APL is the most international of computer languages and notations. APL conferences are unique – no other language runs such conferences – perhaps because APL is also a notation, perhaps because it is a language for the elite.
All international APL conferences so far have been run under the ACM rules by SigAPL. The conferences are, by tradition, alternately in Europe – the even years – and (North) America – the odd years – (there has never been one in Central or South America). Australia was ‘honorary Europe’ in 1988. A local APL organisation usually helps to organise the conference. Although this is a considerable burden, it can also be a valuable and enjoyable experience.
At APL 95, SigAPL suggested the British APL Association co-operates to run APL 96. Already some members have volunteered. David Eastwood has agreed to be Joint Chair (with Stuart Yarus of Dallas, Texas) and Adrian Smith to be joint Program Chair (with Phil Benkard of Somers, New York).
SigAPL is a subsidiary of ACM and the British APL Association is a subsidiary of the BCS. Each organisation has to submit quite detailed plans and undertakings to secure approval for the risk funding of any proposed conference. It is consequently difficult to organise a fully equal division of the responsibility, risk and profit or loss. If one organisation makes undertakings to its parent then it cannot release control without also letting go of its power to keep its word.
In any case there are (significant) others. What about the Association Francophone pour la promotion du langage APL, the APL-Club Germany, the APL-Club Austria, BACUS (Belgium), FinnAPL, the Dutch APL Association, SwedAPL, SAUG (Switzerland)? There are also some national organisations who have joined ACM as Sigs. If we are to continue the tradition it should be Europe rather than the British APL Association co-operating with SigAPL.
During APL 95 several people suggested to me that it would be best if the international conferences were planned and run by an independent international organisation in which all the national organisations took a part (Australia, Japan and South Africa too). This seems to be the only truly equitable way. If SigAPL is serious then let us all set about getting a truly international organisation in place for 1997. I would be glad to hear your views.
(webpage generated: 6 December 2006, 12:14)