Asian School on Crystallographic Computing Report, 1995

IUCr Commission on Crystallographic Computing
IUCr Commission on Teaching
25-28 November 1995
Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

The School was organized jointly by the IUCr Computing and Teaching Commissions as a satellite of AsCA'95 (2nd Meeting of the Asian Crystallographic Association) in Bangkok, where the Local Organizing Committee was chaired by Prof. P. Phavanantha.

The School program included 3.5 hours of lectures in the mornings, mostly dedicated to computational aspects) and 2 hours of practical sessions in the afternoons. The morning lectures covered all basic aspects of crystallographic computing (data treatment, Patterson and Fourier, direct methods, refinement and interpretation of results) with also some introductions to more advanced topics such as extensions to macromolecular crystallography, treatment of powder data, analysis of thermal motion and charge density studies. The afternoon lectures gave an introduction to operating systems and programming languages, an overview of crystallographic files for data exchange and publication submission, some ideas on the use of crystallographic databases, and some basic concepts on computer graphics and networks. The practical sessions were mainly hands-on usage of a rather wide variety of crystallographic software running on PC's.

Handouts with lecture notes were distributed to the participants and discussions and questions were encouraged.

The lecturers who contributed to the School were: P. Coppens, G.R. Desiraju, Fan Hai-fu, C.M. Gramaccioli, S. Hall, C. Kennard, P. Phavanantha, M. Ramanadham, W.T. Robinson, J. Simpson, B. Skelton, H. Toraya, D. Viterbo and T. Yamane. The organizational aspects were coordinated by Ahpisit Ungkitchanukit.

The number of participants was 42: 3 from Australia, 1 from China, 5 from India, 6 from Japan, 1 from Pakistan, 1 from Sri Lanka, 2 from Taiwan and 23 from Thailand. Their qualifications ranged from postgraduate students to assistant professor, but most participants were at the postdoctoral level. An anonymous questionnaire was distributed and 17 participants answered. Most people found the School useful and the practical sessions were mostly appreciated. The main problem was the very different crystallographic background of the participants (some answers to the questionnaire suggested a prior streaming of participants).

The atmosphere of the School was warm with very friendly relations among participants and lecturers, despite the intense program and the hard work. The generous coffee breaks and lunches organized by our hosts and, most of all, the practical sessions helped to establish this friendly climate which stimulated people to work harder and discuss their problems. The practical sessions always lasted more than two hours and some people had to be kicked out when the computer rooms had to be closed!

Finally, the success of the School was made possible by:

  • the financial support of IUCr and of the Crystallographic Society of Japan,
  • the enthusiasm of the Bangkok LOC and in particular the dedication of Dr. Ungkitchanukit (a theoretical physicist who volunteered to help us),
  • the invaluable help in the setting up and advertising of the School given by the AsCA president, Prof. W. Robinson, and by Prof. J. Simpson,
  • the encouragement of the IUCr president, Prof. P. Coppens and of Professors Ohashi and Uri, responsible for AsCA'95,
  • the work and dedication of all the lecturers who contributed to the School without any financial support, prepared the lecture notes and the practical sessions,
  • the enthusiasm of the participants who indicated appreciation for our efforts,
  • the warm hospitality of Chulalongkorn University and the fascinating elegance and friendliness of our Thai hosts.
Prof. Davide Viterbo
Chairman of the IUCr Commission on Crystallographic Computing