Minutes of the Open General Meeting of the BCTCS

BCTCS 27, University of Birmingham, 20th April 2011

Opening: The meeting opened at 17:15.

Quorum: The meeting was recognised as quorate, there being present the President and Secretary of the BCTCS, a local organiser for BCTCS 27, and at least ten other members of the BCTCS.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were received from Radhakrishnan DelhiBabu.

Previous minutes: The minutes of the Open General Meeting held at BCTCS 26 in Edinburgh were approved.

President's statement: The President stated that he was pleased with the number of participants (51), particularly in light of the lack of funding from EPSRC, and thanks were conveyed to the local organisers Achim Jung, Paul Levy, Pietro Oliveto and Sarah Collins for their excellent work.

A new grant application to support BCTCS was submitted to EPSRC, but after much discussion was rejected without being sent out for peer review. The future is bleak regarding seeking further funding from EPSRC. The President further reported that EPSRC support for Fundamentals of Computing is also under threat, in light of an increased focus on links with industry, practical applications and impact. He reported that he is a member of an informal Working Group with whom EPSRC is consulting over the concern that EPSRC has that the Fundamentals of Computing programme reflects far too little engagement with the broader community. This group is working hard to dissuade EPSRC of the negative impressions that they are formulating about the Fundamentals of Computing programme.

It was suggested that BCTCS should consider writing an open letter to EPSRC explaining the impact of their decision to end its support for BCTCS, in particular regarding the significant reduction in student participants this year. This letter could also cover the removal of PhD studentships from grants, the increasing emphasis on impact, and other issues of concern to the UK (Theoretical) Computer Science community. ACTION: Faron Moller.

The President outlined his efforts to secure funding from the BCS to replace the loss of EPSRC support. Although these efforts were unsuccessful this year, he is cautiously optimistic that increased pressure on BCS to act on its ambitions to serve as a Learned Society for Computing will bring future success. The President also noted that support from industry and business also needs to be explored.

The London Mathematical Society (LMS) once again generously provided 1250 pounds support to sponsor an international Keynote Speaker in Discrete Mathematics (David S. Johnson, AT&T Labs). The President noted that the Chair of the LMS Computer Science Committee, Tom Melham, related his expectations that the LMS will continue providing financial support in the future, and that he suggested that in light of EPSRC's decision to discontinue supporting student attendance of BCTCS that the LMS may be happy to support students rather than an invited speaker.

Treasurer's report: Stephan Reiff-Marganiec reported that the balance of the BCTCS bank account stands at 15,262 pounds. Warwick submitted their accounts for BCTCS 25, and returned a surplus of 800 pounds. Edinburgh submitted their accounts for BCTCS 26, and returned a surplus of 8,100 pounds.


Report on arrangements for BCTCS 28: Ian Pratt-Hartmann reported on the arrangements for BCTCS 28, which will be held 2-5 April 2012 at the University of Manchester. A provisional booking has been made to hold the meeting in the Alan Turing Building at the Manchester Institute for Mathematical Sciences, which was opened in 2007. Accommodation has not yet been finalised, but is not expected to be a problem.

Invitations to invited speakers will be sent out as soon as possible, in consultation with the BCTCS committee. The importance of maintaining a good balance of topics was noted.

Choice of host for BCTCS 29: The President noted that an informal offer had been made last year to host BCTCS 29, but that this offer was no longer valid since its proposer had subsequently moved to a foreign insititution. There being no proposals from the floor, the President asked for and was granted by the meeting the authority to identify and assign a willing host for BCTCS 29.

Any other business: None.

Closing: The meeting closed at 17.53.

Graham Hutton
Secretary, BCTCS