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Editor's Introduction

Veikko Keränen, Guest Editor
Principal Lecturer, Rovaniemi Polytechnic, Rovaniemi, Finland

It is a delight for me to see this IMS '99 special issue of The Mathematica Journal in preparation just before the next International Mathematica Symposium takes place at the Chiba Campus of Tokyo Denki University, Japan, June 25-27, 2001. My warmest thanks go to Joe Grohens and Flip Phillips for assembling the present issue.

IMS '99 took place at the Research Institute for Symbolic Computation, Hagenberg, Austria, August 23-25, 1999, under the leadership of Bruno Buchberger whose keynote talk is now being published (in synopsis) for the first time. The participants for IMS '99 came from five continents, and this fact makes IMS a truly international event.

In contrast to the previous symposia, we placed the full IMS '99 proceedings on the web at south.rotol.ramk.fi/~keranen/IMS99. Indeed, the electronic format is very convenient for interactive material and has no size limitations. Even so, this issue of The Mathematica Journal definitely enables a wider distribution and awareness of the work for IMS '99.

I would like to conclude with a short history of the IMS, its sister organization, International Arctic Seminars (IAS), and look a bit ahead into the future. In my mind, the beginning of the International Mathematica Symposia dates back to 1992 when Wolfram Research organized Mathematica Days in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Among the participants were Peter Mitic, Gautam Dasgupta, Pertti Näykki, Klaus Sutner, and Robert Kragler. Although most of us met for the first time and came from quite different walks of life, it was clear that we shared the same enthusiasm for algorithmic mathematics. Through a very spontaneous and natural process, we started to organize hands-on training, first in Rovaniemi, then in Murmansk, and later in many other places. A part of these events can be found on the web site south.rotol.ramk.fi/IMS_IAS_Events.html.

It was at the end of 1993 when Peter Mitic introduced the idea of a series of symposia devoted to applications of Mathematica in the various fields of education, research, and art. The name, International Mathematica Symposium, was then suggested by Stephen Wolfram at the 1994 Mathematica Developer Conference (Champaign, Illinois, USA), when the first announcement was made for IMS '95 to be held in Southampton, England. In Southampton we really could sense the atmosphere of a Mathematica family. Thus, IMS had been successful in providing a forum for people from different fields to interact.

More and more people were joining in the process of organizing the symposia. In 1996, the IAS started its work at Murmansk State Pedagogical Institute in Murmansk, Russia, in collaboration with Murmansk State Technical University. Nowadays, Robert Kragler is the chair of these IAS events.

At IAS '97 in Murmansk, we met Ronald Rusay, whose paper, jointly authored with Erik Jensen, now appears in this issue of The Mathematica Journal. Just after returning from IAS '97 to Rovaniemi, Finland, together with Gautam Dasgupta and Klaus Sutner, we started IMS '97 in Rovaniemi, where Antero Hietamäki, Peter Mitic, and many others had been making last-minute preparations for the event. IMS '97 contained a separate two-day event for high schoolers in addition to pre- and post-conference tutorials and workshops on advanced theoretical topics. More on the history of IMS '99 is covered in this issue.

We look forward to IMS 2001, which will take place very soon at Tokyo Denki University, Japan, under the leadership of Yoshihiko Tazawa. I'm sure that it will be an exciting and enjoyable event.

Regarding the future, I would like to mention the active role of Phil Ramsden, Imperial College, UK, and Christian Jacob, University of Calgary, Canada, in the process of organizing the forthcoming IMS events.

There are still a great many more people, too numerous to be mentioned here, who have really been invaluable to the development of IMS. They come from inside and outside of Wolfram Research--and even outside the lists of participants. I wish to thank them all and extend the thanks to Wolfram Research who has provided substantial resources to support, for instance, a number of keynote speakers and tutors for IMS events.

Finally, I gratefully acknowledge the recent support of the Borealis Software Engineering Programme as well as the long-standing support of the School of Technology at the Rovaniemi Polytechnic for promoting the IMS.


Copyright © 2001 Wolfram Media, Inc. All rights reserved.