Werner Purgathofer, Eduard Groeller, Martin Feda
TU Wien / Austria
This paper illustrates that there are conferences which will destroy
confidence in scientific life if the community does not forbid them.
The Wessex Institute of Technology[¹] organizes a whole series of regular
conferences on various topics[²].
Our experiences are only with one of these,
but one should probably also be careful with the others.
It is an offense against honorable scientists to offer false publication
possibilities under a scientifically serious disguise for high fees.
Our conclusion is: VIDEA accepts everything!
And we conclude from that that a publication in the VIDEA proceedings
is worth nothing at all!
And to organize such a conference is simply a fraud.
Conferences like VIDEA are a morally dispisable scheme to allow people to buy
themselves publications without having to undergo any type of reviewing.
It simply increases the flow of worthless data and makes it more difficult
for scientists to extract really useful information.
Serious conferences usually introduce themselves by distributing a Call for Papers including a submission deadline. After having received contributions a technical program committee reviews and evaluates these to come to a decision which of the submitted paper proposals shall be accepted for the conference. Some conferences ask for abstracts first to be able to decide whether a topic is appropriate for their event, and ask for full papers (to be reviewed again) only thereafter.
This holds also for a conference called
Visualization and Intelligent Design in Engineering and Architecture (VIDEA'93).
Having accepted to become a member of the program committee for VIDEA'93,
one of the authors made two suspicious observations.
Firstly, he received exactly zero abstracts and zero papers to review,
and was never informed about any program committee meetings nor of any reviewing results.
The program for the conference was finished apparently without involvement
of the scientific advisory committee.
We recognized this by receiving the printed advance program.
Secondly, we submitted three papers to this conference,
and they were all accepted without any comments, grades, or whatsoever.
Meaningless to say that the visit to this conference was very disappointing
both in the sense of contents and in the sense of organization.
When two of the authors were asked to become members of the program committee for VIDEA'95 (to take place in La Coruna, Spain), we planned to test if any reviews take place at all. We would send them four abstracts that are obviously plain nonsense, that no excuse for accepting them could be taken seriously. This paper reports about this activity.
We decided to write more than one crazy abstract to make sure that an acceptance cannot be interpreted as accident and so we tried different types of weird papers proposals. The first of four abstracts we produced was simply a completely irrelevant topic, namely how to create footprints on the walls of public rooms. It includes several statements that every reviewer must recognize as joke. The complete text is given in abstract 1.
Extended abstract 1: The Footprint Function for the Realistic Texturing of Public Room Walls.
- Today's radiosity methods are able to produce nearly perfect light distributions for interior rooms. Unrealistic appearance now mainly is due to missing texturing of the walls. One important feature of public room walls are footprints in the lower areas. This paper presents a set of simple functions to easily generate a class of footprint textures for such applications. Different randomization techniques ensure the realistic appearance of the results. This technique is of increasing importance for the visualization of architectural objects in the future.
- realism, rendering, textures, footprints
- Today's radiosity methods are able to produce nearly perfect light distributions of interior rooms. Unrealistic appearance now mainly is due to missing texturing of the walls. One important feature of public room walls are footprints in the lower areas.
- The Footprint Function
- The basic footprint function is a combination of trivial, i.e. easy to implement, parametric functions. The footprint is divided into a ball and a heel which can have independent sole textures. The sizes are chosen such that a simulation of shoe sizes 35 to 42 for women profiles and 39 to 46 for men profiles is performed.
- Randomization Techniques
- Distribution techniques will be presented that ensure that the lower part of the wall contains significantly more footprints than the higher parts. Especially, no footprints must occur above a certain threshold height, due to physiological limitations of the human being. Additionally, random functions will take care that most footprints remain incomplete and vary in color and shape.
- Preliminary investigations are encouraging. As we have not implemented the new method yet, there are no concrete results, yet. The final paper might include images.
- A footprint function for the realistic imaging of walls is presented. Details of all functions are given to ensure an easy implementation for the reader.
- to be included in the final paper.
The second abstract describes a correct method which makes no sense at all, that is how to render interior rooms without light. Obviously, the resulting image will be completely black. This was written as in abstract 2.
Extended abstract 2: Efficient Radiosity for Daylight Simulation in Closed Environments
- Radiosity is a useful tool for architects and lighting engineers to simulate illumination in the interior of buildings. Unfortunately, the computation time for radiosity is very high. However, radiosity algorithms can take advantage of special scene properties of specific classes of environments. Exploiting the additional information about the scene structure of a particular class can decrease the computation time significantly. The aim of this paper is to speed up the radiosity computation for the class of closed environments without artificial light sources.
- Two Restrictions on the Scene Structure
- The first restriction on the scene is that it is closed. The reason for this restriction is the fact that radiosity is based upon the energy conservation principle, that means that at any time the amount of emitted energy equals the amount of absorbed energy plus the amount of energy leaving the scene. In closed scenes no energy leaves the scene, thus simplifying the radiosity computation. However, this restriction does not impose problems, because radiosity is mostly used for interior scenes. The second restriction is that only daylight can be considered. Radiosity algorithms solve a set of equations, where the radiosities of patches are the unknowns and the emissions are the constant terms. In conventional radiosity all patches are allowed to emit light, i.e. to be an artificial light source. If we assume that no patch has emission, we only have to consider daylight. This allows the use of very efficient solution methods known in numerical mathematics for the set of equations. The second restriction does not limit the range of applications too much as well, because in most cases architects are interested in visualizing their design with daylight conditions.
- Mathematical Foundation of the New Method
- Details will be described in the final paper.
- The new method reduces the computation time of both the radiosity evaluation and of image generation. Images can be generated at interactive rates even for very complex scenes, making the method suitable for walk-throughs and VR-applications. Since numerical techniques are mainly replaced by analytical formulas, no aliasing effects appear.
- Conclusion and Future Work
- The development of radiosity algorithms for special classes of scenes is a promising field of future research. Such algorithms are significantly faster and possibly more accurate than non-specialized algorithms.
These first two productions have at least a little bit the structure of a scientific paper abstract. What we also wanted to try was, if VIDEA would accept its own text as abstract. So we copied the complete introduction from the "Call for Papers" and gave this abstract the title of the conference. Minor changes were only made like changing the word "conference" to "paper". The result is given in abstract 3.
Extended abstract 3:
Visualization and Intelligent Design in Engineering and Architecture
In recent years, remarkable advances in computer visualization of objects and physical phenomena have been made. Computer images can now represent real objects very accurately. These techniques can be enhanced by defining any desired path, creating animation, moving computer views and real world video models, as well as sound tracks, resulting in multimedia representations. The development of these techniques has been possible because of the improvements in computer graphic devices, better algorithms and faster processors, which allow workstations and high speed PCs to be suitable platforms for visualization and have greatly improved the ability of high-performance computers to produce computer images, in animated forms, of complex engineering and architecture problems allowing a dynamic analysis of their behavior.
Visualization has been essential for the development of new design techniques in engineering and architecture. The integration of computer visualization with other advances in computer computational sciences, such as knowledge based support systems, object bases, advance numerical methods, etc. provide the basis for intelligent design systems. The objective of this paper is to discuss advances in visualization as a tool for intelligent design in engineering and architecture. The paper aims to bring together research in computational mathematics and industrial hardware and software, as well as science, engineering and architecture for developing practical applications in these various fields. A presentation of our results on workstations with graphic peripherals and personal computers will be available to the audience.
Last but not least we decided to produce an abstract without any content, just complete nonsense. So we took a dictionary of information processing words and selected randomly some 40 phrases from there and joined them together to a fantastically technical sounding text. The given reference is, of course, the utilized dictionary! We had much fun with abstract 4.
Extended abstract 4:
Distributed Multiprogramming System for Pen Selectors with Error Probability
Controllable connections for input/output supervisor channel adapters with line frequency scanning are often used for unavailable time. This paper describes the use of disturbance voltage with equivalent junction temperature as OP-trade-in for zone packed print.
The main advantage over previous methods are the data transmission lines and routine conversion. Addressing, relative to preferred characters, uses a magnetic disk machine to enable incremental programming. The identifier transmission group correlates to non transmitting typewriters.
Statistically spoken, manufacturing control and messages are mixed so that the primary supervisor may be located in different physical records. A collection of data is defined as the unit of transfer between the program and format management.
The theory is based on arithmetic overflow, qualified names, and axial lead resistors. Using the Sparbuchdrucker-theorem  modified by ledger adjustment sales in combination with a secondary operator control station allows the number of single machines to roll over the keyboard. The basic origin coordinates ensure a diminished radix complement. In the future this generalized sequential access method will be the source for forced control field lines.
 Fachausdrücke der Informationsverarbeitung, IBM Deutschland GmbH, 1985.
All abstracts were sent to the conference in November 1994 and on January
14th, 1995 we received the results.
All four abstract have been
reviewed and provisionally accepted!
This means, that the VIDEA conference organizers[³] claim someone has
reviewed these abstracts and has found them suitable for the conference!
As members of the program committee two of us had nothing to do with reviewing.
The acceptance letter also contains information from which can be concluded that final papers will only be printed in the proceedings if the registration fee is paid together with the final paper. Additionally, the letter states "Due to the success of the conference and to be fair, we can only allow each participant to present one paper at the meeting which will be published in the proceedings" which makes sure that every published paper is paid for by a registration fee. The publishers (the proceedings of the last conference VIDEA'93 were co-published by "Computational Mechanics Publications, Southampton-Boston" and "Elsevier Science Publishers Ltd., London-NewYork") probably don't have the slightest idea that they are printing non-reviewed material as high-quality books.
We believe that Wessex Institute of Technology (or at least some people there) profit in a very dirty way from the international pressure on scientists to have long publication lists. They pretend to organize scientific conferences by giving them the look of such events. They use the names of the program committee members for economical purposes only. They "sell" publication possibilities to less experienced or naive members of our community and in this way ruin their work by producing a worthless publication. It is very dangerous to tolerate such developments. This would ruin the seriousness of our scientific culture.
The effects of this little test definitely must be that this conference of the Wessex Institute of Technology is abandoned and ignored in the future and that the names of its organizers  are watched very carefully for their future actions. We will resign from the program committee immediately and try to warn all other program committee members and authors of accepted papers.
Another effect of such scandals should be that the length of the publication lists of scientists must not become so important. Rather than that, other evaluation measures that emphasize quality instead of quantity should be internationally further encouraged. Only by reducing the pressure to produce lots of papers can the danger of such unmoral events be reduced. One positive side-effect would be a reduced intellectual pollution in some fields.
A third aspect is how scientifically serios institutions can find support in the organization of local conferences. We want to strongly recommend to contact the established scientific associations of your field to ensure serious support, e.g. the national computer societies, or specialized associations for specific fields. They usually can help with publicity, financing, and high quality publications.
We believe that Wessex Institute of Technology is fully responsible for this affair, and that both the university cite where VIDEA shall take place and the publisher who will produce the proceedings are fooled in the same way as the participants.
¹) Wessex Institute of Technology
Ashurst Lodge, Ashurst, Southampton, SO40 7AA, UK.
Tel +44 703 293223, Fax +44 703 292853
²) WIT-conferences in 1995:
³) Director: Professor C.A. Brebbia, Wessex Institute of Technology