Lightning Talk Submission Information

Submissions open in September
Date Due Friday, October 23, 2020
Time Due 23:59 AoE (Anywhere on Earth, UTC-12h)
Submission Limits 1 page, 500 words max. (including abstract of 250 words)
Notification to Authors Monday, November 23, 2020
Camera-Ready Deadline Sunday, December 13, 2020
Duration 5 minutes

On August 12 2020, it was announced that the Technical Symposium is a virtual event in 2021. We are working to update the author and reviewer guidelines.

Author Guidelines: Lightning Talks

Lightning Talks describe works in progress, new and untested ideas, or opportunities for collaborative work. The purpose of a Lightning Talk can be to start a discussion, find collaborators, or receive input and critique about an idea. Proposals are limited to 500 words, including the abstract of 250 words, and will be reviewed with a dual-anonymous process for acceptance. Lightning Talk presentations will be a maximum of 5 minutes each. Presenters may use slides, but these must be submitted to the Lightning Talks chair a few days before the presentation.

Dual-Anonymous Review Process

Initial submissions to the Lightning Talks track are reviewed with the dual-anonymous review process, in which authors must anonymize their submissions — thus reviewers (and APCs for papers) are unaware of the author — and reviewers and APCs are anonymous to each other and to the authors. During the discussion of a submission in EasyChair, reviewers can refer to each other by their reviewer number on that submission’s review.

How Should The Proposal Be Formatted?

Lightning Talk proposals must be submitted in PDF format. The full proposal contains an abstract and a description of your Lightning Talk (as detailed below). The full proposal is used for the review process only and must be anonymized. If the proposal is accepted, the title and authors appear in the printed program and the title, authors, and abstract appear in the online program and proceedings. The format for the proposal is described in the following section.

Lightning Talk Proposal Format and Contents

The proposal is limited to 1 page, 500 words max.), and should include the following:

  • Title: A title for the Lightning Talk.

  • Abstract: A summary of the Lightning Talk. The same abstract will also need to be submitted via a text box on the submission page. Please be sure that your summary is accurate and that both submitted copies (here in the Lightning Talk Proposal, and in the submission text box) are identical. Please recall that the abstract is the only part of the proposal to appear in program and proceedings and should thus be self-contained.

  • Description: Describe your talk in more detail. It will be helpful for reviewers to know why you are excited about the topic, and why you think others will be interested too. Outline how you plan to present your topic in 5 minutes. Lightning talks are expected to explore tentative or preliminary work, or even ideas for possible work. Presentations of mature work will not be considered.

Lightning Talk Abstract

The abstract is the summary of the Lightning talk that will appear on the conference web pages. The summary is limited to, and must match verbatim, the abstract section of the Lightning Talk proposal. The Lightning Talk abstract must be submitted in plain text. Note that the abstracts of accepted Lightning Talks can be edited in response to reviews.

Supplementary Materials

The abstract for an accepted proposal may contain a link to a website with more information. However note that if you choose to include supplementary materials in your initial submission, you are obligated to anonymize the material, e.g., removing author names, using anonymous content hosting services such as Dropbox, as to respect the dual-anonymous review process. Furthermore, reviewers are not obligated to read your supplementary materials, so please ensure that your abstract is still self-contained and sufficient.

Virtual Option

For virtual presentations, the presenter may either present live via conferencing software or provide a recording of their presentation. If a recording is provided, the presenter must be available to participate live in Q&A during the session online via conferencing software.

Face-to-Face Option

For presenters attending the symposium in person, the presentation will be in a regular conference session and room. Please be aware that some of the attendees might be watching virtually and may also participate in Q&A virtually via conferencing software.

Sample Proposal

Previous Lightning Talks

How Do I Submit My Lightning Talk?

Please be aware that the submission form asks you to provide demographic information. This demographic information is being collected by ACM; they created the questions and require them to be in the submission form. Please know that the demographic information submitted is not seen (and thus cannot be used in any way) by Technical Symposium reviewers or leadership. We also have no control over the questions asked nor where they appear in the form.

SIGCSE TS 2021 is not participating in the new ACM workflow, template, and production system. MS Word Authors, please use the Interim Template. LaTeX Authors, please use the official ACM Master with the ACM_SigConf template.

Submissions use the English language. If you desire editing services, consider the following from the ACM.

ACM has partnered with International Science Editing (ISE) to provide language editing services to ACM authors. ISE offers a comprehensive range of services for authors including standard and premium English language editing, as well as illustration and translation services. Editing services are at author expense and do not guarantee publication of a manuscript.
  • Prepare your Lightning Talk submission using the format specified above.

  • Recall that you will also need to copy-and-paste or type your text abstract description into a text box in the submission form. Be sure that the same text appears in the submission and in the abstract text box in the submission form.

  • Be sure to choose the appropriate topic areas when submitting. Your choices help in assigning appropriate reviewers to your submission, and assist the reviewers in evaluating the paper from an appropriate perspective.

  • Convert your submission-ready paper into Adobe PDF format. Refer to our Creating Adobe PDF Documents page page for assistance.

  • When you’re ready to submit, use the online submission system - EasyChair to complete the submission form and upload your submission. In addition to uploading the PDF version of your submission, you will fill out a form with metadata about your submission.

Please do not wait until the last minute to submit your documents because that is when everyone else will be connecting to our server!

Make note of the proposal ID number and password assigned to your submission. You will receive an email message confirmation. Spam filters sometimes trap these automatically generated messages so you may need to check your spam trap for the confirmation and later, acceptance or rejection notification.

After receiving confirmation, go to the submission site to review your submission for accuracy. Send email to the chair(s) (see below) if there are any problems.


If you have questions about anything discussed above, please contact:

Demos and Lightning Talks Team


  • Jennifer Campbell
    University of Toronto
  • Carsten Kleiner
    University of Applied Sciences & Arts Hannover