The 8th International Workshop on Parallel Symbolic Computation (PASCO’17) took place in Kaiserslautern, Germany, July 23-24, 2017, and was co-located with the International Symposium on Symbolic and Algebraic Computation (ISSAC’17). This instance of PASCO continued the mission of promoting and advancing parallel algorithms and software in all areas of mathematical computation. It therefore occupies a unique space in the landscape of international conferences and workshops, that brings together (parallel) systems developers and theoreticians in the broad area of mathematical software, in particular for symbolic computation. As in previous instances, PASCO’17 was generously supported by Maplesoft, who donated 2 Maple licences for the recipients of the best paper and the best student paper awards in the programme of PASCO’17. Details about the event can be found in the preface to the PASCO’17 proceedings, published in the ACM Digital Library: https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3115936&picked=prox
The travel funding by Codima allowed me (Hans-Wolfgang Loidl) to attend this event, as General Chair for PASCO’17, in person and to oversee the running of the workshop. I was particularly pleased by the good attendance for the sessions of this event: the workshop programme contained a total of 13 contributed papers, reflecting the focused nature of this workshop, but attendance to the sessions was in the range of 30-40 academics and students, as well as representatives from Maplesoft and other companies. This reflects the wider interest in the high-performance aspects of this field.
From a Codima point of view, this was a good opportunity to flag the presence of this UK network and to strengthen its international connections. Codima members have been involved in the running of this event as General and Publicity chairs, and continue to take a leading role in the growing of this community. New links have been established between Codima members and the invited speakers from PASCO’17: the group in Glasgow is in collaboration with Prof Florent Hivert, on parallel symbolic algorithms in the area of semigroup enumeration. We hope to further firm up these links by inviting Prof Hivert for a research visit to Scotland.
Hans-Wolfgang Loidl (Heriot-Watt)
In November 2017, Sugandha Maheshwary (IISER Mohali, India) and Ángel del Río (Murcia, Spain) visited St Andrews for a Wedderga package coding sprint. The main goal of the coding sprint was to incorporate new code developed by Sugandha Maheshwary and Gurmeet Bakshi, and prepare a new release of the package which will be compatible with the new major release of GAP coming soon in 2018. The sprint resulted in the new major release of Wedderga. Beyond incorporating the new code, we improved other aspects of the package, including code coverage by the regression tests. In her reflections on the visit, Sugandha Maheshwary wrote:
I have been using and working with GAP for more than 3 years and wanted to contribute some functions. I visited University of St Andrews as a visitor of Dr Olexandr Konovalov. During my stay I was trained for technical skills that are needed for the collaborative software development. I was part of the process of release of new version (4.9.0) of package named “Wedderga”, which gave me immense pleasure, confidence and motivation to contribute further. I was also introduced to Software Carpentry, which I would say is a must for beginners. My visit was largely funded by CoDiMa, and I am really grateful for the same.