SIGMOD Student Research Competition

SIGMOD 2017 will host the inaugural ACM Student Research Competition (SRC), sponsored by Microsoft Research. This competition offers undergraduate and graduate students a unique forum to experience the research world, present their research results to conference attendees, and compete for prizes. Such competitions have been held at many other SIG-sponsored conferences, such as SIGGRAPH, FSE, PLDI, and MobiCom.

The competition will have separate undergraduate and graduate categories, and consist of three rounds:

  • A research abstract submission
  • A poster presentation
  • A research talk

The abstraction submission will be done online before the conference. A PC will review the submissions and invite selected students to attend SIGMOD 2017 to present a poster. A panel of judges will then review the posters and select students to give a research talk on the next day where the final winners will be determined. Three winners from each category will be chosen, with the grand winner from each category will advance to the ACM-wide competition.


We congratulate the following students for winning the competition this year!

Undergraduate category:

  • Winner: Graham Lustiber (Harvard University)
  • First Runner-up: Damian Jimenez (University of Texas at Arlington)
  • Second Runner-up: Aidan Shea (Temple University)

Graduate Category:

  • Winner: Utku Sirin (EPFL)
  • First Runner-up: Jennifer Ortiz (University of Washington)
  • Second Runner-up: Lingjiao Chen (University of Wisconsin at Madison)


The top three winners in each category (undergraduate and graduate) will be recognized during the conference and will receive prizes of US$500, US$300, and US$200, respectively. The first-place winners of each category will be invited to compete with winners from other conferences in the ACM Student Research Competition Grand Finals.

All students who are invited to join the second round of the competition will receive a travel reimbursement up to $500, courtesy of the ACM.

The Competition

First Round: Abstract Submission

Submit a 2-page abstract online. The 2-page limit includes text, appendices, and figures. References do not count against the page limit and can expand into subsequent pages. The abstract should be written in English using the ACM template. The abstract should address a topic that is relevant to the SIGMOD/PODS community and include the following:

  • Problem and Motivation: Clearly state the problem being addressed and explain the reasons for seeking a solution to this problem.
  • Background and Related Work: Describe the pertinent background necessary to appreciate the work. Include references to the literature where appropriate, and briefly explain where your work departs from that done by others.
  • Approach and Uniqueness: Describe your approach in attacking the problem and clearly state how your approach is novel.
  • Results and Contributions: Clearly show how the results of your work contribute to computer science and explain the significance of those results.

Make sure you submit your abstract in PDF format by 5PM Pacific Time, November 18 November 30, 2016 on the submission website. Please read the FAQ below before you submit.

Second Round: Poster Presentation

The SRC PC will select a number of students from the abstract to advance to the second round. The second round of the competition will take place at the SIGMOD 2017 conference and will be a poster session, to be held during the SIGMOD opening reception on the evening of Monday, May 15, 2017. This is your opportunity to present your research to conference attendees and leading experts in data management, including the SRC committee.

Judges will review the posters and speak to participants about their research. The judges will evaluate the research (quality, novelty, and significance) and the presentation of the research (poster, discussion) and select students to advance to the third round of the competition.

Third Round: Research Talk

The judges will select students from the second round to give a short (10 min max) public presentation of their research in a special session on the second evening of SIGMOD (Tuesday, May 16, 2017). After each presentation, there will be a short question and answer session.

Evaluations are based on the presenter’s knowledge of his/her research area, contribution of the research, and the quality of the oral and visual presentation. At most three winners will be chosen in each category, undergraduate and graduate, and receive prizes during lunch on Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

Grand Finals

The first-place winner in each category (undergraduate and graduate) from the SRC will advance to the SRC Grand Finals. A different panel of judges evaluates the winners of all SRCs held during the calendar year against each other via the web. Three undergraduates and three graduates will be chosen as the SRC Grand Finals winners. They are invited, along with their advisors, to the annual ACM Awards Banquet (aka Turing Awards ceremony, among other things), where they receive formal recognition.

Who is eligible?

  • Current student status, either graduate or undergraduate, at the time of the abstract submission.
  • All participants should be current ACM student members.
  • Supervisors of the work may not be listed as co-authors; students must submit a single-authored version of your work for the competition. While multiple students can co-author a single submission, If the work is collaborative with others and/or part of a larger group project, the abstract should make clear what the student’s role was and should focus on that portion of the work.
  • Submissions must be original research that is not already published at another conference or journal (i.e., please don’t submit your dissertation summary as your abstract). One of the goals of the SRC is to give students feedback on ongoing, unpublished work.

For further questions please contact the organizers.

Important Dates

  • Abstract submission: 5pm Pacific Standard Time, November 18 November 30, 2016 (submission site)
  • Notification: December 16, 2016 January 6, 2017
  • Second round: evening of May 15, 2017, to be held at the conference
  • Third round: evening of May 16, 2017, to be held at the conference

Program Committee

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the SRC differ from the SIGMOD programming contest?
The programming contest targets student teams who are interested in solving coding problems. The SRC aims to encourage research contributions from student researchers at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

What about the undergraduate poster competition?
There won’t be a separate undergraduate poster competition this year.

Can students submit in teams?
Team projects will be accepted from Undergraduates. One person should be designated by the team to make the oral presentation, and only one person will receive the travel stipend per Undergraduate project. Only individual research is accepted from Graduate (Masters or PhD program) students: group research projects will not be considered. However, if an individual is part of a group research project and wants to participate in an SRC, they can only present their part of the research. Only they will receive the travel stipend and monetary award (should they win).

Can we submit the same project as in our SIGMOD 2nd round submissions / demo submissions / some other paper that is currently under submission?
Unfortunately not. The SRC does count as a presentation venue, and submitting the same work as will violate SIGMOD’s duplicate submission policy.

For further questions please
contact the organizers.