Bringing historical perspectives to NOPE

At MICRO 2019, Lynn Conway gave a keynote describing her personal story and the "techno-social" factors which led to her contributions being undervalued and unseen. Inspired by her perspective and call to action, we aim to rebrand the aims and goals NOPE to be more inclusive of historical perspectives and descriptions of how technical concepts came to be commonplace.

NOPE will remain a place for open, honest port-mortems of research projects which ran into unexpected limitations and resulted in lessons learned. In addition, it will offer a venue to discuss contributions that have been underappreciated and misconstrued over time. In this way, the goals of NOPE are to reflect on negative outcomes, shed light on the origin of ideas, and offer a venue to revise our understanding and uncover opportunities to move forward by reflecting on mistakes that can be made throughout the research process.

Why do we need to talk about negative results?

Not all research projects end up with positive results. Sometimes ideas that sound enticing at first run into unexpected complexity, high overheads, or turn out simply infeasible. Such projects often end up in a proverbial researcher's drawer, and the community as a whole is not aware of dead-end or hard-to-advance research directions. NOPE is a venue that encourages publishing such results in all their "badness".

What is a "good failure"?

The best negative results help us learn from our mistakes. They can illuminate hidden obstacles or demonstrate why we need a change of course. An ideal submission to NOPE has a novel idea which sounds plausible from first principles or design intuition, but yields little to no improvement (in performance, power, area, …) in practice. The paper drills down into the reasons for the lack of improvement and proposes a plausible explanation – different technology trends, unexpected implementation complexity.

Prior NOPE Workshops

NOPE 2019 Providence, RI
NOPE 2017 Cambridge, MA
NOPE 2016 Taipei, Taiwan
NOPE 2015 Waikiki, HI
(with MICRO 2015-2017)

Call for Papers

Our goal is to find papers which the community can learn from and might otherwise have trouble finding a suitable venue, so we take a broad view of what constitutes a "negative" result.

We invite submissions from all sub-areas of systems and computer architecture. Submissions should focus on discussing historical perspectives, uncovering a misunderstood or misappropriated technical concept, analyzing the reasons for failure, especially in light of underlying assumptions. Submissions based on opinion, speculation, and non-fundamental circumstances ("there was a bug in the simulator") are not encouraged, as they do not provide concrete evidence as to whether an idea is bad. Topics of interest include:

Important dates

Paper submission: February 3rd, 2020
Author notification: February 7th, 2020
Camera-ready version: February 14th, 2020


Lillie Pentecost, Harvard
Udit Gupta, Harvard
David Brooks, Harvard
Brandon Reagen, NYU / Facebook
Svilen Kanev, Google
Bob Adolf, Harvard

Program Committee

Chris Batten, Cornell
Luis Ceze, University of Washington
Tipp Moseley, Google
Thomas Wenisch, University of Michigan


Questions? Send us an email.

Submission Guidelines

We believe in substance over style, and we encourage authors to prioritize delivering their message over conforming to a particular template. That being said, we anticipate papers will be 2 pages, and we encourage authors to use a two-column format. Papers need not be anonymized.

Additionally, we ask that you also include a short, 1-paragraph abstract in your submission email. This should be suitable for inclusion on the NOPE website and program handouts.


Please submit your papers via email to: by 11:59pm (anywhere on Earth) on the deadline.