Published: October 2016, Issue: Vol. 28/No.9, Download as PDF


Computing Research and the Emerging Field of Data Science

Our ability to collect, manipulate, analyze, and act on vast amounts of data is having a profound impact on all aspects of society. This transformation has led to the emergence of data science as a new discipline. The explosive growth of interest in this area has been driven by research in social, natural, and physical sciences with access to data at an unprecedented scale and variety, by industry assembling huge amounts of operational and behavioral information to create new services and sources of revenue, and by government, social services and non-profits leveraging data for social good. This emerging discipline relies on a novel mix of mathematical and statistical modeling, computational thinking and methods, data representation and management, and domain expertise. While computing fields already provide many principles, tools and techniques to support data science applications and use cases, the computer science community also has the opportunity to contribute to the new research needed to further drive the development of the field. In addition, the community has the obligation to engage in developing guidelines for the responsible use of data science.


Nominations Open for CRA Distinguished Service and A. Nico Habermann Awards

The Computing Research Association invites nominations for the 2017 CRA Distinguished Service Award and A. Nico Habermann Award. Both nominations are due December 9.

Distinguished Service Award
CRA presents an award, usually annually, to a person who has made an outstanding service contribution to the computing research community. This award recognizes service in the areas of government affairs, professional societies, publications or conferences, and leadership that has a major impact on computing research.

Nico Habermann Award
CRA presents an award, usually annually, to a person who has made outstanding contributions aimed at increasing the numbers and/or successes of underrepresented groups in the computing research community. This award recognizes work in areas of government affairs, educational programs, professional societies, public awareness, and leadership that has a major impact on advancing these groups in the computing research community.


Nominees Sought for CRA Board of Directors

The Computing Research Association seeks your help in suggesting nominations for its board of directors. We want individuals who have the time, energy, initiative, and resources to work on CRA issues on behalf of the entire CRA community. We have a working board, and all members are expected to work on community issues. The deadline for receipt of nominations is December 2.


Nominations Open for 2017 CRA-E Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentoring Award

CRA’s newest award program 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. Nominations are due Monday, November 28.


CRA-E Graduate Fellows Program

The Computing Research Association Education Committee (CRA-E) is now accepting applications for the CRA-E Graduate Fellows Program. The program provides opportunities for Ph.D. candidates in computing fields to contribute to CRA-E projects, network with computer science education advocates on the committee, engage in advocacy for mentoring undergraduate students and promote undergraduate research and education at the national level. Nominations are due January 30, 2017.


CRA Executive Director Speaks at White House Summit on Computer Science for All

On September 14, CRA executive director, Andrew Bernat was a speaker at the White House Summit on Computer Science for All. The audience heard from students and leaders of CS education efforts as part of the CS for All initiative. The initiative aims to ensure CS education is available to all K-12 students across the U.S. CRA member institutions’ support will include faculty expertise and effort, the development of innovative computing education products, and teacher development.


Computing Researchers Travel to D.C. to Make the Case for Computing

On September 14, 21 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 Maryland and Pennsylvania, and as far away as Utah and California, participated in nearly 50 House and Senate meetings. 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 reinforced with additional information from CRA, they made the “Federal case” for computing to members of Congress and their staff. And they’ve hopefully started a lasting dialogue on both sides.

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Undergraduate Computing Majors Talk about Institutional Support at Their College or University for Becoming a Middle or High School Teacher

CERP asked 3,616 undergraduate computing majors about their perceptions of institutional support for becoming a middle or high school computing teacher. As seen here, very few students in this sample have been exposed to this career path in their department, and more than one-third of students perceive the career path as viewed negatively in their department. Furthermore, few students knew where to seek advice for this career path at their institution. These data suggest colleges and universities in general, and computing departments specifically, could improve the amount of emphasis placed on teaching middle or high school computing. In turn, this might result in increased interest by computing majors in becoming middle or high school computing teachers. Given recent efforts to promote widespread K-12 computing education, enhancing support for students who might be interested in becoming middle or high school computing teachers is important.

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The Future of Computing Research: Industry-Academic Collaborations

The Computing Community Consortium convened a round-table of industry and academic participants in July 2015 to better understand the landscape of industry-academic interaction, and to discuss possible actions that might be taken to enhance those interactions. This discussion was preceded by a survey sent to academics and industry representatives in Spring of 2015. This survey was designed to provide some current information about the perceptions of the value of academic/industry interaction as well as trends and barriers.

The resulting report, The Future of Computing Research: Industry-Academic Collaborations, touches on topics that were discussion during the round-table as well as in the survey.


One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence

What do you think your field will look like in 100 years? Speculating about the world a century from now may be too challenging, so what if instead a community took it upon itself to periodically assess its progress and potential nearer-term futures over time? How might such reflections influence the rate of progress, the types of problems that the field focuses on, the public perception of the work, or the ability to anticipate and address thorny ethical or policy questions?

The first step on a project to answer these questions was taken with the release of the first report of the One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100).

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Expanding the Pipeline: PROMISE Brings a New Phase of #ThinkBigDiversity to Maryland Grad Students

Graduate students in STEM fields can find their M.S. and doctoral experiences to be both isolating and academically challenging. Loneliness can be particularly poignant when the graduate student is a member of an underrepresented group; has had an undergraduate experience that was connected by school spirit, such as collectively rooting for the college’s sports teams; or has participated in group-based academic student success initiatives, such as the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers, which primarily connect to undergraduate students.

To combat isolation, PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP), a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation, hosts the annual Summer Success Institute (SSI), a pre-semester weekend conference in August for graduate students. The SSI features professional development activities that directly cater to the needs of graduate students in STEM, and peripherally to “postdoctoral fellows, professors, and career professionals (PP&P).”

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Please share these opportunities with your students.
Applications Open for Grad Cohort 2017
The upcoming CRA-Women Graduate Student Cohort (Grad Cohort) will be held April 7-8, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Grad Cohort is a two-day workshop for female students in their first, second, or third year of graduate school in computing fields. The application is available here and closes November 30. The workshop aims to increase the ranks of senior women in computing-related studies and research by building and mentoring nationwide communities of women through their graduate studies.

CRA-Women Virtual Undergrad Town Hall: Enabling Science Breakthroughs Using Computer Science
During CRA-W’s Virtual Undergraduate Town Hall webinar, students from around the world will learn about cutting edge research in the field of computing, and ask questions to distinguished computer scientists. The next event will be held October 13 at 7PM EST. Click here to register.


Are you working on the Taulbee Survey?

The CRA Taulbee Survey is in progress. The deadline for the salary section is November 18 and the deadline for the rest of the survey is January 18, 2017.

If you are the academic unit head of a U.S. or Canadian department granting doctoral degrees in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and/or Information, you should have received emails about the survey. If you did not, please check with the CRA Director of Statistics, Dr. Betsy Bizot, at


Announcing the VMware Systems Research Award for Early Career Faculty

We are pleased to announce a new award in support of the computer science research community. The objective of this award is to call attention to a valuable and promising body of emerging computer science systems research and provide support for continued advances by an emerging research leader. This will be an annual award in the amount of USD 100,000, granted to the recipient’s university in support of her/his research.

Eligible nominees are faculty worldwide within 5 years of their first tenure-track appointment. Nominations must be submitted by a university department chair and each submission should include a one-page letter of nomination, a proposed citation and three references with contact information. Each department chair is limited to a single nomination which must be submitted via email at The deadline for the nominations submission is November 15, 2016.


John Hopcroft Receives China’s Friendship Award

John Hopcroft, 2007 CRA Distinguished Service award recipient, recently received the Friendship Award, China’s highest award given to “a foreign expert who has made an outstanding contribution to China’s economic and social progress.” Hopcroft is a faculty member at Cornell University. He has lectured frequently in China and helped several Chinese universities upgrade their advanced teaching programs.

From Cornell’s announcement:
“We cannot waste a significant fraction of the world’s talent,” Hopcroft said. “Improving education in China is an opportunity to improve the lives of tens of millions of individuals. This is also an opportunity for Cornell to truly become an international university – by committing to help other countries improve their educational systems.”


Ruzena K. Bajcsy Receives NAE Founders Award

Ruzena K. Bajcsy, the 2003 recipient of the CRA Distinguished Service Award, recently received the 2016 Simon Ramo Founders Award from the National Academy of Engineering.

The award webpage states: “Her current research is in the use of robotic technology, namely measuring and extracting noninvasively kinematic and dynamic parameters of individual in order to assess their physical movement capabilities or limitations. If there are limitations, her students have designed assistive devices that can compensate for the lack of kinematic agility and /or physical strength.”

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Join ACM and Shape the Future of Computing!

Join ACM and Shape the Future of Computing! For over 50 years, ACM has helped computing professionals to be their most creative, connect to peers, and see what’s next. Joining ACM means you dare to be the best computing professional you can be. Join ACM today and save 25% at ACM-W supports, celebrates, and advocates internationally for the full engagement of women in all aspects of the computing field.