Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Quick reflections on ICALP 2011 (track B): French TCS is alive and well

This is the first in what I hope will be a series of posts devoted to some reflections on ICALP 2011 track B. The executive summary is that, for what it is worth, I believe that French TCS is alive and well (at least as far as volume B TCS is concerned).

France was the country with the largest number of track B authors (42), the largest number of submitted papers (21.79) and the largest number of accepted papers (7). Easychair statistics aside, France is home to some research groups in TCS that have amazing strength in depth and breadth. To wit, consider the following three exhibits, with apologies to those that I am unable to mention explicitly here.
  • Paris Diderot (aka Paris 7). This university is home to LIAFA and PPS, two large research laboratories hosting an enormous wealth of talent. (In passing, let me mention that PPS is a kind of little Italy, with six Italians holding permanent positions.)
  • LSV at ENS Cachan.  The Laboratoire Spécification et Vérification (LSV) is the Computer Science laboratory of ENS de Cachan, and was founded in 1997. I had the pleasure of spending a month there in May 1998 as a visiting professor, but the LSV of today hosts a much larger team of researchers than it did then. The list of members is impressive. When Hubert Comon received a CNRS silver medal in 2008, he said that "I think that this is the best environment in the world to carry out research in computer science, thanks to a unique way of working and to a great scientific homogeneity." (See here, page 34, for the French original.) Of course, one can always debate this kind of statements, but it is hard to question the strength and focus of that group of academics. 
  • LaBRI in Bordeaux. This is home to figures such as Bruno Courcelle, Anca Muscholl, Géraud Sénizergues, Igor Walukiewicz  and Pascal Weil, who are all members of the Formal Methods Group, which currently has 55 members.
It seems to me that these research centres are just the tip of a strong research iceberg in TCS. May they continue this way. 


    Anonymous said...

    how do we know the number of submissions?

    Mikkel said...

    Luca was the PC chair for track B this year.

    Anonymous said...

    Hubert Comon received the silver medal, not the bronze medal.

    Luca Aceto said...

    Thanks for the correction. I knew that it was a silver medal, but for some reason I wrote "bronze". Perhaps I was thinking of Patricia Bouyer's bronze medal.

    Anca Muscholl also received a CNRS silver medal in 2010.

    This is all good publicity and recognition for TCS.