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The RSS 2012 EPoster Format

The e-poster session and the accompanying 5 minute spotlight talks are at the heart of RSS2012. Every accepted paper has both a 5 minute talk and an hour long e-poster session (note that papers nominated for an award at RSS will have a more traditional 20 minute talk but will also have an e-poster). RSS is a single track conference so it is important to judge well the content and presentation of both talks and e-posters. These words are to help you make the most effective use of the time available for you to present your work. They constitute (somewhat strong) advice not an edict. You alone know how best how to present your work, we do not wish to be presumptive. The thinking is that if we explain our thinking behind the format of RSS that this can only help everyone to get the most out of the conference.

The five minute spotlight talk

The purpose of the 5 minute talk is to explain to a multidisciplinary audience why they should visit your e-poster that evening - this is your chance to sell your work and get people making a note to "visit this poster". Five minutes does not give you time to give technical detail - that comes later in interactive form during the hour and a half long poster session - but it does give you plenty of time to say what you have done, why you have done it and what makes it so interesting and relevant. Think about getting the audience to make a note along the lines of "visit this e-poster because they.." where you get to finish the sentence.

We must stress that the 5 minute time limit will be ferociously policed by someone armed with a loud gong. We can't afford for timing to slip so you will be asked to provide all presentations upfront to the poster Tsar - Dylan Shell - and he will load them on a single computer for you. We understand that it is *so* much easier for you to use your own machine but that is a local minimum - we lose too much time in switching machines and having them discover the projector. So we will be robust on this point for obvious reasons.

The laptop for the spotlight talks will have MS Powerpoint for Mac 2011 (Version 14.0.0) and Adobe Reader (Version 10.1).

The e-poster sessions

This is where you get to engage in a very direct way with the conference attendees. This should be why people come to RSS - to meet and talk to you about your paper. It can be everything a traditional 25 minute presentation cannot be.

While the attendees sup wine or a beer you will be manning a 42" TV with a 1920 x 1080 LCD screen (with VGA input) and instilling within them a fervour of interest in your work - using the e-poster format to cover both the big picture and detail. There is no prescribed format for your e-poster. Go crazy and be imaginative. In doing so the following may be useful things to keep in mind:

  1. People will flow between e-poster so don't assume you can give them a talk. They will be joining you at random times and will want to quickly get a sense of what the big picture is. Perhaps have an always-visible side pane or scrolling strap line which can be read by new comers as they show up?
  2. Think about how you can use hyperlinks to facilitate answering both technical and high level questions from your immediate audience. A linear sequence of slides may not be the best solution. You might have an easily accessible highly technical page to appease the expert or a lit-survey page to describe to the newcomer how what you propose fits into the landscape.

Many exciting options here, going for gold and where appropriate, could you run/embed a live demo, go on...have a try...

There will be prizes

There will be a $1000 prize for the best spotlight-e-poster combination and a $500 runner up prize. So for this reason (and of course academic excellence) please think very carefully about which of the authors is best placed to give the spotlight talk and which is more suited to run the e-poster session. Neither are an easy thing to do. A good spotlight talk paired with a thoughtfully prepared e-poster can provide an excellent opportunity for discussion and dissemination. This is the middle stump of RSS.

Photo by: Douglas Stebila