The second Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) conference on Equity and Access in Algorithms, Mechanisms, and Optimization (EAAMO ‘22) took place from October 6, 2022 to October 9, 2022 at George Mason University (GMU) in Arlington, VA, USA. This was the first in-person iteration of the EAAMO conference series after the virtual launch at EAAMO ‘21. This year’s conference highlighted work where techniques from algorithms, optimization, and mechanism design, along with insights from the social sciences and humanistic studies tackle two goals:
The conference is legally and financially sponsored by ACM Special Interest Groups on Artificial Intelligence ( ACM SIGAI) and on Economics and Computation ( ACM SIGecom), and has received financial support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and the Public Interest Technology University Network ( PIT-UN).
One of the most ambitious diversity programs at EAAMO ‘22 was the sponsorship of a cohort of 7 female indigenous students from the Huasteca region of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, who presented work undertaken over the summer with researchers from the Mechanism Design for Social Good ( MD4SG) community, during a dedicated poster session at the doctoral consortium. The students participating were all indigenous women from rural communities in San Luis Potosi. More specifically, 4 of the students belonged to Tének-speaking communities and the remaining 3 belonged to Náhuatl-speaking communities. For many of the students, this was their first time traveling abroad. Moreover, volunteers from the MD4SG research initiative offered live translation between English and Spanish for in-person participants of the conference which included these students.
This program came about as the result of ongoing collaboration between EAAMO, MD4SG, the United States Embassy in Mexico, the Science and Technology Council of San Luis Potosí ( COPOCYT), a government organization from the state of San Luis Potosí, Mexico, and the National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions. The main program was a virtual Summer Research Experience for indigenous women students who are interested in STEM and aim towards bringing about positive social impact in their local communities. The selected students presented their work under the themes of: preservation of indigenous language/culture, affordable housing, and equitable access to healthcare for indigenous communities.
We invite you to learn more about our students, their communities and their projects here.
We are particularly encouraged by the fact that our participation spanned 25 countries (Figure 1), with close to 20% participants coming from the Global South. More specifically, The conference had more than 140 in-person participants from over 13 countries as well as over 70 virtual participants from over 23 countries. The conference benefited from gender diversity as well, with approximately 55% of participants identifying as female (Figure 2). We believe these are excellent indicators of our success in creating a conference that welcomes and centers members of marginalized and underrepresented communities.
Financial assistance was provided in the form of: registration waivers (for both in-person and virtual attendance), travel grants and accommodation grants. We provided waivers for forty-five in person and forty-one virtual registrations, as well as sixteen travel grants and twenty-three accommodation grants (Figure 3). The Registration and Grants Cochairs tried their best to ensure diversity, equality, and inclusion while giving grants, so students, researchers, and practitioners from a variety of countries and fields could have an opportunity to participate at EAAMO ’22.
We received over 150 submissions for publication from over 20 countries around the world and across fields, spanning authorship from researchers, policymakers, as well as other domain experts and professionals. All contributors were united by their interest in improving equity and developing solutions for problems in a variety of application domains such as education, labor, environment, healthcare, algorithmic fairness, and digital platforms. Due to its interdisciplinary nature, the conference attracted a very diverse and large group of members with backgrounds in computer science, A.I., operations research, economics, public policy, and humanities, while a great number of papers combined methodologies and insights from multiple fields. Each contributed paper was rigorously peer-reviewed by members of a program committee who were chosen from fields related to the topics of the conference. Out of all submissions, 94 submissions were accepted as oral or poster presentations.
From the accepted papers, 19 were accepted in the second volume of the archival track of the conference: the 2022 Proceedings of EAAMO ‘22: Equity and Access in Algorithms, Mechanisms, and Optimization published by the ACM. We also gave awards in the following categories: Best Paper, Best Paper with a Student Presenter, and New Horizons.
Each of the four days of the conference featured either keynote talks or panel discussions alongside thematically related sessions. Our keynote talks addressed key themes for the conference: digital and data markets, algorithms for societal allocation, sustainability, and past and present inequality. The thematically-related multi-disciplinary sessions for contributed talks represented the wide range of topics and application domains of interest to the conference goals, the combination of novel and diverse methodologies as well as the strong connections of many papers to policy design: Participation, Allocation under constraints, Government Regulation & Audits, Quantitative social science and conceptual frameworks, Service Delivery & Incentives, Algorithms for Allocation, Computational Social Choice, Algorithmic Fairness and Documentation, Policy & Practice, Human Factors, and Allocation in Social Services.
We believe we succeeded in creating an inclusive in-person conference on how computational tools and algorithms, together with economic approaches and mechanism design, can address equity, access, and other urgent societal challenges.
We are grateful to our sponsors, the ACM SIGecom and SIGAI, for sponsoring the conference for the second year in a row. We are particularly grateful to our funders, the Sloan Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and the Public Interest Technology University Network ( PIT-UN), whose support has been essential in funding under-represented groups to participate in the conference and in lowering registration fees in general to promote inclusivity. Our funders’ support has been used for travel grants for students coming from the Global South, registration fee waivers, and speaker honoraria, which has contributed to a diverse and multi-disciplinary program.