By Prof. Vančo Litovski
The Laboratory of Electronic Design Automation (LEDA), since its establishment in mid-eighties of the last century, went through several turbulent periods due to the political changes and wars conducted around and against the country. Nevertheless, the researchers within it were trying all the time to keep pace with the running edge of the scientific research in the field. One may say with admirable success, having in mind the circumstances. There were several areas in which particular achievements were reached: electronic modelling and simulation, CMOS IC design, theory and implementation of artificial neural networks, and renewable energy sources and circuit characterization and design.All that was only possible thanks to strong support obtained from outside the Electronic faculty especially from the University of Southampton and Middlesex University from England, The Technische Universitaet Ilmenau from Germany, The Universidad Politécnica de Madrid from Spain and others particularly including the Technische Universitaet Wien and the Fachhochschule Wiener Neustadt. Probably the decisive support was given (first at the end of the eighties and the beginning of the nineties) by the British Council office from Belgrade (supporting the visit of Prof. Litovski to Southampton) and the Serbian Council for Intentional Cultural and Scientific Collaboration (supporting the visit of Prof. Zwolinski to Niš).
The year 1999 was decisive in many respects. The bad thing was the fact that the country was devastated and highly isolated by the war. The good thing was that LEDA immediately after the war got support again by the British side. That was via a new project with the University of Southampton (approved by the Electronic and Physics Science Research Council – EPSRC); and to a very large extent, from the Middlesex University of North London. Thanks to these institutions the research within LEDA continued as if no trouble was experienced at all.
Having that in mind it is understandable that the research staff of LEDA started contemplating the necessity of deepening the international cooperation with several main goals among which the most important were acquiring new knowledge and promoting research results. One of the opportunities was to start regular meetings with the research centres with which the collaboration already lasted for more than ten years. So the idea of Small Systems Simulation Symposium (SSSS) was born in the autumn of the year 1999 in Southampton and one may claim that Prof. Robert Damper was the one who mainly contributed to the final spelling of the name.
The first meeting held in the year 2000 was a full success (with 23 authors from 5 countries), particularly having in mind that it became recognized by the Serbian Ministry of Science and the local industry.
To make a regular tradition, naturally, it took a little more. Namely, the first period was set to five years since there were still doubts related to its destiny.
Fig. 1. Histogram representing the main indicators of SSSS
After the meeting of the year 2010, however, it became clear that there is enough internal potential within LEDA and serious interest from outside the Laboratory to set a new pace and make the conference biannual.
So, here is some statistics: Number of meetings was 7; number of authors was 335; number of papers was 147; and number of countries was 8. Fig. 1 depicts these numbers distributed per conference.
Among the large group of authors we would like to especially appreciate the contributions of some who made the symposium to start and pertain during these two decades. In the attempt not to exaggerate we will most surely miss some names but still we wouldn’t like to miss all of them. These are Prof. M. Zwolinski, Prof. R. Damper, Dr I. Bushehri, Prof. S. Bojanić, Prof. O. Nieto, Prof. V. Zerbe, Prof. D. Trajanov, Prof. V. Melikyan, and with particular respect Prof. T. Kazmierski.
It is worth to note that during this turbulent period the SSSS was trying to find the best way of survival so for some time it was organized by the Yugoslav Simulation Society. Later on, the organization was taken aback by the Faculty of Electronic Engineering with the support of the Innovation Centre of Advanced Technologies (ICNT) from Niš.
We really hope that the tradition established will last for long, especially having in mind the recognition (by the Serbian society) of the importance of the advanced technologies for the national wealth and progress. That may be seen from the fact that the surroundings of the Faculty of Electronic Engineering now is literally a construction site for buildings intended to support the research and education in the IT field. We believe that SSSS, by its actions, did in some (no matter how small) extent influenced these new believes and that it will flourish in the future together with the Serbian IT sector as a whole.