Volume - 4

LETTERS FROM...

From the President

Dear IFToMM Community,

As a follow-up to my last message, I would like to inform you about our activities in 1995. We focused on a few selected items like the final version of the 1995 IFToMM Constitution; establishing of new members; promoting activities of Commissions and Technical Committees; preparation of the Ninth World Congress; preparation of the Executive Council Meeting and the General Assembly.

It is my pleasure to inform you that the final version of the IFToMM Constitution was published and distributed during the General Assembly, which took place in Milan, on August 31st 1995. It is our hope that this version and By-Laws will be the basic document of our Federation for the next four years. During my tenure, seven new members were approved both by postal ballot and during the General Assembly. Looking back in 1969, when IFToMM was founded with only 9 members, our current membership of close to 40 countries shows an impressive growth in 26 years. In this period, IFToMM became a strong and relevant organization. On the other hand, I regret to report that four members lost their membership because of a complete lack of response to our multiple queries about why they had neglected to pay their annual subscriptions.

Our Technical Committees were very active in the last year. During the General Assembly, we established the Technical Committee for Nonlinear Oscillations, with Dr. L. P##'27 st as Chairman; likewise, the name of the TC for Computational Geometry was changed to TC for Computational Kinematics, in order to better reflect its activity and relevance within IFToMM.

The 28th Executive Council Meeting took place in Milan on August 29th. The EC highly appreciated the work of Profs. A. Rovetta and G. Bianchi in the preparation of the 9th World Congress on TMM. It is my pleasure to report that a record 581 participants from 51 countries registered. Four volumes of Proceedings containing 665 papers in 3224 pages were published, which shows the growing activity in modern TMM all over the world. It is noteworthy that 33 complimentary fees (at 300 US Dls each) were offered to delegates from a variety of countries.

The activity of IFToMM Commissions and Technical Committees is underlined and highly appreciated. It is my honor and privilege to inform you that, during the General Assembly, four new Honorary Members were elected: Profs. J. Oderfeld (Poland); G. N. Sandor (USA); A. Tondl (Czech Republic); and W. Rossner (Germany).

The IFToMM finances are quite healthy, which allows to keep the annual fees at their current values for the next four years.

A new EC was elected during the General Assembly, with Prof. J. Angeles (Canada) as President. The new EC will serve from January 1st, 1996 through December 31st, 1999.

Looking back to our activity in the last four years, I would like to underline the excellent and friendly cooperation among the IFToMM community, the IFToMM country members, the Chairmen of Commissions and Technical Committees, and Executive Council members. During the 1991-1995 term, the EC met five times, holding meetings in Poland, Italy (twice), Germany and Spain. Over 20 meetings, symposia, and conferences in robotics, rotordynamics, linkages, gearing, mechatronics, micromechanisms, man-machine systems, and computational geometry and kinematics were organized by IFToMM, which also cosponsored some other international events. The official IFToMM journal, Mechanism and Machine Theory and the IFToMM Newsletter played an important role in the life of our Federation.

During my visit to Singapore in October 1995, a meeting of a group of Singapore researchers working in the field of TMM took place at the National Technical University. It is expected that, in the near future, a national committee on TMM will be established in Singapore.

Finally, I would like to inform you that the newly elected Constitution Committee, with Prof. G. Bianchi as Chairman, will start soon its functions. The Nominating Committee, which I chair ex-officio, was elected during the General Assembly in Milan. The General Assembly decided to hold the Tenth World Congress on TMM in Oulu, Finland, on June 20-26, 1999. I wish Prof. T. Leinonen, our Secretary General-Elect, a great success in the preparation of this Jubilee Congress. It was my pleasure to have awarded my colleagues Shoup, Fawcett, Rovetta, Bianchi, Luck, Angeles, Dittrich, Yong, Nieto, Sarkissyan, and Hori a diploma in the name of IFToMM, in recognition of their valuable services to our Federation. I wish the new Executive Council many new important results and success in the next term. One of our main goal for the future is further development and improvement of the contents of our discipline, TMM.

Last but not least, may I wish you a Happy and successful New Year 1996.

Adam Morecki, IFToMM President

From the Editor

Dear IFToMM Friends:

It is my great pleasure to bring you the fourth issue of the Newsletter, in four years. It has been a great learning experience working on this job, but I would like to remind you that the Editor's job is only as big and as important as the readership participation in the making of every issue. Which brings us to my usual request for entries!

I am glad to report that I have, indeed, received some entries, but mainly for book announcements and other informative items. What I would be most glad to receive is entries about personal experiences in your professional exchanges. For example, if you spent a sabbatical leave abroad, could you tell us what you gained and what your impressions of living and working in a different country, in fact, in a different culture, were? I am sure that you have many interesting impressions to tell us about. In doing this, please do not forget that the IFToMM Newsletter is committed to welcoming and publishing entries as they are submitted, in the language of submission, if this is one of the four official IFToMM languages. The size of each entry, moreover, is expected to be no more than half a page, because of space limitations. Moreover, electronic submissions are preferred to printed submissions, because this form helps us save time and money. Nevertheless, if you cannot possibly send us an emailed contribution, then by all means, feel free to do it by fax or snailmail!

One more item that I would like to bring to your attention is the openness of the Newsletter: since we do not claim any copyright, feel free to reproduce this issue as many times as you deem necessary. What is important is that the IFToMM news reach the broadest readership, including your junior colleagues and even your students or young assistants who may not as yet be in our mailing list. Herewith I am encouraging our readers to send us their email address so that they will receive our files by this medium. The additional cost of new correspondents reached by electronic mail is marginal, while the gain is unmeasurable.

As usual, we are updating our mailing list of IFToMM officers. Please note that 1996 marks the beginning of a new term of the Executive Council, and so, we are including in the corresponding list the Executive Council elected on August 31, 1995, during the IFToMM General Assembly held in Milan. This EC will serve through December 31, 1999.

For the translations into French, German, and Russian, my best thanks to Dr. J.-P. Merlet, Prof. C. Woernle, and to my Research Assistant S. Ostrovskaya, respectively.

In closing, may I wish you all a very happy end-of-year season and all the best in the new year.

Jorge Angeles, Editor
angeles@cim.mcgill.ca

From the President-Elect

Dear IFToMM friends:

I take the opportunity to send you some thoughts on the work ahead. While IFToMM is a growing federation, and is gaining adherents worldwide, it has been affected by the geopolitical events taking place since the end of the past decade. It is my own impression that IFToMM has done a great job in keeping the global TMM community together, in spite of regional conflicts that sometimes affect our communication channels. We will keep our policy of establishing bridges among the various TMM communities around the world.

Furthermore, IFToMM has an important role to play in bringing peace to the world by promoting the exchange not only of cold technological information, but also of people and expertise. IFToMM's resources in areas that are mostly needed in developing countries are extremely rich and should be exploited. We need your participation, regardless of your geographical location, to help developing countries make a more rational use of their resources, very specially their nonrenewable ones, while exploiting them with methods that produce a minimum damage to the environment. The most effective way to promote this exchange is by means of education, in its various forms.

At the end of the twentieth century, and of the second millenium with it, it is about time to review critically the current state of education in TMM worldwide. Is the current TMM educational establishment prepared to face the technological demands of the 21st Century? It is in our mandate to scrutinize this establishment and conclude whether steps must be recommended to the decision-makers in this regard. It is not only important that TMM adapt itself to the technological revolutions in other disciplines-computers, genetic engineering, bioengineering, etc.-but also that TMM set the pace for the development of other disciplines. In this regard, may I call upon the IFToMM community to help us, the IFToMM officers, produce a report, by mid 1999, on the worldwide state of the education in TMM, while including recommendations for the years to come. The plan that I am proposing will be termed TMM 21 for short, to emphasize that we are looking forward to the 21st century. Needless to say, the Commission B for Education will play a central role in this task, but this commission cannot do much without the participation of other commissions and TCs and, very important, all national committees.

Other task in the next four years that will need substantial IFToMM attention is the updating of the work of Commission A for Standards and Terminology. A whole issue of Mechanism and Machine Theory, Vol. 26, No. 5, 1991, was devoted to the comprehensive report of this commission, but new reports should be made available on-line. Moreover, that report included only the four IFToMM official languages, while its counterparts in other languages have been produced in individual countries. These reports should also be made available on-line. In talking of on-line information that IFToMM should be offering in the next four years, it is important, for the sake of the effective governance of IFToMM, that its Constitution, By-Laws, and other relevant documents, be available to the public at large on-line. The setting up of the mechanism for the creation and maintenance of an IFToMM WWW homepage will be one of the priorities of the tasks ahead.

The tasks are tremendous, but commensurate with the IFToMM resources in terms of brainpower and will of collaboration. I am sure that we will be able to deliver in due time, and will be able to make IFToMM impact in the worldwide decision-making process in the years to come.

Jorge Angeles, IFToMM President-Elect