Friday, 23 March 2007

ISMIR Steering Committee

ISMIR is by far my most favorite conference. I've attended all ISMIRs since 2002. My research has been revolving all around the ISMIR community, I've learned a lot from ISMIR papers (Btw, most papers I cite are ISMIR papers), I learned a lot from conversations I had at ISMIR, I got my current job through ISMIR, and even my next job... but only recently I discovered the ISMIR steering committee.

Now that I discovered it, I realize that many people that seem really important to me in the community are not included. Which seems a bit odd. In particular, I wonder why none of the following people are included: (in alphabetical order)
Anssi Klapuri
Has done some amazing research, has been very active in the community, helping many others. Has given many interesting talks, got involved in evaluation efforts like MIREX...

Dan Ellis
Another person everyone knows, great research, very active, in particular when it comes to evaluation. Has shared a lot of data, code, has written many frequently cited papers, ...

Francois Pachet
I guess I don't need to mention anything here? Has pioneered many very interesting research directions, is always happy to discuss research topics, inspirational, ...

George Tzanetakis
Another legend... also co-organizer of ISMIR last year. He gave us Marsyas, many great papers, and genre classification.

Gerhard Widmer
Co-organizer of ISMIR this year. He was my PhD supervisor, so I might be biased. But even if I look at this entirely objectively, I'd definitely vote for him being on the committee.

Mark Sandler
Co-organizer of ISMIR in London. Runs a great (and very large and growing) team of music researchers in London. Involved in some amazing MIR related projects...

Masataka Goto
Again I might be biased because I'm working with him right now. But the same applies as in Gerhard's case. Furthermore, having him in the committee would bring the Japanese MIR community closer to the international one.

Paul Lamere
Paul has been very active in the MIR community, attended the last ISMIR conferences, writes a great blog covering lots of MIR topics. Furthermore, he has a great overview of MIR topics outside of academia ...

Xavier Serra
Organizer of ISMIR 2004. Also legendary in the MIR community. Well known for his ground breaking PhD thesis and for being an excellent manager.

I should probably mention that I didn't ask any of the people I'm listing here. So some (or most of them?) might not even want to or might not have the time to be on the committee (which might explain why they aren't right now?) And I'd also like to add that this is only a very short list. There are many more I think would be very suitable to be on the committee (Andreas Rauber, Michael Casey, Simon Dixon, ...) but I felt the list was getting a bit long.

I wonder how new members get added to the committee? Can I just post some suggestions on the music-ir list? Is there a limit on the size of the committee? What about some form of society? I think Michael Fingerhut once mentioned that ISMIR could stand for the "international society of music information retrieval". That would be wonderful.

3 comments:

Jeremy P said...

Elias, I believe that the purpose of the steering committee is to help ensure that the ISMIR conferences continue happening, year after year. The steering committee does not want (to a certain extent) to dictate the form or content of the conferences; much of that is left up to the individual organizers of each year's conference. The steering committee just ensures that the conferences continue happening, year after year.

In that sense, folks like Xavier Serra (who helped host ISMIR in 2004) and Mark Sandler (ISMIR 2005), George Tzanatakis (ISMIR 2006) and Gerhard Widmer (ISMIR 2007) already have a significant contribution and effect on the community. They helped choose the program committees that put together the list of accepted papers, thus guiding the direction that future ISMIR research takes.

Not everyone needs to be on the steering committee. And in fact, I would argue that, if one of these folks wants to have more effect on the community, they should volunteer to host ISMIR, rather than trying to get on the steering committee. I think someone can affect more good that way. So, why don't you and Masataka start thinking about ISMIR 2008 in Japan? Or how about Anssi Klapuri and Kjell Lemstrom hosting ISMIR 2009 in Finland? Or maybe Dan Ellis and Paul Lamere can join forces and host ISMIR 2010 in the northeastern U.S.

I think doing this (trying to organize future ISMIRs) is more productive than shaking up the steering committee. That said, I do understand your concerns or at least curiosity about why and how people are on the steering committee. For what it's worth, I think there really is no formal process for changing the members of the committee. For the most part, everyone on the committee except for Beth Logan is original to the committee. They have been on it since the very first ISMIR (2000). So Beth is the only one to join, and Tim Crawford is the only one to leave.

Elias said...

Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for the comments and clarifications. I didn't realize that the steering committee has basically been frozen in its current form since its foundation. Btw, is there any information about the purpose of the committee or any other similar information online? If I'm not mistaken you are a first generation ISMIR person... do you remember how the committee was originally founded? Was there an election or something similar?

Not everyone needs to be on the steering committee. And in fact, I would argue that, if one of these folks wants to have more effect on the community, they should volunteer to host ISMIR, rather than trying to get on the steering committee.

I surely didn't mean to say that everyone I listed should be on the committee. Just adding one or two would be great. And I'm pretty sure noone I listed ever wanted to get on the steering committee. It's just me wondering why those, who I (from my very limited perspective) consider to be important leaders in the ISMIR community, aren't on the ISMIR steering committee. I bet all of those I listed are really busy and wouldn't accept any extra work unless lots of people from the community would actually ask them to do so.

The steering committee just ensures that the conferences continue happening, year after year.

If it's all about continuation, wouldn't it make sense to try to get people who organized previous conferences more involved?

They have been on it since the very first ISMIR (2000).

ISMIR has changed a lot since 2000. The community is much bigger now. There are many new and very interesting topics which couldn't have been considered in 2000. It seems to make sense to see these changes reflected in the steering committee by adding for example George (or anyone else I listed, or anyone else similarly important to the community).

I think doing this (trying to organize future ISMIRs) is more productive than shaking up the steering committee.

Unfortunately, I'm in no position to get involved in hosting a future ISMIR. (My one year postdoc in Japan is over in less than a month.) I hope that Masataka will host an ISMIR in Japan one day. Finland and northeastern US would also be great locations - and I hope I'd get the chance to attend. Btw, Portugal would also be a great location :-)

And please don't misunderstand me. I think ISMIRs so far have been great. As I said, ISMIR is by far my most favorite conference. I'm not complaining... I'm just curiously wondering why things are the way they are.

Michael Fingerhut said...

To address a couple of points:

1. The rĂ´le of the Steering Committee is, more or less, the one Jeremy described. But this is no secret: it is also described in an online document that has been publicly available for several years now. I strongly second Jeremy's suggestion that the best way to do something for ISMIR is to host it.

2. The SC is definitely not frozen. I was not a member at its creation, and several members have left it since its inception: Bruce Croft, Craig Nevill-Manning, Jon Dunn and Holger Hoos in addition to those mentioned. Beth Logan, Connie Mayer are more recent members, as well as (if I am correct) Elaine Chew (I have to update the Web page). One of the principles the SC had tried to adhere to was multidisciplinarity, and open it to people outside the computer/signal processing community (library, musicology, etc.), with varying degrees of success (not in the quality of the people but in the outreach to domains considered relevant). If I may say so, Elias' list is definitely biased - not in the quality of the people again, but in their orientation.

3. The SC has tried incorporating ISMIR for a few years. Jon Dunn was in charge of the process of finding out about the issues, and after he left, Ich has taken this up and will probably report very soon now about this.

Michael Fingerhut

The members of the Steering