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Report on the 6-th International Seminar
on Mathematical Methods in Electromagnetic Theory

Lviv (Ukraine), September 10-13, 1996

by Fred Gardiol

Laboratory of Electromagnetism and Acoustics (LEMA), Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), ELB-Ecublens, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

(from IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine, V.38, N 6, December 1996, pp.79-80)

Every even year, our Ukrainian colleagues organize a symposium specifically devoted to theoretical and mathematical problems in electromagnetics, providing a unique forum to hear about what is going this field-and in many other areas, as well-in the CIS (former USSR) republics. Even though participants come mostly from Ukraine and Russia, all contributions are presented in English: this is a feature of MMET Symposium, the purpose of which is to foster ties with Western researchers in electromagnetics.

In 1996, the MMET Symposium was held in the Western Ukraine city of Lviv (in Russian, Lvov; in Polish Lwow), September 1013. It was organized by Professor Zinoviy T. Nazarchuk and Oleg Ovsyannikov, both of the Physico-Mechanical Institute Karpenko of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. It was organized with the support of a number of Eastern and Western Associations, foremost among them the two Ukrainian IEEE/MTT/AP-S Chapters.

Every day started with a plenary session, with two invited papers. Contributed presentations then took place within three parallel sessions, during the reminder of the morning and in the afternoon. Contributed papers were grouped in the following eight broad categories:

- Antenna Theory - Computational Techniques - Electromagnetic Theory - Gratings and Frequency-Selective Surfaces - Inverse Problems - Scattering and Diffraction - Time-Domain Methods - Waveguides and Complex Media

The MMET Conference Proceedings was remarkably well presented, as texts were transferred by electronic mail and then edited in Lviv. It contains 126 papers (invited and contributed), making up 535 pages altogether. Further information can be obtained from Professor Oleg Ovsyannikov at oleg@ah,

Most unfortunately, many authors "could not make it" to Lviv, so that the program of the symposium had to be somewhat reshuffled, and eventually consisted of 78 papers. For many Ukrainian and Russian colleagues-who get paid between $100 and $200 per month, but with delays of up to six months-travel expenses are prohibitive, even in their own country. In addition, the participation from outside of the CIS was quite low this year.

The Technical Program Committee of this year's MMET included most of the "Who's Who" in electromagnetics in the whole wide world, but, unfortunately, very few of them managed to travel to Lviv. Organizers told me that many scientists from the West had actually registered, but just on the previous week, cancellations kept landing on their desks. Some speakers suddenly found out, a week before the event, that they could not come... Unfortunately, the MMET Symposium was held in the same week as the European Microwave Conference in Prague, and the General Assembly of URSI had ended the week before, in Lille, France. As a result, there was only one participant from the United States, one from Western Europe (guess who), two from Turkey, and a six-member delegation from Japan. Ukrainians and Russians made up the remainder of the audience, altogether some 100 participants: a good size to establish scientific contacts.

Altogether, the quality of most presentations was remarkable, with a marked improvement as compared with Russian contributions heard in previous years' events. Many authors did master the English language very well, in particular, those from the younger generation. They had a strong incentive to do so: 22 young scientists applied to the contest for the best presentation. The jury set three selection criteria: technical value, quality of the presentation, and knowledge of English.

CIS scientists usually develop original mathematical approaches, based on the work of their own mathematicians, whereas in the West we increasingly attack problems with bruteforce number crunching on the computer. The two approaches are very different, but could well become complementary, each side taking advantage of developments made on the other. A careful study of 500+ pages of MMET Proceedings would therefore be a valuable investment.

All sessions of the symposium were held at the Hotel Karpathy, in the outskirts of Lviv, where participants from outside of the area also got food and lodging. Accommodations were adequate: this was not a deluxe hotel for western, and the rates were quite reasonable. As a matter of fact, everything would have been just right, except for the weather, which turned out to be particularly cold and rainy in this particular week. In agreement with Murphy's law, the previous week had been nice and warm, with beautifully sunny weather.

Incidentally, while rain was pouring on outside, it was matched by the internal pouring of various liquids, allowing attendants to compare the relative merits of Carpathian cognac and Russian vodka. A visit of the town was organized on Tuesday, followed by a welcoming party. On Wednesday, all participants joined in the official banquet, and on Thursday, they could visit the famous "sloping" Lviv Theater. On Friday, the closing act of the symposium was a visit to the "ethnic" open-air museum, ending with a memorable shashlik barbecue. The general atmosphere of the symposium was quite friendly and relaxed, which was somewhat unexpected, in view of the very severe economic situation of the country.

For the participants who could (or had to) stay for an extra day, the symposium organizers prepared an excursion to the castle of Olesky and the "Lavra" of Pochaiv (orthodox churches and monastery), located about 90 miles from Lviv. The religious buildings are indeed magnificent but, unfortunately, the visit were made under humid conditions.

The city of Lviv is a border town, which belonged at various times to the Polish kingdom, then to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, becoming later on part of Ukraine. It was severely damaged at various times during its momentous history, but still possesses a number of magnificent buildings, among them some of the Viennese style, called: Secession" (more information can be found on the WWW at the address

I kept very good memories of this event-in spite of the awful weather. The organizers did their utmost to have the symposium run smoothly and efficiently, and to make their guests feel welcome. I met quite a number of very interesting people, and hope that the scientific ties set up during that week will lead to collaborations in the future. My only regret is that there were so few western participants who could enjoy this particularly favorable situation.

The next MMET Symposium will be held in Kharkov in 1998, in the week following the URSI Commission B Symposium on Electromagnetic Theory in Thessaloniki, Greece. The organizers of the MMET'98 will be Professors Eldar Veliev and Alexander Nosich, from the institute of Radio Engineering of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. It is planned to hold the Symposium in the Kharkov State University. There is a direct flight between Thessaloniki and the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv (Kiev in Russian).

 I hope to see you there!

Young Scientists Awards

First prize:

Miss. S.Sapmaz (Turkey and Japan), "Wiener-Hopf analysis of the diffraction by a strip located at the plane interface between two media".

Second prizes:

Mr.V.Okhmatovsky (Moscow), "Radiation characteristics of a phased antenna array situated under a semi-infinite dielectric slab".

Mr.T.Senyk (Lviv), "Evaluation of periodic Green's function and its derivation by interpolation polynomials in diffraction problems".

Third prizes:

Miss.S.Boriskina (Kharkov), "CAD-oriented analysis of two types of surface-wave bandstop filters".

Mr.S.Koshikawa (Japan), "Plane wave diffraction by a resistive strip".

Mr.M.Samoilenko (Kharkov), "Method of boundary singular integral equations in diffraction by an array of strips".