SIGSAM Viability Review

SIG Governing Board
March 19, 2005
By Emil Volcheck, SIGSAM Chair

SIGSAM respectfully requests that the SIG Governing Board renew our status for an additional four years. Here is an overview of our financial situation, membership, volunteer development, conference activities, member benefits, as well as some noteworthy activities.


Our projected FY 2006 budget shows SIGSAM finances holding steady, finishing FY 2005 and FY 2006 with about a 6800 USD fund balance.

In order to better account for funds returned from the ISSAC conference that we sponsor, SIGSAM has set up a conference reserve or contingency fund. We will retain half of every conference surplus returned (after overhead). We presently set aside 2900 USD of our funds for conference contingency, which is half the ISSAC 2004 surplus.


SIGSAM has about 390 members, up from about 360 in June 2004. While the total number of members tends to fluctuate because we offer complimentary membership to ISSAC registrants, the number of Professional members is stable, hovering around 220 over the past four years.

Volunteer Development

Over the past year, about 25 individuals have volunteered their time for SIGSAM activities. We have five officers, including the Past Chair. We have two editors and one associate editor for SIGSAM's quarterly bulletin "Communications in Computer Algebra". We have an Information Director and a Citations Project Coordinator. We have an Advisory Board that includes five members-at-large (who do not hold other SIGSAM positions). We have two volunteers who worked on preparing the ISSAC 2004 CD. We had nine volunteers serve on two committees to nominate SIGSAM members for ACM awards.


SIGSAM sponsors the International Symposium on Symbolic and Algebraic Computation (ISSAC) nearly every year. In recent years, ISSAC has been well-attended and financially healthy. ISSAC 2003 at Drexel University in Philadelphia had 139 registered and returned a surplus of about 3800 USD. ISSAC 2004 at the University of Cantabria in Santander, Spain, had 165 registered and returned a surplus of 5800 USD. Submissions to ISSAC 2004 were significantly higher than in previous years, nearly double the 2003 level.

We have strong venues for upcoming ISSAC conferences. ISSAC 2005 will be hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. ISSAC 2006 will be hosted by the University of Genoa, Italy, and it is scheduled to take place shortly after the International Congress of Mathematicians in Madrid.

Member Benefits

SIGSAM's quarterly bulletin "Communications in Computer Algebra" (CCA) has been running late, but we are up-to-date on our issues. CCA publishes reviewed articles called "timely communications", formally reviewed articles, abstracts and posters from conferences, conference announcements, and news about SIGSAM. For the first time in 2004, a team of SIGSAM volunteers created a CD containing the ISSAC 2004 Proceedings as well as a selection of free computer algebra software. This CD was distributed at the conference and sent to all SIGSAM members.


Over the past year, SIGSAM has pursued a variety of interesting projects. We are trying to promote ACM awards for our members. For the first time, SIGSAM nominated a member for ACM Fellow, and as a result of our nomination, Prof. George Collins was named an ACM Fellow. We have awarded ISSAC prizes for Distinguished Papers and Distinguished Student Authors for the third year in a row. We are seeking approval to name an ACM SIGSAM prize after a distinguished member of our community, Richard Jenks, who is known as the architect of the Axiom computer algebra system. An endowment of about 20,000 USD has been offered to fund this award.

We have begun a project with the American Mathematical Society's "Mathematical Reviews" (MR) to regularly include SIGSAM publications, especially ISSAC Proceedings, in the MR database. We are also trying to arrange to supply the MR with metadata directly, which could eventually expedite the inclusion of metadata from other ACM publications. SIGSAM has created a webpage with a citation index for over 25 computer algebra systems that provides easy access to bibliographic citations for these systems. For the first time in 2004, a team of SIGSAM volunteers created a CD containing the ISSAC 2004 Proceedings as well as a selection of free computer algebra software. We are preparing a proposal to offer discounted membership rates for economically developing countries. SIGSAM is also in the process of revising our bylaws.