Onward! 2011

October 22–27, 2011
Portland, Oregon USA

ACM Symposium on New Ideas in Programming and Reflections on Software

Call for Research Papers

Have you ever wished you could get your ideas out there for comment quickly? Have you ever wondered where are the conferences or journals that cater to work earlier than usual in the scientific cycle?

Onward! is that place. At Onward! we are interested in papers that describe work with potential to change significantly the field. But Onward! isn''t a venue for just any old thing - an Onward! paper must say something substantially original, and must be sufficiently important and interesting to deserve the attention of the programming and software communities. An Onward! paper must present some supporting evidence - not pure conjecture. Evidence may be in the form of a compelling argument or analysis, a sketch of validity, or an initial implementation.

The scope of an Onward! paper can be broad: It can be single idea, a new approach, or a new paradigm. It can talk about programming languages, programming methodologies, process, software engineering, collaboration, and anything to do with programming and creating software.

But above all, an Onward! paper must be well thought out, well-written, and compelling in its argument.

Onward! is a fully peer-reviewed conference. Accepted papers will appear in the SPLASH proceedings and the ACM Digital Library.

Theme: Software Language Design

Collectively the software language community is exploring the space of language designs. It often takes many years for a design (a point in this space) to be implemented, applied, and evaluated. Language design is very much an art. Can we speed up the process by more systematic methods? What properties do good language designs have? What are good language design patterns? How can we evaluate language design at an early stage, i.e. before an implementation exists? Can we (and should we) incorporate method from human-computer interaction in the evaluation of language designs? Can we use user-centered design methods to inform language design? Can programming language designers learn from the design methodologies of other disciplines such as architecture and industrial design? Are there principled ways to guide and evaluate software language designs other than empirical experiment and mathematical proof? What assumptions do we hold so dearly about programming languages that it would be heresy to question them? This year the Onward! PC would welcome in particular papers reflecting on the future of software language design.

Author Guidelines

All papers will be peer-reviewed by members of the Onward 2010 program committee and additional expert reviewers drawn from relevant research communities.

Submissions will be evaluated on the basis of originality, significance of the contribution to the field, technical correctness and presentation. If a submitted paper may appear to overlap with the previously published or simultaneously reviewed work, the authors should email the Program Chair directly to explain how the new work represents a unique and substantial new contribution.


  1. Electronic submission through easychair is required: http://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=onward11
  2. Submissions must be in ACM SIGPLAN 10 point format; templates for Microsoft Word and LaTeX are available. For ease of reviewing, please include page numbers in your submission. (Note that the SIGPLAN formats differ from the standard ACM formats in some respects.)
  3. Papers must be submitted in PDF format. PDF files must be created to allow printing, and must be readily printable on a modestly configured color laser printer.
  4. Final camera-ready essays must also be formatted to conform to SIGPLAN Proceedings requirements. Details will be released once your paper has been accepted.
  5. Papers must be both no longer than 10,000 words and no longer than 20 pages when formatted under the SIGPLAN templates. Papers violating these guidelines will be rejected without review; contact the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it in advance if you have any doubts about the length of your paper.
  6. Onward! and OOPSLA provide a number of other publication venues; papers that are not accepted to the research program may, at the discretion of the committee, be forwarded for consideration for the OOPSLA research program.
  7. Papers must not have been previously published, and must not be concurrently submitted for publication elsewhere (including journals and formal proceedings of conferences and workshops). Violation of this policy will result in rejection of the essay. See the SIGPLAN republication policy for more details.

Important Dates

Research Paper

  • Abstract submission: April 1 April 8, 2011
  • Paper submission: April 8 April 15, 2011
  • Notification: June 13, 2011
  • Camera Ready: July 25, 2011

Research Papers Chair

  • Eelco Visser, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Research Papers Committee