Preface

    The historic inaugural meeting of the East Asian School of Knots, Links, and Related Topics was held at Kyoyuk Munhwa Hoekwan in Seoul, Korea from February 16 to 20. There were 104 participants, 18 of them were from China, 49 from Japan, 33 from Korea, and in addition four plenary speakers invited from US and Europe. Among all participants, 42 were graduate students and 17 were post-doctors.

    The scientific program consisted of nine 50-minute plenary talks, twelve 30-minute contributed talks and thirty 20-minute contributed talks. Among these fifty one talks, this proceedings contains forty two articles that are mostly full paper versions with few exceptions of extended abstract. As social programs, there was a half-day guided tour to few old palaces at the center of Seoul as well as a reception dinner and a banquet dinner.

    The purpose of the conference was to help promoting the academic exchange and the friendship among researchers of three East Asian neighbors in the area of knots, links and related topics and encouraging graduate students of the three countries to study in this fascinating area of mathematics. A similar exchange program has been held between Korea and Japan for more ten years and the delegates of three countries met at the Xian topology satellite conference of International Congress of Mathematicians 2002 and agreed that the program need to be expanded to include Chinese colleagues and the first annual meeting will be hosted by Korea in 2004, the second by China, and the third and fourth by Japan.

    The conference was mainly supported by Korea Research Foundation via the Pure Basic Science Research Group on "Mapping classes in low dimensional manifolds and classical invariants of knots and links" where Korean organizers of the conference belong to. The conference was also supported by the Information Center of Mathematical Sciences and the Office of International Cooperation in Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. The airfares of thirty five Japanese participants were supported by the 21st century center of excellence program "Constitution for wide-angle mathematical basis focused on knots" that is led by Professor Akio Kawauchi, one of Japanese organizers of the conference,at Osaka City University. We would like to take this opportunity to express sincere thanks to all sponsors for their financial support. Also we should not forget the effort volunteered by Korean graduate students. Without them the organization of the school would have been impossible. Most of all, we thank all speakers and participants for making the school a resounding success and we hope this beautiful tradition continues in future.

May 15, 2004
Ki Hyoung Ko