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< Contents ERCIM News No. 56, January 2004

FM 2003 - 12th International Symposium on Formal Methods

by Stefania Gnesi

More than 200 scientists from academia and industry attended the 12th International FME Symposium FM 2003, an ERCIM sponsored event, hosted by ISTI-CNR, 8-13 September, 2003, at the CNR research campus, Pisa.

FM03 was organised by Formal Methods Europe, an independent association whose purpose is to promote and support the industrial use of formal methods for the development of computer systems. Formal methods have been controversial throughout their history, and the realisation of their full potential remains, in the eyes of many practitioners, merely a promise. Have they been successful in industry? If so, under which conditions? Has any progress been made in dispelling the scepticism that surrounds them? Are they worth the effort? Which aspects of formal methods have become so well established in industrial practice that they have lost the 'formal method' label?

Stefania Gnesi, general chair of FM'03 addresses the audience.
Stefania Gnesi, general chair of FM'03 addresses the audience.

FM 2003 aimed to answer these questions by seeking contributions not only from the Formal Methods community but also from outsiders and even from sceptics. The organisers were confident that the presentation of a wide spectrum of experiences and the opportunity for the open discussion of contrasting opinions would foster a better and deeper understanding, if not a wider adoption of Formal Methods.

The scientific programme chairs of the symposium were Keijiro Araki (Kyushu University) and Dino Mandrioli (Politecnico di Milano). 144 submissions - mainly of high quality - were received from more than 25 countries throughout the world. Less than one third were accepted, thus maintaining the traditionally high standards of the FM symposia. The symposium also included talks by four invited speakers: Kouichi Kishida (SRA, Japan), Brian Randell (University of Newcastle, UK), Gerard Holzmann (NASA/JPL, USA), Jean-Raymond Abrial (Consultant, France) and two presentations by industrial sponsors. Eight tutorials, seven workshops, and tool demonstrations were associated with the main programme.

New to the symposium was the Industrial Day dedicated to Formal Methods and Industry, organized by Dines Bjørner (Technical University of Denmark) and sponsored by FME and CoLogNet. There is a strong commitment within FME towards an increasing involvement of industry in the formal methods community. The Industrial Day thus had two purposes: to focus on the industrial use of formal methods within FM 2003, and to launch a new association, ForTIA, the Formal Techniques Industrial Association. The first Chair of ForTIA is Anthony Hall from Praxis Critical Systems, UK.


Please contact:
Stefania Gnesi, ISTI-CNR
General Chair FM 03
Tel: +39 050 3152918