SPAA 2012 Local Information

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
June 25 - 27, 2012

  • Venue
  • The neigborhood
  • Housing/Lodging
  • Registration
  • Trip to Fallingwater
  • Reception
  • Banquet
  • Getting to Pittsburgh
  • Directions from Airport
  • Visas

  • View SPAA 2012 Locations in a larger map


    SPAA 2012 will be held at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Talks will be in the Rashid Auditorium in the Gates and Hillman Centers (building 10B on this map).

    The Oakland Neighborhood and Things to Do

    Carnegie Mellon is located in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh, about three miles East of downtown. There are many things to do within easy walking distant of the hotel and conference site, listed below.

    There are over 100 restaurants in Oakland, and 50 more in the nearby neighborhood of Shadyside. These are pretty much all within walking distance, although some a long walk (1 1/2 - 2 miles).

    The Carnegie Museum of Art is a very nice art museum with a broad collection of American and European art from the 16th century to present. During the conference there is an exhibition on "Impressionism in a New Light: From Monet to Stieglitz"

    Attached to the Museum of Art is the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, ranked among the top five natural history musueums in the US and particularly well known for its Dinosaur collection (well maybe just the bones). It is the location of the banquet, and you will be able to visit most of it during the banquet.

    The Phipps Conservatory is a wonderful glass conservatory in nearby Schenley park with a wide variety of botanical gardens. It is a nice place to relax. This is where the world leaders had their banquet during the G-20 World Summit in 2009

    Built in 1926 the Cathedral of Learning in the centerpiece of the University of Pittsburgh Campus and the second tallest university building in the world (tallest is in Moscow). It contains 29 "Nationality Rooms", each a classroom designed in the style of a different country. The Cathedral of Learning is a few hundred feet from the Holiday Inn Hotel.

    Schenley Plaza is a green area adjacent to the museums with dining kiosks, a merry-go-round (if you happen to have kids), free wifi, and free concerts on the lawn every Tuesday and Thursday at lunch.

    Schenley Park is a 450 acre park adjacent to Carnegie Mellon with running trails, green spaces, a cafe, a golf course, soccer fields, and a outdoor movie "theater". It was named one of "Americas Coolest City Parks" by Travel + Leisure in 2011. Here is a trail map.


    We have reserved a block of rooms at the Holiday Inn University Center ($138/night) which is a 10-15 minute walk from Rashid Auditorium. To get the block rate you need to either:
  • Call 412-682-6259 (Direct to Hotel) or 1-800-864-8287 (Holiday Inn Central) and mention "SPAA Conference and Workshop", or
  • Reserve online entering the three letter group code "SAA"
  • You need to reserve by June 2 to get the block rate.

    We have also reserved a block of on-campus dorm rooms, which are significantly cheaper and only 300 yards from Rashid Auditorium. Please see the registration page for for more information on housing and to book the dorm rooms. You need to reserve by May 25 to guarantee a room.

    Additional hotels can be found on this page.

    Conference Registration

    Please go to the online registration page. The early registration deadline is May 25th. There will be on-site registration on June 25th and 26th, but we can't accept cash for payment.

    Trip to Fallingwater

    Assuming we get enough interest we will have an afternoon trip to Fallingwater on Sunday June 24th. Fallingwater is a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built over a waterfall out in the country about an hour from Pittsburgh. Members of the American Institute of Architects named the house the "best all-time work of an American architecture." The famous cantilevered balconies have recently been restored.

    The trip It will leave at noon from the Holiday Inn and will return by 6pm. The trip will cost $37.50 per person (including transportation and entry, but not any meals) and you should sign up on the online registration page. If we don't have enough people we will have to cancel and we will reimburse any payments.


    The reception will be held on Sunday June 24th from 7-9pm at the Pittsburgh Atheletic Association. It is located on the corner of 5th and Lytton Avenues, almost across the street from the Holiday Inn, and across the street from the Cathedral of Learning. Enter through the front door on 5th Ave.


    The banquet will be held on Monday June 25th from 7-10pm at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. It is located on Forbes Ave. half way between the conference venue (Rashid Auditorium) and the Holiday Inn (about 5 minutes walk from either). The banquet is not included in student registration but we will give out any tickets not being used by other registrants to students, and tickets are available for $60. Also we will be looking for additional sponsorship to cover student tickets.

    Getting to Pittsburgh

    By Air: you will fly in to the Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT). If you are using a site like Orbitz/Expedia/Travelocity, make sure to check out Southwest Airlines as well since they don't show up on those sites. The airport has free wireless.

    By Car: Pittsburgh is a relatively short drive (4.5 hours) from DC and Baltimore, and is about a 6 hours drive from Philadelphia and Toronto.

    Parking: On campus you can park in either the East Campus Garage or the Gates Garage. The Gates garage is under the building where the conference is, but it is hard to find the entrance. The East Campus Garage is very close to the dorms and easy to find. Here are the rates and map (P7 and P10).

    Directions from the airport to the hotel and CMU

    The Pittsburgh International Airport is about 22 miles from CMU. All modes of transportation leave from the Ground Transportation area of the Airport, next to the baggage claim.

    By Taxi: A taxi should cost you about $40-45 (plus gratuity), and take about 35 minutes. Taxis should be available outside the baggage claim area.

    By Shuttle: Super Shuttle provides shuttle service between the airport and hotels in Pittsburgh including the Holiday Inn University Center, or the Dorms for a slight additional fee. For reservations contact them at the link above or at 1-800-258-3826.

    By Bus: Pittsburgh has a very good system of buses. The 28X Airport Flyer bus gets you from the airport baggage claim area to CMU in 50-55 minutes, and costs $3.25. (Exact change is required). Here is a schedule. The last stop is CMU, which is where you want to get off if you are staying in the dorms or going directly to where the talks are. If you are staying at the Holiday Inn, you should get off a bit earlier at South Bellefield Avenue and 5th (see this map) and it is a 3 minute walk from there.

    Visa Requests

    If you need a visa to attend SPAA, please send your request for a letter in support of a visa application to the ACM headquarters at supportletters@acm.org and include your name, affiliation, mailing address, and fax number. Indicate that you plan to attend SPAA (authors of regular papers, brief announcements and posters should also include the title). Those attendees not coming from a university or research institution are advised to contact the SPAA secretary first.

    Questions and Comments

    If you have any questions or comments about the local arrangements, please send an email to Denny Maurus at dcm@cs.cmu.edu.