Last Sunday night I came back to Iceland after a thoroughly enjoyable stay in Bologna for CONCUR 2009, SOS 2009 and the 16th EXPRESS workshop. This was a welcome opportunity to see many friends and colleagues, letting alone visiting my home country and a pretty city like Bologna.
I hope to find some time to report on the conference, not least to pay tribute to the great work done by the local organizers and their team (with special thanks to Christian, Cinzia, Ferdinanda, Jacopo and Jorge). With the start of the teaching period approaching fast and a pile of chores to catch up on, here I'll just limit myself to mentioning a piece of news that I learned at the conference while discussing with Krishnendu Chatterjee. From 1 September, Tom Henzinger is the first President of the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria in Klosterbeuburg. You can read the official press release here.
The aim of the institute, which is richly funded by the Austrian government, is "to become a world-class research center offering, by 2016, an international, state-of-the-art environment for approx. 500 scientists and doctoral students." This commitment to excellence and to basic research is witnessed already by the first few hires IST has made and things can only improve under Tom's presidentship.
I wish Tom and IST the best of luck. It is great to see Austria invest on basic research with the creation of such an institute, which is already bringing to Europe top-class scientists like Herbert Edelsbrunner (the only computer scientist to have won the National Science Foundation's Alan T. Waterman Award) and researchers of exceptional promise like Krishnendu. Moreover, it is really awesome to see one of us be chosen as the leader of such an institute.
In Bologna I also guessed correctly that Tom is the scientist with the largest number of papers during the first 20 years of CONCUR (21 papers overall). I have every reason to believe that Tom Henzinger will continue to contribute to research in concurrency theory even as president of IST.