ERCIM News No.32 - January 1998

Second Workshop of the ERCIM Working Group on Constraints

by Krzysztof R. Apt

The ERCIM Working Group on Constraints was founded in the fall of 1996. It brings together ERCIM researchers that are involved in research on the subject of Constraints. Currently it comprises researchers from 14 ERCIM institutes and associated organizations.

The first meeting of the group took place in Paris in January 1997. The second meeting took place on 27 and 28 October 1997 in Schloss Hagenberg near Linz in Austria, at the site of the RISC institute. RISC is of the leading research centres in Europe in computer algebra, automated theorem proving and constraints.

The meeting was jointly organized with the Concurrent and Constraint Logic Programming Area of the European Network in Computational Logic, COMPULOG. It attracted some 30 researchers and ran for 2 full days. The call for presentations attracted a record number of 28 submissions out of which, given the time limitations, we could accept only 20.

Because of such a large number of submissions we dropped the idea of having an invited speaker. Still, some of the external presentations, like the overview of the research at the University of New Hampshire given by Eugene Freuder, the Editor-in-Chief of the recently founded Constraints journal (edited by Kluwer) or by Robert Rodosek from IC-Parc, London about solving the inventory management problems in the Bouygues company using constraints, gave us interesting pointers to research on constraint programming carried out elsewhere.

The workshop was considered to be very successful and led to a number of interesting discussions. It seems that the subject of constraints comprises within the ERCIM a diverse community that consists of a healthy mix of practitioners and researchers involved in foundational work. Consequently, the workshop provided a useful platform that allowed all of us to exchange information, learn about each others work and discuss plans for possible future cooperation.

The meeting preceded the Third International Conference on Constraint Programming CP '97. The conference itself attracted a record number of 160 participants and a record number of 132 submissions. Personally, I got an impression that this field is growing fast, encompassing now domains such as scheduling, program analysis, automatic verification of concurrent programs and numerical computation. In some areas like scheduling and numerical computation the transition phase from theoretical advances to commercial products is remarkably short ­ just a couple of years.

For more information about the Working group, including the detailed program of the workshop and the listing of the corresponding documents please consult our web site:

Please contact:

Krzysztof R. Apt - CWI
Tel: +31 20 592 4135

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