Onward! 2017
Sun 22 - Fri 27 October 2017 Vancouver, Canada
co-located with SPLASH 2017

Onward! is a premier multidisciplinary conference focused on everything to do with programming and software: including processes, methods, languages, communities, and applications. Onward! is more radical, more visionary, and more open than other conferences to ideas that are well-argued but not yet proven. We welcome different ways of thinking about, approaching, and reporting on programming language and software engineering research.

The Character of Onward!

Onward! is looking for grand visions and new paradigms that could make a big difference in how we will one day build software. But Onward! is not looking for research-as-usual papers—conferences like OOPSLA are the place for that. Those conferences require rigorous validation such as theorems or empirical experiments, which are necessary for scientific progress, but which typically preclude discussion of early-stage ideas. Onward! papers must also supply some degree of validation because mere speculation is not a good basis for progress. However, Onward! accepts less rigorous methods of validation such as compelling arguments, exploratory implementations, and substantial examples. The use of worked-out examples to support new ideas is strongly encouraged.

Onward! is reaching out for constructive criticism of current software development technology and practices, and to present ideas that could change the realm of software development. Experienced researchers, graduate students, practitioners, and anyone else dissatisfied with the state of our art is encouraged to share insights about how to reform software development.

Onward! welcomes your submissions to join the conversation for the good of our field.

Wed 25 Oct

10:30 - 12:00: Onward! Papers - Language Design at Regency B
Chair(s): Zachary TatlockUniversity of Washington
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Preston Tunnell WilsonBrown University, Justin PombrioBrown University, USA, Shriram KrishnamurthiBrown University, USA
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Roger ChamberlainWashington University in St. Louis
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Friedrich SteimannFernuniversität
13:30 - 15:00: Onward! Papers - Program Generation and Synthesis at Regency B
Chair(s): Emina TorlakUniversity of Washington
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Mandana VaziriIBM Research, Louis MandelIBM Research, Avraham ShinnarIBM Research, Jerome SimeonIBM Research, Martin HirzelIBM Research
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Edmund LamUniversity of Colorado Boulder, Peilun Zhang, Bor-Yuh Evan ChangUniversity of Colorado Boulder
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Abhinav JangdaUniversity of Massachusetts, Amherst, Greta YorshQueen Mary University of London

Thu 26 Oct

13:30 - 15:00: Onward! Papers - Programming Models at Regency B
Chair(s): Karim AliUniversity of Alberta
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Ioana BaldiniIBM T.J. Watson Research, Perry ChengIBM Research, Stephen J FinkIBM, Nick Mitchell, Vinod MuthusamyIBM T.J. Watson Research, Rodric RabbahIBM Research, Philippe SuterTwo Sigma, Olivier TardieuIBM Research
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Julie L. NewcombUniversity of California at Berkeley, Satish ChandraFacebook, Jean-Baptiste JeanninCarnegie Mellon University , Cole SchlesingerSamsung Research America, Manu SridharanUber

Fri 27 Oct

10:30 - 12:00: Onward! Papers - Usability and Performance at Regency B
Chair(s): Sam Tobin-HochstadtIndiana University
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John WrennBrown University, Shriram KrishnamurthiBrown University, USA
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Juliana FrancoImperial College London, Martin Hagelin(Dirac), Tobias WrigstadUppsala University, Sophia Drossopoulou, Susan EisenbachImperial College London
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Raoul VeroyTufts University, Sam GuyerTufts University
13:30 - 15:00: Onward! Papers - New Languages at Regency B
Chair(s): Adrian SampsonCornell University
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Christoph KirschUniversity of Salzburg
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Andrew SorensenAustralian National University, Henry GardnerThe Australian National University

Call for Papers

Selection Process

Onward! papers are peer-reviewed in a double blind manner. Accepted papers will appear in the Onward! Proceedings in the ACM Digital Library. Submissions will be judged on the potential impact of the ideas and the quality of the presentation.

We welcome papers that contain promising ideas and have the potential to meet the conference’s standards, but have failed to achieve this in the initial submission. We will thus follow a two-phase review process. At the end of the first phase, all papers will be either: accepted normally; asked to perform certain required revisions; or rejected outright. All papers will remain under submission until the authors receive notification of acceptance or rejection.

We expect the typical strong submission to be accepted normally, with authors expected—as is conventional—to revise the paper using the program committee’s feedback.

The program committee may identify certain papers with promising ideas as needing important revisions. These papers will be handled in one of two ways. They may get a shepherd, in the tradition followed by numerous conferences. Otherwise, they will be given a concrete set of goals to accomplish in the revision. In the latter case, the second submission must then be accompanied by a cover letter mapping the revision requests to specific parts of the paper; the program committee will use the cover letter and revised submission to arrive at a final decision.

The second phase will only be used to elevate promising papers to the conference’s standard, not to require additional work of papers already deemed up to standard.

More Information

For additional information, clarification, or answers to questions please contact the Program Chair.

Accepted Papers


For fairness reasons, all submitted papers should conform to the formatting instructions. Submissions that violate these instructions may be rejected without review, at the discretion of the Program Chair. Onward! 2017 is using double-blind submission.

Submission Site

Please take a moment to read the instructions below before using the submission site. Note that camera ready versions will be collected by Conference Publishing Consulting.

Concurrent Submissions

Papers must describe unpublished work that is not currently submitted for publication elsewhere as described by SIGPLAN’s Republication Policy. Submitters should also be aware of ACM’s Policy and Procedures on Plagiarism.

Policy on Double Blind Review

Onward! 2017 is using a double-blind submission process. This means that authors will not know who reviewed their papers, and reviewers will not know who authored the papers they review. The aim of double-blind is to treat all papers with minimal bias. Authors must take the following actions to prepare their papers for double-blind reviewing:

  • Remove identifying information (names, institutions, etc) from the author block of the first page of the paper.
  • To the extent possible, when authors cite their own work, they should refer to it in the third person.
  • To the extent possible, authors should remove any other potentially identifying information, such as acknowledgements.

After submitting their review, reviewers will be able to see author identities. When the paper is accepted for publication, the camera-ready copy must not be blinded.

See OOPSLA’s FAQ on double-blind reviewing for more information. Please contact the PC chair if you have any questions.

Policy on Authorship Changes

Any addition of authors after initial submission of a paper must be cleared with the PC chair. Authors are very strongly advised to list all authors prior to initial submission as the addition of authors may create new conflicts with the PC. In all cases, the PC chair must be provided with a rationale. The PC chair has the authority to reject any requested change.


Submissions should use the ACM acmart template with the sigplan option and 10 point font. All submissions should be in PDF format.

If you are formatting your paper using LaTeX, you will need to set the 10pt option in the \documentclass command. If you are formatting your paper using Word, you may wish to use the provided Word template that supports this font size. Please include page numbers in your submission. Setting the review option in the LaTeX \documentclass command generates page numbers, and the anonymous option hides author names. Please also ensure that your submission is legible when printed on a black and white printer. In particular, please check that colors remain distinct and font sizes are legible.

Page Limit

To ensure that papers stay focused on their core contributions, the main part of the paper (excluding bibliographic references) should be no longer than 13 pages. There is no page limit for bibliographic references and appendices, and, therefore, for the overall submission. However, reviewers are not obligated to read the appendices, so the main part of the paper should be self contained. If the paper is accepted, the final submission will be limited to 20 pages, including appendices. (The 13-page limit for the main body of the paper no longer applies.)

Publication (Digital Library Early Access Warning)

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 the conference. The official publication date affects the deadline for any patent filings related to published work.