The History of the LASER Workshop

LASER was conceived in 2011 by two groups of colleagues with slightly different perspectives. The first group wished to develop a continuing workshop series focused on publishing results from sound research where the hypothesis was not proven true (i.e., negative results). It was and still is believed that these results are highly valuable to scientific progress, but such are seldom published and the lessons are lost. The second group wished to develop a continuing workshop series focused on the science of cybersecurity and all aspects thereof. These two groups of colleagues joined efforts to form one combined workshop effort. Hence, LASER focuses on both of these areas of study.

The joint group secured funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to host workshops during 2012-2014. A follow on NSF grant was secured to fund workshops in the 2015-2017 time frame. In addition, the Applied Computer Security Associates (ACSA) agreed to provide banking services and upfront financial support to cover expenses prior to receipt of NSF funds. LASER received additional support from SRI International (use of facilities), the Zakon group (use of OpenConf), ICPS/ACM (2012 publications), and the Carnegie Mellon University SEI (2012 web hosting) and Computer Emergency Response Team (2014 financial sponsor). LASER could not continue to operate without sponsors such as these. 

Each year, the organizing committee chooses a slightly different sub-area of focus for the workshop to help the community. The 2012 workshop focused on unanticipated experiment results and utilized a mini-conference format.  Workshop papers are available in the ACM Digital Library.

The 2013 workshop added a focus of improving the design and execution of sound experiments and the quality of experiment reporting in papers. Workshop paper publication was moved from ACM to USENIX in order to provide free and open access to all LASER papers.  In addition, sessions were video taped and archived on the LASER web site via LASER YouTube channel.

The 2014 workshop focused on the science of cybersecurity and the need for good statistical methods and repeatbality in experimentation.

Planning for the 2016 workshop is currently underway. Its emphasis will be on experimental methodologies for improved repeatability.


Further Information

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