Editorial, September 2012

Dear LPers,

after a week of shiny and busy days, the night descended on Budapest, ending our favourite meeting.

It’s the time of reports, we have many in this issue (ICLP, Programming Contest, WLPE, Doctoral Consortium, ACP School, KR, Warren Symposium). But it is also the time of starting a new season for writing together the future of Logic Programming. Before doing that, have a look to the special Test of the time awards assigned at the last ICLP (again, report in this issue). The winners of the award for ICLP 2002 kindly wrote a survey of that work for us in this issue: they are Francois Bry and Sebastian Schaffert. But this is still Turing’s celebration year and we have a contribution by Luis Moniz Pereira on that.

The ALP general meeting during the ICLP conference went beyond the “usual business”; it became an opportunity for the Executive Committee to engage the broad community in the discussion of the publication process for the ICLP proceedings. Let us recollect the recent developments on this matter. In 2010, the Executive Committee approved a change that moved the publication of the ICLP proceedings away from Springer Verlag; the motivation for this move related to the limited visibility that publications in this venue receive, especially at the level of national competitions (e.g., promotions, grants). The shift reorganized the accepted papers in two categories – a group of papers accepted for direct publication in the Theory and Practice of Logic Programming journal, and a second group of papers (so called “technical communications”) to appear in the LIPIcs series.

While the community agreed on the “theoretical” validity of this model, a number of concerns were raised due to its practical implementation. TPLP provides a fixed number of pages for the publication of ICLP papers, which imposes an artificial constraint on the number of papers that can be accepted – in particular, a constraint that is not necessarily linked to the quality of the submissions. For example, in the 2012 edition of the conference, the program chairs had to settle on 20 accepted papers, while several committee members felt that this number could have been higher. This also raises some confusion about the distinction between journal and conference papers. Moreover, preparing the paper for the LIPIcs format deserves a lot of work, it is not often accepted as “real” publication, and, moreover, it can happen that this makes a further publication more difficult (reviewers ask: what are the differences wrt your LIPIcs paper?). The bottom line is that papers that would in the past qualify as ICLP publications are now relegated to this “lower” role of technical communications – and this is not a satisfactory situation.

On the other hand, the fast journal publication formula can be an advantage for logic programmers, enabling the rapid dissemination of results that become immediately well-recognized by the wider community (outside of LP). And the LIPIcs publication is better than nothing and can be sufficient to justify the participation to our offices (some administrations do not allow to go to a conference if you don’t have a presentation there).  After the meeting with Cambridge University Press in which these issues were summarized things will change a bit. As usual, a compromise has been found, also thanks to the courtesy of Ilkka Niemela and David Tranah. Let us wait for the ICLP 2013 CFP for reading precisely the new rules.

We, as usual, leave the comments open for adding some material on this point. Due to spam (believe us,  it is really bad…), any comments need to be approved by us (and we promise that any comment submitted will be approved, as long as it does not talk about sex gadgets and inheritances from a lost african king), so there might be a small delay between submission and publication of the comments.

Switching gears – September also featured a nice symposium in Stony Brook, which brought together many current and old logic programmers; the event was an opportunity for the LP community to say ‘THANK YOU’ to David S. Warren, who is officially retiring from SUNY Stony Brook. The symposium featured great talks and many many funny and touching recollections from David’s life and career (the slideshow organized by David’s son was priceless!).

‘Till the next time.

Agostino and Enrico