In the mid-1990s there were several groups experimenting with the use of mailing lists as an online conferencing mechanism. After reading about some of these at the University of Maryland and seeing products like "Convene", Roger Smith, an engineer in the military simulation industry undertook to create a conference on military simulation. The first event was held in 1994 and mediated through the Majordomo software to distribute conference papers and graphics to the "attendees" who registered to "attend" the conference. That first event attracted 400 participants from 16 countries. The conference consisted of 17 papers, one of which was presented every few days through email distribution. Discussions ensued for several days and then the next paper was distributed for reading and discussion.
Following the success of the first conference, the organizers and sponsors continued to produce the event for 4 years. In 1995 the conference materials were also posted on the brand-new World Wide Web and accessible to a few people through the NCSA Mosaic browser. However, few people in the simulation industry had this type of access to the Internet in 1995, so most of the distribution and discussion continued to be managed via the Majordomo list server.
Roger Smith wrote a paper for the Internet World Conference in 1994 describing the experience of creating and running the conference - "Internet as a Professional Conferencing Arena" He was also nominated for the Rolex Award for Enterprise based on this project.
In 1997 or 1998 all of the papers from the four conferences were entrusted to the Society for Computer Simulation for posting on their web site and archiving. Unfortunately, in those early days of organizational web pages, it was not clear that they had real value. When SCS changed their web site they deleted the only known complete copy of the ELECSIM papers. However several of the papers remain published on the personal web pages of the authors, some of which are listed in the References section below. Numerous citations to ELECSIM papers can also be found in later conference publications and several papers appeared as chapters in publications by the National Academies Press.