Dear friend of IFAC,
It is a great honor and a privilege to invite you to attend the 18th IFAC World Congress in Milano. This invitation gives me the opportunity to express profound gratitude to all National Member Organizations of IFAC for their continued support and their fundamental contribution to the progress of the Federation, to all previous leaders of IFAC for having managed the Federation so well until today, and to the Council of IFAC for having awarded to Italy the 18th IFAC World Congress in 2011. Automatic Control has a long tradition in Italy, which dates to the times at which IFAC was conceived, in 1956. In Italy, we treasure very much our tradition of involvement and contribution to IFAC and we all see the opportunity offered by the 18th IFAC World Congress as the fulfillment of a longstanding dream. On behalf of the Italian National Member Organization of IFAC, numerous friends and colleagues are working hard to prepare and to offer a memorable event. Technical excellence is IFAC’s main concern. In a word in which dissemination of information has become a possibility for everybody, maintaining the highest technical level of scientific excellence is the only way in which an organization like ours can prosper. This is achieved through the top-level quality of the Editorial teams of our Journals, and through the excellence of our Technical Board and our Technical Committees. Technical excellence is indeed the main concern of the International Program Committee of the 18th IFAC World Congress which, under the leadership of Sergio Bittanti, is working hard to prepare an impeccable scientific event. In its activity, the International Program Committee is assisted by the volunteer effort of an immense number of individuals, in Italy as well as in all countries currently represented in IFAC. Those individuals share one common value: the interest in the progress of control science and engineering. After a century dominated by the expansion of technology and, to some extent, by the belief that no technological goal was impossible to achieve, we experience today the clear perception that the model of development followed so far in the industrialized world will change. Today’s wisdom and beliefs may not be the same tomorrow. These changes, though, may provide yet another great opportunity for our discipline. Automatic control has the potential of providing technologies that guarantee reliability, flexibility, safety, for humans as well as for the environment. In a world of limited resources, automatic control can provide the answer to the challenges of a sustainable development and has the opportunity of making a greater and even more significant impact on the society. It is in this optimistic perspective that the community of control scientists and engineers of Italy warmly extends to you a cordial invitation to attend the 2011 IFAC World Congress in Milano.