ACM Distinguished Speakers Porgram:  talks by and with technology leaders and innovators

Distinguished Speakers Program (DSP) Procedures & Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in ACM's Distinguished Speakers Program; being part of the DSP is a way of giving back to the community, as well as inspiring the next generation of computing professionals. Please click on the Procedures and/or Guidelines you are interested in knowing more about:

  1. DSP Nomination Procedures
  2. Terms for Approved Speakers
  3. Travel Guidelines for Speakers
  4. Financial Guidelines for Requesting a Speaker
  5. Guidelines and Tips for Speakers
  6. Guidelines and Tips for Hosting a Speaker
  7. Requesting a DSP Tour

DSP Nomination Procedures

Thank you for your interest in the nomination procedures of ACM's Distinguished Speakers Program (DSP). The DSP Committee will vote on the acceptability of a nominated speaker. Each DSP Committee member will rate the nominee on a 1-to-5 scale; this is the rating scale used by ACM's Fellows Committee. Any candidate that is given a rating of "3" or better is accepted as a speaker, while a rating of "1" or "2" indicated the nominee is not accepted into the program. The nominee must provide the DSP Committee with their CV as well as answers to the following questions (the nominee's answers to the questions below should be included on the Nomination Form submitted to the Committee):

  • Number of recent (within the last 3 years) talks/speeches/short courses/presentations that you have made. Please provide the titles and topics of these presentations, as well as the approximate audience size.
  • Minimum of 5 years experience (either in academia or industry or a combination of both).

Nominations will be sent to DSP Committee members on an ongoing basis and it should take no longer than two weeks for a decision from them. If the Committee has a problem coming to a consensus on a nominee, references from the speaker will be requested.


Terms for Approved Speakers

  • If accepted, your DSP term will be for 3 years. Once the initial 3-year term is completed, a one-time extension of up to three years can be requested. Upon completion of the extension term, a six month waiting period is required before requesting reinstatement. Requests for reinstatement are subject to approval by the DSP Committee and must be submitted via an email request to acmdsp@acm.org.

Travel Guidelines for Speakers

  • Economy airfare. For e-tickets please print out the email message you receive that contains both your itinerary and the price of your ticket. Any other documentation of your travel—boarding passes, machine-issued receipts, etc.—should also be submitted.
  • Mileage is reimbursed at $.53.5 per mile plus tolls as of January 1, 2017.
  • Transportation to/from airports at reasonable cost (shuttle or bus or cab, etc.) is permissible.
  • Airport Parking (long-term lot).
  • Reimbursement of rental cars requires prior justification and approval.
  • Original receipts must be submitted for any expenses $25 or over.
  • Reimbursement is available in $USD For those who reside outside the U.S., reimbursement may be available in other currencies and by bank transfers. Speakers should keep a copy of what is sent to ACM.
  • If your expenses are in more than one currency, please:
    • Subtotal by currency
    • (Optional) Convert to $USD by going to www.xe.com or another currency exchange. Include source, date and rate for currency conversion. Your reimbursement, however, will be based on the rate in effect the day the transaction is completed.

Financial Guidelines for Requesting a Speaker

The cost of travel for the speaker needs to fall into the guidelines below:

Cost of Trip* # of Attendees Required
$600 and Below 50
$600–$1,000 100
$1,000–$2,000 300

*revised on March 1, 2013

Guidelines and Tips for Speakers

  • If you are not available on the day/time requested by the host, we encourage you to provide a few alternate dates for consideration.
  • You should ask your contact about the approximate knowledge level of attendees, e.g., 1st year vs. 4th year students, faculty, etc.
  • Please ask your contact where your presentation will take place and approximately how many attendees will there be, e.g., if it is in a large lecture hall, you might need to adjust the type size of your PowerPoint presentation.
  • If travel is necessary for a Speaker, you need to provide the DSP Manager, acmdsp@acm.org with your travel budget for approval by ACM's Chief Operating Officer (COO) ASAP. An email containing a travel authorization form will be sent to you. Once ACM's COO approves your travel budget, you can take care of the logistics with the host.
  • Each DSP speaker is expected to use the materials provided to them by ACM that describe ACM's various activities and member benefits.
  • Each speaker is expected to complete an evaluation form right after the event is completed; it is very important for ACM to understand how the program is working.

Guidelines and Tips for Hosting a Speaker

Initial Invitation

  • Plan the invitation as far ahead as possible to increase the likelihood that the speaker will be available.
  • Be as flexible as possible regarding actual dates/times that the speaking event is to occur.
  • Be aware of the expense regulations regarding audience size and transportation costs your speaker will incur to visit you. If your event is small, you may need to team up with a nearby event (or more) to ensure the visit reaches the required audience size. You should make all such arrangements in advance. In particular, it is not the speaker's responsibility to arrange the places to visit on a lecture tour.
  • The host is responsible for all local expenses, including transport, hotel and meals. If a tour of several cities is being arranged, then ACM will cover the long-distance part of the travel (e.g., train fare between cities, car rental, etc., as appropriate) but these costs should be included in the overall cost estimation with respect to the speaker expense regulations. Also, be clear with each participating host exactly what each is paying for.

Arranging the Visit

  • The talk should be well advertised, both at the site and within the nearby ACM member community (ACM can help with the latter).
  • Assist the speaker with any needed travel suggestions. Speakers will make their own air reservations but would appreciate advice about which airport to fly into and transport options from that airport to the event site (if it is not in the same city). If the speaker is arriving at a nearby airport, please try to meet them in person.
  • Reserve a hotel according to the speaker's needs. It is preferable to pay the hotel directly rather than have the speaker pay it and you reimburse them.
  • It is suggested that all local arrangements and publicity be completed by 2 weeks prior to the speaker's arrival at the latest. However, periodic e-mail reminders to the potential lecture audience should be sent up to the day before the lecture.

Activities During the Visit

  • Make sure the talk is well attended.
  • Speakers like to visit with attendees and otherwise engage in social activities. Plan to accompany them (and pay) for all meals and provide as much interaction with your attendees as possible. If they prefer quiet time, they will let you know.
  • If you are a Student Chapter, involve some faculty members in the visit. While speakers enjoy meeting with students, they would also like to meet faculty.
  • Offer to show the speaker interesting things in your location, especially if they have not been there before. If you are in a very unusual location with many touristic places, the speaker may wish to spend extra time there at his/her expense. In that case, you needn't accompany them for the extra days but be as helpful as possible in making tourism suggestions.
  • Consider presenting the speaker with a small souvenir of your location (e.g., something a tourist would buy or a university pen, cup or other such item).

Activities After the Visit

  • Try to avoid having the speaker pay for any expenses directly but in the case where this may be needed (e.g., the speaker is taking an early flight from an airport not in your city and so needs to stay in a hotel you can't pay for directly), agree beforehand on what expense to expect and how it is to be paid back (check, wire transfer, etc.—sometimes paying this money in cash in advance is best).
  • Send the speaker a note of thanks (e-mail is fine).
  • Send the necessary report to ACM about the speaker.
  • It is suggested that all of the above be finalized within 2 weeks after the speaker's visit.

Requesting a DSP Tour

  • A DSP tour consists of at least 2 speaking events by the same speaker. You may submit your request using the link on the speaker's home page. The DSP guidelines are the same for a tour request as a single event. If you are having difficulties planning your tour, ACM can assist by reaching out to chapters in your area.

Featured Speaker


Haitham S Hamza
Cairo University

Get Involved!
Help improve the DSP by nominating a speaker or providing feedback to ACM.