The ACM Student Research Competition (SRC), sponsored by Microsoft Research, offers a unique forum for undergraduate and graduate students to present their original research on programming language design, implementation, theory, applications, and performance at PLDI 2018. The goal is to give students a place to discuss their research with experts in their field and to help them sharpen their research and communication skills.

Undergraduate Winners

  • Gold: “Solving Program Sketches with Large Constants”
    by Rong Pan, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Graduate Winners

  • Gold: “Automatic Verification of Assembly Implementation of Cryptographic Algorithms”
    by Jay Lim, Rutgers University
  • Silver: “Parallel Spreadsheet Programming for the Masses”
    by Alexander Asp Bock, IT University of Copenhagen
  • Bronze: “Programmatically Interpretable Reinforcement Learning”
    by Abhinav Verma, Rice University


Three rounds of competition will take place before and during PLDI 2018. All rounds are held in two categories: Undergraduate Students and Graduate Students (Master’s and Ph.D. level). Winners of the third round will be invited to participate in the SRC Grand Finals competition hosted by the ACM. The PLDI rounds are:

  • Extended abstract round. All students are encouraged to submit an extended abstract outlining their research.
  • Poster session. Based on the abstracts, a panel of judges will select the most promising authors to participate in the poster session, which will take place at PLDI. In the poster session, students will have the opportunity to present their work to the judges, who will select a group of semi-finalists in each category to advance to the next round. (ACM will contact participants regarding travel grants for use in traveling to PLDI.)
  • PLDI presentation. The last PLDI round will consist of an oral presentation (10-minute long) at the conference to compete for the three top places.


Winners of the three top places in each category receive prizes of $500 for the first place winner, $300 for the second place winner and $200 for the third place winner, respectively.

The top three undergraduate and graduate winners receive an award medal and a one-year complimentary ACM student membership with a subscription to ACM’s Digital Library.

ACM SRC Grand Finals

First place winners in each category will be invited to participate in the ACM SRC Grand Finals, an on-line round of competition between first-place SRC winners from different ACM conferences held in 2018. Grand Finals will be judged by a different, ACM-appointed panel of judges.

Winners of the three top Grand Finals places in each category will receive additional prizes of $500 for the first place winner, $300 for the second place winner and $200 for the third place winner, respectively. They will be also invited to the annual ACM Award Banquet along with prestigious ACM award winners, including the winner of the Turing Award.

Eligibility criteria

Current student status, either graduate or undergraduate, at the time of submission deadline.

In order to advance to the poster session round, participants of the SRC must be current ACM (student) members.

Call for Student Research Competition submissions

PLDI invites students to participate in the Student Research Competition in order to present their research and get feedback from prominent members of the programming language research community. Please submit your extended abstracts through EasyChair.

Each submission should include the student author’s name and e-mail address; institutional affiliation; research advisor’s name; ACM student member number; category (undergraduate or graduate); research title; and an extended abstract addressing the following:

Problem and Motivation: Clearly state the problem being addressed and explain the reasons for seeking a solution to this problem.

Background and Related Work: Describe the specialized (but pertinent) background necessary to appreciate the work in the context of PLDI areas of interest. Include references to the literature where appropriate, and briefly explain where your work departs from that done by others.

Approach and Uniqueness: Describe your approach in addressing the problem and clearly state how your approach is novel.

Results and Contributions: Clearly show how the results of your work contribute to programming language design and implementation in particular and to computer science in general; explain the significance of those results.

Submissions must be original research that is not already published at PLDI or another conference or journal. One of the goals of the SRC is to give students feedback on ongoing, unpublished work. Furthermore, the abstract must be authored solely by the student. If the work is collaborative with others and/or part of a larger group project, the abstract should make clear what the student’s role was and should focus on that portion of the work.

The extended abstract must not exceed 1000 words and must not be longer than 2 pages. Reference lists do not count towards these limits.

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