A Green ICASSP 2020 in Virtual Barcelona

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A Green ICASSP 2020 in Virtual Barcelona

Ana Perez-Neira; Xavier Mestre
When we started to organize ICASSP in Barcelona, one of our goals was to promote an environmentally conscious conference by trying to reduce the use of paper, using recyclable plastic badges, replacing USB sticks with electronic downloads, and promoting the use of digital tools as an alternative to the conference booklet. Now that the conference is over, we can say that we promised a green ICASSP, and we certainly delivered! 
It goes without saying that the conference we had originally planned for was quite different from what it eventually turned out to be. In fact, our plans for ICASSP were continuously evolving according to a rapidly changing reality dictated by a pandemic that moved forward beyond the imaginable. At the beginning, there was a common belief that the pandemic would only affect some geographical areas of the globe, so our efforts were devoted to identifying the most-affected sessions and moving them physically to an area of the conference venue that would permit remote presentations. At one point, we even tried to rent LCD screens for remote paper presentations and included a pair of Bluetooth earbuds as part of the registration package to have virtual poster sessions. Unfortunately, seven weeks before the conference started, we had to make the difficult decision to move the conference to a fully virtual event. 
Judging by the current numbers, ICASSP 2020 has been a tremendous success. The total number of registrants is now more than 16,000, more than five times the highest number of registrants that ICASSP has ever had! Also, our 18 industry sponsors have been extremely supportive. This has created a great opportunity not only for academic interaction, but also for participating in the diverse industry activities.

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