Fast Abstracts - Launching the idea

Preface To the FastAbstracts, Proceedings of the FTCS 28 Jean Arlat, Ram Chillarege & Chuck Weinstock

The information technology industry is moving rapidly, so rapidly that there is a need to communicate new, perhaps incomplete, ideas more rapidly than is allowed by the rigorous referee process applied to FTCS papers. To address this need, we have instituted the FastAbstracts session at this year's symposium. A FastAbstract is a very brief (two pages at most) presentation of an idea, opinion, or research effort. The ideas are not refereed, but are simply presented as is. This, combined with a four minute talk during the Symposium, allows for the authors to gain immediate feedback from the technical community. We also hope it will encourage more diverse participation. We use the term FastAbstracts because everything about them is fast. The abstract can be written quickly, the acceptance cycle is short (within a couple months from annoucement), and the talk will be fast. The submission process is handled entirely through the Web and the published FastAbstracts are only keystrokes away at, in addition to the printed Digest. The community's response to FastAbstracts has been great. At the launch of the FastAbstracts concept we reserved a slot for 20 presentations, inspired by last year's, Work In Progress idea at FTCS-27. We were plesantly surprised in receiving around 50 FastAbstracts, from 18 countries, and had to expand the session into two parallel sessions. One of the senior members from our community, wrote us "this is the best idea I have seen in ten years." We hope that the concept will evolve into including a greater diversity of contributors. The two page concept is simple enough that it should make contribution more feasible from the practioners as also deliver the essence of our work in easier to digest chunks. We look forward to FastAbstracts spreading as a concept in our rapidly changing industry. Jean Arlat, LAAS-CNRS Ram Chillarege, IBM Research Chuck Weinstock, Software Engineering Institute May 1998

The story of how the "Fast Abstract" got named, created.