of academia, the test or humanity in general?

    • read the abstract, it's a failure of people to understand basic technical jargon.

    • It seems we have a candidate that has passed the Turing test. This work was judged as being of human origin by a panel of experts, to the point of invitation. Is this a failure of academia, the test or humanity in general?

      I think the answer, in this case, is clearly "academia."

  • And most likely, this paper was never peer reviewed before accepting it to the conference.

    I tried to find out some info about CSSE, and apparently the 2008 conference was the first conference ever. This conference takes place in China, and even though it calls itself an "international conference", it is not very international, and most presenters are either from china or a neighboring country.

    Furthermore, it has a very wide list of subjects, too wide ... probably any subject in computer science. It close to

  • How hard is it to write AI that puts everyone on the review board into the list of references?

    This is why I only go to conferences that contain heavy concentrations of drunk hackers.

If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then a consensus forecast is a camel's behind. -- Edgar R. Fiedler

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