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AISB miscellaneous Bulletin Item

Open Protest Letter about the disintegration of the "Group in Logic, Language and Computation" (GLLC) at King's College


Open Letter to Prof. Andrew J.I. Jones
Head of Department
Department of Computer Science
King's College London

Copied to:
Professor Rick Trainor, Principal of King's College London
Professor Keith Hoggart, Vice-Principal (Arts & Sciences)
Mr. Chris Mottershead, Vice-Principal (Research & Innovation) and Head of School of Physical Sciences and Engineering

Dear Professor Jones,

It is with great sadness that we have heard the news regarding the planned forced redundancies in the Department of Computer Science. We are particularly upset by the fact that it appears that the Group of Logic, Language and Computation (GLLC) has been singled out to bear the brunt of these cuts. We, the PhD graduates of the GLLC of the years 2002-2007, are writing to you to express our indignation and to urge you to reconsider your actions concerning this matter.

For over a decade, the GLLC has enjoyed a stellar international reputation and it has provided us with an outstanding research and educational environment to kick-start our careers. We have found that a PhD from KCL-GLLC can open many doors. Most of us have chosen to pursue an academic career and have obtained attractive positions at top universities around the world. Others have found that the qualifications we gained during our PhD studies have prepared us equally well for rewarding jobs in the City of London. Through its graduates, the GLLC will continue to have a strong impact on academia around the globe for some time to come. No other research group at the Department of Computer Science has been able to achieve the same kind of success in terms of graduate training.

We find it deplorable that this great tradition seems set to come to a sorry end. The recently announced cuts are of course just the latest episode in a series of major upsets. First, it is incomprehensible to us how the Department managed to reach a situation where it lost Professor Michael Zakharyaschev to Birkbeck in 2005 and Professor David Makinson to the LSE in 2006, both of them scholars of the very highest distinction. Second, it clearly would have been in the interest of Computer Science to do everything in their power to keep the equally distinguished Professor Shalom Lappin, who eventually left for the Philosophy Department in 2005. The latest plans to further diminish the group will effectively finish off the very successful line of research in Logic, Language and Computation at King's. It is hard to understand how this could be part of any meaningful managerial strategy, even in the light of the current financial difficulties.

To conclude, we believe that closing down research into Logic, Language and Computation at King's is a major mistake. It will seriously harm the reputation of the College and of the departments involved for a very long time to come. As the Head of Department for Computer Science, we urge you to do your utmost to reverse these decisions.

Sincerely yours,

The PhD Graduates of the Group of Logic, Language and Computation
at the Department of Computer Science, King's College London, 2002-2007

Dr. Stefan Schlobach (PhD, KCL-GLLC, 2002)
Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science, VU University Amsterdam

Dr. Ulle Endriss (PhD, KCL-GLLC, 2003)
Assistant Professor
Institute for Logic, Language and Computation, University of Amsterdam

Dr. George Metcalfe (PhD, KCL-GLLC, 2004)
Assistant Professor
Mathematical Institute, University of Berne

Dr. Matthew Purver (PhD, KCL-GLLC, 2004)
Department of Computer Science, Queen Mary, University of London

Dr. Roman Kontchakov (PhD, KCL-GLLC, 2004)
Research Fellow
Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, Birkbeck College

Dr. David Gabelaia (PhD, KCL-GLLC, 2005)
Research Fellow
Razmadze Mathematical Institute, Tbilisi

Dr. Christian Ebert  (PhD, KCL-GLLC, 2005)
Department of Linguistics, University of Tuebingen

Dr. Leif Arda Nielsen (PhD, KCL-GLLC, 2005)
Accenture, London

Dr. Corinna Elsenbroich (PhD, KCL-GLLC, 2005)
Research Fellow
Department of Sociology, University of Surrey

Dr. Raquel Fernandez (PhD, KCL-GLLC, 2006)
Research Fellow
Institute for Logic, Language and Computation, University of Amsterdam

Dr. Vladimir Aleksic (PhD, KCL-GLLC, 2006)
Statistical Arbitrage Trader
JPMorgan Chase, London

Dr. Zoran Macura (PhD KCL-GLLC, 2007)
Research Fellow
Centre for Robotics and Neural Systems, University of Plymouth

Dr. Yo Sato  (PhD KCL-GLLC, 2007)
Research Fellow
Science and Technology Research Institute, University of Hertfordshire