SID Shows Its Flexibility


The 2009 Call for Papers has been online and in the mail for some time, and hundreds of scientists and engineers worldwide are considering their contributions to the 2009 SID International Symposium to be held May 31 – June 5, 2009, in San Antonio, Texas. This Call for Papers breaks new ground in showing SID's strong commitment to supporting flexible displays and printed electronics, two very hot areas in the display-development community. While these topics have always been welcome at SID, I want to explain how this new organization will make the SID Symposium a better and more receptive place for papers in these areas. SID's annual International Symposium has evolved into a major venue for competition and collaboration.

Last year, more than 800 papers were submitted for possible presentation at the meeting, but only about 550 were accepted by the Technical Program Committee for inclusion into the symposium. These demanding standards help ensure that the work presented at the symposium represents the forefront of technology.

One of SID's strengths is the participation of more than 150 volunteers who take the time each year to evaluate each paper and decide whether or not it should be included in the technical program. To keep the process manageable, the overall Program Committee is organized into 12 topical subcommittees, which are populated by experts in areas recognized as important in display development. While new members are usually rotated into each committee each year, the participation of volunteers for several consecutive years helps guarantee that the committee is well-positioned to follow trends in the industry, identify prominent invited speakers, and phase out topics that may have been important once, but perhaps are no longer on the cutting edge of development.

The program subcommittees have evolved through the years to provide coverage for the most important areas of display development. Twelve different subcommittees put the 2008 program together, organized around the following topics: Active-Matrix Devices, Applications, Applied Vision and Human Factors, Display Electronics, Display Manufacturing, Display Measurement, Display Systems, Emissive Displays, Field-Emission Displays, Liquid-Crystal Displays, OLED Displays, and Projection Displays.

A problem that arises every now and then, though, is what to do with a paper that doesn't fit neatly into the existing subcommittees. SID does not just reject papers that do not obviously fit into these categories, but rather works to find a home for that paper in an existing subcommittee. So, when electronic paper first arrived on the scene, the Liquid Crystal subcommittee was determined to have the best ability to judge papers on this topic, even though most of the displays had little to do with liquid crystals as a material.

While this process generally works, occasionally an unexpected (and undesirable) effect is that important emerging areas get distributed across a number of subcommittees. The purpose of the Symposium is to serve the needs of the attendees, and if a particular topic is spread around the technical program without obvious organization, it makes it difficult to cover the topic effectively. Additionally, it also means that the Symposium itself runs the risk of not making itself a welcome "home" for this new area. The most recent example of this problem has been in several topical areas related to flexible and printed displays and electronics. This is not to say that the Symposium has not had healthy coverage of flexible-display technology – in fact, it has hosted a number of groundbreaking papers in these area. In the past, though, these papers have been finding homes in committees such as Liquid-Crystal Displays, OLED Displays, Display Manufacturing, and Active-Matrix Devices. Unfortunately, Symposium attendees have to work harder to find all of these papers. Additionally, the various committees were not set up to look at this field in an integrated way, making sure that all relevant topics were covered and the most innovative researchers invited.

Fortunately, SID is structured to take action when it becomes apparent that reorganization is needed. So, in 2009, we will see the first year of a brand new subcommittee structured around flexible displays. The Flexible Displays subcommittee will cover a number of emerging display and electronics technologies grouped around the common themes of flexible, printed, low power, paper-like, and the use of non-traditional materials (such as organic transistors). We anticipate that having a subcommittee focused on these topics will strengthen SID's coverage of these areas, and further ensure that the Symposium is considered "home" for these emerging technologies.

The Flexible Displays subcommittee is drawing its membership from across SID, including SID volunteers currently serving on other program subcommittees. For example, I am saying a fond farewell to my colleagues on the Liquid Crystal subcommittee so I can join the Flexible Displays subcommittee. The formation of this subcommittee has the strong support of the 2009 Symposium General Chair, Professor Jin Jang, and the Technical Program Chair, Dr. Fujio Okumura. The first Chair of the subcommittee is Dr. David Morton of the Army Research Laboratory in the U.S., and the committee is already populated with a diverse set of scientists and engineers from around the world, with tremendous experience in flexible and printed displays and electronics. There is a great deal of excitement within the group as we begin our planning for our inaugural sessions in 2009.

So, please take a look at the 2009 SID Technical Symposium Call for Papers, and in particular consider a contribution to subcommittee 10: Flexible Displays. I look forward to reviewing your papers!

Paul Drzaic
Society for Information Display