The Institute of Computer Science of the Academy of sciences of the Czech Republic is one of the research centers having good conditions for a research in SC due to its long term investigation in neural networks, fuzzy logic as well as in probabilistic computing. Such research was recently started. The organizers of the international conference SOFSEM 2000 (partly supported by ERCIM) suggested the possibility of organizing, inside SOFSEM 2000, a workshop on soft computing; This workshop materialized with success; the program committee consisted of Professor D. Mundici (Milano), Professor M. Baaz (Vienna) and the undersigned P. Hajek. There was an invited lecture by Professor Kruse (Magdeburg) with a paper in the SOFSEM proceedings and 11 contributed papers presented at the workshop and published in an extra volume of the international journal Neural Networks World. The contributors were mainly members of an informal group of Czech, Spanish, Italian and Slovak research that have cooperated for longer time under several formal frameworks (e.g. the COST Action 15 "Many-valued logic for computer science applications".)
In 1997 the IFSA congress (International Fuzzy Sets Association) was held in Prague and included among various other actions also a Springer Soft Computing forum. The Springer Verlag is publishing the journal Soft Computing, now in its fifth volume. People from the informal group mentioned above are heavily involved in editing the journal. A special issue 1 vol. 2 (1998) of the journal was devoted to the Forum.
We understand the domain of SC rather broadly and openly -- from strictly theoretical foundations to practical applications. Each of components of SC may well accommodate. And the informal group appears to be a good starting body for creating the ERCIM working group.