Meeting Minutes


Agenda Items for FLAIRS-32 Meeting


FLAIRS-31 Minutes
5/23/2018 - Melbourne, FL

In Attendance: Zdravko Markov, Geoff Sutcliffe, David Wilson, D. Michael
Franklin, David Bisant, Raj Dasgupta, Marius Silaghi, Bill Eberle, Eric
Bell, Vasille Rus, Hans Guesgen, Roman Bartak, Richard Niland, Keith
Brawner, Rob Frye, Susan Haller, Susan Imberman, Ingrid Russell

The minutes of the previous business meeting were considered and approved
unanimously.

Zdravko Markov presented the general conference chair's report.

It was noted that reported F&B expense includes 10% discount as a result of
difficulties with conference logistics.

There were several questions and discussion on how to pass knowledge on to
general chair organizers for venue contract review and requisite clauses.
Geoff and Keith are going to update the planning calendar to include
primary aspects.

A clarification question was asked about the number of special tracks.
There were 16 Tracks accepted, but only 12 ran.  This was because of
submission numbers on the missing tracks.

There was a question about the number of free registrations provided, and
whether the free registration # too high.  For example, it wasn't always
the case that organizers were provided free registration, but it was noted
that this remains the conference chair's budgetary decision.

There was a question on no shows and notice given - 4 out of 12 no shows
gave notice.

Treasurer Susan Haller presented the budget report.

Question on different investment instrument.  CD low interest.  Suggested
treasury bill, mutual fund.  Susan proposed to investigate and report back
to the board.  Must be minimally risky.

President Geoff Sutcliffe moved on to Elections

Current slate of officers was re-elected unanimously.

Per bylaws, Geoff proposed to elect a Director at Large to have another
Florida person on the board.  Geoff nominated Keith Brawner, and David
Wilson seconded.  Keith was elected unanimously.

The issue of increasing cost of proceedings was brought up.  Geoff
consulted Mike Hamilton from AAAI and presented Mike's reply, essentially
the complexity of managing multiple special tracks within the proceedings.

There was a question about publishing, and consideration of open access.

A suggestion was made to bring author affiliation notes back into the
program.

A suggestion was made to consider only virtual proceedings and program.

The question of sponsorships going forward was discussed.  David Bisant
requested support in helping to make industry contacts.

Future conference organization was discussed, Fazel Keshtar will take up
special tracks chair for FLAIRS-33.

Future sites for the conference were discussed. Locations included Fort
Myers (for 2021), Miami and Destin (for 2020).  Additional locations noted
for consideration were Palm Beach, Naples, and St. Augustine.

There was a discussion about next year's conference details.

Other Business

It was proposed and agreed that attendance would be expected for someone to
be considered for the Douglas D. Dankel award. Geoff will update the
language about requirements for the award.

Conference AV status and inventory was discussed.

There was a discussion on Chad Lane's suggestion for conference schedule
changes. Possibilities for initial invited speaker panel and last day
events were discussed and feedback for previous and possible events was
given for consideration by upcoming conference chairs.

The suggestion for including an initial tutorial / student doctoral
consortium / student industry connection set of events was discussed.  It
was agreed that next year's organizers should proceed to try and
incorporate these events as initial Sunday afternoon activities.

It was suggested to revisit including a funding panel for the next year,
and conference organizers will work on bringing this together.

The business meeting was adjourned at 1:26.

FLAIRS-30 Minutes
5/24/2017 - Marco Island, FL

The following officers were present:
- Geoff Sutcliffe, President
- David Wilson, VP
- Susan Haller, Treasurer
- H. Chad Lane, Secretary

The following FLAIRS-28 organizers were present:
- Ingrid Russell
- Zdravko Markov
- Vasile Rus
- Keith Brawner

14 other FLAIRS members were in attendance.

Geoff called the meeting to order at 11:49am.

FLAIRS-29 minutes were approved

FLAIRS-30 conference chair's report (Ingrid Russell)
 - record number of submissions (225, 52 main, 173 to STs)
 - 103 full papers, 36 short papers, 25 poster abstracts
 - 180 paid registrations (record), 192 total (178 attended, 14 no shows)
 - Keith B. asked a Brazillian attendee who said FLAIRS is a B1 conference.
 - David B. said it is ranked in the top 50 for general AI conferences.
 - 385 paid nights at hotel - estimates had to be increased twice (Nov/Jan)
 - Ingrid suggests having emergency rooms - it paid off for one attendee who forgot.
 - estimated revenues:  $90,247.05
 - estimated expenses:  $85,303.63 (roughly $5 in the black in the end - barring emergency)
 - 5 authors were no shows, their excuses were discussed
 - Ingrid recommends the purchase of laptops for each room
 - Having a permanent front desk manager (Jade) worked well, as did student volunteers.
 
Treasurer's report (Susan Haller)
 - last year's financial report was presented, we made $14K (cheers for Bill)
 - currently we have about $119K in the bank.
 - gross revenue from this year was $97K. 

Election of officers, P, VP, S, T
 - all current officers were re-nominated and unanimously re-elected

Future sites and organizers
 - Geoff reviewed the organization process ("foodchain"); 4 year corporate memory
 - Considering by-law change to have outgoing conference chair to be on the board
 - Zdravko Markov will be conference chair for FLAIRS-31 
 - Zdravko provided a review of Melbourne facilities/site, contract details
 - Vasile Rus will be outgoing program chair
 - Keith Brawner will be incoming program chair
 - Roman Bartak will be ST Chair
 - Eric Bell has agreed to be ST Chair for FLAIRS-32
 - FLAIRS now has a policy to fix menu prices in contracts
 - Proposals for FLAIRS-32:  Sarasota, Panama Beach and Daytona. 
 - Geoff asked for other suggestions for locations.
 - David B. reports there is one hotel at the north end of Key West island.
 - options at Sarasota were discussed - Lido Beach was mentioned, as well as others.
 - Vasile and Geoff will travel

Other business
 - AV upgrades - new projector, 4 hdmi cables, consider new laptops
 - Sponsorships being pursued by Dave Bisant - how to get the support w/recognition?
 - VP will support efforts, entire board will remain involved in pursuing sponsorships
 - AAAI raised proceedings price to $8K. Why? no printed proceedings anymore.
 - Bill asked if the price per page has gone up?  Or do we just have more pages?  has been a loss for AAAI, and couldn't sustain it.
 - Geoff will write to Mike Hamilton to figure out how to proceed.
 - FLAIRS trajectory - what to aim for?  
 - growing larger means we have a smaller set of sites to choose from
 - Aim to get $100K in bank - protects against complete failure
 - about 200 attendees seems right (Geoff)
 - about 130 papers, plus 65 posters seems right. More requires session after lunch on third day.

Geoff invited additional topics for discussions
 - Bill asked about problematic STs, late submissions, questionable reviews, not using easychair; we have a blacklist.
 - David B. has heard requests for affiliations to be listed in program
 - discussion of value of printed program 
 - Michael's annual complaint: submitting in November, hearing back in Jan, conf in May - too long.
 
 The meeting was adjourned at 1:20pm.

FLAIRS-29 Minutes
5/18/2016 - Key Largo, FL

The following officers were present:
- Geoff Sutcliffe, President
- David Wilson, VP
- Susan Haller, Treasurer
- H. Chad Lane, Secretary
The following FLAIRS-28 organizers were present:
- Bill Eberle
- Ingrid Russell
- Zdravko Markov
- Vasile Rus
8 other FLAIRS members were in attendance.
Geoff called the meeting to order at 3:02pm.

Last year's minutes were approved.

Program chair report by Bill Eberle: (report slides)
- 17 tracks submitted, 13 accepted
- 195 submissions (most since 2006)
- 102 full papers, 20 short papers, 24 abstract.  52% full, 62% all.
- 165 paid registrations, 177 total.
- 331 paid nights at hotel - needed 291. 
- Revenue estimation:  $80,772.00
- Estimated expenses: $74,432.77 (comped rooms may improve this result)
- Estimated profit:  $6,339.23 (Susan says $6400+)
VP Dave Wilson asked if anyone reserved hotel through a third party site - 
Bill said we don't know, but that they would have paid more. Dave remarked 
that sharing the list could turn into more comp'd rooms.

Treasurer's report by Susan Haller:
- Provided a finalized cash flow from FLAIRS-28. We had a loss of $7,883.
- Ending balance as of 12/31/2015 - $56,185.97
- Geoff clarified that we are not for profit, but also not for loss. 
- Avelino recommended the goal of a resting balance of $100K, Geoff seconded 
  that goal.
- Keith B. asked about the reasons for the loss. Late bills hit that were 
  expected - food costs were higher at Hollywood than here (30% higher 
  according to Bill).
- Dave noted that this goes to the upfront negotiation.
- Chad noted that on his Key Largo visit for FLAIRS-25, he told them free 
  internet was a deal-breaker (hopefully it had an impact on their agreement 
  to it this year).
- Avelino asked about the calculation of meal counts. A discussion ensued.

Proposed budget for FLAIRS-30 at Marco Island (Ingrid)
- Costs are high (almost all food) and Ingrid recommended to raise the 
  conference fee so that we can come out ahead.
- Ingrid asked who would support the registration desk?  Families of organizers 
  have covered it last year and this year, but she will not have this resource.
- Some people suggested finding local retirees or students to cover the desk. 
- Bill suggested putting this person in charge of regonline.
- David Bisant suggested that we do something special for FLAIRS-30. 
- David will continue to line up sponsorships to FLAIRS. To sponsor invited 
  talks for example.
- Ingrid said Pacific Northwest could sponsor (Eric Bell), possibility of 
  sponsoring keynote speakers.
- Geoff noted that Kristin Tolle suggested Microsoft may be willing to donate.
- Mike noted that high student participation could be an incentive to sponsors.
- Demos and booths were suggested; Avelino said FLAIRS did this in the early 
  days and it was too much overhead for not enough payoff. Some participants 
  believed it was worth considering again.

Geoff reviewed the FLAIRS board. 
Geoff invited nominations for the board. David nominated all current members 
to continue. Voting was unanimous.

Geoff reviewed future FLAIRS conferences through 2021 (FLAIRS-34). Keith 
Brawner will become Special Tracks chair next year. Roman Bartak will step 
in after that.
FLAIRS-31 location discussion
- Crowne Plaza from 2006 is interested. Boca Rotan is also interested. An 
  east coast location is likely given past conferences.
- David noted that Melbourne is close to Cape Canaveral.
- Chad mentioned Lake Okeechobee and Susan seconded the suggestion.
- Other mentions included Panama City (now has an airport), Amelia Island, 
  and St. Augustine.

Geoff opened the floor for other business.
- Mike asked about student papers and the cycle is long. It is a result of 
  AAAI schedules.

Geoff adjourned the meeting at 4:

FLAIRS Business Meeting Minutes
FLAIRS-28
May 20, 2015
Hollywood, FL

The following officers were present:
- Geoff Sutcliffe, President
- David Wilson, Vice President
- Susan Haller, Treasurer
- H. Chad Lane, Secretary
The following FLAIRS-27 Conference Organizers were present:
- Bill Eberle
- Ingrid Russell
- Chutima Boonthum-Denecke
11 other members of the FLAIRS community were present.

FLAIRS-28 Business meeting called to order at 11:50AM EDT by President 
Geoff Sutcliffe.

The minutes from 2014 FLAIRS-27 business meeting were approved.

Report from FLAIRS-28 (Chutima, Ingrid) 11:52
* paper acceptance data was presented
* 151 paid registrations
* 6 invited speakers (3 keynote, 3 ST)
* 17 no-shows, many students. funding might be the problem, also had
  visa issues.
* contracted for 305 hotel nights, ended up with 326.

Treasurer report (Susan) 11:58
* $5K deficit is misleading, there was a $10K deposit for this year's
  conference (Susan noted this is becoming more common)
* FLAIRS-27 came out ahead about $5K
* FLAIRS-28 esimate - ~$74K revenue, estimated $800 - $2K balance
* regonline handled many duties formerly performed by the conference
  administrator
* 12% of the budget of FLAIRS-27 went to admin, 5.8% for FLAIRS-28
  (minus registration desk time)
* questions were raised about how front desk coverage was accomplished
  - it was mainly volunteers recruited by Chutima

Nomination and election of officers (Geoff) 12:10pm
* Dave Wilson called for nominations for president. David Bisant
  nominated Geoff Sutcliffe, Susan Haller seconded. A unanimous vote
  for re-election.
* Geoff Sutcliffe nominated Dave Wilson for VP, a unanimous vote for
  re-election.
* Geoff Sutcliffe nominated H. Chad Lane for secretary, Chutima
  seconded. Unanimous vote for re-election.
* Geoff Sutcliffe nominated Susan Haller for treasurer, Dave Wilson
  seconded. Unanimous vote for re-election. It was noted that Michael
  Youngblood will take over as treasurer in 2 years.

Discussion of future conference organization (Geoff) 12:14
* Geoff reviewed the system used by FLAIRS (start as ST chair, move to
  conf chair, 4 years)
* Keith Brawner has agreed to take over as ST Chair for FLAIRS-30 and
  enter the food chain.
* We should seek a candidate to move into the system after Keith.

Discussion of registration (Geoff) 12:17
* Much institutional knowledge lost with Genie's retirement. Geoff
  proposes one person who knows regonline.
* Ingrid suggested a registration chair.
* David Bisant said we need someone to run the front desk as well.
* Chutima commented that the morning of the first day was the most
  demanding day. Having a printer would have helped (to print
  receipts, letters, etc)
* Using regonline for on-site registrations worked OK, although the
  fee is higher. Susan commented that this is still better than having
  a cc merchant account.
* Susan suggested a "point of sale" device.
* Geoff suggested a paypal account would be a reasonable approach.
  Susan will investigate.
* Geoff reminded everyone that individual chairs can budget
  appropriately to cover front desk time, either through trusted
  students or other attendees.

Doug Dankell Award (Geoff) 12:25
* a photo of this year's award ceremony was requested
* Geoff reviewed the award process. He asked if nominations should be
  open to all of FLAIRS or just the board. Geoff prefers it to be open
  to all, leaving the election to the board. Susan agreed, followed by
  everyone in attendance. The rules will be updated by Geoff.
* Do we keep award winner travel in the budget?  Ingrid suggested it
  be made into an honorarium. Chad commented that he believed it
  better to just cover costs. The group agreed to rephrase it as
  "travel up to $1000" along with free registration.

Discussion of future sites (Geoff) 12:32
* Key Largo is in good shape (Bill)
* Ingrid will be chair for FLAIRS-30. Suggestions can be made at any time.
* Geoff reviewed the locations of the last 2008.
* Key Biscayne has been suggested. Many amenities.
* Sanibel has also been suggested, Sundial has offered a discount on food.
* Ingrid suggested Marco Island is also in the running again.
* Susan suggested Naples since we haven't held FLAIRS there.
* Susan also suggested Sarasota.
* Ingrid will investigate Key Biscayne prices.

Other items?
* David Bisant will continue efforts to line up sponsorship of FLAIRS.
* David suggested listing universities of organizers as
  sponsors/supporters, also AAAI.

Geoff concluded the business meeting at 12:41pm.


FLAIRS Business Meeting Minutes
FLAIRS-27
May 23, 2014
Pensacola Beach, FL

FLAIRS-27 Business meeting called to order at 12:06 EDT by 
President Geoff Sutcliffe.

The minutes from 2013 FLAIRS business meeting were approved.


It was noted that the rotation system for conference leadership is fully 
in place. Chairs now begin as Special Tracks Chair, shift to program 
co-chair (x2), then finally serve as conference chair. It is a 4 year com

Michael Youngblood delivered the conference chair report:
- There were 145 paying attendees.
- The initial estimate is that the conference should end in the positive 
  by about $3K.
- Savings were achieved by by not having lunch on Friday. Also, people 
  spent less on alcohol than they could have. The ticket system was deemed 
  better than a per-head approach.

Susan Haller delivered the Treasurer's report:
- FLAIRS-26 year was a loss (-$7K) due to misunderstandings about the 
  food bill. An agreement was reached with the hotel.
- Further, extras added up.
- FLAIRS-27 generated $61,610 income with $57,741.33 expenses (so far).
- It is projected that by end of 2014, the society will have a balance of $43K

Election of FLAIRS leadership:
- Geoff was nominated to continue as President by David Bisant, seconded 
  by Bill.
- Dave Wilson nominated for VP by Geoff, seconded by Bill.
- Dave nominated Chad Lane for Secretary, seconded by Ingrid.
- Geoff nominated Susan for Treasurer, seconded by Ingrid.
- Michael Youngblood expressed interest in acting as Treasurer in the future.

FLAIRS-28 discussion:
- Chutima has agreed to handle registration for FLAIRS-28 (with Jeannie's 
  retirement)
- Susan suggested using student volunteers for free registrations. Geoff 
  clarified this is up to each conference chair and depends on the budget.
- Susan suggested a consistent person who is always available for support 
  is a big value.
- Ingrid supported Susan's view that a dedicated person is very helpful.
- David Bisant also supported the idea to find a dedicated person.

Douglas D. Dankel II Award:
- Geoff proposed official endorsement of the Douglas D. Dankel II Award.
- CHANGE: nominating committee will include the outgoing conference chair of 
  the preceding FLAIRS conference
- There was a discussion of provision of support for award, such as free 
  registration. No decisions were made and, for now, this will be up to 
  each year's conference chair.
- There was unanimous approval and agreement for having the DDD II award.

Future locations:
- FLAIRS-28 was confirmed for May 18-20 in Hollywood, FL.
- Bill Eberle will chair FLAIRS-29.
- There was general consensus that Key West should be used regularly (David, 
  Susan, Ingrid specifically supported this idea). David B. proposed returning 
  once every 5 years.

Chad presented a summary of Conference Navigator. Peter Brusilovsky has given 
initial indication that he could support FLAIRS-28.

Chutima proposed the use of regonline for FLAIRS-28.
- Ingrid supported it, said its reporting facilities are strong.  Costs are 
  only hurdle.

Chutima stressed the need for sponsorships needed given costs.

Ingrid suggested seeking travel funding from NSF for young faculty members.

Geoff adjourned the meeting at 1:06 EDT.

Minutes 2013


The 2009 FLAIRS Business Meeting was called to order at 12:23pm on
Thursday, May 21, 2009 by President Douglas D. Dankel II.

-------------
 Attendance
-------------

The following officers were present:
-Douglas D. Dankel II, President
-Geoff Sutcliffe, Vice President
-Avelino J. Gonzalez, Treasurer
-David Wilson, Secretary
-Susan Haller, Treasurer Elect 

The following 2009 Conference Organizers were present:
-Hans Guesgen
-Chad Lane

9 other members of the FLAIRS community were present, including:
Ingrid Russell, David Bisant, Klaus Jankte, Rainer Knauf, and Michael
Youngblood.

-------------------------------
 Officer / Organizer Reports
-------------------------------

The following officer reports were made.

Report of President - nothing to report.
Report of Vice President - nothing to report.
Report of Secretary - nothing to report.

Report of Treasurer

As of April 30, the financial status of FLAIRS was as follows:
-Main bank account: $82,874.01
-Secondary bank account: $1,361.00 
-FLAIRS credit card: $640 credit balance
-Certificate of Deposit: $55,000

It was noted that the secondary bank account is used for transactions
that could be considered more risky for giving out the account number,
such as receiving wire transfers.

It was noted that the current status report does not include current
conference expenditures, such as approximately $32,000 in hotel costs,
invited speaker costs, organizer incidental costs, and AAAI Press
publication costs.  Based on previous experience, once the expenses
are incurred, the main bank account is expected to balance out in the
high 30s to low 40s.

It was noted that ideal practice for FLAIRS is that the conference
should be structured to make a small amount of money, on the order of
1K-2K per year.

Report of General Conference Chair

It was reported that the 2009 conference had a total of 102 presenter
registrations, 13 regular early registrations, 16 regular
registrations, and 2 on-site registrations.  There were 162
registrants total, including 13 complementary registrations, and 141
participants checked in to the hotel.

------------------------
 Election of Officers
------------------------

Douglas Dankel II was nominated for President by Avelino Gonzalez, and
David Wilson seconded the nomination.  Nominations were closed, and
Douglas was elected by general consent.

Geoff Sutcliffe was nominated for Vice-President by David Bisant, and
Ingrid Russell seconded the nomination.  Nominations were closed, and
Geoff was elected by general consent.

Susan Haller was nominated for for Treasurer by Geoff Sutcliffe, and
Avelino Gonzalez seconded the nomination.  Nominations were closed,
and Susan was elected by general consent.

David Wilson was nominated for Secretary by Avelino Gonzalez, and Hans
Guesgen seconded the nomination.  Nominations were closed.  David was
elected by general consent.

---------------------
 General Discussion
---------------------

Future sites for FLAIRS were discussed.  David Wilson discussed the
Daytona Beach site for 2010.  The proposal for Palm Beach in 2011
was discussed, as well as the possibilities for St. Petersburg in 2012
and for Orlando in 2013.  Other options for locations were discussed,
including: Port St. Luce, Jupiter, Jacksonville, Sarasota, Marco
Island, Key Largo.

There was a discussion about having the conference outside of Florida.
The consensus was that the identity of FLAIRS as a Florida conference
was an important asset and that it was not approprite to move outside.
Moreover, the conference gains a significant benefit in terms of tax
breaks in Florida.

There was a request to that future conferences should ensure that
wired internet access was available at conference hotels.

It was noted that the 2012 organizers for the proposed Palm Beach
location are:
-General Chair: Hans Guesgen
-Local Arrangements: Geoff Sutcliffe (assisting Hans)
-Program Chairs: Chas Murray and Phil McCarthy
-Special Tracks Chair: Art Ward (suggested)

There was a discussion on authors of accepted papers that pay, but do
not show up for the conference.  It was noted that we are maintaining
a list of such persons, and that the list needs to be communicated
consistently to program chairs.

There was a brief discussion on the issue that one author in the
proceedings had a trademark issue that needed to be resolved for the
conference. It was noted that the conference should remind authors to
verify that system names are not under trademark.

The issue of corporate sponsorship, potential structuring, and
potential sponsors was discussed.

It was noted that this year's poster session was uncomfortable,
because of the narrow hallway space, as well as the lack of table
space for use in breaks.  It was also noted that the timing of the
poster session in the morning after the invited talk was fairly
successful.

The question of conditional acceptance of papers was discussed.

--------------
 Adjournment
--------------

The 2009 FLAIRS Business Meeting was adjourned at 1:23pm.