SIGSAM Annual Report

July 2000 - June 2001
Submitted by: Robert M. Corless, Chair


The finances of SIGSAM are much the same as previous years. We continue to have a healthy fund balance, over $50,000 USD.

SIGSAM Bulletin

The Bulletin has been two issues in arrears; it was caught up just in time to prevent automatic transition under the new rules. The editor-in-chief, Mark Giesbrecht, has stepped down, and David Jeffrey ( has been appointed in his place. Mark will continue on as "web editor", as he has just succeeded in designing an electronic version of the Bulletin (hosted on The quality of the material in the Bulletin is of a high standard, and is of great value to the community (even archival value). The addition of the section "Formally Reviewed Articles" (edited by David Jeffrey for these past five years) is extremely successful and has received many favourable comments.

ISSAC Conferences

ISSAC 2000 (St. Andrews, Scotland---Tomas Recio, Chair) has been successfully closed (at last) and has resulted in a small surplus of about 500 pounds (UK) to be put towards future tutorials (perhaps even the tutorials this year) and an actual return to SIGSAM of about $2000 USD.

ISSAC 2001 (London, Canada---Erich Kaltofen, Chair) has just successfully concluded. We had 186 registered participants, including 60 student registrations. Since student registrations get complimentary SIGSAM memberships (this was approved beforehand), we have just acquired 60 new members, bringing our total to about 380. ISSAC proceedings continue to be distributed to SIGSAM members.

ISSAC 2002 (Lille, France---Marc Giusti, Chair) is behind schedule. The ISSAC Steering committee (the independent ruling body of this conference, on which Wolfgang Kuechlin, Vice-Chair for SIGSAM, serves because I resigned in his favour as the SIGSAM member last year) reports some delay in setting up the Program Committee. The General Chair, Marc Giusti, has not yet applied for ACM sponsorship. It is anticipated that these events will occur in the next month, and not later than September.

The site for ISSAC 2003 has been chosen according to the bylaws. It will be held in Philadelphia. The Steering Committee is to choose the general chair.

Executive Committee Activity

Attendance of SIGSAM representatives at SGB meetings has been better this year than recently. I expect that this will continue. The EC for SIGSAM elected to extend their terms of office this year. This means that the current slate (myself as Chair, Wolfgang Kuechlin as Vice-Chair, David Saunders as Treasurer, Emil Volcheck as Secretary) will continue till June 30, 2003. The feedback from the membership about this extension was acquiescence and understanding that this was appropriate because we had all been new when elected two years ago.

The EC for SIGSAM has encouraged a number of initiatives, including fostering an electronic version of the Bulletin, creation of moderated mailing lists for special topics in symbolic computation, work on the Portal, appointment of Paul Wang as Director of Electronic Services in the interests of using MathML for the Bulletin and potentially other ACM publications, and creation of citation standards for computer algebra software systems.

The SIGNUM legacy endowment award has yet to be set up. This is high priority.

The SIGSAM EC has appointed Stephen Watt, Dave Saunders, and Chris Brown as the Reallocation Response Committee as of July 22, 2001. Their mandate is to assess the options of SIGSAM in the wake of the new allocation formula for ACM, under which the fee for ACM services (i.e. the allocation) has been increased to $15,000 per year. This represents a significant change in the way that we do business within ACM, and forces us to reassess the benefits and costs of what we do. The committee is to report to the SIGSAM EC by mid-November. At that point, the EC will decide what action to take.

Membership initiatives

As with all ACM SIGS, our membership continues to decline (though I understand more slowly than the average). We will undertake some new things to try to slow it further. First, computer algebra groups throughout the world will be given two complimentary student memberships each, each year. These are to be awarded to their best undergraduates or masters' students (or equivalent) on completion of their degrees. Some of these students will pick up the cost of their memberships thereafter. Second, complimentary memberships will be given to speakers at appropriate sessions of large mathematics and computer science meetings; again, some of these people can be expected to pick up their membership later. Finally, it has been planned since 1998 that we recognize people who pay the non-ACM non-SIGSAM fees at ISSAC conferences as SIGSAM members for the next year. This has received positive feedback from the community, but because we did not actually do it in these past years, they are beginning to lose patience. This simply must occur this year, and I will be tracking this initiative personally.