1997 IEEE INFORMATION THEORY WORKSHOP
Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway
July 6-12, 1997

Report from Torleiv Kløve (Chairman).

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Workshop participants: Row 1: Left to right: S. Cuyler, J. Bali, E. Berlekamp, Y. Kaji, C. Kim, T. Murugesh, A. Banihashemi, A. Barbero, P. Charpin, U. Maurer, H.-A. Loeliger, K. Yang. Row 2: O. Keren, L. Wei, T. Fujiwara, K. Kurosawa, E. Fujiwara, H. Imai, A. Tirkel, P. Östergård, V. Kumar, C. Rong, C. Carlet, T. Kløve, T. Helleseth, P. Siegel, T. Høholdt, Ø. Ytrehus. Row 3: E. Soljanin, N. Sloane, J. Massey, D. Forney, T. Johanson, B. Smeets, G. Kabatianskii, M. Parker, R. Erstad, J. Mykkeltveit, K. Abdel-Ghaffar, K. J. Hole, J. Lahtonen.

A view from the excursion boat.

The IEEE Information Theory Workshop 1997 (ITW'97) was help at the Svalbard Polar Hotel in Longyearbyen at the Svalbard archipelago in the Norwegian arctic (78 degrees north). The site for ITW'97 is 20 degrees further north than any previous ITW site and the arctic summer with 24 hour daylight (in Longyearbyen one long summer day lasts from April 20 to August 20), glaciers close by, and a threat of polar bears ("remember to bring a gun if you go for a hike") gave an exotic frame for the workshop.

The coding theory group at the University of Bergen took care of the local arrangements with good assistance from Svalbard Polar Travel in Longyearbyen.

The focus for ITW'97 was coding theory with sessions on " tex2html_wrap_inline40 -codes and related topics", "coding for information storage", "coding and cryptography", and "trellis complexity". In each session there were 4 invited talks and 3-7 submitted presentations. In all there were 15 invited talks (one invited speaker in the first session had to cancel) and 20 submitted presentations.

There were 51 participants and 13 accompanying persons. The participants came from 18 countries on 4 continents.

Technical program

The program committee was chaired by Tor Helleseth and it put together a program of high quality with many interesting talks. As an illustration of the quality, we can mention that we had 5 Shannon award winners among the participants (three of them were invited lecturers): Berlekamp, Forney, Golomb, Massey, Sloane. The invited lectures presented at the workshop were the following (the complete program can be found on the Web, address: http://www.ii.uib.no/kode/Svalbard97/TP.html):

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Social program

On Wednesday, July 9, we had a full day excursion by boat on Isfjorden. We made a stop at the Russian mining town Barentsburg, were we had a guided tour. Another highlight was a visit to the front of the Esmark glacier where participants enjoyed chunks of 10000 year old ice served in their drinks.

Many of the participants took advantage of the 24 hour daylight to participate in hiking, kayaking, fossil hunting, dog sledding, or skiing during the evenings and "nights".

More information about ITW'97 (with pictures from the workshop), Longyearbyen and Svalbard is available on the Web
(http://www.ii.uib.no/kode/Svalbard97/).