From the Editor of Newsletter No. 1

In this first issue of the on-line IUCr Computing Commission newsletter is a variety of topics where there should hopefully be at least one article of interest to anyone involved in crystallographic computing.  Not only to those who are curious to know what lies behind the available black-button on the black-box software tools; but also those who wish to become involved in the creation of crystallography algorithms and software.  Specialist crystallographic programmers are becoming an isolated minority within a scientific world increasingly made up people who use crystallography as a tool.  However, those who use crystallography as a tool are dependent on crystallographic programmers for the creation of powerful software tools that make their work possible.

I believe it is no coincidence that those most respected in crystallography are heavily involved in the creation of crystallographic algorithms and software. Not only can their software give them a leading edge over those who are not developing their own analytical tools, but freely distributed software can also impact greatly amongst the scientific community out of all proportion to the private, individual usage of these packages by only their respective authors.  To those wishing to develop a career in research crystallography, (as opposed to a series of disjointed short term contracts relating to crystallography), it is worth considering that an interest in the development of new crystallographic algorithms and software could be very handy in maintaining employability, and enabling opportunities for developing new areas of scientific research.

Lachlan Cranswick (l.m.d.cranswick@dl.ac.uk)