ERCIM News No.44 - January 2001 [contents]

Joint ERCIM Workshop on Databases and Environmental Modelling

by Brian Read and Thomas Lux

The ERCIM Environmental Modelling and the Database Research Groups combined to hold a joint Workshop on 27 to 29 September 2000. It was on Gran Canaria at the generous invitation of Professor Roberto Moreno-Díaz, Director of the Technology and Cybernetics Institute of the island’s new University. With twenty-three researchers from twelve institutions participating, the seventeen speakers addressed the topic of the application of models and databases for environmental research.

The location of the Workshop was the historic Casa de Colón in the old part of the city of Las Palmas. The presentations and discussions focused on perspectives to advance the dialogue among researchers working on environmental modelling and database research, aiming to bring new ideas into these fields by intelligent systems approaches and GRID computing.

Crucial environmental research issues addressed included: modelling of air, water and soil pollution, use of remote sensing data for environmental management, and the improvement/parallelisation of numerical algorithms in environmental models. Information systems technologies covered were data mining, data warehousing, multidimensional data and knowledge discovery in environmental databases, web and semi-structured data management, geographic information systems, decision support systems, knowledge-based systems (neural nets, expert systems), image and visual processing, data uncertainty, validation, integration and visualization.

Besides the regular presentations of the working group members, two additional sessions have to be emphasised. The first, very interesting one presented the current research topics of the host Instituto Universitario de Ciencias y Tecnologías Cibernéticas of the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria as a new member of the Working Group Environmental Modelling. A second, valuable session presented by Guy Weeks (EC, DG IST), focused on the IST Programme within the Fifth Framework Programme of the European Commission. Encouraged by the latter, new project ideas were discussed. These lead to a new project proposal of the Working Group Environmental Modelling that was submitted to the fourth Call for Proposals of the IST Programme by the end of October deadline. In addition, the opportunity was taken during the workshop for a working meeting on current tasks of the DECAIR project, an EC R&D collaboration also initiated by the Environmental Modelling Group.

Overall it was an enjoyable meeting, benefiting from the interaction of the two ERCIM Groups within a traditional social programme. During the Workshop, a formal meeting with the Island’s President and the Minister for Science and Education provided the opportunity to thank them for their hospitality and to promote the value of ERCIM in integrating Las Palmas within Europe.

Joint Workshop:
Working Group Environmental Modelling:
Database research group:
DECAIR Project homepage:

Please contact:
Achim Sydow - GMD
Tel: +49 30 6392 1800

Keith Jeffery - CLRC
Tel: +44 1235 44 6103