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LISA '03 Call for Papers
October 26-31, 2003, San Diego, California


LISA '03 Home

Conference Overview

Important Dates/Contact Info.

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Conference Themes

Refereed Papers

Invited Talks

Tutorials, Workshops, WIPs, and BOFs

Sponsorship and Exhibit Opportunities

Call for Papers in PDF Format


Refereed papers explore techniques, tools, theory, and case histories that extend our understanding of systems and networks, and they present their results in the context of previous related work. Cash prizes will be awarded at the conference for the best refereed paper and the best refereed paper by a student.

System administration is a broad topic, and good papers take a variety of approaches. A few examples:

  • Description/analysis of a new technique, tool, technology, or theory
  • Applying an existing technique/tool/ etc. in a novel way
  • Critical analysis of the alternatives for solving a common problem, including new recommendations
  • New lessons learned from a detailed and honest evaluation of a case history

The crucial component of all of these is something new—something that was not previously available, discussed, considered, measured, analyzed, formalized, or recognized.

The program committee is particularly interested in contributions from full-time students.

Writing a refereed paper for LISA is a rewarding challenge. A properly crafted paper can make a difference in the thinking or practice of thousands of your colleagues. For the best possible impact, your paper should be written so that it is understandable to and relevant to a majority of our attendees. An ideal paper is understandable to an intermediate-level system administrator, while containing ideas that will be new and timely to expert administrators.

It is particularly important to fit your own work into the context of past work and practice. LISA papers must provide references to prior relevant work and describe the differences between that work and their own. Authors should browse proceedings of previous LISA conferences for references, and can use the online bibliography and resource page at Oslo University College ( to find references to related work. The Program Chair and Program Committee members can also give you tips on previous work that might be relevant (send email to for help).

Proposal and Submission Details

Potential authors must submit the following items for review:

  • An extended abstract of 500-1500 words (not counting figures and references)
  • A brief outline of the final paper.

Note that, contrary to the practice in previous years, full papers should not be submitted. Proposals can be submitted only by the author of the paper. For administrative reasons, every submission must begin by listing:

  1. Paper title and names and affiliations of all authors. Indicate whether each author is a full-time student.
  2. The author who will be the contact to the Program Committee. Include his/her name, paper mail address, daytime and evening phone numbers, email address, and fax number (as applicable).
  3. Whether the paper could be considered a "student paper" for award purposes (the lead author must be a student).
  4. Whether you would prefer to present the paper as a "long talk" or a "short talk" (see below), if you have a strong preference.

All abstract submissions must be electronic, in ASCII or PDF format only (PostScript is not accepted). ASCII format is greatly preferred. Proposals must be submitted using this Web submission form.

Proposals are due by April 21, 2003.

The Program Committee will judge submissions on the quality of the written submission, the novelty of approach, and its technical correctness. Be aware that the best abstracts provide many specific details about the work they describe.

Papers whose only purpose is to promote a commercial product will not be accepted.

To aid authors in creating a paper suitable for LISA's audience, authors of accepted papers will be assigned one or more "shepherds" to help with the process of completing the paper. The shepherds will read one or more intermediate drafts and provide comments before the authors complete the final draft. Like most conferences and journals, LISA requires that papers not be submitted simultaneously to more than one conference or publication, and that submitted papers not be previously or subsequently published elsewhere for a certain period of time. All submissions are held in the highest confidence prior to publication in the conference proceedings, both as a matter of policy and as protected by the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. Papers or proposals accompanied by non-disclosure agreement forms are not acceptable and will be returned unread.

Presenting the Paper at the Conference

All accepted papers must be presented at the LISA conference by at least one author.

There are two lengths of presentations at the conference: 20 and 30 minutes (both formats include 5 minutes of Q&A). These "short" or "long" talks are assigned to accepted papers based on the Program Committee's judgment as to how straightforward the content is to describe. Presentation length is not a reflection of perceived paper quality, and it has no effect on the best paper competition.

Authors of an accepted paper must provide a final paper for publication in the conference proceedings. Final papers are generally limited to 16 pages, including diagrams, figures, references, and appendices. Complete instructions will be sent to the authors of accepted papers.

Additional Publication Opportunity

In addition to normal publication in the Conference Proceedings, the best papers from LISA 2003 will also be considered for possible inclusion in the special edition of the journal Science of Computer Programming that is being guest-edited by Mark Burgess.

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