TCS+ online seminars

You heard it here first — a new series of online seminars! For those of you who know, we got inspiration from the great Q+ seminars run by Daniel Burgarth and Matt Leifer.

Without further ado, here is the announcement:


Dear fellow TCSers,

Ever wished you could attend that talk — if only you didn’t have to hike the Rockies, or swim across the Atlantic, to get there; if only it could have been scheduled the following week, because this week is finals; if only you could watch it from your desk, or for that matter directly from your bed?

Starting this semester TCS+ will solve all your worries. We are delighted to announce the initiation of a new series of *online* seminars in theoretical computer science. The seminars will be run using the “hangout” feature of Google+. The speaker and slides will be broadcast live as well as recorded and made available online. Anyone with a computer (and a decent browser) can watch; anyone with a webcam can join the live audience and participate.

Our goal is to make engaging talks accessible to the widest possible audience, ensuring a carbon-free dissemination of ideas across the globe.

We’re still in beta, and we welcome any feedback from the community. There will undoubtedly be glitches at first, but we hope you’ll bear with us and be as excited as we are at trying out the possibilities of this new medium.

Now for some more practical information:

Inauguration talk
Speaker: Ronald de Wolf, CWI, Amsterdam.
Title: Exponential Lower Bounds for Polytopes in Combinatorial Optimization.
(Based on the paper from STOC’12 with Samuel Fiorini, Serge Massar, Sebastian Pokutta and Hans Raj Tiwary that won the best paper award.)
Date: Wednesday 2013/2/6
Time: 5pm UTC (that’s 9am PST, noon EST, and 6pm CET).

Following talks
We initially plan to hold one seminar every two weeks. The second seminar will take place on February 20th and be given by Anup Rao from University of Washington. The next speaker will be Raghu Meka from IAS on March 6th.

We welcome suggestions for speakers! Feel free to email us or post suggestions directly on the TCS+ community page on Google+.

How to join?
If you have a Google+ account, simply add the “TCS+” community to one of your circles. For more technical information, see our webpage at We’ll keep updating it as the first seminar comes closer.

Google hangouts can only accommodate 10 “active” participants simultaneously. Active participants are those who are part of the live hangout, and can ask questions through the video feed; others can watch, and ask questions by posting text comments. We encourage groups to join together as active participants by organizing an independent “viewing party”. Priority will be given to such groups. To reserve one of the 10 available spots, post a comment in reply to the talk announcement on Google+.

Practice run
We will have a practice “hangout” two days before the first seminar, Monday 2013/2/4, as 5pm UTC. It will be announced on the Google+ page. The goal is to allow anyone (including us!) to test the hangout feature and their own technical equipment.

More information
We have a website where you’ll also find a calendar of future seminars to which you can subscribe. We also included more technical information for the speakers and the audience. Please post further questions directly on the TCS+ page on Google+ so that they are visible to everyone.

For the curious, the idea for this series came in part from a similar such series that’s been successfully running for over a year in quantum information. It’s called Q+, and you can find more information on their website (including videos of previous talks) here or on their Google+ page.

Looking forward to seeing you all online soon,

The organizers,
Anindya De, Oded Regev and Thomas Vidick

About Thomas

I am a professor in the department of Computing and Mathematical Sciences (CMS) at the California Institute of Technology, where I am also a member of the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM). My research is in quantum complexity theory and cryptography.
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11 Responses to TCS+ online seminars

  1. Shehab says:

    Great initiative!

  2. Troy says:

    Great idea, thanks for setting it up!

  3. TJ says:

    I was going to include a link to this and forward it to my coworkers, but you don’t have a simple description of what TCS+ online seminars is. Can you include it?

    • Thomas says:

      The announcement defines TCS+ as “a new series of online seminars in theoretical computer science”. Which part of that description would you like to be made simpler? (I just have no idea where you’re coming to this from :-))

  4. F says:

    Great idea! Will the talk also be recorded so to be accessible to people that cannot participate for time-zone reasons in the hangout?

  5. asdf says:

    Is there an option to join the hangout with a regular gmail account (no Google+)?

    It took me a while to get google to cancel my google+ account (for privacy reasons) and I would hate to turn it back on…(in fact, I will not)

    • Thomas says:

      You can always watch the hangout on YouTube (after it is finished), without requiring any account. Unfortunately, as far as I know to be able to watch it live on G+ you do need to be logged in.

  6. Reblogged this on kryptomusing and commented:
    First Hangout with Ronald de Wolf will speak on “Exponential Lower Bounds for Polytopes in Combinatorial Optimization” Sounds highly interesting. Perhaps we would see more ‘+’ of other fields as well!

  7. Pingback: TCS+ « Pink Iguana

  8. Pingback: Shtetl-Optimized » Blog Archive » TCS+ online seminars

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