[Haskell] Call for papers: FM-Ed'06 - Formal Methods in the Teaching Lab

J.N. Oliveira jno at di.uminho.pt
Tue May 2 04:21:11 EDT 2006

Call for Papers -- Submission deadline: June 9, 2006

                              FORMAL METHODS IN THE TEACHING LAB
                 Examples, Cases, Assignments and Projects Enhancing Formal Methods Education


                             A Workshop at the Formal Methods 2006 Symposium
                                  Workshop: Saturday, August 26, 2006
                                    Symposium: August 21 - 27, 2006
                              McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


This workshop is organized by the Formal Methods Europe Subgroup on Education.

        Dines Bjørner (JAIST, Japan)
        Eerke Boiten (University of Kent, UK)
        Raymond Boute (Universiteit Gent, Belgium)
        Andrew Butterfield (Trinity College, Dublin)
        John Fitzgerald (University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)
        Randolph Johnson
        Steve King (University of York, UK)
        Peter Lucas
        Michael Mac an Airchinnigh (Trinity College, Dublin)
        Dino Mandrioli (Politecnico di Milano, Italy)
        Andrew Martin (Oxford University, UK)
        José Oliveira (Universidade do Minho, Portugal) -- Convenor
        Kees Pronk (Technische Universiteit Delft, NL)
        Simão Melo de Sousa (Universidade da Beira Interior, Portugal)
        Wolfgang Reisig (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany)

Workshop Co-Chairs

        Raymond Boute
        Formal Methods Group, Department of Information Technology (INTEC),
        Ghent University, Ghent (Belgium)
        E-mail: boute at intec.UGent.be
        José Oliveira
        Departamento de Informatica
        Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal
        E-mail: jno at di.uminho.pt



Quoting Dines Dines Bjørner:
	"Formal Methods Education is currently facing a `trichotomy':
         - On the one hand, industries dealing with the design of complex
           and critical systems have an increasing need for methods that
           provide a certain degree of confidence in the result, and are
           often looking for external assistance in the area of formal methods
           from consulting companies and academia.
         - On the other hand, a growing number of university staff enjoys
           the intellectual challenge of research in this area and teaching
           formal techniques to students.
         - On the "third hand", an increasing number of students de-select
           formal methods in the curriculum, due to various causes and trends."
One cause of the problem is a general mathphobic trend in society and education.
     Another cause is that, intellectually, Information Technology is the victim of
its own success. Indeed, the rapid growth creates so many design and implementation
tasks that can be done and, more importantly, are being done with negligible educational
or scientific background that it is difficult to argue convincingly in favor of formal
methods on the basis of immediate everyday necessities. Critical systems, of course,
are a notable exception.
     These trends are so pervasive that the small minority of FM educators has little
hope to curb them in the near future. More effective in the long term is instilling
a higher degree of professionalism in the next generation. This requires in particular
a directed, positive action towards motivating students.


This workshop solicits short papers, presentations, demonstrations and evaluations
describing sharp classroom or lab experiments which have proved particularly beneficial
to the students' understanding and motivation for formal methods.
     The emphasis is not on (new) theories or methods but on specific illustrations
and exercises that can be used by colleagues in their own courses, perhaps applying
their own formalisms.
     The main goals are:
     - to share knowledge and experience on the practicalities of teaching and learning formal methods;
     - to build a collection of interesting cases, examples, assignments and projects
       that FM teachers can use in educational activities.


The workshop will be a forum-like event, with short presentations, demos and informal
discussion slots. After the workshop, if the evaluation committee decides that there
is a sufficient number of high-quality submissions, an agreement will be sought with
Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science about publishing a special volume, and authors
will be invited to submit their contribution for refereeing.


Call for Contributions

This workshop solicits papers, presentations, demonstrations and evaluations describing
such material in detail and how it has been beneficial to the students' understanding
and motivation.
     The emphasis should not be primarily on new theories or methods but on specific
illustrations and exercises that can be used by colleagues in their own courses, perhaps
applying their own formalisms.
     The central problem(s) should be clearly stated and a typical solution outline
provided (using the author's preferred method), accompanied by a discussion of what
educational aspect is meant to be enhanced. Contributors should motivate their techniques
with a discussion of the desired knowledge and skill outcomes of the examples/case
studies or projects, and a frank appraisal of their effectiveness, insofar as such
an appraisal is meaningful and instructive, which we expect to be the case for most
     Papers should be kept short (maximum 6 pages). They should be prepared preferably
in LaTeX, and a pdf-file should be sent to jno at di.uminho.pt. Submitted papers will
be evaluated by the Subgroup on Education.


   Submission deadline:   Friday, June 9, 2006
   Acceptance notification:   Friday, July 1, 2006


The organization will produce a web-based resource of output from the workshop housed
under http://www.fmeurope.org. Contributors willing to allow their teaching materials
to be made publicly available for the community are invited to send source files, links
or tools and other information that would be suitable for such an on-line repository,
which the organization will keep alive on a wiki-like basis.
     The collected material will form the start of a compendium of examples, cases,
assignments and projects, according to the following (rough) categorization.

Examples are shorter items, ranging in length from a single observation to over a full
page. An example is aimed at clarifying a single aspect where the essence is captured
in a somewhat condensed form, with minimal clutter from side-issues.
    Cases are taken from situations encountered in practice, where the problems may
appear in various forms: from immediately appealing (and hence motivating) but not
very challenging to subtly hidden and requiring major research. Side-issues and secondary
problems may be included to clarify the setting or to illustrate the need for abstraction.
   Assignments and projects correspond to examples and cases respectively, but the
difference is that they are elaborated by the students rather than the instructors.
   The repository is expected to evolve in at least 3 dimensions: new items are added
in their original form as time proceeds; existing items are reworked in various formalisms;
experience in teaching is reported.
   Every one or two years, people who submit the most suitable contributions will be
invited to join forces for combining their work into a "laboratory notebook".
   Any further suggestions are welcome.

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