Published: October 2015,  Issue: Vol. 27/No.9, Download as PDF

Congress Avoids Shutdown; Boehner Quits; Budget Still Unsettled

A last-minute agreement hammered out September 30th, just hours before the start of the new Federal fiscal year, between the House and Senate averted a government shutdown at least through mid-December. But the agreement spelled the end of Rep. John Boehner’s (R-OH) term as Speaker, as he announced his resignation — citing the difficulties of working with an increasingly fractured GOP — from both the Speakership and his seat in Congress, effective October 30th. While the move quiets debate temporarily about the final budgets for Federal agencies, including Federal science agencies in FY 2016, and keeps them open, it casts very little light about how funding will ultimately be resolved by the Congress.

CRA-E Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentoring Award

CRA is pleased to announce a new award program that honors faculty members in computing who have made a significant impact on students they have mentored. The CRA-E Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentoring Award recognizes faculty members who have provided exceptional mentorship and undergraduate research experiences, and, in parallel, guidance on admission and matriculation of these students to research-focused graduate programs in computing.

CRA Welcomes its Newest Staff Member

Jill Hallden is CRA’s part-time accounts payable specialist. She works closely with Sandra Corbett, program associate, to ensure that the organization’s bills get paid on time and reimbursements for participants in CRA-sponsored events are processed expeditiously. Prior to joining CRA, Jill retired from a 12-year career as an assistant professor of geography at George Mason University, where she focused on digital cartography and world regional geography. When she’s not processing reimbursements, she enjoys cycling, spending time with her three boys, and making interesting cupcake creations.

Baccalaureate Origins of Women Ph.D.s in Computing, 1990-2013

As part of a larger project examining trends in the representation of women in computing from 1990-2013, we licensed data from the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED). The SED is sent each fall to every individual who received a research doctorate from an accredited U.S. institution in the previous academic year. It asks about the respondent’s educational background, demographics, and postgraduation plans. In 2013, 92 percent of doctoral recipients completed the survey. We included data on SED respondents whose field of doctoral program was in the disciplines of (SED codes are listed in the parenthesis): Computer Science (400), Computer Engineering (321), Information Science & Systems (410), Robotics (415), and Computer & Information Systems, Other (419).

Ph.D. recipients in computing fields are primarily non-U.S. residents in most states in the U.S.

Overall, non-US residents received 1,210 (54%) of the 2,244 computing related Ph.D. degrees awarded in the U.S. in 2013. This map illustrates that while non-U.S. residents received more than 50% of the Ph.D.s awarded in the majority of states, there was considerable variation across the states. Interestingly, a Pearson correlation test indicates that the proportion of computing Ph.D. degrees awarded to non-residents in each state was not related to the number of Ph.D. programs available in each state, r = .03, p = .83.

Computing Researchers Fly-in to D.C. to Make the Case for Computing

On September 17, 20 computing researchers from across the country visited Washington, D.C. to make the case before Congress for federally funded computing research. The volunteers, traveling from as near as Virginia and Pennsylvania, and as far away as Indiana and Washington, participated in 57 House and Senate meetings on Thursday, September 17. Their message to Congress was very simple: Federally supported computing research is vital to the nation’s future. Using their own research and individual stories as support, and supported with additional information from CRA, they made the “Federal case” for computing to Members of Congress and their staff. Just as important as the message they presented, they also made valuable connections with the officials who represent them in D.C. Those Members now know more about the expertise and interesting (and important) computing work that occurs in their districts and states, and our participants have a sense of just who represents them in Congress. And they’ve hopefully started a lasting dialogue on both sides.

Cache or Scratchpad? Why Choose?

The following is a special contribution to this blog by CCC Executive Council Member Mark D. Hill of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Full disclosure: He had the pleasure of working with one of the authors of the discussed paper—Sarita Adve—on her 1993 Ph.D.

Great conundrums include:
* Will I drink coffee or tea?
* Shall I have cake or ice cream?
* Should I use a cache or scratchpad?
While most readers will not face the last choice, it is important for saving time and energy in the devices we love by keeping frequently used information close at hand.

Excitement Around K-12 CS Education, but There’s Work to be Done by the CS Community

From the CCC Blog The following blog post is by Ran Libeskind-Hadas, R. Michael Shanahan Professor and Computer Science Department Chair at Harvey Mudd College, Co-Chair of CRA’s Education subcommittee (CRA-E), and former Computing Community Consortium (CCC) Council Member and Debra Richardson, founding dean of the University of California, Irvine Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences and CCC council member. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this week that every public […]

Expanding the Pipeline -Exploring Computer Science: Active Learning for Broadening Participation in Computing

An opinion piece published in The New York Times entitled “Are College Lectures Unfair?” provides a clue to the persistent gender and race gaps in computer science [1]. The author, Annie Murphy Paul, poses several provocative questions: “Does the college lecture discriminate? Is it biased against undergraduates who are not white, male, and affluent?” She proceeds to explain how a growing body of research shows that “the lecture is not generic or neutral, but a specific cultural form that favors some people while discriminates against others, including women, minorities, and low-income first generation college students.” Paul then contrasts the lecture with active learning, where students construct knowledge through hands-on problem solving, engaging with the material through group work, collaborative thinking, and where students anchor their learning in knowledge they possess and cultural references with which they are familiar. For educators of computer science, a field that has been largely taught through lecture and direct instruction, research supporting active inquiry-based learning should give everyone pause to reflect and discuss [2, 3].

NSF/CISE Plays Leadership Role in New Federal Smart Cities Initiative

By Jim Kurose, Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), and Erwin Gianchandani, Acting Deputy Assistant Director of NSF for CISE On Monday, Sept. 15th, National Science Foundation (NSF) Director, Dr. France Córdova, joined other federal science leaders at the White House, including the President’s Science […]