History of FRICO

Ulrich Pferschy described the origin of the FRICO in the program booklet of the 10th FRICO as follows:

" … However, some people who are taking part in this relaxed exchange of ideas for the first time may ask themselves how such an unstructured event came about. To prevent the formation of false legends, which are sometimes already spread in an hour with wine, I would like to briefly present the official version of the FRICO creation.
In the autumn of 1996, a two-week summer school on the approximation of combinatorial optimization problems took place in Udine (this was the summer school to which the great Papadimitriou had mistakenly arrived a year too early). On the free weekend contained therein, it was obvious to undertake an excursion into the surrounding wine country. At least this was the firm conviction of the two Graz participants, Rüdiger Rudolf and myself. Since excursions of this kind are only half as nice for two (if they are men), we successfully tried to win the apparently like-minded participants Dagmar Handke (Konstanz) and Katja Wolf (Cologne) as companions. The beautiful excursion ended in a trattoria in Cividale with a special local dish, which can best be described as a mixture of potatoes, onions, bacon, and cheese; nothing for a weak stomach. The Frico cheese, a Friulian specialty, gives the dish its name. In a cheerful circle, Katja invited all of us to a Frico dinner in Cologne without knowing what she was starting.
However, it was to take over a year before this invitation could be made more concrete. Now the way from Graz to Cologne is quite long, and as optimizers, we tried to combine the pleasant with the useful. Without further ado, we offered to combine the private visit with a lecture at the then ZPR Cologne. And so that it didn′t look as if the people of Cologne can only listen and have nothing to say themselves, Katja immediately obliged a few "locals" to give further lectures. Thus a one-day workshop had developed in the twinkling of an eye. Although the organizer said: "We can′t call it FRICO", I managed to find the acronym that is known today.
The first FRICO Workshop in 1997 was a great success (in contrast to the Frico dinner in the evening, which was canceled from the program in the following years). This moved Professor Schrader to donate a barrel of Kölsch and to "threaten" to continue organizing this event format on his own if we did not. Of course, we couldn′t afford to let that happen, and so the second FRICO was decided in Graz in 1998.
The rest is history."

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