FORC 2021: Call For Papers

Symposium on Foundations of Responsible Computing

The second annual Symposium on Foundations of Responsible Computing (FORC) is planned to be held on June 9-11, 2021, at the Harvard Center for Mathematical Sciences and Applications (CMSA). (Depending on the feasibility of travel, the Symposium may move to a virtual or hybrid format.) FORC is a forum for mathematically rigorous research in computation and society writ large.  The Symposium aims to catalyze the formation of a community supportive of the application of theoretical computer science, statistics, economics, and other relevant analytical fields to problems of pressing and anticipated societal concern. 

Topics that fall in scope include, but are not restricted to, formal approaches to privacy, including differential privacy; theoretical approaches to fairness in machine learning, including the investigation of definitions, algorithms and lower bounds, tradeoffs, and economic incentives; computational and mathematical social choice (including apportionment and redistricting); theoretical foundations of sustainability; mechanism design for social good; mathematical approaches to bridging computer science, law and ethics; and theory related to modeling and mitigating the spread of epidemics. The Program Committee also warmly welcomes mathematically rigorous work on societal problems that have not traditionally received attention in the theoretical computer science literature. Whatever the topic, submitted papers should communicate their contributions towards responsible computing, broadly construed.

The symposium itself will feature a mixture of talks by authors of accepted papers and invited talks. At least one author of each accepted paper should be present at the symposium to present the work (with an option for virtual attendance, as needed).

Dual Submission Policy. Authors must indicate at the time of submission whether they are submitting to the archival-option track or the non-archival track.

  • For submissions to the non-archival track, it is permitted to submit papers that have appeared in a peer-reviewed conference or journal since the last FORC. It is also permitted to simultaneously or subsequently submit substantially similar work to another conference or to a journal. Accepted papers in the non-archival track will receive talks at the symposium and will appear as one-page abstracts on the symposium website. They will not appear in the proceedings.
  • For submissions to the archival-option track, papers that are substantially similar to papers that have been previously published, accepted for publication, or submitted in parallel to other peer-reviewed conferences with proceedings may not be submitted. Also, submissions that are substantially similar to papers that are already published in a journal at the time of submission may not be submitted to the archival-option track. Accepted papers in the archival-option track will receive talks at the symposium. Authors of papers accepted to the archival-option track will be given the option to choose whether to convert to a one-page abstract (which will not appear in the proceedings) or publish a 10-page version of their paper in the proceedings. The proceedings of FORC 2021 will be published by LIPIcs. 

Authors are also responsible for ensuring that submitting to FORC would not be in violation of other journals’ or conferences’ submission policies.

PC members and reviewers will be aware during the review process of whether papers have been submitted as archival-option or non-archival. The PC reserves the right to hold non-archival papers to a different standard than archival-option papers.

Submission Instructions. 

  • Authors should upload a PDF of the paper via the Easychair system here:
  • A footnote on the title of the paper should indicate whether the paper is a submission to the archival-option track or the non-archival track. Submissions to the non-archival track should also indicate in this footnote any archival venues (conferences or journals) at which the paper has appeared, a link to the publication, and the date on which it was published. 
  • The font size should be at least 11 point and the format should be single-column.
  • Author names and affiliations should appear at the top of the paper (reviewing for FORC is single-, not double-blind).
  • Beyond these, there are no formatting or length requirements, but reviewers will only be asked to read the first 10 pages of the submission. It is the authors’ responsibility that the main results of the paper and their significance be clearly stated within the first 10 pages. For both the archival-option track and the non-archival track, submissions should include proofs of all central claims, and the committee will put a premium on writing that conveys clearly and in the simplest possible way what the paper is accomplishing.
  • Authors are free to post their submissions on arXiv or other online repositories.

All questions about submissions should be emailed to the PC chair, Katrina Ligett, at

FORC Steering Committee

Avrim Blum
Cynthia Dwork
Shafi Goldwasser
Sampath Kannan
Jon Kleinberg
Kobbi Nissim
Toni Pitassi
Omer Reingold
Guy Rothblum
Salvatore Ruggieri
Salil Vadhan
Adrian Weller

FORC 2021 Program Committee

Borja Balle
Raef Bassily
Mark Bun
Elisa Celis
Aloni Cohen
Moon Duchin
Vitaly Feldman
Kira Goldner
Krishna Gummadi
Swati Gupta
Gautam Kamath
Michael Kearns
Scott Kominers
Himabindu Lakkaraju
Katrina Ligett (chair)
Jamie Morgenstern
Seth Neel
Kobbi Nissim
Adam Smith
Kunal Talwar
Salil Vadhan

Important Dates.

Submission deadline: February 15, 2021 AOE (anywhere on Earth)
Author notification: March 31, 2021
Conference: June 9-11, 2021

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