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Since it was first held in 1993, the Working Conference on Reverse Engineering (WCRE) has truly become the center of the reverse engineering community. Our mission is to be "the premier research oriented conference dedicated to the theory and practice of recovering information from existing software and systems". WCRE explores innovative methods of extracting the many kinds of information that can be recovered from software, software engineering documents, and systems artifacts, and examines innovative ways of using this information to aid in reengineering, program understanding, system renovation, and related activities.

WCRE is a juried research conference with a difference: it is truly a "working conference"! It is a joint meeting place of industrial and academic researchers. Unlike most conferences, where paper speeches and talking heads at the front of the room provide little opportunity for interaction, WCRE is *focused* on discussion and interchange. Paper presentations are strictly limited to 20 minutes, and we've found that WCRE participants often communicate much more solid information in 20 minutes than speakers in other meetings do in an hour. After each set of papers on related topics, there is an open discussion on the topic area, often comparing and contrasting findings, considering related areas of exploration, or suggesting new research approaches.

Our field advances best by interaction. Out of previous WCREs have come cooperative research projects and new industry-academic relationships. Joint research efforts have been formed and people who did not know they were working along similar lines are now sharing expertise and insight. Even in an era of tight travel budgets and extra selectivity in conference attendance, WCRE can be readily justified by what you can get out of it. Papers presented at WCRE have been among the most-cited reverse engineering and reengineering sources, but even more valuable is WCRE's technical interchange among leaders of the field from all over the world -- something you miss if you just read the proceedings after the fact.

WCRE has the support and strong encouragement of our sponsors, particularly the industrial Reengineering Forum and the IEEE Computer Society's Technical Council on Software Engineering (TCSE). They, and the many researchers worldwide who follow developments in reverse engineering and reengineering, look to us to lead, to set the agenda, and to anticipate promising lines of inquiry for the future.

Elliot Chikofsky
META Group
Burlington, Massachusetts, USA
October 1997