About CRA

CRA Bylaws

CRA counts among its members more than 200 North American organizations active in computing research: academic departments of computer science and computer engineering; laboratories and centers in industry, government, and academia; and affiliated professional societies (AAAI, ACM, CACS/AIC, IEEE Computer Society, SIAM, and USENIX). CRA works with these organizations to represent the computing research community and to effect change that benefits both computing research and society at large.

CRA was formed in 1972 as the Computer Science Board (CSB), which provided a forum for the chairs of Ph.D. granting computer science departments to discuss issues and share information. In 1986 CSB, in recognition of its increasing concern for R&D in the computing fields, including computer engineering and computational science, incorporated as the Computing Research Board (CRB). In 1990, CRB was given its present name, the Computing Research Association, and a permanently staffed office was opened in Washington, DC. CRA is incorporated in the District of Columbia and operates as a 501(c)3 organization under the Tax Code of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

Our Mission

The mission of the Computing Research Association is to catalyze computing research by joining with industry, government, and academia. CRA executes this mission by leading the computing research community; informing policymakers and the public; and championing a diverse, welcoming, equitable, and socially responsible computing research community.

An Invaluable Resource

CRA ensures that computing research has a vibrant future by investing in our community. With the help of industrial, academic and government leaders, we unite the computing community to advance future directions of the field. We enhance public and policymaker understanding of the importance of computing to make the case for federal investment in research. We have programs that mentor and cultivate individuals in each stage of the pipeline, so that more computing researchers can reach their full potential. All of our programs are evaluated regularly in order to ensure their efficacy. Most of initiatives at CRA are led and supported by our passionate volunteers, talented computing researchers who dedicate their valuable time to bring our programs to life. CRA is an invaluable resource to the computing community.

CRA Committee Logos
  • Leadership

    CRA empowers the research community to broaden the scope of computing research and to amplify its impact on society.

    CRA’s Computing Community Consortium (CCC) enables the pursuit of innovative, high-impact computing research that aligns with pressing national and global challenges. 

    • CCC is of, by, and for the computing research community: a responsive, respected, visionary organization that seeks diversity, equity, and inclusivity in all of its activities. 
    • CCC is a powerful convener that brings together thought leaders from industry, academia, and government to articulate and advance compelling research visions.
    • CCC is an effective communicator with stakeholders, policymakers, the public, and the broad computing research community regarding both the substance and importance of those visions.

    The results of CCC visioning activities help inform national priorities. After a series of community visioning workshops, the CCC presented to several federal agencies on A 20-Year Community Roadmap for Artificial Intelligence Research in the US. This community report recommended increased funding and a mechanism for national collaborations as a means of increasing potential for long-term payoffs in AI and keeping the US competitive in the global race for AI. The National Science Foundation, in partnership with six other federal agencies and five additional industrial partners, launched the National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes program, creating multiple AI Institutes throughout the country with different focuses spanning science and engineering disciplines.

    The CRA-Industry Committee (CRA-I) facilitates the interaction between industry partners and other organizations deeply involved in computing research. Created in the Fall of 2020, CRA’s newest committee hosts virtual roundtables, in-person workshops, and authors white papers to give industry partners new opportunities to convene and connect on topics of mutual interest for improved societal outcomes.

    CRA produces resources that establish best practices and brings together thought leaders in the field.

    CRA produces resources that articulate best practices on community issues. As a case in point, CRA released a Best Practices Memo in 2015 entitled “Incentivizing Quality and Impact: Evaluating Scholarship in Hiring, Tenure, and Promotion.” Distinguishing between quality and quantity is key to promoting the future growth of the computing and information field. The memo advocates adjustments to hiring, promotion, and tenure practices, as well as changes to the publication culture.

    CRA members benefit a great deal from interacting with their colleagues in academia and industry. The biennial CRA Conference at Snowbird is our flagship conference where the leadership of the computing research community gathers to network and discuss common issues concerning the future of the field.

    BPCnet.org Resource Portal provides a network for the broadening participation in computing (BPC) community to stay connected and acts as a clearinghouse for information on BPC. Among the community engagement activities created by BPCnet.org are: workshops, community calls, and support for efforts by bringing the larger computing community and BPC experts together. The website provides a curated list of resources including guides for preparing BPC Plans, academic literature, a database of activities that the community can be involved in, and a Statistics and Data Hub which makes data on computing education easily available to users.

  • Policy

    CRA is a trusted source of information for Members of Congress and their staff, as well as the White House and the President’s Council of Advisors for Science and Technology.

    CRA helps educate members of Congress and the administration about the benefits of federal investment in computing research. CRA-sponsored briefings have looked at the United States’ global leadership in S&T and compared it to its peer-competitors, such as China; highlighted important research areas in the field such as artificial intelligence and robotics; and brought members of Congress and their staff into direct contact with the technologies that are impacting every aspect of our lives.

    CRA also helps provide policymakers with expert testimony on issues that affect science policy in general and computing research policy in particular. CRA board members have testified before House and Senate committees about the importance of computing research, cybersecurity research, and the payoff of the federal investment in science. Members of the CRA community sit on agency and presidential advisory boards and serve at agencies throughout the federal government, playing key roles in managing the federal portfolio in computing research.

    CRA assists policymakers who seek to understand the issues confronting the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) program—the nearly $7-billion-a-year federal effort to support computing research at 25 federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. 

    CRA and CCC also help develop the computing community’s next generation of leaders through efforts such as the Leadership in Science Policy Institute, a 1.5 day, DC-based workshop with the goal of increasing the community’s understanding of the policymaking process. Participants get an intensive education from policymakers in the White House, the agencies, and Congress about how decisions affecting science policy actually get made, and what role those participants could play in that process.

  • Talent Development

    Through its activities, CRA helps cultivate talented computing researchers at every stage of their career and champions a diverse, welcoming, equitable, and socially responsible computing research community.

    CRA’s Committee on Widening Participation in Computing Research (CRA-WP) focuses on community building, career mentoring, information sharing, and effecting systemic change for undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, faculty,  industry and government researchers. The purpose of CRA-WP is to widen the participation and increase the success of individuals from populations underrepresented in computing research and education.

    CRA-WP programs include:

    For undergraduate students: Distributed Research Experiences and Grace Hopper Research Scholars

    For graduate students: Graduate Cohort Workshops and Career Mentoring Workshops

    For early to mid-career professionals: Career Mentoring Workshops, CSGrad4US, Anita Borg and Skip Ellis Early Career Awards, and GHC Returning Scholars

    The expressed identities of the individuals CRA-WP serves include: 

    •           Women
    •           Black/African American
    •           Native American/ Alaskan Native/ Pacific Islander
    •           Hispanic/Latinx
    •           LGBTQAI+
    •           Persons with disabilities 
    •           Veterans

    CRA-WP is committed to supporting all communities in computing research. We understand that these identities are non-exhaustive and will continue to evolve over time. 

    In recognition of its accomplishments in increasing representation, the committee was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring in 2003 and the National Science Board’s Public Service Award in 2005.

    CRA’s Education Committee (CRA-E) addresses society’s need for a continuous supply of talented and well-educated computing researchers by: 

    • providing resources and professional development,
    • honoring undergraduate student research and faculty mentoring achievements, and 
    • leading activities that promote the pursuit of graduate education and research careers.  

    Examples of activities include: running CRA’s Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers Award and CRA-E’s Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentoring Award; maintaining Conquer (https://conquer.cra.org/), a website that provides resources to undergraduates interested in graduate education and faculty mentors preparing students for research; publishing monthly research highlights recognizing undergraduate research; and developing, jointly with CRA-WP, the mentoring and coaching program for recipients of CSGrad4US Fellowships.

  • Evaluation

    CRA analyzes the health of the computing research talent pool and evaluates the effectiveness of intervention programs intended to grow this pool by surveying, comparing, and analyzing computing departments and individuals.

    CRA’s annual Taulbee Survey is the principal source of information on students and faculty in doctoral-granting computing departments in North America, including the enrollment, production, demographics, and employment of doctorates in computer science, computer engineering, and information programs. It is the most-trusted source of data regarding masters and undergraduate enrollment and degree production in doctoral institutions, as well as salary and demographic data for faculty in North America. CRA also conducts occasional special department-level surveys on issues of interest to the community, such as surging enrollments and the impact of the COVID-19 disruption on faculty, department operations, student job searches, and budgets.

    CRA’s Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline (CERP) provides data, information resources, and evaluation services to the computing community. CERP collects data from undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, professionals, and non-degree seeking students in computing through the Data Buddies Survey, a nationally recognized survey that helps academic departments and practitioners understand the computing landscape from the individual perspective, at scale. CERP also designs surveys for specific programs including Research Experiences for Undergraduates, professional development workshops, and other intervention programs aimed at broadening participation in computing. Using these data resources and infrastructure, CERP conducts systematic research and program evaluation, tracks career paths and outcomes of computing students, and makes information on the state of the computing research talent pool available to the computing community.