Fast Abstracts - the idea and the origin.

What is a Fast Abstract?

A Fast Abstract is a two page technical paper, lightly reviewed, which offers a short talk at the conference, and is published - often in print and online. The "Fast Abstract" was born at the Fault-Tolerant Computing Symposium, 1998. I was the program co-chair and strongly felt that a mechanism such as this was necessary at our engineering conferences. We discuss some of the reasoning in the Preface of the FTCS-28 Fast Abstract Proceedings. In a nutshell, I feel that several of our engineering conferences have grown to do well on the heavily refereed technical paper but leave little room for the excitement of a barely tested idea, experiment, or opinion. Informal discussions, stand up talks, and round tables provide an avenue for such sharing, but lack the written record so essential for academic progress. Fast Abstracts seem to satisfy this niche. Since its inception, they have been adopted by other conferences. We also seem to have allayed some of the early fears that it could be confused with the standing of a "full paper". As time has shown, we are a remarkably adaptive community and have adopted this new channel for contribution and credit. The archives of all four years of ISSRE FastAbstracts will be replaced on one of these sites. They used to be at http:// / fastabstracts. As to the name, it was born on a turboprop flying back from a business meeting in the spring of 1998. I was struggling for a name and explaining to Peter Santhanam, my friend and colleague, about this idea. "The form and function are clear - exactly two pages in length. It should be fast to write, fast to deliver, and fast through the review cycle.. a sort of fast abstract." Peter, shaking his head in his inimitable style, said, "why not just call it Fast Abstract?" And, so I did. Ram Chillarege Peekskill, New York October 20, 2001