Saturday, April 19, 2014

ACM SIGLOG chartered

After a journey of many years, ACM SIGLOG is now officially chartered and will play an important role in spreading the gospel of the intimate connections between logic and computation and in their further developments.  Congratulations to all the people who worked very hard over the last seven years to make this happen!

Prakash Panangaden is the first SIGLOG  chair and together with his team is working on getting the web site up and running and the SIGLOG Newsletter in shape for the first issue. 

As a member of the research community and as current president of the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science, I wish SIGLOG the best of luck and look forward to a fruitful cooperation between the EATCS and SIGLOG. 

For the moment I would like to encourage my readers to join SIGLOG officially.

The link is:

One can join SIGLOG without joining the ACM.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Accepted papers for ICALP 2014

The list of accepted papers for ICALP 2014 is now available here. The PC chairs told me that the quality of the submissions was very good and the scientific programme for the conference looks mouth-watering. Apart from the contributed papers and the excellent invited speakers, there will also be three award presentations. The conference dinner also promises to be a cultural highlight and the Copenhagen Jazz Festival will be in full swing.

There is going to be a lot going on in Copenhagen for TCS buffs this summer, which makes it one of the two places to be. (The other is Vienna.) 

I hope to see many of you at what will be a memorable ICALP. Thanks to Thore Husfeldt and his team for all the sterling work they are doing!

Monday, April 14, 2014

First EATCS Young Researcher School on Automata, Logic and Games

In the year 2013, the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science (EATCS) established a series of Young Researcher Schools on TCS topics. The first such school is devoted Automata, Logic and Games, and it will be held in Telc, Czech Republic, from July 27 to August 1, 2014.
The programme consists of five Basic Tutorials (four hours each) devoted to fundamental subjects, and eight Advanced Lectures (2 hours each) focussed on recent results and specific topics.

Basic Tutorials

- Probabilistic Model-Checking
  Christel Baier (Dresden)

- Logic and Databases
  Phokion G. Kolaitis (Santa Cruz)

- Games and Synthesis
  Nir Piterman (Leicester)

- Logic and Automata
  Wolfgang Thomas (Aachen)

- Timed Automata
  Wang Yi (Uppsala)

Advanced Lectures

- The Unbounding Quantifier
  Mikolaj Bojanczyk (Warsaw)

- Robustness in Timed Systems
  Patricia Bouyer-Decitre (Cachan)

- A Logic-Based Approach to Cloud Computing
  Jan Van den Bussche (Hasselt)

- Regular Automata and Monadic Theory
  Didier Caucal (Paris)

- Stochastic model checking - A continuous time perspective
  Holger Hermanns (Saarbruecken)

- Synthesis of Recursive Programs
  Martin Lange (Kassel)

- Infinite-State Probabilistic Systems
  Richard Mayr (Edinburgh)

- Prophetic Automata
  Thomas Wilke (Kiel)
See  for further details.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Adam W. Marcus, Daniel A. Spielman and Nikhil Srivastava to receive the Pólya Prize 2014

According to the web site for the prize, Adam W. Marcus, Daniel A. Spielman and Nikhil Srivastava will receive the Pólya Prize 2014.

The George Pólya Prize, established in 1969, is given every two years, alternately in two categories: (1) for a notable application of combinatorial theory; (2) for a notable contribution in another area of interest to George Pólya such as approximation theory, complex analysis, number theory, orthogonal polynomials, probability theory, or mathematical discovery and learning.

There does not seem to be a press release on the SIAM web site, but this should not prevent us from congratulating Adam, Dan and Nikhil for receiving this award. Congrats!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Contemplate Ltd

These are days in which one of the outcomes of the work academics do, and one of the measures of its impact, is commercial exploitation of research and development carried out within the four walls of the "Ivory Tower". Universities the world over have different approaches towards commercial exploitation of research funding and IP rights and mine is no exception, apart from being a bit late in this game.

A discussion of IP policy issues might be the topic for a future post. Here I will just limit myself to pointing out an excellent example of a spin-off company from the University of Edinburgh, Contemplate Ltd, whose CTO and founder is Don Sannella. (Disclaimer: I have absolutely no connection with Contemplate myself!)

Contemplate was founded to commercialise research on static analysis done at the University of Edinburgh. Its product, ThreadSafe, pinpoints and helps to diagnose the most common and pernicious Java concurrency bugs. Concurrency is essential for high performance and low latency, but concurrent programming is hard to do right and therefore the use of automatic analysis tools should play an important role in the development of parallel software.

ThreadSafe is available as an easy-to-use Eclipse plug-in, which relates bug reports directly to the source code, and also as a SonarQube plugin (for team working). Also, by the end of March, as a command-line tool which generates an HTML report (for use with build tools).

This InfoQ article shows ThreadSafe in action finding concurrency errors in open source applications including Apache JMeter and K9Mail that are not caught by any other Java static analysis tool. 

Free two-week trials are available from Moreover, I understand that the tool will soon be offered with monthly and annual subscriptions.

If you develop concurrent software with Java, I encourage you to try the tool.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

EATCS-IPEC Nerode Prize 2014

The EATCS and IPEC are proud to announce that the Nerode Prize 2014 for outstanding papers in the area of multivariate algorithmics will be awarded to the following two papers:
  • "On problems without polynomial kernels", Hans L. Bodlaender, Rodney G. Downey, Michael R. Fellows, Danny Hermelin, Journal of Computer and System Sciences, 2009 and
  • "Infeasibility of instance compression and succinct PCPs for NP", Lance Fortnow, Rahul Santhanam, Journal of Computer and System Sciences, 2011.
Congratulations to all the award recipients!
The presentation of the prize will take place at IPEC 2014, which this year will be organized as part of ALGO 2014 (Wroclaw, Poland, 10-12 September 2014).

The Prize is named in honour of Anil Nerode, in recognition of his major contributions to mathematical logic, theory of automata, computability and complexity theory.

The Nerode Prize 2014 Committee consists of Georg Gottlob (University of Oxford, UK), Jan Arne Telle (University of Bergen, Norway), and Peter Widmayer (ETH Zurich, Switzerland; chair).

Thursday, March 13, 2014

ACM TALG Editor-in-Chief Search: Call for Nominations

Anne Condon asked me to distribute this call. Do consider nominating colleagues for this prestigious position.

Nominations are now open for the next editor-in-chief of the ACM Transactions on Algorithms. ACM TALG (web page: publishes original research of the highest quality dealing with algorithms. It is a peer-reviewed journal, appearing quarterly. Specific areas of computation covered by the journal are listed at

We are looking for a well-established person with a strong record of research achievements and service, and with a vision for the future of the field. The term of appointment is three years, to begin late summer 2014, with the possibility of  renewal for a second term. The editor-in-chief is responsible for faithfully executing the editorial charter of the journal yet should be proactive in
adapting the journal and its charter to changes in the field. A description of the duties of the EiC and evaluation criteria can be found at h ttp://

Professor Valerie King of the University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada is Chair of the Search Committee. All nominees, including self-nominees, should send a CV and a Vision Statement for TALG (at least one page), with subject header “EiC nomination” to:

The deadline for nominations is Friday, May 16, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. (PST).