ERCIM, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary in Paris. The event, co-hosted by INRIA, included presentations by renowned personalities from research and industry, and representatives from the ERCIM community.
ERCIM aims to foster collaborative work within the European ICT research community and to increase co-operation with European industry. Leading research institutes from twenty European countries are members of ERCIM, which therefore represents a force of more than 12,000 scientists and engineers.
The highlight of the anniversary celebration was the seminar organised into three sessions: ‘Science and Society’, ‘ERCIM Activities’ and a ‘Historical round table’.
Science and Society
Following the welcome speeches by the ERCIM President, Keith Jeffery, and President d’honneur, Cor Baayen (a founding father of ERCIM), Wendy Hall (University of Southampton) gave the first talk. As President of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), a position to which she was elected in July 2008 as the first person from outside North America, Hall presented plans to create a European chapter of the ACM. She then talked about the new discipline known as ‘Web Science’, the main concern of the Web Science Research Initiative that she recently founded together with Tim Berners-Lee, Nigel Shadbolt and Daniel J. Weitzner.
Mazin Yousif (Avirtec Inc. CEO, former-Intel executive and chair of the ERCIM Advisory Committee) talked about ‘green computing’. Gérard Berry (INRIA) delivered a remarkable speech about his personal experience of teaching computer science to school children. Philipp Hoschka (W3C) spoke about the work of the W3C (of which ERCIM is the European host) and progress towards the Ubiquitous Web. Walter Weigel, Director-General of ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, gave a talk entitled ‘Standardisation of research results’.
Opening the second session of the seminar, Alessandro Fantechi (University of Florence and ISTI-CNR) gave a presentation on the Formal Methods for Industrial Critical Systems (FMICS) Working Group as an example of an ERCIM success story. The European projects ‘Beyond the Horizon’ (BTH) and InterLink, two examples of how ERCIM has affected the EC strategy, were presented by Dimitris Plexousakis (ICS-FORTH). BTH - Anticipating Future and Emerging Information Society Technologies, a project managed over 2005-06, defined the major challenges and promising research directions in ICT-related strategic areas. InterLink - International Cooperation Activities, was also carried out under the guidance of, and in collaboration with, the European Commission.
The session on ERCIM activities ended with presentations from Andreas Rauber (TU Vienna/AARIT) and Michal Haindl (Institute of Information Theory and Automation, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic/CRCIM), who reported on their personal experiences and views of the Cor Baayen Award and the ERCIM Fellowship Programme, respectively.
Historical round table
The seminar ended with a ‘historical round table’ composed of two former representatives of ERCIM’s Board of Directors, and members of the Executive Committee and Editorial Board, namely Alain Bensoussan, Paul Williams, Bob Hopgood, Georges Nissen, Henk Nieland and Siegfried Münch. They explained how ERCIM began in 1989 and discussed the early achievements and visions.
The celebration continued with a gala dinner co-hosted by Keith Jeffery and Michel Cosnard, President of INRIA. The dinner set the scene for speeches from former ERCIM presidents Gerard van Oortmerssen and Cor Baayen, presenting what they have contributed to ERCIM as presidents, what has been achieved during their term of office, and their recommendations for the future.Presentation slides and pictures at: http://paris2009.ercim.eu