by Jan Pavelka
After celebrating its silver anniversary in Slovakia, SOFSEM came back to Milovy in Moravia, Czech Republic. SOFSEM99, held from 27 November to 3 December 1999, was true to its new character and mission, established five years ago: a full-fledged international conference with international invited speakers and international refereed submitted papers (known as contributed talks). As in several preceding years, SOFSEM received support from ERCIM and several other sponsors from the IT industry.
From its previous history SOFSEM has inherited its generalist and multidisciplinary character. This is attested to by the themes of 99: Trends in Theory, Core Technologies, Software and Information Engineering, From Data to Knowledge, and Applications. These were covered by 19 invited talks and reinforced by selected submitted papers.
The PC (program committee) chair and co-chair as well as the OC (organising committee) chair were approved by the SOFSEM Steering Committee in 1997. As usual, the Steering Committee recruited the invited speakers, leaving the rest (the composition and co-ordination of the PC, the preparation of the time table, and the supervision during the conference) to the PC chair and co-chair.
The 23 PC members 10 Czech, 3 Slovaks, and 10 researchers from 6 other countries reviewed 46 submitted papers coming from 19 countries and selected 18 contributions to be presented at SOFSEM.
SOFSEM99 was attended by 138 persons with ERCIM institutes well represented. Although the majority of participants were Czech (82) there were 21 from Slovakia, 8 from Germany, 5 from the Netherlands. The UK, France, Spain, and Sweden had 3 participants each. The remaining 7 countries were represented by smaller numbers.
Serving as a meeting ground for professionals from both the theory and the practice of computing has always been an important ingredient of the SOFSEM mission. I am glad I can report that also SOFSEM99 has served this purpose well. Closing the gap between theory and practice was also the topic of a panel discussion held on the first day of the conference.
The busy time schedule of SOFSEM99, in which invited and contributed talks were supplemented by commercial presentations and a cultural program, still left time for lively discussions, which often focused on sketching research projects with newly discovered partners.
For the fifth time, the proceedings were published by Springer-Verlag in the Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS) Series (1725) and contain papers from the invited and contributed talks.
I am greatly indebted to my colleagues in the Steering Committee, the PC co-chair Gerard Tel, all PC members, the OC chair Jan Staudek and his experienced organising team. Together, they have produced another successful SOFSEM.
The history of SOFSEM, which now includes fresh information from SOFSEM99, can be found under the general SOFSEM Web page at http://www.ics.muni.cz/sofsem/sofsem.html.
SOFSEM 2000 will be held probably at the same location, again with ERCIM heavily present in its organization. The new PC Chair is Vaclav Hlavac from the Czech Technical University, Prague. Keith G Jeffery (CLRC RAL) and Jiri Wiedermann (CRCIM) will serve as co-chairs. Jan Staudek will again be OC chair. For the on-line information on SOFSEM 2000 please see the above mentioned web page.
Jan Pavelka DCIT, Ltd.
PC Chair SOFSEM99
Tel: +420 2 3536 3342