Membrane computing, born as a member of the big family of natural computi-ng, initiated by Academician Paun in 1998, aims to abstract computability ideas (data structures, operations with them, ways to control and organize these oper-ations, computing models) from the architecture and the functioning of the biolo-gical cell, considered alone, and from the ways the cells cooperate in population-s like tissues, organs, colonies, including neural cells, hence also the brain, and to investigate the computing characteristics and applications of computational m-odels. The resulting models, which are called P systems, are distributed parallel computing devices, processing multisets in compartments defined by membranes.

Until now, membrane computing community has succeeded to achieve a set of landmarking successes: the esta-blishment of International Membrane Computing Society (IMCS), the organization of four regular yearly conference/workshop events, namely European Branch of International Conference on Membrane Computing (ECMC), Asian Branch of International Conference on Membrane Computing (ACMC), Brainstorming Week on Membrane Computing (BWMC), and China Workshop on Membrane Computing (CWMC), the gestation and birth of two periodic publications, Journal of Membrane Computing (JMC) and IMCS Bulletin. Over the past twenty years, membrane computing research has rapidly grown and lots of research papers, volumes and theses, cove-ring a wide spectrum of theoretical aspects, such as studies on computational power, complexity, modelling ca-pabilities, and applications in biology, ecology, electric power systems, graphics, optimization, linguistics, image processing, and pattern recognition, and so on. Most of them are computationally universal and, if an exponenti-al working space can be produced in polynomial time (e.g., by membrane division) during the computation, th-en they are able to solve computationally hard (typically, NP-complete) problems in a feasible (typically, polyno-mial) time. Several simulation programs (useful in applications), including a specialized programming languag-e, P-lingua, are available by now.

IMCS is a scientific society founded during the 14th Brainstorming Week on Membrane Computing (BWMC), hel-d, as usual, in Sevilla, Spain, 1-5 February 2016, having as her aim to promote the development of membrane computing, internationally, at all levels (theory; applications; software, hardware and bio-implementations; con-nection with related areas, etc.), by enhancing the communication/cooperation within the membrane computin-g community and the connections with other professional scientific organizations with similar aims, by promoti-ng membrane computing to young researchers, by organizing dedicated meetings, conferences and workshop-s, by editing the IMCS Bulletin (http://membranecomputing.net/IMCSBulletin), the international journal, Journa-l of Membrane Computing (https://www.springer.com/journal/41965) , special issues of international journals, and other publications, and so on.

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