Call for Participation

WAX is a workshop on approximate computing, a research direction that asks how computer systems can be made better—faster, more efficient, and less complex—by relaxing the requirement that they be exactly correct. Approximation arises from sources as diverse as sensors, machine learning algorithms, and big data applications. Approximate systems raise questions from across the system stack, from circuits to applications. WAX is a venue for discussion, debate, and brainstorming on all of these topics.


With transistor scaling becoming less effective at improving computer system performance and energy efficiency, we urgently need new paths forward for expanding the capabilities of computers. Trading off accuracy for better performance and energy efficiency is an attractive option for many important and resource-hungry applications, including image and video processing, computer vision, machine learning, simulations, big data analytics, embedded systems, etc. For that reason, approximate computing has become a “hot topic,” with active research in computer architecture, programming languages, operating systems and user-facing areas such as ubiquitous computing and HCI.

Making approximate computing successful requires cooperation among all layers of the stack, from algorithms to programming languages to OSes to architecture to circuits, as well as system components like storage and networks. This workshop aims to bring together an interdisciplinary group of researchers to present and discuss thoughts and ideas on how to effectively exploit approximate computing.

Topics for WAX include:

How to Participate

We invite participation in three forms: position papers, lightning talks, and discussion topics.

Peer-Reviewed Position Papers

The workshop will include a peer-reviewed program of short position papers. Papers can describe an early-stage research project, advocate an opinion about approximate computing, reflect on trends in the community, or reproduce someone else’s published result.

Position papers will go through a full peer-review process by a program committee of experts in approximate computing (see below). Papers will not be published in a proceedings, so they do not preclude future publication; instead, we will post PDFs on the workshop’s Web site. We also encourage authors of accepted papers to include artifacts—code, data, analysis scripts, etc.—which we will also host alongside the papers.

Accepted papers will be presented in short talks, around 5 to 15 minutes. We will not publish the paper in a formal proceedings. Instead, we will post PDFs of accepted papers on the workshop’s Web site. Authors are also encouraged to submit supporting material (code, data dumps, etc.) after acceptance, which we will also host.

Papers should use the formatting guidelines for SIGPLAN conferences and not exceed 2 pages, excluding references. Review is single-blind, so please include authors’ names on the submitted PDF.

Submit your papers via HotCRP.

Lightning Talks

WAX will feature a session for short talks in the morning that present a single opinion, a nugget of an idea, or just food for thought. Speakers will have approximately 60 seconds. Talks will consist of two slides, one of which is a title slide (including at least the title itself and the speaker’s name, affiliation, and email address).

Lightning talks will not be peer reviewed. We will vet slides ahead of time to ensure that they are on topic, but there will be no full review process.

Please send your slides to Adrian Sampson

Discussion Topics

The WAX program will feature a debate among the attendees. We need your help building a list of controversial topics to serve as grist for the discussion mill.

Please submit a sentence or two about an open problem, philosophical question, or other thought you’d like to see discussed at the workshop. You can submit as many of these as you like. We’ll use these suggestions to set up a debate during the workshop.

Add your topic suggestions by editing this wiki page on GitHub.


Here are the important dates:

Program Committee


The WAX steering committee is:

Previous Iterations

WAX 2017 succeeds three previous workshops over the last two years: