POPL acceptance and rejections came out today. Most everyone I know did not make it (I think everyone I know did not make it, but I have not talked to everyone). Lindsey Kuper got rejected (presumably on a paper with Ryan Newton). Amr Sabry had submitted something original (and quite new) with Matthias Felleisen, too. In fact, POPL only accepted 18 percent of submissions this year.
This kind of stuff makes me really nervous. Lindsey and Ryan are quickly cutting their paper down to ESOP length requirements—those papers are due on the 14th—and I think Amr will probably expand and fold the project into another paper, but how many other people are doing those same things right now? How do the other four in five people make a career in our field? These people work hard, work long, and put in the effort, and still they come up short. I am realizing, for the first time, how dangerous a game graduate school really is. Publications are an important part of the game and, with numbers like this, few people truly make it.
And there are many other conferences in many other places that a lot of these papers will end up, and that’s good, but what do you do when even that fails you? This post doesn’t really have a point, or a poke, or a debate. It’s just a nerve-wracking look at some numbers, and a big question: what happens to the other 82 percent?