Now I think this is interesting in spirit -- after all, it was almost two years ago now on this blog I asked whether there should be a HotTheory workshop, similar to the HotOS and HotNets workshops. This seems to be a new conference in that spirit.
I wonder, however, why the steering committee didn't take more of a lead from these already long existing workshops. Calling it HotTheory, for instance, would have made it consistent with the now many similar workshops in CS, so that it would have an immediate resonance with those outside of theory. There are, however, other important questions, most of which have been answered by other HotWorkshops, that the ICS call does not make particularly clear:
1) What kinds of papers are being asked for? Other Hot workshops are very clear that they are seeking positions papers, which seems to have a fairly consistent translation in systems : you may have done some initial experiments (or just have an idea for experiments to do), but you haven't built the full system and don't have complete results. Indeed, many such workshop papers seem designed to get feedback on work in progress, although there are some where the paper is more of a statement of a direction that should be followed. What is the equivalent for theory? You have some lemmas but only conjectures of a big theorem? Could you write an ICS paper with no theorems and just ideas of something that should be studied? Some guidelines would be very helpful. Perhaps, even, some example papers.
2) How will work be disseminated? The authors mention a printed proceedings from Tsinghua University Press. Will they also be available on-line, as for other HOTworkshops? Will there be an effort to get them into an electronic archive (ACM or IEEE)?
3) Will these papers be able to be published in other conference (e.g., FOCS/STOC)? The other Hot workshops typically limit the papers to 5-6 pages, and the assumption is that a more complete, fleshed out version can be sent to a conference subsequently (where the papers are typically 10-14 pages). [Sometimes the question of "does this have enough more than the Hot paper?" can come up in PC meetings for the big conferences; in general, in my experience, significant deference is given to the notion that the Hot workshops publish position papers, and that much or even all of a Hot paper can be repeated within a larger conference paper as long as some non-trivial new material is included.] The ICS call is for 10 page papers; is it assumed this is the final home of the work?
I'll be trying to get answers to these questions at STOC, and posting them (or having people from the steering committee) answer them here. If you have questions as well, please post them.