During late June and early July of 1987 a three week program (dubbed "microprogram") in Commutative Algebra was held at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute at Berkeley. The intent of the microprogram was to survey recent major results and current trends in the theory of commutative rings, especially commutative Noetherian rings. There was enthusiastic international participation. The papers in this volume, some of which are expository, some strictly research, and some a combination, reflect the intent of the program. They give a cross-section of what is happening now in this area. Nearly all of the manuscripts were solicited from the speakers at the conference, and in most instances the manuscript is based on the conference lecture. The editors hope that they will be of interest and of use both to experts and neophytes in the field. The editors would like to express their appreciation to the director of MSRI, Professor Irving Kaplansky, who first suggested the possibility of such a conference and made the task of organization painless. We would also like to thank the IVISRI staff who were unfailingly efficient, pleasant, and helpful during the meeting, and the manager of MSRI, Arlene Baxter, for her help with this volume. Finally we would like to express our appreciation to David Mostardi who did much of the typing and put the electronic pieces together.
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