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Graduate Consortium

Important Dates:

  • Submission by e-mail: Wednesday, 2 August 2017
  • Notification of final decision: Monday, 14 August 2017
  • Camera-ready deadline: Wednesday, 30 August 2017
  • Consortium date: Saturday, 14 October 2017
Late Application Phase: We still have several spots available for students from US universities! To ensure we have a full program, we are accepting a second round of applications. The camera-ready deadline for late phase submissions is the same as for the early phase.
  • Submission by e-mail: Wednesday, 23 August 2017
  • Notification of final decision: Friday, 25 August 2017


Recent advances in computing have led to continually deeper integration between
computers and human society. People now live surrounded in 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 these socio-technical systems have grown in complexity, they have become
increasingly difficult for humans to understand and direct toward productive
ends. For example, when people 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. When they take actions in the system, they often cannot
foresee and manage unintended effects on other users, software, or the system
as a whole, particularly because the software part of a system often contains

The goal of the 2017 VL/HCC Graduate Consortium is to explore ways to help find
easier ways to learn, express, and understand computational ideas, which can
include ways to visualize, analyze, or tailor large socio-technical systems or
information generated by them. This may include development of novel methods
and techniques, models and tools, such as programming environments. At a deeper
level, it may include developing new theory for predicting the complicated,
unstable, sometimes emergent behavior that results when large numbers of
diverse, unpredictable humans are coupled to unreliable software.

Why You Should Participate

  • Present your work to a smaller, more attentive audience
  • Get detailed, critical, constructive feedback from a diverse panel of
  • Meet other students working on similar problems
  • Compete for travel funding (pending approval), to help cover your cost of
    attending VL/HCC
  • NSF funding has been granted to support student travel. All students are
    eligible to receive some funding (please see below), 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 VLHCC17-GC in the subject line to Eric

  • 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 vitae (CV), as a second PDF file. This CV should mention whether
    you have previously participated in any graduate consortia at any

  • 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, why attending the GC this year would be
    important for you, and please ask them to mention if you have already
    attended VL/HCC GC in any past year. 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 a poster on their work at the
Showpieces Reception during the main conference. Details will be provided to
accepted applicants.

Travel Support

We are happy to announce that we have received a grant from the National
Science Foundation to support participation by students from US universities,
and a small number of students from foreign universities. This funding will

  • Registration to VL/HCC and the Graduate Consortium
  • Travel to Raleigh
  • Lodging and meals for the duration of the conference


The consortium event will be a full day the Saturday after the main conference.
All participating students are expected to attend the main conference as well
as the graduate consortium. 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, closer to
the event, including times and locations.

Examples of Successful Applications

To be successful, a submission to the VL/HCC Graduate Consortium 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