Message from General Co-Chairmen
It is our pleasure to welcome all participants to the 11th IEEE International Conference on Emerging Technologies and Factory Automation in beautiful Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.
The eleventh edition of this event offers an opportunity for same reflection. The ETFA conference was held for the first time in 1992, in Melbourne, Australia, and attracted for a start, together with a satellite workshop, over two hundred attendees. Over the past fourteen years, the event has evolved in to one of the largest, if not the largest, IEEE conferences dedicated to industrial and factory automation, presenting reports on emerging trends in the area and actual implementations. The ETFA conference series was fortunate to be hosted by some of the leading academic and research establishments to mention the Institute of Industrial Sciences of the University of Tokyo in 1994, Institut National de Recherche en Informatique (INRIA), in Paris in 1995, University of California at Los Angeles in 1997, Universitat Polit?cnica de Catalunya in Barcelona in 1999, Ecole Supérieure d'Ingénieurs de Nice Sophia Antipolis in Antibes in 2001, University of Catania, and others. Events attracting large attendance as the one in Paris in 1995 with over five hundreds delegates were not uncommon. The technical success of the ETFA conference series also testifies to the rapid evolution of the area of industrial automation in the recent decade. The proceedings of the conference give a fairly accurate picture of the state of the art of the area.
This year event is sponsored by the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society and the Czech Technical University in Prague.
The Czech Technical University is the leading technical university in the Czech Republic with more than 23,000 students, and with a rich, nearly 300 years long, history - the Czech Technical University was established in 1707. Control Engineering and related disciplines belong to the strongest fields of the research focus with many remarkable theoretical and application oriented results. The research cooperation of this University with leading bodies in the industrial automation world has a long-term tradition. To mention here a very close and robust cooperation with Rockwell Automation, Honeywell, Siemens and others. The Czech Technical University was honored by hosting the IFAC World Congress in 2005. Furthermore, it has been hosting several IEEE events this year as a part of the celebration of the 300 years anniversary.
The Czech Republic manufacturing industry, with historically a very strong base (automobile, heavy trucks, machine tools, air-crafts, and electronics - the famous Tesla TV sets - to mention some), has experienced a tremendous growth since 1989, fuelled by substantial investments from the EU and other countries. The Czech Republic offers a unique technical environment and social cohesion among the new EU states: her industrial, and social infrastructure, outstanding educational system, capabilities to absorb new technologies and innovative approaches and, above all, the willingness of the creative Czech people to go an extra mile. The ETFA conference (as well as other conference activities) represents an important "opportunity bridge" for the Czech science to be linked more tightly with the worldwide community, as well as an opportunity to show the level of scientific results and application endeavors to the world-wide industry leaders.
The ETFA 2006 conference features an excellent technical program, including plenary presentations delivered by some of the leading authorities in their field of scientific and technical endeavor. The quality of the technical program is a combination of high quality submissions and the diligent work of the International Program Committee. We would like to acknowledge the contribution of all Program Committee members, who dedicated their time to the review of the submitted papers, and, in particular, Program Co-Chairs, Josep M. Fuertes of Universitat Polit?cnica de Catalunya, Hans-Michael Hanisch of University of Halle, and Jiri Lazansky of the Czech Technical University in Prague, for their excellent organization of the scientific part of the conference.
We are also fortunate to have four outstanding scholars to present keynote speeches: Robert Babuska, TU Delfth, The Netherlands, Sujeet Chand, Senior Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, Rockwell Automation, USA, Hubert Kirrmann, Corporate Research, ABB, Switzerland, and Hermann Kopetz, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria
For the first time, the ETFA 2006 conference will feature public forums on recent trends in industrial automation, and integrative role of automation networks with participants from mayor industrial automation vendors. Those forums are intended to stimulate interaction between industry and academia.
An event of this size cannot be organized without a help of a large number of volunteers. We have already mentioned the International Program Committee and its Chairs. Our gratitude also goes to the special sessions chairs: Luis Gomes of Uninova and Christer Norström of Mälardalen University; and work-in-progress chairs: Lucia LoBello of University of Catania, Eduardo Tovar of Politechnic Institute of Porto, and Andreas Willig of Technical University of Berlin. We would like to acknowledge the effort of all the members of the Local Organizing Committee and, in particular, the work undertaken by Pavel Jisl and Daniel Barta from the Czech Technical University, and Milena Zeithamlova form the Action-M Agency who took care about the many key organizational issues.
The technical and social success of any event arises from the quality of the program and the interaction among authors and attendees. Everything is set for a stimulating event. Thank you for being here, and enjoy the conference and your stay in Prague.
Vladimir Marik and Richard Zurawski
ETFA 2006 General Chairmen.