Education | DOI: 10.1145/2160718.2160726
A Workshop Revival
The success of Germany’s Dagstuhl Seminars has inspired
a proliferation of Dagstuhl-like venues, especially in India.
Reinhard Wilhelm, scientific director of the schloss Dagstuhl-Leibniz Center for informatics.
THe PoPUlArITy of selective workshops for computer scientists has reached an all- time high, with various ver- sions of Germany’s Dagstuhl
Seminars popping up around the globe.
The original Dagstuhl Seminars,
launched in 1990, have gradually increased in number from 34 in 2000 to
64 planned for 2012. The program has
also broadened over the years to include several annual events designed
to support and improve computer science research.
The success of the Dagstuhl concept
should be seen in light of the “
disturbing trend…in which researchers now
attend more and more specialized
conferences and workshops without
ever meeting colleagues with whom
they should communicate,” says Reinhard Wilhelm, scientific director of the
Schloss Dagstuhl-Leibniz Center for
Informatics, which runs the seminars.
PhotograPh coUrteSy of reinhard WilhelM, SchloSS dagStUhl-leibniZ center for inforMaticS
“Schloss Dagstuhl partly acts as a
repair shop for this lousy trend,” Wil-
helm explains, “providing a space
where insightful scientists can hold
workshops involving different commu-
nities that should be communicating
with each other and that would never
meet at a conference.”
In April, Wilhelm received ACM’s
Distinguished Service Award for his
work with Dagstuhl Seminars.
Located in a former late-baroque
mansion in Saarland, Germany,
Schloss Dagstuhl (or Dagstuhl Castle)
each week hosts top scientists and
promising young researchers from
around the world who gather to discuss and debate a particular computer
science topic, living and working together for 3–5 days, “resulting in an
intense collaboration and exchange of
ideas,” says Wilhelm.
Workshops are based on proposals
submitted by scientists to the Leibniz
Center’s Scientific Directorate, which
meets twice a year. Each proposal is
evaluated for its relevance and its po-
tential attractiveness to members of
the computer science community.
Paul hyman is a science and technology writer based in
great neck, ny.