Comment on The tech industry controls CS conference funding. What are the dangers? by Less Cynical

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When you say “many of those conferences were largely funded by American tech companies” that suggests that these sponsorship covered a large fraction of the cost of the conference. I suspect this is demonstrably false (registration fees for these conferences are pretty large) and perhaps what you mean to say is that “for many of these conferences, a large fraction the sponsor funding came from American tech companies”.

Also, the question implicit in “Furthermore, it is difficult gain insight into how exactly these funds are used.” can likely be answered asking the conference organizers. Especially in case of conferences run by academics through ACM and such, I believe the conference organizers would be happy to provide said insight.

Defining some of these things is tricky of course. The cost of the conference includes the cost that the conference pays (e.g. hotel conference rooms) and the cost that attendees pay (e.g. travel, hotel). Some sponsor money goes to travel awards that party cover the latter for some subset of the attendees. This would otherwise have come from grants from NSF and/or companies. Money being fungible, there is a lot of leeway in defining what the sponsor money is going towards.

A less cynical observer may say that companies provide sponsorship to these conferences because they want to recruit from the group of people attending the conference. Putting their name out there is valuable as a way to communicate to the attendees that they are looking to hire researchers in these areas.

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