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ERCIM Working Group on Constraints


ERCIM Working Group on Constraints

Krzysztof R. Apt

To cite from the ERCIM News:

"The European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) is an organisation dedicated to the advancement of European research and development, in the areas of information technology and applied mathematics."

Within ERCIM there are currently 12 Working Groups. 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 and attracted some 40 researchers.The invited speaker was Rina Dechter from the University of Irvine who gave a talk entitled "Bucket elimination: a unifying framework for processing hard and soft constraints".

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.

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 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.

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 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: http://www.cwi.nl/projects/ercim-wg.html

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