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Vol.26 No.4


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Volume 14, No.1


by Duncan Pearson

This issue of Vector will be distributed to the delegates to the first annual world APL conference that is not organised under the auspices of the ACM SIGAPL.

Due mainly to the lack of volunteer support SIGAPL has converted to a publications-only SIG. The lack of support has been in evidence for some time with Mike Kent having taken an increasing share of the organisational burden on his broad shoulders over the last two years. He deserves high praise and thanks for having done so. Anyway the first visible result of this change has been the appearance simultaneously of the conference proceedings for APL96 and the next issue of Quote-Quad. It is good to see Quote-Quad back on the stands and the latest issue is excellent. I am looking forward to more of the same.

SIGAPL is not the only volunteer organisation to suffer from the lack of support. The annual election to the committee of the British APL Association is rarely much more than a reshuffling of posts among an increasingly disillusioned band of stalwarts. The rôle of the Association is unclear with little support from among the membership for the few meetings that are organised and an increasing proportion of the membership from overseas. The opening of the Vector web pages has been a clear success and the work on finding practical ways to publish APL on the web is clearly of benefit to the entire community and to APL itself. Also the printed magazine continues to be read, judging from the feedback, not all positive, that we receive.

It is in the area of meetings however that the real challenge lies. The Toronto SIG are taking a fair risk in the organisation of APL97. They will be free of many of the restrictions that ACM imposed on previous conferences and the content and structure seems as a result to be more market led than before. There are many who see the annual conference as a means of gaining valuable experience of other fields of endeavour within the APL world and increasingly to do this one must have interactive sessions with participation enhancing the learning process. There are many APL organisations in the world with sufficient funds, if pooled, that we could ensure that this kind of event continued. Is this a better use of our time and resources than national meetings? Is it now time for greater international co-operation or should we contract and concentrate on the publications just as SIGAPL have done?

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