Students Whose Phony Paper Brought a Conference Invitation Are Stars of Their Own Video, from the Chronicle

Conference officials objected when the students distributed fliers encouraging conference attendees to come to what the students billed as a “technical session” that had its own randomly-generated title, “The 6th Annual North American Symposium on Methodologies, Theory, and Information.” The officials asked the hotel to make the students remove all references to the conference from their materials.

During their technical session, the students filmed themselves presenting three meaningless, jargon-laden papers written by the computer program they had created. For additional verisimilitude, the students assumed fake names and donned wigs and mustaches while each presenting one of the three papers.

Back in April I wrote about the MIT students who submitted randomly-generated papers to the WMSCI 2005 conference. They have posted the video — set, appropriately, to a soundtrack of Weird Science — of them presenting randomly-generated papers at the conference. I have been eagerly awaiting this for months now, and it’s every bit as silly as I’d hoped it would be. I am sad to report, though, that I was wrong about one thing: it wasn’t the best-attended session at the conference. There was only one person in the audience, looking a bit confused. And it wasn’t, strictly speaking, even at the conference at all; it was sort of like guerilla conferencing.