Is the number of accepted papers normally determined before papers are submitted? Or is it determined based on the quality of the papers?
I'm primarily interested in CS conferences.
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In my experience the Program Committee often has a target rate or a target number. Conferences occur on a fixed number of days, and given the length of the talks you'd like to have and the number of parallel sessions or rooms available, you can back your way into the number of papers you can accept.
My experience (computer architecture conferences) is almost universally the latter: The percentage of papers accepted is a function of the quality of the submissions (relative to the quality bar for that conference), not the number of submissions. This usually yields the expected result, although over time it may force changes in the conference schedule (e.g., if the research community is growing). Occasionally, the General Chair may have to adjust the conference schedule if the result is not what was expected (e.g., half- vs. full-day schedule on the last day, fewer/more parallel sessions, etc.)