Strategy for Contacting Companies / Industries / Researchers

The first step was to decide the strategy to follow in order to get the required input data from users dealing with polynomial system solving in companies, industries and scientific laboratories. The following methodology was applied:

- To prepare a questionnaire containing several questions related to
how polynomial system solving is carried out by the user. The questionnaire,
which can be found in the appendix, is divided into five sections:
- the first one is devoted to obtaining information about the industry, company, etc where the researcher works and about the mathematical software used there;
- the second one tried to obtain information about how the equations describing the mathematical model of the problem under consideration were generated;
- the third one asked about the characteristics of the equations (type, number, unknowns, coefficients, );
- the fourth one, when dealing with a nonlinear system of equations, asked about the kind of solutions looked for (real, complex, ) and about the existence of parameters;
- the last one was devoted to determining where the nonlinear solving takes place: in real time during the production process, in a simulation stage, etc.

- To contact companies, enterprises and R&D laboratories dealing with polynomial system solving, and to send them the questionnaire which would be completed by a member of the FRISCO project during a meeting with the researcher involved.
- To organize an open workshop on the needs of industry for polynomial
system solving (Barcelona, October 23-25, 1996) where the different
enterprises, companies etc would be invited to present their cases and where
FRISCO would show their present and future capabilities for polynomial
system solving. A short description of the workshop together with its final program
can be found at pages 127-129 in the number 1 of ``
*The SAC Newsletter*".

The information gathered from the answers to the questionnaire and from the contacts in the Open Workshop are described in section 5.3. About one hundred companies, enterprises and R&D laboratories has been already contacted. Most of them were from Spain and France since, with the Open Workshop taking place in Barcelona, it was easier to persuade them to spend one or two days discussing their needs and experiences of polynomial system solving in ``real-world problems". Another reason was that the main Spanish vendor of mathematical software, Addlink, was strongly involved in the preparation and organization of the Open Workshop by providing the FRISCO project with a list of all the spanish companies, enterprises and R&D laboratories using mathematical software such as Mathematica, Maple, Matlab, NAG Libraries, Axiom, etc.

There were three main difficulties found when contacting the companies, enterprises and R&D laboratories:

- ``time" is a very valuable and expensive commodity for researchers working in industry. Thus it was very difficult to find enough time for a meeting, even if the researcher was strongly interested.
- It is worth noting that the answers obtained started to be sufficiently detailed only after a third or fourth meeting.
- Finally, as expected, researchers in academia and industry speak very different languages: we use the same words for the same kind of objects and problems but with very different meanings.