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Magic in Science

Giorgio Ausiello, Hendrik Jan Hoogeboom, Juhani Karhumäki, Ion Petre, Arto Salomaa (Eds.), Magic in Science. Theoretical Computer Science 429, 2012.


This special issue of ‘‘Theoretical Computer Science" is published to celebrate the 70th birthday of Grzegorz Rozenberg, one of the world leaders in research on theoretical computer science. As a researcher Grzegorz is most highly respected by the international scientific community. The admiration by the community was witnessed by the exceptionally enthusiastic response we got to our invitation to contribute to this special issue. The paper were refereed up to the usual scientific standard of Theoretical Computer Science resulting, in our opinion, in an excellent issue.

Grzegorz has obtained so many and so good results in so numerous and diverse areas of science that we do not try to give any exhaustive account in this brief Preface. He has published more than 500 research papers, as well as written, edited or coedited some 100 books. More detailed descriptions of Grzegorz as a scientist have been given in the book Algorithmic Bioprocesses, published for his 65th birthday. Grzegorz’s scientific productivity remains on an accelerating trajectory, and now, some five years later, a similar detailed account of his scientific accomplishments would take up most of the space in this special issue.

Grzegorz likes to be interdisciplinary and search for new challenges in basic science, rather than follow known tracks. This became visible already at the beginning of his career. Starting with fundamental automata and language theory, he soon extended his realm to biologically motivated developmental languages, and further to concurrency, Petri nets and graph grammars.

During the past 15–20 years, the main interest of Grzegorz has been in natural computing, a term coined by Grzegorz himself to mean either computing taking place in nature or human-designed computing inspired by nature. A particular model very useful in natural computing consists of reaction systems, introduced by Andrzej Ehrenfeucht and Grzegorz a few years ago. Because of the fundamental nature of the basic setup, main concepts are in terms of sets only, reaction systems have turned out to be applicable in most diverse situations. Moreover, the short courses on reaction systems, given by
Grzegorz very enthusiastically in many universities in recent years, have very much propagated the notions and stimulated research in the field.

Grzegorz has contemplated thoroughly the qualities of good science, and is ready to discuss and give advice about the choice of your research area, as well as about the applicability of a particular field. He has clear ideas about the nature of computer science. Although computer science develops tools needed in information and communication technology, ICT, it is more than ICT. It is the general science of information and information processing. The European term informatics is much better than computer science. The former term does not refer to any device or instrument for information processing. Such instruments always presuppose a paradigm of thinking about information processing, whereas if one speaks of ‘‘informatics", no devices or paradigms are stipulated.

The many scientific interests of Grzegorz are very well reflected in the contributions to this special issue. Indeed, there are several contributions on classical automata theory, on Petri nets and related topics, as well as on graph transformations. However, the largest thematic field deals with different approaches to bioinspired computing, and to the very recent topic of Grzegorz, namely reactive systems.

This is no place to list Grzegorz’s numerous current or past functions for the academic community. However, since this journal, TCS, has always had close contacts with the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science, EATCS, it is worth mentioning that Grzegorz has been EATCS President much longer than anyone else and served more than twenty years as the editor of the EATCS Bulletin. His life in science is only one of his several lives. Indeed, he is a professional magician, a known expert on Hieronymus Bosch and, most importantly, a family man where the phrase includes his children of choice: Ph.D. students, postdocs and young collaborators. In recent years the most important family member has been his grandson Mundo.

This special issue is an outcome of a large number of enthusiastic people. We thank all the contributors for their precise and timely work, the large number of referees who did an excellent job under a tight time schedule and Marloes Boon-van der Nat for compiling the impressive list of publications of Grzegorz. And last but not least we express our deepest gratitude to Margaret Zhao and Kavitha Narayanasamy from Elsevier, as well as to Arto Lepistö from University of Turku for their friendly and professional editing work.

We hope that Grzegorz continues his outstanding scientific career still many years. We also wish him good health and happiness in life.

Giorgio Ausiello Hendrik Jan Hoogeboom Juhani Karhumäki Ion Petre Arto Salomaa

BibTeX entry:

  title = {Magic in Science},
  journal = {Theoretical Computer Science},
  volume = {429},
  editor = {Ausiello, Giorgio and Hoogeboom, Hendrik Jan and Karhumäki, Juhani and Petre, Ion and Salomaa, Arto},
  year = {2012},

Belongs to TUCS Research Unit(s): FUNDIM, Fundamentals of Computing and Discrete Mathematics, Computational Biomodeling Laboratory (Combio Lab)

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