CWI - Christine Bachoc, Université Bordeaux, and Frank Vallentin, CWI, have found new upper bounds for 'kissing' in higher dimensions. In geometry the kissing number is the maximum number of non-overlapping unit balls that can simultaneously touch a central unit ball. In two dimensions the kissing number is six. This can be seen when euro coins are grouped around one central euro coin (see picture). The kissing number is only known for the dimensions 1, 2, 3, 4, 8 and 24. For the dimensions 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 Bachoc and Vallentin now found sharper upper bounds. The kissing problem has a rich history. In 1694 Isaac Newton and David Gregory had a famous discussion about the kissing number in three dimensions. Gregory thought thirteen balls could fit while Newton believed the limit was twelve. Only in 1953, Schütte and Van der Waerden proved Newton right.

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A team of researchers from the Politecnico di Milano and CEFREIL Labs, led by Stefano Ceri, won the 2006 Semantic Web Services Challenge (SWS), organised by Stanford University. The goal of the SWS Challenge is to develop a common understanding of various technologies intended to facilitate the automation of mediation, choreography and discovery for Web Services using semantic annotations. The challenge required the solution of a Web Service mediation problem and a Web Service discovery problem. The implementation presented by the Italian team was judged the most complete. See:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft - Ulrich Trottenberg took over the presidency of the 'Fraunhofer Center of Institutes', Schloss Birlinghoven, on 1st July 2006. The 'center of institutes Schloss Birlinghoven' gathers all research institutes at the Birlinghoven campus. With some 500 scientists, it is the largest center for information technology of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft. During his presidency Trottenberg intends to make the leading role of the institute center more visible. He is planning to do this by numerous events/meetings for industry, research, politics and the general public.

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ISTI-CNR - Donatella Castelli coordinated the first Digital Library Reference Model workshop in Frascati, near Rome, in June. At the workshop, an invited group of international experts discussed the digital library (DL) model proposed by DELOS, the Network of Excellence on Digital Libraries. Despite the large number of digital library systems in existence, there is so far no clear agreement on what these systems are exactly, nor what basic functionality they should provide. This model is a first attempt at establishing an abstract DL framework, based on a small number of unifying concepts. It seeks to provide a common semantics that can be used across different DL implementations. The workshop aimed at achieving global consensus on this model. In her introductory speech, Patricia Manson, Head of the EC unit for 'Technology-Enhanced Learning & Cultural Heritage' said that she expected that the results of the workshop would impact on the definition of FP7 research priorities and help to initiate the relevant political and operational actions needed to deliver the European Digital Library to European citizens.

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