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.

We encourage all papers that introduce system-level approximation, or use software and/or hardware systems to manage the tradeoffs between accuracy and performance. We particularly seek contributions that apply system-level approximations to the emerging domains, such as machine learning and autonomous systems.


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. We also need principled techniques for including approximation in software engineering process. 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, but are not limited to:

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 1) an early-stage research project (Work-in-Progress), 2) advocate an opinion about approximate computing, 3) reflect on trends in the community, or 4) 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 10 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. We especially encourage talks with live demos of applications and working tools.

Papers should use the formatting guidelines for SIGPLAN conferences (the acmart format with the sigplan two-column option) and not exceed 2 pages, excluding references. Review is single-blind, so please include authors’ names on the submitted PDF.

Paper submission will is via HotCRP.

Reviewed talks

Approximate computing is an interdisciplinary area and many cutting-edge results are not presented to a broad community. For this reason, we will have a session dedicated to presenting recently published research papers. By recently published, we consider those in the year 2019 (and starting 2020).

Speakers will have time to present their recent work as a short talk, followed by an ample discussion time afterward. To submit the reviewed paper, prepend the title with the word “Review:” and include the main reason to present this paper in the abstract field of the submission web site. The talks will be lightly-reviewed to ensure that they topically belong to the workshop. The titles of these papers will appear on the workshop website, with the link to the published paper.

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.

Deadlines and Important Dates

The date for submitting the papers in all categories is February 10, 2020.

The date for the decisions is February 17, 2020.

Program Committee

The program chairs for WAX 2020 are Sasa Misailovic (UIUC) and Joshua San Miguel (UW–Madison). The program committee consists of:


The WAX steering committee is:

Previous Iterations

WAX 2020 succeeds seven previous workshops over the last five years: