ACM SIGCAS Conference on Computing and Sustainable Societies

28 June – 2 July 2021 (virtual)


Inspired by the broad agenda of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ACM COMPASS 2021 aims to be forum for the presentation and publication of original research from a broad array of disciplines, including computer and information sciences, social sciences, environmental sciences and engineering, that support the growth of sustainable societies worldwide. The conference has a particular commitment to approaches and research that address the challenges faced by under-represented and marginalized communities.

ACM COMPASS 2021 aims to explicitly promote multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary research and practice—including new research methods & practice and innovative approaches to design, systems & evaluation—that address key challenges for sustainable societies, including (among others) equality, health, education, poverty, accessibility, conservation, climate change, energy, infrastructure and economic growth. We also welcome research on the ethics of technology, especially from a critical perspective, that explores limitations and concerns with technology-led solutions for sustainable societies.

Important Dates


Wednesday 7 April 2021: Submission Deadline

Friday 21 May 2021: Decisions & Reviews

Friday 4 June 2021: Camera Ready Papers

Monday 28 June – Friday 2 July: Virtual Conference


Deadline: 7 April 2021


To ensure strong research contributions, the ACM COMPASS 2021 conference will review papers based on focus tracks corresponding to the research areas they draw upon. The key focal tracks are:

Track chair: Fei Fang (CMU, USA)
See Example Paper

This track takes paper submissions for new research and development of AI/ML and data science techniques in the context of sustainable societies. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Methods for large-scale data analysis, participatory sensing and crowd-sourced data collection.
  • Handling of missing, messy, and biased data, including data cleaning, data wrangling, data integration, and domain adaptation methods.
  • Analysis of massive, complex data sources, such as networked data, satellite data, mobile phone data, time-series, and spatial-temporal data.
  • Data privacy, security, and anonymity.
  • FATE (fairness, accountability, transparency, and ethics) in AI and ML.

Methods may be applied to relevant areas, including but not limited to: agriculture, poverty mapping, disease surveillance, speech interfaces, computer vision techniques, etc. We encourage (but do not require) real-world deployment and evaluation of methods in collaboration with public sector partners such as government or NGOs. Submitted papers are expected to present an argument for the (either realized or potential) social impact of the work.

Track chair: Ishtiaque Ahmed (Univ of Toronto, Canada) 
See Example Paper

This track takes paper submissions on new research related, but not limited to:

  • User interfaces for underserved populations
  • Human-centered AI
  • Information and computer ethics
  • Information system and technology design methodologies
  • Social relationships and information flows within and across communities
  • Gender and intersectionality
  • Other topics related to interactions between technology and society

Track chair:  Kurtis Heimerl (Univ of Washington, USA) (PC Co-Chair)
See Example Paper

This track takes paper submissions on the design, implementation, and deployment of all forms of networked and software systems for sustainable societies. Topics of interest may include (but not limited to):

  • Connectivity solutions and measurements
  • Mobile systems and applications
  • Spectrum management
  • Content distribution
  • Low-cost computing devices
  • Security and privacy issues

We especially encourage contributions on critical perspectives about technology that may impose limitations on technology-led solutions for sustainable societies.

Track chair: Sunandan Chakraborty (Indiana Univ, USA) 
See Example Paper

This track takes papers on all aspects pertaining to the use of computing solutions to address challenges in global health. Topics may include (but not limited to):

  • AI/ML techniques for global health
  • EHR analysis
  • Health policy interventions
  • Randomized control trials
  • Bioinformatics and genomics for global health
  • Mobile health and wearables

Papers may be about novel models/methods, applications or policies in the area of global health.

Track chair: Ahmed Kharrufa (Newcastle University, UK) 
See Example Paper

This track takes paper submissions related the design, development, deployment and evaluation of innovative technologies in educational settings in topics including, but not limited to

  • Community engagement in formal and informal education 
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion in education
  • Supporting rural and disadvantaged communities
  • Sustainable educational technologies and interventions
  • Emerging technologies in education 
  • Developing collaborative, critical, analytical and creative skills

Educational settings include formal and informal settings for all age groups, physical or online, and from individual to learning at scale.

Track chair:  Rijurekha Sen (IIT Delhi, India) 
See Example Paper

This track takes paper submissions on topics related to the application of computing and communication technologies, including but not limited to:

  • IoTs and other systems for improving infrastructure (buildings, energy systems, roads, water and sanitation systems, etc.), agriculture, community engagement and governance
  • Computing technologies applied in energy and electricity networks
  • Systems for measurement, monitoring, and/or management of urban environments
  • Deployment of sensing and communications technologies, case studies, and lessons learned
  • Security and privacy in energy, IoT, and smart cities applications

Track chair: Daniel Björkegren (Brown University, USA) 
See Example Paper

This track takes paper submissions from economics, social sciences, and policy that pertain to sustainability and socio-economic development. Specific topics include but are not limited to:

  • Policy evaluation using randomized control trials or observational data
  • Measurement using non-traditional data (administrative, satellite, social media, mobile, text, etc.)
  • AI/ML for social science or economic policy
  • Development economics studies
  • Social network analysis
  • Applications, effects, and regulation of tech in developing societies

We encourage development, economics and policy papers agnostic of the domain of application including public health, financial services, education, agriculture, gender, livelihood, employment, governance systems, and labour rights, among others.

The Development, Economics, and Social Policy track will also accept papers written in the economics short paper format (initial submissions need not be in the ACM template, as long as word count is at most 6,000 words, with at most 5 exhibits (tables or figures), following the AER:Insights guidelines. For this option, report the word count on the title page. Papers must be self-contained. Authors will need to format any accepted submissions into an ACM template for publication.)

Track chair: Mercy Julia Borbor-Cordova (ESPOL, Ecuador) (PC Co-chair)
See Example Paper

This track takes papers on all aspects of sustainability of the planet pertaining to environmental sciences, climate change and environmental policy. We encourage submissions across a broad spectrum of topics in this space, including but not limited to: Climate change modeling

  • Environmental scientific studies
  • Impact of climate change on populations
  • Sustainable management of natural resources
  • Environmental policy studies and economics
  • Studies on the limits of the sustainability of technology
  • Measuring and evaluating the impact of nature-based strategies

Track chair: Josiah Chavula (UCT, South Africa)

Example Practitioner Report
Example Paper

This track takes long papers on deployment experiences and short papers on practitioner reports, such as from NGOs and not-for-profit companies rolling out new schemes using technology. Practitioner reports will discuss approaches used in deployed technology, with the aim to inform on particular aspects of technology used in practice, or describing broad project experiences, including failed attempts. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Evaluations of usage, performance and impact of technologies deployed in the field, including social dynamics and unsuccessful attempts
  • Strategies for sustainability and maximization of impact
  • Reflections from long-term deployments
  • Tools and models to simplify deployment, operation and scalability
  • Details of technical infrastructure and services
  • Problem statements that can lead to new research directions regarding expanding access to technology

ACM COMPASS 2021 specifically aims to forge stronger relationships between practitioners and researchers.


Deadline: 7 April 2021

COMPASS is sponsored by ACM SIGCAS 

ACM Special Interest Group on Computers & Society

Check out the recordings of talks from ACM COMPASS 2020