SIGSAM Annual Report

July 2001 - June 2002
Submitted by: Robert M. Corless, Chair


The SIGSAM fund balance as of 30 June 2002 is 33,888.96 USD. This is a drop from the previous year.

SIGSAM Bulletin: Communications in Computer Algebra

During the past year, we published two 40-page issues and two 32-page issues of the Bulletin. David Jeffrey continues to serve as Editor. Mark Giesbrecht, the "web editor" of the Bulletin, has kept pace with David, making all issues available on the Bulletin website.

ISSAC Conferences

ISSAC 2001 (London, Canada -- Erich Kaltofen, Chair) has been closed. We had 186 registered participants, including 60 student registrations.

ISSAC 2002 (Lille, France -- Marc Giusti, Chair) has successfully concluded. We had 141 registered participants, with 29 student registrations. It appears that SIGSAM may lose a significant amount this year, however the books have not yet been closed.

ISSAC 2003 will be held in Philadelphia (USA). The General Chair is Hoon Hong.

The University of Cantabria (Santander, Spain) has been chosen as the site for ISSAC 2004.

Executive Committee Activity

The officers of SIGSAM are now in the second year of their second term of office. Elections will be held in 2003 for new officers.

The SIGSAM Executive Committee (EC) completed several initiatives this year. Funds left over from SIGNUM following its dissolution have been allocated to support prizes to be awarded at ISSAC. The EC developed prize guidelines, in consultation with the ISSAC Steering Committee, and established the ISSAC Distinguished Paper Award and ISSAC Distinguished Student Author Award. A Student Author award was presented at ISSAC 2002, but the awards were not established in time to choose and process the paper awards. We hope to rectify this at ISSAC 2003.

The EC established the SIGSAM-Members mailing list and sent out the first "News and Announcements" issue. This will provide an excellent way to reach members with timely information about events and notification when the current issue of the Bulletin is published online. SIGSAM offered to host a new mailing list, the Open Source Computer Algebra Systems (OSCAS) list, which has drawn vigorous discussion and debate regarding open source computer algebra systems.

The EC developed and released a policy statement encouraging the use of formal bibliographic citations to computer algebra systems in journal articles. Work continues to establish a collection of such bibliographic citations on the SIGSAM website.

The SIGSAM Executive Committee (EC) received the report of the Reallocation Response Committee. This committee, composed of Stephen Watt, Dave Saunders (SIGSAM Treasurer), and Chris Brown, considered the impact of the increased SIG services fee allocation imposed on all SIGs. The minimum allocation (assessment) was raised from 8000 USD to 15000 USD, nearly doubling the amount SIGSAM is required to pay per year. The committee considered other possible options for SIGSAM, such as downgrading our status from a full-service SIG to a lesser status (with a lower assessment) or changing our institutional affiliation. The committee recommended that SIGSAM continue its current status. The EC accepted the recommendation. We determined to increase our efforts to keep SIGSAM financially healthy and estimated that if SIGSAM could increase membership to approximately 700, that SIGSAM would remain viable. Without an increase in membership or dues, SIGSAM will face dwindling finances.

On a more personal note, as the Chair of SIGSAM, I serve on the ACM SIG Governing Board (SGB), the body consisting of all SIG Chairs that sets policy for and controls the finances of all SIGs. I was elected by the members of SGB to serve on their Executive Committee. I consider this an honor and appreciate the opportunity to serve in this position, which should indirectly benefit SIGSAM. My term on the SGB EC coincides with my term as SIGSAM Chair.

Membership initiatives

Offering SIGSAM membership as a benefit to ISSAC attendees who paid the non-member registration rate, what we term a "conference-paid membership", has reversed the decline in our membership. This has been a standard practice among other SIGs, but only with ISSAC 2001 was SIGSAM able to establish this practice, which we continued with ISSAC 2002. In addition, we have begun to offer a limited number of complimentary memberships to researchers who do symbolic and algebraic computation but who do not regularly attend ISSAC. We hope that many of these new members will renew their membership, leading to a permanent increase.