Silver Jubilee of EATCSUte Brauer, Wilfried Brauer
Technische Universität München
The Foundation25 years ago ended an intensive discussion among some theoritical computer scientists from several West European Countries.The main persons inmolved (who later became the foundation members) were
It was clear that the creation of a European association of theoretical computer scientists could be very helpful to reach these goals. but how should this association look like? Should it become an umbrella organization to the already existing national computer science societies with a limited number of representatives, or would it be more effective to have individual membership. But the main question was how to get financial support for the aims of this European association. The first address to ask for money seemed to be the Commission of the European Communities in Brussels.
One question concerning the association did obviously never arise, namely which language to use officially - from the very beginning on the association was bilingual with English and French.
The end of these discussions was the beginning of the Association Européenne d'Informatique Théorique (AEIT) / European Association for Theoretical Computer Science (EATCS).
An authentic description of this very beginning was given by Maurice Nivat in 1972; here are some parts of it:
The first, but clandestine, appearance of AEIT / EATCS took place from July 3 to 7, 1972 - i.e. immediately after its constitution and even before its official approvement - it was at Paris/Rocquencourt by a colloquium on ,,Automata, Languages and Programming" organized by IRIA (Institut de Recherche d'Informatique et d'Automatique). The idea of this symposium was originated by M. Nivat, L. Nolin and M.P. Schützenberger. This was the first ICALP! It was sponsored by SIGACT, the proceedings were published in 1973 by North-Holland Publishing Company. It was sponsored by SIGACT, the proceedings were published in 1973 by North-Holland Publishing Company.On September 6, 1972 - two days after AEIT / EATCS became a legal person - Maurice Nivat wrote a letter to several persons whom the founders wanted to become members. Already at that early date it was decided to invite Israeli to this European association, but it was only discussed whether to solicite from the beginning on persons from Eastern European countries. It was quite a long list of potential members: 8 from the UK, 7 from West Germany, 6 from France, from Israel and from Italy, 3 from the Netherlands and from Scandinavia, 2 from Switzerland and 1 from Austria.
Many of these persons came to Warwick on March 24-25, 1973, where the first general assembly and the first council together with an informal scientific meeting took place, organized by Mike Paterson at his university. Main topics were the aims of AEIT / EATCS, the relations to existing computer societies, and how far membership should be open.
It was decided to
Finally there were elections: the council, consisting, up to now, of the foundation members only, was enlarged by C. Böhm (I), W. Brauer (D), B. Mayoh (DK), R. Milner (UK), J.F. Perrot (F), D. Scott (UK) while M. Paul retired. Maurice Nivat became president, J. de Bakker and M. Paterson vice presidents, M. Sintzoff stayed as treasurer and B. Mayoh became secretary. (Bulletin no. 1).
The second council meeting was at Hamburg University, it had been organized by W. Brauer on Sunday, October 7, 1973 the day before and at the place where the 3rd annual conference of the German informatics society (GI) took place, such that council members were able to give talks at the conference or to participate in a panel discussion on ,,What point is there to formal semantics?".
The main topics, discussions and decisions taken at the council were (Bulletin no. 1)
Three new council members were elected: E. Engeler (CH), Z. Manna (IL), A. Salomaa (SF).
From the beginning of 1974 till the end of 1976 AEIT / EATCS was visible mainly through conference activities; be it by sponsoring the Advanced Course on the Foundation of Computer Science in Amsterdam 1974, the conference on l-calculus in Rome 1975 or its own International Colloquia on Automata, Languages and Programming. The second ICALP took place in Saarbrücken in summer 1974 with the proceedings published for the first time in the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science by Springer-Verlag; the third one in Edinburgh in July 1976, its proceedings appeared at the Edinburgh University Press.
During this ICALP an informal EATCS meeting was arranged; president M. Nivat had had an unfortunate car accident such that vice president M. Paterson had to chair. It was suggested that there should be a reduced ICALP registration fee for members, the amount of the reduction being comparable to the membership subscription; further it was decided to solicit membership among colloquium attendees (and not only by invitation), the annual dues could be paid at the colloquium registration desk. G. Ausiello agreed to edit the EATCS Bulletin for at least one year. (Bulletin no. 2)
With the help of the Instituto di Automatica, Rome the second issue of the bulletin appeared in December 1976. From that time on the great annual events of EATCS are the ICALPs and the Bulletins.
In 1977, again in July, there was the 4th ICALP, again in another country (this alternation became an aim of EATCS), namely in Turku, Finland. From now on, according to a formal agreement, the Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg published the ICALP proceedings as volumes of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science.
The second general assembly was run during ICALP'77. Mike Paterson became president, M. Nivat and J. de Bakker, vice presidents and the new council members G. Rozenberg (then in Antwerp) and H. Maurer (Karlsruhe, FRG) agreed to serve as treasurer and as secretary plus bulletin editor, respectively. From now on an EATCS general assembly took place at each ICALP, and almost always on the Tuesday of the ICALP week.
In 1977 the 3rd bulletin appeared in October; its production was supported by the university of Karlsruhe; this was the first of the many ,,Maurer Bulletins".
One may say that in 1977 the character of EATCS was determined and became visible; or to cite president M. Paterson. (Bulletin no. 3, p.1):
,,What is accomplished so far? EATCS is a substantial international body of academics and researchers which can already claim to represent those in Europe with a declared interest in theoretical computer science. Independent of any massive parent organization, it has reached a stature adequate to attain many of our original goals. One realized aim, with benefits now taken for granted, is the establishment of an orderly sequence of international colloquia in Europe. By the formal sponsorship of other meetings we may avoid the unforeseen clash of independently arranged events, too similar in time and subject."
Structure and Management
Now, at the age of five, EATCS had got a personality - to a certain extend at least.
It is common human attitude to look at and to treat a child differently before and after entering school. Little children are carefully watched more or less permanently and their development is recorded in detail. School kids, however, are more autonomous, have a more complex behaviour, and a much broader spectrum of interests, therefore one studies their different types of activities and aspects of their personalities.
Similarly we now consider specific features of EATCS.
Statutes and Rules
The first statutes and rules in their original French version were never published; only in January 1980 a little sloppy English translation was printed in EATCS Bulletin no.10 in order to modify them. They originally defined an association which is quite different from the actual EATCS, although the general goals, expressed in article 2 of the statutes, seem to resemble the current ones. The main differences lie in the membership concept. The AEIT / EATCS was conceived as a very small group of scientists, who could be individual members or people representing institutional members (article 3). New members could only be invited by the council (article 4), and according to a complicated procedure specified by the rules; for example an individual member could only propose one new member per year and had to find two supporting members for such a proposal; per year not more than 10 individual members could be accepted; all members had to be consulted about a proposal, and it was accepted only if at least 50% of the answers were positive (articles 1 and 2 of the rules). Also, the statutes set the quorum for the general assembly to 50% of all indivial member votes and 50% of the institutional member votes where one member could only represent up to two other members (articles 8 and 11).
The general assembly had to take place only every three years; in the mean time the council had to direct and manage the association (articles 12 and 14). The council (7 to 15 members) had to be elected by the general assembly on the basis of candidatures signed by at least 6 members, subject to the restriction that one member could sign only for one candidature (article 7 of the rules). On the other hand nothing was said about the procedure for electing the board. It was stated however, that the president could be reelected only once (article 13 of the statutes).
Moreover it was obviously envisaged to have a secretariat with staff members, since article 14.2 of the statutes reads: ,,Le secrétaire général assure la gestion courante... Il nomme et révoque le personnel de secrétariat"; i.e. ,,The secretary general is charged with the daily management.... he appoints and dismisses the staff of the secretariat".
EATCS developed rather soon differently from what the founders had envisaged: on the one hand the close contact with and the money from the European Commission did not come, on the other hand the new members invited after the installment of EATCS were not aware of the statutes and rules and therefore from the first general assembly on drove the association into the direction of an open society of individual members.
That the gap between the theoretical concept and the practical realization of EATCS was very large and could create real problems was not seen or ignored for some time. It was Arto Salomaa who immediately after being elected as president stated in his first and second Letter from the President (Bulletin no. 9, 10): ,,it is now literally impossible to run things exactly according to the original statutes" and even more ,, If you read carefully through the old Statutes and Rules, you must realize that practically everything we have been doing has been illegal". And he acted consequently. Together with H. Maurer, M. Paterson and G. Rozenberg he proposed a drastically modified version of the statutes in Bulletin no. 10, with the following commentary:
There was no modified version of the rules because the essentail points of the ,,old" rules had been implemented in the ,,new" statutes.
With minor changes this proposal was accepted ,,without dissentient votes" by the general assembly 1980 (see Bulletin no. 12), and in 1986, in Bulletin no. 30 (p.4), A. Salomaa could state:
,,Perhaps a future historian can find out ... whether or not the ratification of the new statutes at the ICALP'80 was done legally. Anyway, after that nobody questioned the legal status of EATCS".
Nevertheless it was felt in 1988 that the statutes should be streamlined even more. Burkhard Monien, Secretary of EATCS wrote in Bulletin no. 40: ,,On its meeting during ICALP'88 in Tampere, Finland, the council formed the statutes committee consisting of W. Brauer, B. Monien, A. Salomaa and P. Turakainen (under the chairmanship of A. Salomaa) whose task was to propose a revision of the statutes.
The statutes committee has presented its suggestion at the concil meeting during ICALP'89 in Stresa, Italy. The council formulated then a proposal for the new statutes which is given below. The main changes consist of stating the main functions of EATCS more explicitly in Article 2, and removing unrealistic requirements and unnecessary complications from the statutes.
EATCS members are asked to vote on the statutes by sending back the voting form enclosed in this issue...".
In Bulletin no. 41 B. Monien reported that 166 of the 172 postal votes obtained were in favor such that the new statutes are in force since June 1990. Important new aspects of the statutes are the introduction of a postal referendum for statutes modification purposes, the restriction to 5 of the number of proxies a general assembly member may use in voting, the dropping of the upper bound for the number of council members and of the terms of office of the president, the denial of EATCS's ,,liability for any activity carried out partly or wholely on its behalf" and the legalization of the enlargement of the board by the editors of the TCS journal and the EATCS Monograph series (in addition to the editor of the EATCS Bulletin who legally belongs to the board since 1980). That the past presidents since 1973 are also board members is covered by the statement that ,,other members, at the discretion of the council" may be board members (article 10f).
Due to the continuous efforts of A. Salomaa EATCS now has statutes which proved to be reasonable and practical. EATCS owes a lot to Arto Salomaa.
EATCS as a non-profit organization is run by scientists only on a honorary basis, they all do voluntary work.
EATCS is directed and managed by the council, which itself is controlled by the general assembly, i.e. the GA has to ratify the decissions of the council.
Major concerns of the council are to discuss proposals, initiate activities (like the Monograph series) and to decide about cooperations with other organizations (i.e. SIGACT). Its main activity consists in planning and monitoring the ,,International Colloquia on Automata, Languages and Programming" (ICALP):
The council prepares the GA, it meets before and in case there had been elections, after the GA.
According to the statutes, the term of office of a council member is three years. The members are proposed by the council to the general assembly, thereby it is taken into account that the composition of the council mirrors the geographical and scientific distribution of the members of EATCS.
From its beginning on EATCS treated Israel like a European country, therefore it was natural to have an Israelian council member as soon as possible: it was Zohar Manna in 1976. But already in 1977 the first ,,non-European" became council member: Ron Book from Santa Barbara, USA, followed in 1979 by the first Canadian: Derick Wood, and in 1982 with Masako Takahashi the first Japanse joined the council. East Europeans however were elected to the council only in 1985: F. Gécseg from Szeged and J. Gruska from Bratislava.
Besides the intention of having an international council there is the need to have a Belgian member in the council because EATCS has its official seat in Belgium.
Additionally, since 1989 the chairperson of SIGACT is council member, vice versa the EATCS president is council member of SIGACT.
The council started in 1972 with seven members, the founders of EATCS. It was in 1973 enlarged to 15 people (the maximum allowed by the statutes). From 1977 on there were always 20 or more members (this was legalized by the 1980 statutes). The maximum number of 29 members was reached in 1991.
According to the first and second statutes the council had to elect the board out of its members - This was changed in 1990: Now the board members need not be council members.
The board originally consisted of the president, two vice presidents, the treasurer and the secretary; since 1976 the bulletin editor was considered member of the board.
Obviously the council had decided, maybe in 1977, to have the past presidents as ex-officio members of the board. But astonishingly L. Verbeek has never been listet as past president; Verbeek served as council member until 1979. Other ex-officio members of the board are the TCS editor (listed for the first time in June 1983), who from the beginning on was and still is Maurice Nivat, and since 1991 the Monographs editors W. Brauer, G. Rozenberg and A. Salomaa.
The members of the board are responsible for the day-today management of ETACS. It seems that they have never met and decided as a seperate organ; the board obviously conceived itself always as part of the council.
Changes in the board of EATCS
For more information see the statistics by M. Kudlek in Bulletin no. 52 (pp. 116, 117).
Created by European scientists as a European association AEIT / EATCS almost immediately became a worldwide organization; there has obviously been a big need all over in the informatics community to have such an association, which not only enables the European theoreticians to inform each other more quickly and through this to have more effective cooperations but also serves as a partner for non-Europeans who want to know more about and to get into contacts with Europeans working in the same field. EATCS had the right aims at the right time and realized them with the right means, namely with a series of colloquia , the ICALPs, and with a bulletin. After the EATCS Bulletin started to appear regularly three times per year, the membership nearly increased by a factor of 4 within a year.
Until 1991 EATCS was a fast growing society. In 1992 a decrease in membership began, which unfortunately continues and seems to have the same speed as the growth had. This development has to be seen in the frame of the general decline in economy. In many countries it became much harder for scientists to get their expenses (or at least part of it) for participation in an ICALP payed; and even to get the permission to leave the job or project for a stay at ICALP is not always easy. As we know, it is not only EATCS which suffers from the harder constraints scientists are faced with.
It is a particular problem that the membership from the US has drastically declined to now less than half of the number of 1991 - this happens after the USA members had for a long time formed the largest national group in EATCS. From July 85 till July 90 they were outdoing the Germans who from an early time on were by far the largest member contingent.
Membership Fee and Sponsoring
An association like EATCS is not only proud of its many members, it really needs them because of the fees which at the beginning constitute its only income.
In 1986 president G. Rozenberg succeded in his efforts to get institutional sponsors for EATCS; the first two sponsors were: BULL France and the Danish Datamatics Centre, Lyngby (Bulletin no. 28, p. 2), and by the end of the same year joined IBM Belgium and Philips Research Lab., Eindhoven, The Netherlands, of which still Philips continues as sponsor - for 12 years already! Other long lasting sponsors have been BULL (9 years) and still are Siemens ZTI, München, Germany, Nixdorf Computer AG (now Siemens-Nixdorf) Paderborn, Germany (both 10 years) and IASI-GNR, Rome (9 years). At the moment EATCS has nine institutional sponsors, some even from outside Europe: PWS Publishing Company, Boston, USA and UNU / IIST UN University, International Institute for Software Technology, Macau. Institutional sponsors may present themselves, their activities, aims and scopes in the Bulletin, where their names are listed regularly. EATCS owes not only a strong financial support to its institutional sponsors but also gained recognition as an association worth to be sustained.
At the beginning of AEIT / EATCS members were often urged to pay their fee. In the first Bulletin (p. 4) under the date of November 12, 1973 secretary Brian Mayoh complained - in a very polite way: ,,As the list of those who have returned the application forms to the secretary does not coincide with the list of those who have paid their fee to the treasurer, there is some confusion". And this confusion continued.
The fact that the annual fees were not regularly payed was neither due to their exorbitant amount - from 1972 till June 1976 they were only 100 Belgium Francs (which was equivalent to 2,70 US$ or 7 DM), in July 76 they were raised to 2 British Pounds (or 3,30 US$ or 8 DM) and from July 77 till July 81 they amounted to 5 US$ per year (i.e. 11,50 DM in 1977 and only 9 DM in 1980) - nor to the lazynes of the EATCS members but it was due to the time-consuming and costly procedure to send the money from one country to another, be it by cash, cheque or money order.
The fee increased slowly from US$ 5 via 8 (from July 1981 to July 1982) to 10 (until March 1990). And the problems with sending the money to the Belgium bank account increased also: In June 1984 treasurer Paredaeans warned that fees can be paid by bank cheques or cash but ,,anyhow a member cannot pay by International Post Money Order" (Bulletin no. 23, p.2). Little later, in October 1985, it became more complicated, treasurer Paredaens wrote in Bulletin no. 27, p.3: ,,If the transfer is in US$ then the annual membership payment equals US$ 10. If the transfer is in a currency other than US$ then the annual membership payment must be equivalent to US$ 12 (the difference is used to cover the bank charges) ...".
In 1990 the last but one change with respect to membership fee was decided, treasurer D. Janssens wrote in Bulletin no. 40, p. 8: ,,The agreed amount was the equivalent (at that time) of 30 DM (German marks): US$ 10. However, since 1972 the conversion rate of the US$ towards the DM has decreased quite considerably, in particular during the last five years. In the meantime, the cost of printing and mailing the Bulletin has increased. For these reasons the council of EATCS has decided at its meeting of July 13, 1989 in Stresa, Italy, that from March 1, 1990 the EATCS membership fee will be DM 30. .... Those members, in particular outside Europe, who wish to continue paying their fee in US$, can evidently do so; hence they should pay the amount equivalent to DM 30, which at present is US$ 18". Since 1996 the fee had to be increased to 45 DM, but now the membership dues can be payed by using credit cards.
Before this very elegant solution could be achieved the EATCS council had tried to facilitate the payment for the members in various ways. At first the members were asked to pay their fees for some years in advance to lower the total bank charges; this was not unfair because of the small amount of the annual fee. The second possibility to avoid high bank charges was to have the EATCS membership fee payed together with the ICALP conference fee. This was very helpful for the quantity of members; but through this procedure the number of EATCS members became strongly dependent on the number of ICALP participants. The third idea was to build national groups which collect the EATCS fees of members of one country and transfer the total sum to the EATCS treasurer. It seems that this gave an impetus to set up the Chapters.
Another challenge to EATCS was that theoretical computer scientists from East European countries did not only have problems with bank charges but that most of them were unable to get hard currency for paying the membership fee, but they would have very much liked to have access to the Bulletin or even to become member of EATCS. Therefore it was a good idea by G. Rozenberg and excellent initiative by Dines Bjorner, Denmark when he wrote on August 12, 1987 to the EATCS members: ,,With this letter I would like to invite you to become a sponsor of 'The EATCS-Membership and - Bulletin Subscription Fund'. The purpose of this fund is to support a number of colleagues in ,,foreign currency constrained" countries, either in their becoming members of the EATCS, or in obtaining a subscription of the EATCS Bulletin. Sponsorship will cost you any multiple of the EATCS membership fee (currently 10 US$). ... Some colleagues may be able to receive a subscription, but not become a member of the EATCS - oftentimes the latter requires cumbersome and problematic approval procedures from public authorities, usually ending with refusals..."
It seems that this letter was quite successful, however the list of donors and receptors has been and still is kept confidential. In March 1994 Dan Simpson, Brighton, UK who had succeeded D. Bjorner who had moved to Macau, informed EATCS members that ,,Last year, thanks to the generosity of EATCS members we were able to offer well over 100 individuals in currency constrained countries full membership benefits of EATCS. I can assure you that your efforts are fully appreciated. ..." (Bulletin no. 53, p. 35).
The fund still exists because some former East European countries continue to suffer from financial difficulties.
Mainly due to the initiative of president G. Rozenberg two chapters have been founded within EATCS, the Italian and the French chapter. Both of them have in common, that
The main difference between the two chapers consists in their statutes. While the EATCS statutes are binding for the Italian chapter, the French chapter has modeled its statutes according to French law. It therefore is an autonomous organization with its own name: Association Francaise d'Informatique Théorique (AFIT); that it is mainly the French Chapter of EATC is due to an extra agreement between EATCS and AFIT.
The Italian Chapter of EATCS was founded on July 3, 1987 after preparatory work had been done by Bruno Apolloni, Aldo De Luca and one of the founders of EATCS, Giorgio Ausiello. Alberto Bertoni, Milano became the first president; the actual president is Giancarlo Mauri, Milano.
AFIT, was founded, on March 14, 1988 here, too a founder of EATCS was involved: Maurice Nivat who was chosen as first president of AFIT - and still is. The first secretary was Brigitte Rozoy, Universite de Caen followed in 1995 by Ph. Schoebelen, ENS Cachan.
EATCS has profited in two ways from the creation of the chapters: it got more members and its European bases became stronger.
Informatics has two roots - the theory of computing (initiated mainly by Herbrand, Gödel, Kleene, Church, Post and Markov) and the construction and programming of computers. Although the theory of computing is not only older than the first functioning computers but also has influenced the development of hardware and of programming tools from the very beginning on, in the public opinion (i.e. by most people who are not theoretical informaticians) theoretical informatics is considered as a secondary issue, usually as an a posteriori reflection on the inventions of hard- and software engineers. What people see and use are hard- and software and not the theory behind.
This situation is mirrored within the spectrum of computer and informatics societies. In many countries theoretical computer scientists were in former times not very well represented in the computing-related societies. This has for sure been a main reason for EATCS to find such a positive acceptance. Notable exceptions - and therefore potential cooperation partners - were ACM, IEEE Computer Society and GI (the West German informatics society) which, already rather early had special committees or interest groups on theory. In addition to these, some later established groupings like BCS-FACS, IFIP-SGFCS and EACSL became ,,sister organizations". Basically the benefit of these cooperations consists in a systematic and detailed information about each other and the respective activities, in particular conference coordination and sponsoring.
Unfortunately no formal relationships to the organizing bodies of the East European conference series MFCS and FCT were possible because of political reasons - via informal and personal contacts however informations and reports about these conferences were published regularly in the Bulletin.
SIGACT, the ACM Special Interest Group for Automata and Computability Theory, which was founded in 1969 has been a model for EATCS. Their aims and activities are rather similar. A decisive diffference is that EATCS is not an offspring of a mother organization like ACM, thus it did and does not get such a basic support as SIGACT obtains from ACM.
The major difference, however is due to the geographical region in which their main conference activities take place. To cite D.S. Johnson (from the first SIGACT Chairman's Column in the EATCS Bulletin, no. 34, p. 27/28, February 1988): ,,SIGACT is an international organization, with roughly a third of its 2000 members coming from Europe and the Far East. The bulk of its members and most of its activities, however, are centered in North America ... SIGACT is best known for the conferences it sponsors, in particular the annual ,,ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing" or ,,STOC" conference ... This and the mirror-image ,,FOCS" conference (,,Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science") held in the fall, are the two main general-interest theory conferences in North America analogous to EATC's ICALP" (Indeed, they were initially models for the creation of ICALP).
,,SIGACT sponsors only STOC, not FOCS. The latter job is taken by a second organization, the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Mathematical Foundations of Computing, or simply ,,TCMFC" ... Although SIGACT and TCMFC share the same ,,turf" so to speak, they are not rivals. In practise they act mostly like one organization with two overlapping heads. These two ,,heads", the Executive committees of the two organizations, provide a useful method for dividing the responsibility for putting on conferences. Their intersection includes the Chairs of the two organizations as well as a Conference Site Coordinator and, to improve cooperation with Europe, the EATCS chair. TCMFC is the older of the two organizations, having been in existence under various names since 1960, when the first FOCS conference was held, although it was then called a ,,Symposium on Switching Circuit Theory and Logical Design" ... Besides the conferences we sponsor, our most visible product is SIGACT News. This publication in effect serves as a joint SIGACT / TCMFS newsletter... It is not presently, however, as substantial and useful a publication as is the EATCS Bulletin, and we are working hard to improve it". The contents lists of the SIGACT News are published in the EATCS Bulletin since 1988.
The cooperation between the three organizations which began with the first ICALP and was intensified by a proposal of Ron Book (Bulletin no. 6, p. 3) for exchanging more information and mutual reduction of conference fees as well as by a call for contributions by the SIGACT News editor M. Blattner in Bulletin no. 18 (p. 8), includes in particular also the coordination or joint sponsoring of conferences in Europe and North America.
The most important outcome of the cooperation between SIGACT and EATCS, however, is the installment and continuous sponsoring of the Gödel Prize.
The Gödel Prize
Theoretical informaticians in Europe, or at least in Germany are more reluctant than in North America to award prizes. This may be a reason why only in June 1992 (in Bulletin no. 37) EATCS together with SIGACT announced the sponsoring of a new theory award, the Gödel Prize. The first ideas concerning it were already published by D.S. Johnson in the SIGACT Chairman's Column of Bulletin no. 37 (February 1989). He gave several good arguments for prizes: ,,A well-positioned prize does far more than allow an occasional researcher to pocket a check or hang a medallion on the wall: it draws positive attention to the field" and ,,they help certify a body of potential spokespersons for the field".
The prize is for outstanding papers on theoretical computer science in a broad sense, published by a single author or a team of authors in the recent six years. Beginning in 1994 the Gödel Prize has been accompanied by a US$ 5.000 award which is provided by a grant from PWS Publishers in cooperation with International Thompson Publishing (ITP).
The selection committee consists of 6 well-known scientists representing a diversity of areas, appointed for a term of 3 years by EATCS and SIGACT - at the beginning each organization appointed 3 members, from then on each year two are leaving the committee and each organization appoints a new member.The chair is always coming from the region where the award is presented.
The prize is given annually at ICALP or STOC alternatingly. The first prize, for 1993, has been presented during the Federated Computing Research Conference 1993 (FCRC'93) at STOC'93 in San Diego, the following prizes were given at ICALP'94 in Jerusalem, at STOC'95 in Las Vegas and during FCRC'96 at STOC'96 in Philadelphia.And, naturally all past winners are listed in the Bulletin; for the newest list see Bulletin no. 60, p.19 (October 1996).
BCS - FACS
The ,,British Computer Society Specialist Group - Formal Aspects of Computing Science" (BCS-FAC) was inaugurated on March 16, 1978 with five closely related aims of which the central one seems to be: ,,to bring together groups from both industrial and academic departments who have interests in the formal aspects of computing science" (Bulletin no. 23, p.117). The formation of FACS was prepared by a meeting on November 30,1977, where a preparatory committee lead by Dan Simpson and John Cooke was formed.
,,One of the major services offered to members of FACS is the ability to easily join EATCS in conjunction with FACS membership. About 80% of FACS members take advantage of the scheme" (D.J.Cooke, D.Simpson, Bulletin no. 37, p.52, February 1989).
In Bulletin no. 23 and from Bulletin no. 37 on rather regularly, Dan Simpson and since Bulletin no. 58 Ann Wrightson (sometimes with the help of colleagues) present a rather broad spectrum of informations on FACS; they report on internal FACS matters and developments and on workshops, foreign guests, publications, government research programs etc. In a way FACS can be seen as a kind of chapter of EATCS.
IFIP - SGFCS
IFIP, the International Federation for Information Processing, is a multinational federation of professional and technical organizations (or national or regional groupings) concerned with information processing and computer science. The aims of IFIP are to promote informatics and information technology by fostering international cooperation, stimulating research, development and application of informatics, furthering dissemination and exchange of information, encouraging education. IFIP was formally established in January 1960 after (similar to EATCS) the first International Conference on Information Processing (now counted as the first IFIP World Congress) which was held in Paris in June 1959 under the sponsorship of UNESCO. Its technical work is managed by 12 Technical Committees (TCs), each of which has several Working Groups. Although several of its TCs, in particular TC 2 (Software: Theory and Practise) and TC 7 (Computer System Modelling), comprise theoretical aspects the field of theoretical computer science in its entirety was not represented adequately in IFIP. Therefore, in 1989, the IFIP president-elect, B. Sendov (Bulgaria), and W. Brauer (West German General Assembly member and TC 3 chairman) invited a number of well-known theoretical computer scientists from around the world (in particular many EATCS council members) to participate in the creation of a Specialist Group on Foundations of Computer Science (SCFCS) in order to give theory a stronger position within IFIP. At the IFIP World Congress 1989 in San Francisco a well-attended preparatory meeting took place and right after that the IFIP General Assembly inaugurated the group; J. Gruska (then chairman of the theory track of the 1989 World Congress) was appointed chairman (Bulletin no. 40, p.330).
The first meeting of SGFCS took place during ICALP'90 in Warwick (Bulletin no. 42, p.1). A rather extensive report on SGFCS is given by J. Gruska in the section on sister organizations of Bulletin no. 52 (pp. 155-162).
In September 1996 the IFIP General Assembly transformed SGFCS into Technical Committee 1 (Foundations of Computer Science) - this was a great success for theory and for SGFCS chairman J. Gruska.
The European Association for Computer Science Logic (EACSL) was founded on July 14, 1992, at the conference centre Schloss Dagstuhl, Germany ,,by computer scientists and logicians from 14 countries" (Bulletin no. 48, p.449, October 1992). Two of the Executive Members of EACSL are closely related to EATCS: C. Boehm (early council member from 1973 till 1982) and Y. Gurevich (current council member since 1991). EACSL promotes CSL as ,,an
interdisciplinary field between mathematical logic and computer science... in the areas of scientific research and education", in particular by organizing the annual international conference on CSL whose proceedings (i.e. a selection of the papers presented) are published in the Springer LNCS series.
EACSL president E. Börger reports regularly in the Bulletin since 1992.
ESPRIT - Basic Research Actions
Originally, in 1982, the ESPRIT (European Strategic Programme for Research and Development in Information Technology) initiative of the European Community had the objectives:
,,1. To promote European industrial cooperation in precompetitive Research and Development in Information Technology.
Five to six years later this very strong industry-oriented position had slightly changed as G. Metakides stated in Bulletin no. 37, p.61: ,,The second half of this century is replete with examples of research ideas which, although conceived without even thought to applications, led to technological developments with major industrial and social impact". A result ,,is a growing consensus that supporting basic fundamental research in IT is a solid investment whose payback, even if it does not come in the form of short term industrial applications, will be great.
Basic Research performed at universities and research institutes serves the dual role of providing new knowledge and helping to ensure the future availability of high-calibre scientists and engineers. Both of these are key elements in the long-term ability of Europe to compete in global markets."
These considerations seem to have led to the establishment of the ESPRIT Basic Research Actions. The first call for proposals was published in the Journal of the European Communities in March 1988.
It is clear that now EATCS got very much interested in the topics and results of this program. On the other hand the project officers of the ESPRIT Basic Research Actions wished to have their projects as widely known as possible. Therefore at ICALP'89 in Stresa descriptions of five ESPRIT-BRA projects were presented, which then were published in EATCS Bulletin no. 39 (October 1989). From that time on reports on ESPRI-BRA projects are published in a special section of the Bulletin, and in addition to these, general reports about the ongoing of the ESPRIT-BRA program and on calls for proposals as well as their results can be found regularly in the Bulletin.
In 1994 the ESPRIT-BRA program was replaced by a ,,Long Term Research" concept (Bulletin no. 53, p.74, June 1994) which looks for projects ,,motivated by industrial needs", which ,,combine the long term characteristics of research with high industrial relevance" (Bulletin no. 57, p.79, October 1995). The last report on a BRA-project appeared in Bulletin no. 59.
From its very beginning on it was one of the aims of EATCS to promote the publication of research results (article 2 of the first statutes). But it was a long and cumbersome way to reach the current position of EATC as the sponsor of four important scientific publication means:
The comparatively easiest thing was the establishment of the agreement with Springer-Verlag on the ICALP proceedings: Springer liked their quality, EATCS the ease of production and the financial support by Springer (to the proceedings editor and the EATCS treasurer); from June 1980 (Bulletin no. 11) on Springer gave also an 25% discount on all ICALP proceedings volumes for each EATCS member.
The good cooperation with Springer also resulted, in spring 1983, in the establishment of the ,,EATCS Monographs in Theoretical Computer Science", which was announced by the editors (W. Brauer, G. Rozenberg, A. Salomaa) in Bulletin no. 20 (June 1983) and presented at ICALP'84 in Antwerp - already with the first 3 volumes published (and 10 more in preparation) and ,,quite a pleasant surprise ... the cocktail party given by Springer-Verlag before the conference dinner on July 19, on the occasion of launching the new monograph series". (cited from Jozef Gruska's report on ICALP'84 in Bulletin no. 24, p. 157).
For the first time the idea to create an EATCS Monograph series was mentioned at the council meeting at ICALP'80 in Nordwijkerhout, Netherlands (see Bulletin no. 12, p. 1) where ,,Ron Book presented a proposal about such a series" (Bulletin no. 20, p. 3). In the 1981 general assembly R. Book's proposal ,,was considered to be preferable" (Bulletin no. 15, p. 6) and he ,,was asked to negotiate a contract with the publisher proposed by him". It was thought, that ,,the final decisions on this" could ,,be taken by the monographs series committee within the next few months" (Bulletin no. 15, p. 7) - the committee consisted of R. Book, H. Maurer, G. Rozenberg, A. Salomaa. Unfortunately the envisaged publisher (Academic Press) seemed ,,to be no longer seriously interested. Thus it was decided to consult many scientific publishers in order to find an outlet for a monograph series" (Bulletin no. 18, p. 5, October 1982). Also Jan van Leeuwen was very active in this matter.
That the monographs series was a great success right from the beginning was also due to an intensive advertisement campaign by the Bulletin editor G.Rozenberg and the EATCS president A. Salomaa, who in each Bulletin from no. 20 till no 24 mentioned in their ,,letters from the ..." this series. The regular announcement of the book series in the Bulletin started however only in June 1987 (Bulletin no. 32), although it was announced (and tried) already in Bulletin no. 28 (February 1986). After 10 years of success, the monographs series was split into two series, The Monographs and the Texts (see Bulletin no. 54), since it had turned out, that some of the monographs were, by the time, really used in graduate classes, and that there is also a need for advanced texts covering the field between the usual textbooks and research monographs. Needless to say, that EATCS members get a 25% discount on all books of the two series.
The EATCS journal TCS really is the child of Maurice Nivat - in spite of many difficulties he brought it up in a process of several years. Already by a letter of June 18, 1973 to the EATCS council he proposed the creation of the journal and presented a draft of an agreement with North Holland Publishing Company. In his letter he writes: ,,This proposal was made after discussions I had with Mr. E. Fredriksson in which we asked ourselves whether it would be possible to have our European Association play a role in this creation.
The idea we came to was that the Association could appoint say 5 members of the future Editorial Board among whom hopefully one would be the managing editor and that these 5 people would discuss with North Holland the numerous questions to be solved: other members of the editorial board, scope of the journal, etc...".
It was envisaged that the first issue of journal should appear in March 1974. In September 1973 M. Nivat reported to the council:
,, The project I submitted to you has been shaped during the past months and I shall present it to you in Hamburg: a tentative list of 18 members of the editorial board has been made, seven at least of which are members of our association. The idea is now to create a truly international journal, which would not be linked with our association by any other link than the fact that some of us will sit in the editorial board".
The council in Hamburg was not so happy about the dissociation of EATCS and TCS. The minutes of the meeting say: ,,The report of M. Nivat on his discussions with N. Holland about a new journal in theoretical computer science was approved. This question no longer concerns the association". (Bulletin no. 1, p. 5).
But M. Nivat did not give up; in early summer 1976 he wrote to the EATCS council members: ,,... and 7 members of the counicl of EATCS stand on the editorial board of TCS. And TCS works well: a bad choice of the first printer delayed the publication, but a new printer has been found so that we hope to be on schedule at the end of 1976".
He also announced that he would propose in the general assembly at ICALP'76 in Edinburgh ,,to tie together the journal TCS and the association", he had in mind that EATCS members should get a large discount on the journal price. Because of his car accident there was no regular general assembly and in the informal meeting the discussion on his written proposal did not lead to any decision. And also in the 1977 general assembly it was decided that EATCS
The break-through came with the agreement between North-Holland and EATCS ,,...signed by a representative of North-Holland, the President of EATCS (M. Paterson) and the Editor-in-chief of TCS (M. Nivat)". (Bulletin no. 5, p.2,3). Main parts of this agreement (which was ratified by the EATCS general assembly in July 1978, see Bulletin no. 6, p. 3) are: ,,The journal Theoretical Computer Science will be published from now on as ,,The journal of the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science". Precisely this is what will be printed on the front cover of TCS below the title of TCS which remains Theoretical Computer Science". ,,As an effect of this agreement, and that was the main purpose in signing it, a personal subscription rate will be offered to EATCS members. ... Otherwise there will be no change in the editorial policy of TCS which remains an international journal open to authors from all over the world. It should be clear that no ,,preference" will be given to European authors, all papers being refereed according to the usual international rules. No change in the Editorial Board is planned for the time being. .... the link between TCS and the EATCS is now ensured by the fact that 9 members of the Editorial Board of TCS are council members of the EATCS. (In fact the Association and the Journal were created a few years ago by the same group of people). It seems reasonable that this proportion of half the members of the Editional Board of TCS being members of EATCS, agreed upon by the general assembly of EATCS, be respected in the future. And also that when the Editor in Chief resigns he be replaced by someone who is agreed upon by the EATCS general assembly." And M. Nivat continues:
,,This means that the Editor in Chief of TCS takes the engagement (even if this is not written in the above mentioned agreement) to keep the EATCS informed to every change in the Editorial Board, or in the editorial policy, to send his resignation to the president of EATCS at the same time as to North Publishing Cy, to resign immediately if the general assembly of EATCS emits a note towards this effect. He also takes the engagement to give periodically informations about the status of TCS in this Bulletin, including titles of forthcoming papers, length of the backlog and whatever seems proper to be brought to the knowledge of EATCS members. This will start in the next issue of the Bulletin. Right now the Editor in Chief of TCS would be very happy to receive all comments, complaints suggestions ... of EATCS members as concerns TCS".
Since that time M. Nivat, who is still Editor-in-Chief has reported regularly to council and general assembly and occasionally in the Bulletin - e.g. when the split into sections A (automata, algebra und algorithms) and B (logic, semantics and related topics) was decided upon (Bulletin no. 45, p.2,3, October 1991); the contents lists of the current TCS issues are printed regularly in the Bulletin since 1983).
The best at the end.
That EATCS members identify themselves with their association is mainly due to the ICALP series and to the Bulletin. The success of the Bulletin - i.e. that people really like to read it - has several reasons: the high level and broad scope of its scientific contributions, the many informations about conferences, activities in institutes and organisations, etc., and as a very important part the fotos and the DADARA cartoons. Therefore it is not simply the EATCS Bulletin but it is our Bulletin.
One of the supports the Bulletin had given to EATCS and which should not be undervalued are the logos. The first logo of AEIT / EATCS can be found in the first Bulletin, edited by M.Nivat and printed at IRIA (Institut de Recherche d'Informatique et d'Automatique); it vanished rather soon, maybe because EATCS developed into a purely English speaking society.
Already on the cover of Bulletin no. 3 the now famous EATCS emblem appeared. It had been designed by M. Hennemann, Karlsruhe. The Bulletin editor H. Maurer also asked for further ideas. And there was a further idea by G. Rozenberg; his symbol is used in combination with the list of council members since Bulletin no. 4.
According to an agreement with Springer-Verlag the EATCS symbol is printed on the spine of each ICALP proceedings since the 5th ICALP as distinguishing mark from the other LNCS volumes. Moreover in 1984 the ,,European map" button was created by M. Kudlek and awarded to persons who, according to strong rules, did major contributions to ICALP.
In Bulletin no. 5 (p. 115) from June 1978 the ,,European map" logo of EAT CS developed its own life with the help of M. Jantzen, Hamburg.
The EATCS Bulletin really is a wide-spectrum journal where each theoretical informatician may find useful informations from almost each aspect of scientific activities; typically an issue contains over 20 (even up to 27) sections. Different from the periodicals of other organizations the Bulletin is purely science-oriented, for example, there are no business advertisements - neither payed nor indirect ones - there are no stories about persons, instead the concentration is on scientific work and scientific results.
This has been the scope of the Bulletin from its first issue on. No. 1, the Nivat-Bulletin, from December 1973, contains already in addition to what is now called EATCS matters, some reports on computer science departments and institutes (from 3 places in the Netherlands, from the university of Torino, and from the university Paris VI), a report on the second MFCS conference, and some conference announcements".
In the Ausiello-Bulletin (no. 2, December 1976) additionally the first two ,,Technical Contributions" can be found. This Bulletin is the first one in which all (exactly 100) EATCS members are listed; in Bulletin no. 9 (October 1979) again such a list was published, it took 30 pages and contained 526 names.
At the beginning of the regular publication of the Bulletin in October 1979 (no. 3) the Bulletin editor H. Maurer refined and augmented the section structure of the Bulletin - which had been introduced by G. Ausiello. Moreover he made an explicit call for contributions:
,,Contributions of all kind for the Bulletin are solicited now. Information on the following items would be particularly useful: short technical contributions and announcements of new results, titles of new research reports, thesis etc. from your institution, information on the structure, aims and on-going research of your institution, information on conferences, working groups etc. you are planning, any other new items of interest".
No. 4 is remarkable not only for the first fotos but also because of its 116 pages, containing 6 ,,Technical Contributions" and 8 ,,Reports on Conferences". From that time on the Maurer-Bulletins found a strong resonance, a growing number of people did not only read them but also sent contributions - the success of the Bulletin became obvious.
In 1981 the era of the Maurer-Bulletins ended, and G. Rozenberg startet with Bulletin no. 15 (October 1981). In his next Bulletin (February 1982) he already introduced two new sections ,,Reports on computer science organizations" and ,,Book reviews", and had announced that from then on he wanted to have ,,Reports on Computer Science Departments and Institutes" on a regular basis. In June 1982 G. Rozenberg came up with ,,Problems and Solutions", which for quite a while was a very popular topic of the Bulletin series. The section ,,Abstracts of Ph.D. Theses" was started in no. 19 (February 1983), followed in no. 20 (June 1983) by ,,Contents of TCS". In this way, by continuously producing new topics, the Bulletin editor strongly motivated people to read and to contribute to the Bulletin; the sizes of the Bulletins became bigger and bigger.
Although G. Rozenberg has been taken up since 1983 additionally with the EATCS Monograph series together with W. Brauer and A. Salomaa - his creativity for the Bulletin continued: in no. 25 (February 1985) ,,Surveys and Tutorials" started, in no. 28 (February 1986) ,,EATCS Monographs"; since February 1987 exists the ,,Columns", since June 1988 the series ,,News from ...." starting with Australia and Japan, later in February 1991 Latin America followed and in October 1993 New Zealand. Furthermore should be mentioned the sections ,,Sister Organizations" (since October 1988) and ,,ESPRIT - Basic Research Actions" (since February 1989). This list of sections is by no means a complete one, and but as a continuation of what has happened up to now Bulletin readers can be sure to find pretty soon again a new topic - but what will come next?
Each family starts sooner or later to collect fotos of its members, taken in particular on special events. Vice versa if fotos of a community are taken maybe at special events, this community feels like a family. That's what happened to the EATCS members.
In Bulletin no. 4 from January 1978 the first fotos were reproduced, they documented ICALP'77 in Turku and MFCS'77 in Tatranská Lomnica, Czechoslovakia. Already since June 1979 the EATCS Bulletin has its official picture editor: Peter van Emde Boas, Amsterdam, The Netherlands had agreed not only to take pictures, to urge other members to send pictures to him, but also to compile and print them at the Mathematical Centre in Amsterdam; it was a hard job for him but very enjoyable for the Bulletin readers. Since October 1989 M. Kudlek, Hamburg, Germany is picture editor. He is wellknown for his systematic fotodocumentation of the speakers of ICALPs and other conferences although only few of them can be reproduced in the Bulletin. Let us hope that he will, besides his many jobs in ICALP, continue to take care of the fotos.
The other pictures which catch the attention as soon as a new Bulletin has arrived are the DADARA cartoons. In Bulletin no. 27, October 1985 they appeared for the first time, signed with ,,DR"" which is still used in no. 28; from no. 29 one the excellent DADARA cartoons can be found in each Bulletin. Who is DADARA? It is not a secret: he is Daniel Rozenberg, the son of Grzegorz Rozenberg; meanwhile he is quite a famous artist with TV presentations and art exhibitions in different parts of Europe and in the US. EATCS can be very proud to have DADARA's contributions in its Bulletin.
Printing and Mailing
Bulletin readers might think that printing and mailing of the Bulletin is of minor interest to them since it deals only with organization and finances. But from the very beginning on this has been the major obstacle for the installation of the Bulletin. In a letter from January 17, 1975 M. Nivat wrote to EATCS council members with regard to Bulletin no. 1, which was to appear in December 1973: ,,The shipment of the first issue of the Bulletin to all the members who payed 100 belgian francs, which I asked my secretary in IRIA to make in October was impossible due to a major mail strike in France. This issue of the Bulletin is very obsolete". M. Nivat obviously meant October 1974; no. 1 presumely reached its readers only in 1975.
It was mainly because of lack of money that the series of Bulletins could not start till October 1977 when H. Maurer got ,,the support of the University of Karlsruhe and of the Institute für Angew. Inf. u. Form. Beschreibungsverfahren of that University" (see cover of Bulletin no. 3). This subsidy lasted only till H. Maurer left Karlsruhe and moved to Graz in 1978. Bulletin no. 6 got ,,the support of the Technical University of Graz and of the Research Centre Graz".
But because of high mailing costs from Austria to overseas members surface mail had to be used. D. Wood, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada offered his help, he even had the volumes of Bulletin no. 8 for the 45 North American members printed in Hamilton and distributed from there. Unfortunately this procedure could not be continued.
Bulletin no. 11 was the first issue for which more material had been sent to H. Maurer than he could include since for financial reasons the weight of a volume should not exceed 250g i.e. some 180 pages. But the problems became even greater; in no. 12 (October 1980) secretary Th. Ottmann reported that H. Maurer: ,,... explained that not the editing but the actual production has become a big problem for him. To print about 120.000 pages and to mail over 600 Bulletins three times a year consumes already more time of his staff than he can justify. Latest after one further year, another solution for producing the Bulletin must be found".
Therefore from no. 13 on printing and mailing of the Bulletin became an additional duty for the secretary. Consequently it was again the University of Karlsruhe which supported the Bulletin. In spite of this help by Th. Ottmann, H. Maurer was unable to continue the job as Bulletin editor and from October 1981 on the new Bulletin team consisted of: G. Rozenberg (editor), P. van Emde Boas (picture editor) and secretary Th. Ottmann (production and distribution).
Some problems had been solved, i.e. overseas members had to pay an extra fee to get the Bulletin by airmail but in general the financial shortage persisted. From 1983 on there was a little hope, because in October 1983 (no. 21) treasurer J. Paredaens announced: ,,Until now the only source of funds has been the membership fees, which are used exclusively for the Bulletin. In near future some other resources, e.g. publications, will be available". This was mainly due to G. Rozenberg. The excellent Bulletin team Rozenberg, van Emde Boas, Ottmann edited and managed the Bulletin during 5 years.
At the council meeting at ICALP'86 in Rennes B. Monien from Paderborn, West Germany was approved as secretary and consequently from no. 31 (February 1987) on the Bulletin was produced in and mailed from Paderborn. B. Monien and his staff members, in particular Walter Unger at the University of Paderborn were more and more confronted with the growth of the Bulletins, the volumes became fatter and fatter and heavier: from 298 pages (no. 31) to 323 pages (no. 34), 423 pages (no. 38) to 536 pages (no. 40); since then the number of pages varied between about 400 and 565 (no. 50), i.e. between 550g and 770g. In 1989 the team changed, M. Kudlek, Hamburg, Germany succeeded P. van Emde Boas.
At the council meeting at ICALP'95 in Szeged secretary B. Monien resigned and B. Rovan, from Bratislava, Slovakia became his follower. The team: Rozenberg, van Emde Boas / M. Kudlek, Monien had published 27 issues of the Bulletin. During nine years the university of Paderborn, B. Monien, W. Unger and several other people in Paderborn had strongly supported the production and distribution of the Bulletin.
Bulletin no. 58 was the first produced in Bratislava; there not only the printing but also the mailing costs are fortunately a little less than in Germany. The actual Bulletin team: Rozenberg, Kudlek, Rovan will hopefully act at least as long as the previous did for the benefit of the EATCS Bulletin.
Using the Bulletin
It is worthwhile to contribute to the Bulletin - at each ICALP the contributers to the last three issues are awarded with a little present by G. Rozenberg; this dates back to ICALP'84 in Antwerp.
It is worthwhile to bring your own June issue of the Bulletin to the General Assembly at ICALP to get a nice prize from G. Rozenberg.
It is worthwhile to read old Bulletins again! Looking on the Bulletin fotos it is a real surprise to realize how much or how less some persons have changed during the last 20 years.
There are a few Bulletins which contain texts which do not exactly meet the scope of the Bulletin but instead give a more private flavour and therefore should not be forgotten: one is the Bulletin no. 15 where on pages 7 and 8 a letter from J. W. Thatcher, IBM Research Center, Yorktown Heights is printed who after having met Ivan M. Havel in Prague in 1981 gives a very touching report on the situation of Havel and his family as
consequence of their connection with the Charter 77 movement. And also in no. 15, pp. 8-21 A. Salomaa explained in a purely scientific manner ,,What computer scientists should know about Sauna" a reprint can be found in no. 35, pp. 15-26. Bulletin no. 20 is remarkable for a contribution in French ,,Vive ICALP!" by M. Nivat - it has been the last non-English text. The translation into English which is given together with Nivats text caused some problems; the translator team consisted of a native Dutch, Polish and American. Finally the no. 50 has to be mentioned as the thickest Bulletin up to now (565 pages), containing a history of the EATCS Bulletin series demonstrated by clippings by Lila Kari and Arto Salomaa.
Surely each Bulletin reader will find her or his favoured volumes but whatever volume is chosen, very likely it will be due to Grzegorz Rozenberg. You read right now the 48th Rozenberg-Bulletin. He very much improved and determined the character of the Bulletin, moreover he is the heart of the Bulletin series - let us hope that his heart will continue to beat for the EATCS Bulletin.
For the Future
To complete our personal view on the history of EATCS, an appreciation of ICALP, the best known activity of EATCS, should be indispensable. However, next year EATCS will celebrate its 25th ICALP in Aalborg, Denmark and this merits an extra and a special report which will be given by the ICALP expert, M. Kudlek; he is the only person in the world who had been to all ICALPs, therefore who else could do this job better than he!
For those who think that one year is much too long to wait for the ICALP history, please look into Bulletin no. 52, pp. 32-134 (February 1994) where detailed informations and statistics have already been given by M. Kudlek.
EATCS has reached its goal to be a leading society for theoretical computer science. During the past 25 years EATCS was a valuable, comfortable and well-esteemed scientific home for theoreticians. Let us hope that also in the future scientists shall be willing to do - on a honorary base - hard and continuous work for EATCS. EATCS - that is its members and their activities.
Congratulations to EATCS and all the best for the coming 25 years.
Technische Universität München