Meeting Report: CPM'2000

The 11th Annual Symposium on Combinatorial Pattern Matching (CPM'2000) took place June 19-23, 2000 at the Universite de Montreal in Montreal (Quebec), Canada. Six tutorials were given over the first two days, followed by the meeting proper in which 29 talks and 4 invited lectures were given over three days. The conference proceedings were published by Springer-Verlag (Lecture Notes in Computer Science no. 1848). Two approximate breakdowns of the ~75 attendees are: 35 North American, 25 European, and 15 other (Israel/Asia/South America/New Zealand) (by geography) and 60 university, 10 industrial, and 5 government laboratory / hospital (by institution). Though this meeting was by the standards of many conferences small and intensely academic, attendees were treated to a unique crossdisciplinary forum on strings and pattern matching in general.

The meeting started with two days of tutorials on sequence database searching with BLAST, evolutionary tree inference, motif searching, adaptive text mining, genome rearrangement, and algorithmic aspects of speech recognition. A total of 29 talks were given in a single track over the following 3 days, in sessions devoted to dynamic programming, approximation and exact algorithms, compression and matching, genomic distance measures, suffix trees and their applications, string periodicities, and new topics. The following invited lectures were presented during the meeting:

Further details area available on the CPM 2000 web site

One may ask why, in a series of reviews devoted to computational biology conferences, one should bother to write (or, for that matter, read) a review about CPM. Though CPM was originally founded as a meeting devoted to both theoretical and applied aspects of strings and pattern matching, these topics have always been at the core of computational biology, and computational biology has played and continues to play an important role at CPM -- indeed, over half of the tutorials and papers presented at this year's meeting were in this area. The mix of biology-oriented tutorials and a wide range of papers on a variety of problems makes CPM a more accessible and gentler introduction to computational biology for computer scientists than the more purely theory- or systems-oriented conferences like RECOMB, ISMB, and PSB. By virtue of focusing on a set of constructs and techniques that are used in a number of application areas rather than a particular application area, CPM also fills a unique conference niche as a cross-disciplinary crossroads at which computational biology researchers can hear about developments in other areas such as natural language processing that may have applications within computational biology as well as problems in these other areas that may benefit from techniques developed within computational biology. Finally, all introductory and collaborative aspects of CPM mentioned above are enhanced by the small size and friendliness of the CPM community itself, which makes for a collegiality that may be missing at larger meetings.

In summary, we found CPM 2000 a pleasant and stimulating meeting, and would recommend it to those seeking a good technical showcase of current research on strings and pattern matching in general, and applications within computational biology in particular. Planning is already underway for CPM 2001, which will be held on July 1-4 in Jerusalem, Israel; please consult the conference website for details.

Patricia Evans
Faculty of Computer Science
University of New Brunswick

Todd Wareham
Department of Computer Science
Memorial University of Newfoundland