On behalf of the Organizing Committee, it is my pleasure to welcome all SPAWC 2006 participants to the Côte dAzur. As we all have come to expect from SPAWC workshops, this years edition again promises an exciting technical program. SPAWC 2006 is held in Cannes, which is famous for its annual film festival. Perhaps lesser known is that Cannes was until last year also famous for the 3GSM World Congress, one of the biggest annual fairs in wireless communications. Cannes is in many ways the glamorous face of Sophia Antipolis. Established 30 years ago in the olive groves located between Nice and Cannes, Sophia Antipolis is Europe's largest and permanently expanding science and technology park, with 1 276 establishments and 26 650 jobs. Information Technologies represent 26% of the companies based in Sophia Antipolis, 49% of the jobs and 29% of the park's premises. Sophia Antipolis is the home of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) which introduced GSM. Telecommunications and Information Technology on the Côte d'Azur and in Sophia Antipolis cover a wide range of industries -- from computing and multimedia to telecom, wireless communications, microelectronics, ITS/embedded systems, space, information processing, on-line services and networking.
Within France, the number one tourist attraction in the world, the Côte dAzur ranks second, after Paris, in hosting visitors to a wide range of attractions: shopping in Cannes, the opera, old town and the museums of Chagall and Matisse in Nice, Marineland in Antibes, the Rothschild villa and gardens in Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat, strolling in Saint-Paul de Vence, Eze, Monaco, Saint-Tropez or just about any historic town, sea-side or other, perfume manufacturing traditions in Grasse, etc. The Côte dAzur is also the sea front of the Provence region. Provence has some of the most spectacular landscapes (e.g. Gorges du Verdon) in Europe and has been the inspiration of countless writers and artists. If you have time, you can take a tour of Provences magnificent lavender fields, which are in full bloom in july. 2006 is also the year of Cezanne, Provences most famous painter, with special exhibitions organized in the town of Aix-en-Provence. From there, Arles, the ancient Roman town that inspired some of Van Goghs finest works is also close by.
Transportation between coastal towns can be done conveniently by train. Taxis are expensive and taxi drivers may take advantage of tourists. Information on an arranged taxi service to and from the airport can be found on the SPAWC web site, where information on a convenient bus alternative appears also. As in any major tourist spot, attention has to be paid to pickpockets, bag snatchers, valuables in the hotel and elsewhere, car doors need to be kept locked etc. In France, tipping is not compulsory but always appreciated. The first week of july is in plain tourist season but still before the peak in tourist influx.
I would like to extend my warmest thanks to all the other members of the organizing committee, especially David for handling the web site and technical program, and Pierre and Corinne for handling registrations and other financial tasks; the technical program committee for their reviewing work, and the student team for their help in many small ways.