ERCIM News No.44 - January 2001 [contents]

Edsger W. DijkstraCWI - Edsger W. Dijkstra (70) visited his old institute CWI in October, 2000, where he delivered a lecture on combating complexity in problem solving. Dijkstra, now emeritus professor of the University of Texas at Austin, where he went to in 1984 after positions at Eindhoven University of Technology and Burroughs, graduated from Leiden University as a theoretical physicist. He worked at CWI in the period 1952-1962. In 1959 he defended his PhD in Computer Science. He is generally considered as the father of structured programming (one of his famous slogans in the late 1960s was ‘GO TO considered harmful’). Several of his fundamental concepts had considerable impact on the development of programming languages. He received the ACM Turing Award in 1972. Dijkstra neither owned nor used a computer until recently.

CWI - When Dirk Struik passed away on 21 October 2000 at the age of 106 years, his life had covered three centuries. Struik was a mathematician born and trained in The Netherlands, which he left when Norbert Wiener asked him in the 1930s to come to Harvard. He became famous with his History of Mathematics (1948) which was translated into sixteen languages. During his whole life he remained a convinced marxist, which brought him into difficulties before WWII in The Netherlands, and afterwards in the USA, where he was temporarily dismissed from his post in the 1950s. He remained active until the end, still handling all his correspondence himself.

SZTAKI actively participated in the Cactus testbed demo of the European Grid Forum in Dallas at the Supercomputing conference 4-10 November. The Cactus testbed demo demonstrated the usage of a European Grid connecting the following sites: Albert-Einstein-Institut (Potsdam), Brno Supercomputing Centre, the DAS supercomputer (The Netherlands), Konrad-Zuse-Zentrum (Berlin), SZTAKI (Budapest), Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Centre, Padernborn Centre for Parallel Computing. The program that was partially demonstrated by Ferenc Szalai (staff member of SZTAKI) was solving 3D wave equations related to the collision of black holes and was executed in parallel on the machines of the participating institutes. The program was also able to move from site to site demonstrating a new kind of potential application of the Grid. For more information on the European Grid Forum, see

CLRC - The Numerical Analysis Group at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory has released HSL 2000, a collection of Fortran packages for large scale scientific computation. The Library was started in 1963 and over the years it has evolved and has been extensively used on a wide range of computers. The latest release of the Library, HSL 2000, contains codes for Automatic Differentiation, Differential Equations, Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors, Mathematical Functions, Sorting, Linear Programming, Linear Algebra, Nonlinear Equations, Polynomials, Optimization and Non-linear Data Fitting. New packages include state-of-the-art routines for sparse linear programming, the solution of sparse linear systems, and optimization. While HSL 2000 is a commercial product, it is also available without charge to anyone working in an academic institution in the UK. This innovation is a direct result of a grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Older Library codes are available in an HSL Archive Library for research purposes to anyone without charge. For details of both libraries, see

imageCWI - EU Commissioner for Research Philippe Busquin visited CWI on December 7, 2000. The delegation, which also attended the OECD Global Research Village conference in Amsterdam, and which included Dutch EU parliamentarians Elly Plooij-van Gorsel and Dorette Corbey, was received by CWI Director and ERCIM President Gerard van Oortmerssen, who explained the position and ambitions of both CWI and ERCIM. Two projects were presented: Quantum Computing (EU IST project QAIP) by Harry Buhrman, and Visualization by Robert van Liere.

VTT - Aarno Lehtola has been honored with a medal from the IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers for his merits benefiting the electrical and information technology sciences. The recognizition is considered the most important a research scientist in these field can be given.

INRIA - Emmanuel Cecchet, a doctoral candidate from the INRIA’s SIRAC team ‘Distributed Systems for Cooperative Applications’ (a joint project project between INRIA Rhône-Alpes, Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble and University Joseph Fourier, Grenoble), was awarded the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) prize, ‘computer’ section, for his presentation during the 2000 ‘French-Speaking Meeting on Parallelism’.His talk was on distributed shared memory for large-scale computer clusters.