SOFSEM 2001, the International Conference on Current Trends in Theory and Practice of Informatics, was held on November 24 – December 1, 2001 in the ? well-known spa Pie?stany, Slovak Republic. This was the 28th annual conference in the SOFSEM series organized either in the Slovak or the Czech Republic. SOFSEM has a well-established tradition. Currently it is a broad, multid- ciplinary conference, devoted to the theory and practice of software systems. Its aim is to foster cooperation among professionals from academia and industry working in various areas of informatics. The scienti?c program of SOFSEM consists of invited talks, which determine the topics of the conference, and short contributed talks presenting original – sults. The topics of the invited talks are chosen so as to cover the whole range from theory to practice and to bring interesting research areas to the attention of conference participants. For the year 2001, the following three directions were chosen for presentation by the SOFSEM Steering Committee: – Trends in Informatics – Enabling Technologies for Global Computing – Practical Systems Engineering and Applications The above directions were covered through 12 invited talks presented by pro- nent researchers. There were 18 contributed talks, selected by the international Program Committee from among 46 submitted papers. The conference was also accompanied by workshops on Electronic Commerce Systems (coordinated by H. D. Zimmermann) and Soft Computing (coordinated by P. H´ajek).
Membrane computing is an unconventional model of computation associated with a new computing paradigm. The field of membrane computing was initiated in 1998 by the author of this book; it is a branch of natural computing inspired by the structure and functioning of the living cell and devises distributed parallel computing models in the form of membrane systems. This book is the first monograph surveying the new field in a systematic and coherent way. It presents the central notions and results: the main classes of P systems, the main results about their computational power and efficiency, a complete bibliography, and a series of open problems and research topics.