CFD: European Conferences on Programming Research (Paul Klint)
Tue, 20 Apr 1993 13:27:38 GMT

          From comp.compilers

Related articles
CFD: European Conferences on Programming Research (1993-04-20)
| List of all articles for this month |

Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: (Paul Klint)
Followup-To: poster
Keywords: conference, question
Organization: CWI, Amsterdam
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1993 13:27:38 GMT


Should we restructure the European

Conferences in

Programming Research?

Paul Klint (

Spring 1993


                Among some European researchers in the areas of programming
          languages, semantics and programming the concern is growing that this
          field is not adequately represented in a major, high quality, conference
          in Europe. The many conferences being organized in this and related
          fields (like, e.g., PLIP, ESOP, CC, PARLE, TAPSOFT) are competing
          with each other in a too small market and therefore they have a hard
          job in building up sufficient critical mass to become competitive with
          the big conferences in the USA.
                Can we join efforts and change this situation? In this note I pro-
          pose to create a European organization (tentatively called EAPLS ---
          European Association for Programming Languages and Systems --- pat-
          terned after the EATCS) that aims at creating a platform of researchers
          that can restructure the European conferences in the desired direction.
                This note explains this idea in more detail and invites you to par-
          ticipate in a debate on this matter.

The concern about the future direction of the ``Programming Languages
and Systems'' area has been expressed in several programme committees of
European conferences in this field. As far as I can reconstruct history, the
following people were involved in these discussions: Harald Ganzinger Chris
Hankin, Berthold Hoffman, Neil Jones, Uwe Kastens, Peter D. Mosses, Alan
Mycroft, and Reinhard Wilhelm. It was the latter who contributed the analysis
in the next section and suggested me to take the initiative to come to an
European organization in this field.

The situation concerning European conferences in the areas of Program-
ming Languages, Semantics, and Programming is not satisfactory. Different
groups of scientists have established conference and workshop series which
compete for a too small market. From these only ICALP has a (more or
less) permanent carrier, i.e. the EATCS. The others were established by ES-
PRIT projects or Basic Research Actions, groups in or among the national
computer science organizations, or just groups of cooperating individuals.
      ICALP (International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Pro-
gramming) is the most established series; however, in the course of time it
has suffered several turns of focus. The last conferences were dominated by
papers on algorithms and complexity; few papers had to do with automata,
some with semantics of programming languages, and none with program-
      ESOP (European Symposium on Programming) has been established in
1985 and been organized 1986 (Saarbruecken), 1988 (Nancy), 1990 (Copen-
hagen), and 1992 (Rennes). It has its strong areas in semantics, types, and
functional programming.
      PLILP (Programming Language Implementation and Logic Program-
ming) It has been organized in 1988 (Orleans), 1990 (Linkoeping), Passau
(1991) and Leuven (1992). The strive for a palindromic name has caused a
bias towards logic programming mixed with a certain amount of implemen-
tation matters.
      CC (Compiler Construction) is the continuation of a workshop series
in the former German Democratic Republic. Its 1992 instance is run in
Paderborn. It is completely devoted to language implementation.
      PARLE (Parallel Architectures and Languages Europe) is organized in
Eindhoven by Philips. It takes place in odd years since 1987. As the name
states, it covers the combination of parallel languages and architectures.
      TAPSOFT (Theory and Practice of Software ...)
      ALP (Algebraic and Logic Programming)
      The competition of too many conferences for a rather small supply of
scientific results has prevented any of the series to really reach a high in-
ternational standing. Frankly stated, ESOP never really makes it to the
POPL level, PLILP never to the level of ICLP, CC never to that of ACM
      This is made even worse, when two of the conferences fix their deadline
to the same day, e.g. March 1, 1992 for CC'92 and PLILP'92.

We could remedy the situation sketched above by creating a scientific orga-
nization similar to EATCS that takes the responsibility to restructure the
current situation and work in the direction of a major, high quality confer-
ence. The Profile of such an organization is sketched in the next section.
      Of course, this change cannot be achieved by force but only by persua-
sion. Ideally, we start with synchronizing the dates and places of some of the
conferences. And indeed, the program committees of ESOP, CC and CAAP
have already agreed with such a synchronization and have their conferences
in the same week in Edinburgh in 1994.
      Each conference can then keep its own identity but profit from the pres-
ence of the other ones (number of attendents, increased possibilities to get
funding and sponsoring, discounts on facilities, resources available for com-
mon events, etc.) Later on, when it turns out that this synchronization is
beneficial we may transform this set of cooperating conferences into a single
conference with separate sections.
      I propose the following plan of action to investigate whether there is
enough support for this line of development.

      o April-May 1993: Discussion (by E-mail) of this document among

      o June 1993: If, the outcome of the discussion is positive: make final
            proposal for EAPLS, and request for final comments.

      o July-August 1993: Official creation of EAPLS, establish board and
            scientific council.

      o Act as an international professional non-profit organization represent-
          ing the interests of its members.

      o Promote research and education in the area of ``Programming'' here
          understood as the design, specification and implementation of pro-
          gramming languages and systems.

      o Promote the exchange of ideas and results in the area of Programming.

      o Organize an annual international conference on Programming Lan-
          guages and Systems and publish the proceedings.

      o Organize and sponsor summer schools.

      o Sponsor specialist workshops and national meetings.

      o Sponsor scientific publications in the field.

      o Cooperate with related scientific and national societies and institu-

      o Researchers.

      o Students.

      o A small board consisting of a president, vice-president, treasurer and

      o A larger scientific council with members from the European countries.

Of course, you may want to react directly to the text of this document itself.
In addition, here is a list of explicit questions:

    1. Do you agree/disagree with the observations in Section 2 concerning
          the current situation of European conferences in the field of Program-

    2. Do you support/oppose the idea of creating an organization like EAPLS
          as sketched in Section 4?

    3. Do you have additional suggestions for the aims, actions, members, or
          organization of EAPLS?

Alan Mycroft has arranged for EAPLS to be set up as a 'mailbase'. A
mailbase is a database for mail-directed communication and, inter alia,
manages membership, message archival etc.

I invite you all to join EAPLS by sending a one-line message of the form
            join eapls <firstname> <lastname>

to the e-mail address
(the 'subject' field is ignored).

On joining you will receive, by e-mail, documentation on use of mailbase
(including how to remove yourself from the list and to investigate other

>>>>>>After joining<<<<<< you can communicate with all other members by
mailing to and communicate with its adminstator
by mailing to

And last, but not least

      o forward copies of this note to colleagues of yours that might be inter-

      o send us details about workshops and conferences you plan to organize
          so that we can produce an overview of planned activities.

Post a followup to this message

Return to the comp.compilers page.
Search the comp.compilers archives again.