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This year the SOFSEM conference is coming back to Milovy in Moravia to th be held for the 26 time. Although born as a local Czechoslovak event 25 years ago SOFSEM did not miss the opportunity oe red in 1989 by the newly found freedom in our part of Europe and has evolved into a full-?edged international conference. For all the changes, however, it has kept its generalist and mul- disciplinarycharacter.Thetracksofinvitedtalks,rangingfromTrendsinTheory to Software and Information Engineering, attest to this. Apart from the topics mentioned above, SOFSEM’99 oer s invited talks exploring core technologies, talks tracing the path from data to knowledge, and those describing a wide variety of applications. TherichcollectionofinvitedtalkspresentsonetraditionalfacetofSOFSEM: that of a winter school, in which IT researchers and professionals get an opp- tunity to see more of the large pasture of today’s computing than just their favourite grazing corner. To facilitate this purpose the prominent researchers delivering invited talks usually start with a broad overview of the state of the art in a wider area and then gradually focus on their particular subject.