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Call for Panels

Deadline: June 12 June 16
Notification: August 23

Panels Chair: David Balenson, SRI International

Panels should encourage audience participation and focus on the sharp edges of a new and emerging topic where there is controversy or where there are widely varying positions. Panels focused on a topic related to the conference theme are especially welcomed, but this is not a hard requirement. A typical panel proposal should list the moderator, three panel members and an abstract of the proposed topic.

What should I propose a panel on?

ACSAC is an internationally recognized conference for experts in computer and network security to exchange practical ideas about solving critical security problems. Panels should be focused on the sharp edges of a topic area where there is controversy or widely varying positions. Panels focused on a topic related to the conference theme are especially welcomed, but this is not a hard requirement.

How are panels conducted at ACSAC?

Panels contribute significantly to ACSAC's overall technical program. Panel sessions differ from paper presentation sessions in that there is a moderator and three expert panelists who provide opinions in response to the moderator's prompts. Panels require advanced planning in order to be successful. The ACSAC audience enjoys panels most when there is interaction between the panelists AND the audience. The program committee recommends that at least half the session be allocated for such discussion – a panel session typically runs 90 minutes.

All panelists should be appropriate contributors to the panel; they should possess expert knowledge of the topic.

Panel write-ups should identify the moderator and all three panelists. Consideration should be given for backup panelists in the event of an emergency. For example, if a last minute replacement is needed, the moderator can ask a conference attendee with the appropriate background to serve as a replacement.

A panel format which is known to work very successfully is for the moderator to provide a brief introduction of no more than 5 minutes. Then, allow each of three panelists 10 minutes for a statement of their position during which only clarification questions are accepted. After all panelists have spoken there is an open discussion period.

Moderators may participate in the discussion period. In case discussion does not develop smoothly, the moderator should be ready to ask questions or call upon a specific individual in the audience to pose a question. Panelists may also be asked to raise questions when discussion falters. It is quite appropriate to plant questions in the audience in advance of the session. The panel moderator should step in to cut off discussion which is too narrowly focused or going around in circles. A brief closing statement by the panel moderator may be provided if desired.

What are my responsibilities as moderator?

  1. A nominal introduction about the panel MUST be provided. The introduction should be used to establish the purpose of the panel, identify the panelists, and lay the ground rules. This information should be shared with the panelists in advance of the conference. Advise your panelists that the introduction you provide as moderator will set the stage so they need not repeat introductory material in their presentations, thereby giving them a little more time to present their view or idea.
  2. Panelist bios or introductions should be kept extremely brief. That means one or two sentences. It is best to simply note the special activity that the panelist is involved with that makes them appropriate for the panel.
  3. All panelists should be introduced in the introduction. By doing so, the flow of presentations is not interrupted by a bio.
  4. Moderators are not the panelists. Their function is to introduce the panelists, keep a smooth flow, generate discussion (if necessary), and be the time-keeper.
  5. Moderators must be assertive, both with their panelists and with the audience. Discussions that are inappropriate should be, politely, discontinued or postponed and questions/dialog should be raised when the panelists and audience are not actively responding. Take only clarification questions during the panelists' presentations; do not allow this to turn into an open discussion between the panelist and the audience. (You have lost control of the panel if a panelist takes the floor and directly responds to non-clarification questions during the presentations.)
  6. Do not let your panelists become the moderator. Your job is to indicate where, when, and what questions are acceptable. Your job is to direct questions to your panelists as necessary.

What are my responsibilities as a panelist?

  1. Panelists should remember that they are talking to the security community and most of the basics are well understood. Panelists should skip the fundamentals unless there is an important point to be made
  2. Panelists should not define terminology unless they are using the terms differently from common usage
  3. Panelists should not take general questions during their presentation but questions for clarification are acceptable
  4. Panelists must keep to their time limits
  5. Panelists must be polite to fellow panelists, the moderator, and the audience

How do I write a panel proposal?

Panel proposals must be no longer than one page and should provide the following: a title, identification of moderator and panelists, a brief one paragraph description by the moderator to describe the panel topic, and brief one paragraph statements by each of the three panelists to describe their respective positions.

An example panel proposal is provided here.

How do I submit a panel proposal?

Email your panel proposal to the Panels Chair ( Please include the name and email address of the moderator for the panel.

How do I get more information?

For additional information regarding panels, please contact the Panels Chair.