October Communications focuses on one of the computing field's great problem solvers and tools for scientific modeling--simulation. Conversations between Communications Senior Editor, Diane Crawford and former Communications Area Editor for Simulation, Richard E. Nance, prompted us to approach Phil Heidelberger of IBM Research Division, chair of the 1989 Winter Simulation Conference; we proposed the idea of putting together a special issue in this technical area. Collaboration among Heidelberger, Crawford, the authors and reviewers, led to the development of this issue based on major themes from that conference.
One quarter of ACM members are currently involved in simulation work and, in a July 1990 readership survey, twice that number expressed interest in reading more about simulation technology. Approximately two thousand ACM members belong to SIGSIM, the ACM special interest group on simulation, which copublishes a newsletter with the IEEE-CS Technical Committee on Modeling and Simulation and which also cosponsors the Winter Simulation Conference. This year's conference will be held December 9-12 in New Orleans, Louisiana. SIGSIM is also cosponsoring a Workshop on Parallel and Distributed Simulation January 21-23, 1991 in Anaheim, California.
Perhaps the most significant recent contribution from SIGSIM is the creation of TOMACS, the ACM Transactions on Modeling and Computer Simulation. TOMACS will be an addition to the list of ACM quarterly publications and will treat all aspects of computer simulation and the modeling of complex systems that are studied through simulation techniques. Richard E. Nance is the Editor in Chief and the first issue is scheduled for 1991.
This issue of Communications debuts Marc Rettig's quarterly column, "Practical Programmer" and its "Programming in Black and Blue" sidebar that relates programming experiences from the school of hard knocks. Please let us know what you think of "Practical Programmer" as well as the rest of the issue. The reader service card at the back of each copy is an easy and free way to do this.