Call for Papers

STOC 2021

Theory Fest

June 21-25, 2021
to be held virtually

Submission Deadline: Friday, November 6, 2020, 11:59pm EST

The 53rd ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC 2021), sponsored by the ACM Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory (SIGACT), will be held virtually due to the pandemic.
STOC will be part of Theory Fest, an expanded program of invited talks, tutorials, poster sessions, and workshops from Monday, June 21 to Friday, June 25, 2021. Papers presenting new and original research on the theory of computation are sought. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to: algorithms and data structures, computational complexity, randomness in computing, algorithmic graph theory and combinatorics, approximation algorithms, cryptography, computational learning theory, continuous and discrete optimization, economics and computation, parallel and distributed algorithms, quantum computing, algorithmic coding theory, computational geometry, computational applications of logic, algebraic computation, and computational and foundational aspects of areas such as machine learning, fairness, privacy, networks, data management, databases and computational biology. Papers that extend the reach of the theory of computing, or raise important problems that can benefit from theoretical investigation and analysis, are encouraged. The program committee will make every effort to consider a broad range of areas.

Submission format: Submissions should start with a title page consisting of the title of the paper; each author's name, affiliation, and email address; and an abstract of 1-2 paragraphs summarizing the paper's contributions. There is no page limit and authors are encouraged to use the "full version" of their paper as the submission. The submission should contain within the initial ten pages following the title page a clear presentation of the merits of the paper, including a discussion of the paper's importance within the context of prior work and a description of the key technical and conceptual ideas used to achieve its main claims. The submission should be addressed to a broad spectrum of theoretical computer science researchers. Proofs must be provided which can enable the main mathematical claims of the paper to be fully verified. Although there is no bound on the length of a submission, material other than the abstract, references, and the first ten pages will be read at the committee's discretion. Authors are encouraged to put the references at the very end of the submission.

The submission should be typeset using 11-point or larger fonts, in a single-column, single-space (between lines) format with ample spacing throughout and 1-inch margins all around, on letter-size (8 1/2 x 11 inch) paper. Submissions deviating significantly from these guidelines risk rejection without consideration of their merits.

Recommended best practices for citations: Authors are asked to avoid "et al." in citations in favor of an equal mention of all authors' surnames (unless the number of authors is very large, and if it is large, consider just using \cite{} with no "et al."). When not listing authors' names, citations should preferably include the first letters of the authors' surnames (or at least the first three followed by a +, and possibly the year of publication). If using BibTeX, this can be accomplished by using \bibliographystyle{alpha}.

Submissions by PC members are allowed. If any of the authors of a submission is a PC member, this should be indicated in the submission form by clicking the corresponding bullet.

Conflict of Interest Policy: STOC 2021 will use the following Conflict of Interest Policy, as suggested by SafeToC (see here). Upon submission, authors are given the opportunity to declare conflicts of interest. They should limit this declaration to the following categories:

  1. Family member or close friend.
  2. Ph.D. advisor or advisee (no time limit), or postdoctoral or undergraduate mentor or mentee within the past five years.
  3. Person with the same affiliation.
  4. Person involved in an alleged incident of harassment. (It is not required that the incident be reported.)
  5. Reviewer owes author a favor (e.g., recently requested a reference letter).
  6. Frequent or recent collaborator (within the last 2 years) who you believe cannot objectively review your work.
If you are unsure about a conflict in which a reviewer may have positive bias towards your paper, we recommend erring on the side of not declaring it since PC members and sub-reviewers will be also asked if they feel that they can fairly evaluate your paper. If an author believes that they have a valid reason for a conflict of interest not listed above, then he or she can contact the PC chair or any ToC advocate affiliated with this conference directly. Note that if the program chair has reason to doubt the validity of the claim of conflict of interest, then he/she may request that a ToC advocate confidentially verify the reason for the conflict. Falsely declared conflicts (i.e., do not satisfy one of the listed reasons) risk rejection without consideration of merit. If authors are uncertain, they are encouraged to email the PC chair or a ToC advocate. The submission software asks for conflicts with PC members, and in addition contains a text form in which one can declare additional conflicts.

Submission Instructions: Authors are required to submit their papers electronically, in PDF (without security restrictions on copying or printing). The submission server is now open.

Authors are encouraged to also make full versions of their submissions freely accessible in an online repository such as the arXiv, ECCC, or the Cryptology ePrint archive. (Papers that are not written well enough for public dissemination are probably also not ready for submission to STOC.) It is expected that authors of accepted papers will make their full papers, with proofs, publicly available by the camera-ready deadline.

Prior and Simultaneous Submissions: The conference will follow SIGACT's policy on prior publication and simultaneous submissions. Work that has been previously published in another conference proceedings or journal, or which is scheduled for publication prior to July 2021, will not be considered for acceptance at STOC 2021. The only exception to this policy are prior or simultaneous publications appearing in the Science and Nature journals. SIGACT policy does not allow simultaneous submissions of the same (or essentially the same) material to another conference with published proceedings. The only exception are papers submitted to COLT 2021 that will be withdrawn from COLT if accepted to STOC (see the COLT 2021 call for papers as well). The program committee may consult with program chairs of other (past or future) conferences to find out about closely related submissions.

Dates and other relevant information:

Paper submission deadline: Friday, November 6, 2020 (11:59pm EST).
Notification deadline: by email on or before February 7, 2021.
Camera-ready versions of accepted papers: A camera-ready copy of each accepted paper is required by April 11, 2021. The page limit is 14 pages including all references and appendices. The format of your paper must strictly adhere to the ACM Format, more specifically, the sigconf option. (LaTeX users, please use:\documentclass[sigconf,screen]{acmart}). Additional instructions will be sent directly to the authors of accepted papers.
STOC talks: Monday morning June 21 to Friday afternoon June 25, 2021
Theory Fest activities: Monday morning June 21 to Friday afternoon June 25, 2021

Publication date: AUTHORS TAKE NOTE: The official publication date is the date the proceedings are made available in the ACM Digital Library. This date may be up to two weeks prior to the first day of your conference. The official publication date affects the deadline for any patent filings related to published work. (For those rare conferences whose proceedings are published in the ACM Digital Library after the conference is over, the official publication date remains the first day of the conference.)

Presentation of Accepted Papers: One author of each accepted paper will be expected to present the work in the form of a talk at the conference. In addition, one or more authors may be expected to present the work in a poster session.

Best Paper Award: The program committee may designate up to three papers accepted to the conference as STOC Best Papers. PC member submissions are not eligible for the Best Paper award. All other submissions are automatically eligible. Rules for the award can be found at

Danny Lewin Best Student Paper Award: A prize of $500 will be given to the author(s) of the best student authored paper (or split between more than one paper if there is a tie). A paper is eligible if all of its authors are full-time students at the time of submission. To inform the program committee about a paper's eligibility, check the appropriate box in the web form on the submission server. The list of past winners can be found at

Program Committee:

Eric Allender (Rutgers University)
Arturs Backurs (Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago)
Greg Bodwin (University of Michigan)
Timothy Chan (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
Artur Czumaj (University of Warwick)
Michael Dinitz (Johns Hopkins University)
Faith Ellen (University of Toronto)
David Eppstein (University of California, Irvine)
Fedor Fomin (University of Bergen)
Mohsen Ghaffari (ETH Zurich)
Yael Kalai (MIT and Microsoft Research, New England)
Robert Kleinberg (Cornell University)
Nutan Limaye (Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay)
Sepideh Mahabadi (Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago)
Ruta Mehta (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
Raghu Meka (University of California, Los Angeles)
Dor Minzer (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Jesper Nederlof (Utrecht University)
Jelani Nelson (University of California, Berkeley)

Sasho Nikolov (University of Toronto)
Ryan O'Donnell (Carnegie Mellon University)
Maximilian Probst Gutenberg (ETH Zurich)
Liam Roditty (Bar Ilan University)
Benjamin Rossman (Duke University)
Guy Rothblum (Weizmann Institute of Science)
Piotr Sankowski (University of Warsaw)
Tselil Schramm (Stanford University)
Aaron Sidford (Stanford University)
Mohit Singh (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Avishay Tal (University of California, Berkeley)
Inbal Talgam-Cohen (The Technion)
Chris Umans (California Institute of Technology)
Virginia Vassilevska Williams (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) (chair)
Thomas Vidick (California Institute of Technology)
Aravindan Vijayaraghavan (Northwestern University)
Mary Wootters (Stanford University)
Huacheng Yu (Princeton University)

General Chair: Samir Khuller (Northwestern University)
Local Arrangements Chair: Stefano Leonardi (Sapienza University of Rome)

The committee intends to provide registered attendees with internet access to the Proceedings on a password-protected site that will be available from about two weeks before the conference until the end of the conference. Authors can opt out of this online distribution by contacting the program committee chair by March 15.

SIGACT provides travel awards to students without available support, and researchers from developing countries. More information on the award process will be posted later on.