CRA Bulletin

The CRA Bulletin frequently shares news, timely information about CRA initiatives, and items of interest to the general community.
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Posts categorized under: For Researchers

Information on activities relevant to researchers.


Why Social Science? Because It Makes Computing Work for People


Two years ago, the leadership of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee looked to our organization, the Computing Research Association, to endorse an approach to reauthorize funding at a number of key Federal science agencies. The proposed legislation would provide increases for computing research funding at the National Science Foundation while keeping the overall agency budget essentially flat by bolstering computing — along with mathematics, physics, biology, and engineering — at the expense of the social, behavioral, and economic sciences (and the geosciences). The committee Chair hoped that CRA, which represents nearly 200 academic computing departments and industrial research labs — including computing research labs at IBM, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft — would support the approach, given the direct and indirect benefits increased investment in computing research at NSF would have to our member institutions.

Brent-HailpernBrent-Hailpern

Collaborative Research as the Key to Advancing AI


Just about every day we learn about a new application of cognitive computing. From predicting schizophrenia to analyzing Wimbledon fan experiences, cognitive computing and artificial intelligence have arrived and are making a measurable difference in our daily lives. But with all the excitement around real-world applications of this powerful technology, it is easy to forget that the Cognitive Era, as we call it at IBM, is still in its infancy. And there is a tremendous amount of work yet to be done. Collaborating with leading minds around the world is the key to fulfilling the true potential of cognitive computing. And that’s why IBM formed the Cognitive Horizons Network (CHN), a network of the world’s leading universities committed to working with IBM to accelerate the development of core technologies needed to advance the promise of cognitive computing.

HV JagadishHV Jagadish

CRA Board Member Highlight: H. V. Jagadish


I study how data and people interact. For more than a decade, I have been studying how to help humans access and manage information. While there is a lot of good work on human-computer interaction and on data visualization, much less work exists on “human-data interaction.” Why can anyone use Google to get information of interest while it is so difficult to get useful information from a structured database? The difference lies in the specificity of the request. A web search engine receives your request and tries to guess your intention. You know that it has a limited understanding of your need, and are happy to have it get you into “the zone,” from where you can explore for yourself. On the other hand, a traditional database query engine can give you complete answers to complex questions but requires that you precisely specify your query. If you make a small mistake, you are out of luck. Wouldn’t it be helpful to devise database query mechanisms that you can actually use and get reasonable results from even if you don’t ask it totally correctly? Complementarily, can the system help you ask a better question in the first place? Similar concerns also apply to the creation of a database, and helping users manage their data.

A CS Education Summit in Pittsburgh: Addressing the Challenges of Increasing Interest in Computing at the Undergraduate Level through Institutional Transformation


Given the convergence of burgeoning enrollments in CS across many universities and colleges in the United States and the need to re-imagine the way computer science is taught to address 21st century challenges, the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University is hosting a 2-day summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pending anticipated funding.

The CRA Taulbee Survey and Teaching Faculty Data


Non-tenure-track teaching faculty are becoming more important to doctoral departments to help them meet their educational goals and responsibilities, particularly in response to the current enrollments surge. In the Generation CS report (available at https://cra.org/data/Generation-CS/), 65% of doctoral departments reported in fall 2015 that they had increased the number of teaching faculty on continuing appointments in response to increased enrollments, and an additional 16% were considering it. Similarly, between fall 2006 and fall 2016, the proportion of Taulbee Survey respondents reporting at least one full-time non-tenure-track teaching faculty member increased from 81% to 87% and, more notably, the median number of such teaching faculty at the departments reporting nonzero counts rose from 3 to 6.

Jane StoutJane Stout

CERP Director Discusses Strategies to Promote Diversity in Tech in EdTech Magazine


CRA’s own Jane Stout, director of the CRA Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline (CERP), was recently featured in the article “Q&A: Researcher Shares Strategies to Increase Diversity in Tech,” in EdTech Magazine: Focus on Higher Education. Amy Burroughs, managing editor of EdTech spoke to Jane about why the lack of diversity in tech persists, how institutions benefit from diverse groups and how IT leaders can build more diverse teams. Drawing from her social science background and her current research on factors that influence women and minorities pursuing computing careers, Jane emphasized building a sense of belonging and community and encouraged IT managers to actively recruit women who can serve as role models and mentors. She also encourages IT managers to recognize that there are different types of effective leadership styles. 

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Maximizing Opportunity and Building Capacity: Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington


This article describes strategies we have employed at the University of Washington to increase the prominence and impact of our program. In the past few years we have been elevated from a department to the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, we have begun construction on a second building that will double our space, and we have received legislative investments that will double our enrollment while preserving our ability to closely mentor students. While we have some important advantages (principal among them Seattle’s emergence as a leading center of technology in multiple sectors) and some particular circumstances (such as our role as a public university, dependent upon legislative support and bearing regional responsibilities), we believe that many of these strategies will be usable by others.

Workshop – Research on Learning about Machine Learning


The ACM International Computing Education Research (ICER) Conference will hold a workshop on Research on Learning about Machine Learning Organizers: Ben Shapiro (University of Colorado Boulder) Peter Norvig (Google) Rebecca Fiebrink (Goldsmiths University of London) When: Monday, August 21, 2017 09:00-17:00 Machine learning is transforming many areas of computer science. From natural language processing and search […]

New Computing Faculty Workshops in Summer 2017


The third New Computing Faculty Workshop will be held August 6-8, 2017 in San Diego. The goal of the workshop is to help computing faculty at research intensive universities to be better and more efficient teachers. By learning a little about teaching, we will help new faculty (a) make their teaching more efficient and effective (e.g., students learn more with less input time from faculty) and (b) make their teaching more enjoyable. The workshops were described in Communications of the ACM in the May 2017 issue.

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Nearly 10 Years Later, CRA-W Career Mentoring Workshop Participants are More Advanced in their Careers Than Non-Participants


CERP recently extracted Web data to observe the career progression of women who had participated in the CRA-W’s 2008 or 2009 Career Mentoring Workshops (CMWs) compared to a sample of women who had never participated in CMWs. We obtained the comparison sample from a population of women who earned their Ph.D.s in computer science during the same time period as the participants. We collected current career information including job titles (e.g., associate professor) and job setting (e.g., academia vs. industry/labs) for both groups. We then categorized job titles as entry level (e.g., assistant professor, software engineer), mid level (e.g., associate professor, senior engineer), and senior level (e.g., professor, principal program manager), collapsed across job setting. To test for a systematic difference in job rankings between workshop participants and the comparison group, we ran a 2 (Group) x 3 (Job Title Rank) Chi-squared test and found a statistically significant difference in rankings across the two groups, χ2 (2, N = 181) = 8.46, p < 0.05. Specifically, CMW participants were less likely than non-participants to be in an entry level position, p < .05, and more likely to be in a senior level position than non-participants, p < .05.

Dan GrossmanDan Grossman

Research Highlight: CRA Board Member Dan Grossman


Since I started graduate school in 1997, I have considered myself a member of the programming languages research community — and I continue to attend and publish in the annual conferences of this vibrant computing subfield. But over the last 5-10 years, I have also found myself increasingly passionate about opportunities for computing researchers to focus on ways to influence computing education beyond, for those of us who are academics, our own classrooms and independent studies. Let me share some of the projects I have enjoyed (seriously!) and others I wish I had more time to pursue.

Generation CSGeneration CS

CRA Releases Report on Surge in Computer Science Enrollments


Generation CS: Computer Science Undergraduate Enrollments Surge Since 2006 Across the United States and Canada, universities and colleges are facing a significant increase in enrollment in both undergraduate computer science (CS) courses and programs. The current enrollment surge has exceeded previous CS booms, and there is a general sense that the current growth in enrollment […]

Mary CzerwinskiMary Czerwinski

Research Highlight: CRA Board Member Mary Czerwinski


My research revolves around tracking and understanding users’ emotional states and leveraging that information as additional context for the design of emotionally sentient systems. Some of the systems we have built have been designed for a user’s own personal reflection. Our first application, AffectAura, provided users with their own behavior patterns over time, such as what they were doing, where they were, who they were with and how they felt. This information could be used to make personal decisions about behavior change—if certain activities usually result in your feeling good or bad, perhaps you want to increase or decrease those behaviors.

NCSES Publishes Latest Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering Report


Yesterday, the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) announced the release of the 2017 Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering (WMPD) report, the federal government’s most comprehensive look at the participation of these three demographic groups in science and engineering education and employment.

A Conversation on Data Science


CRA brings together people from academia, government labs, and industrial labs. For me, coming from industry, Snowbird is an unbeatable opportunity to take the pulse of academia. One of the hot topics in 2016 was the Data Science juggernaut. I was glad to join Barbara Ryder (Chair) and Lise Getoor (Co-Chair) in organizing the panel session: Data Science in the 21st Century, which was well attended and full of energy and ideas. After CRA’s Committee on Data Science (Lise Getoor, Chair, David Culler, Eric de Sturler, David Ebert, Mike Franklin, and H.V. Jagadish) published the bulletin article Computing Research and the Emerging Field of Data Science, David Culler and I sat down for a follow-up chat: A Conversation on Data Science.

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Undergraduate Research Opportunity Listing Service


The Computing Research Association’s Education Committee (CRA-E) is pleased to announce the “Undergraduate Research Listing Service.” This free service is now available for faculty and other researchers to advertise undergraduate research opportunities and for undergraduates to find such opportunities. The site can be found here: http://conquer.cra.org/research-opportunities.

NSF CISE 2017 CAREER Proposal Writing Workshop


The NSF Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) will host a one-day workshop on CAREER Proposal Writing on March 20, 2017. This workshop will be held at the Hilton Arlington, near the National Science Foundation. The goal of this workshop is to introduce junior CAREER-eligible faculty to the NSF CAREER program and help them to prepare their CAREER proposals to target CISE programs. Attendees will have the opportunity to improve their skills in proposal writing, as well as to interact with NSF program directors from different CISE divisions (ACI, CCF, CNS, and IIS) and recent NSF CAREER awardees.

J WingJ Wing

Executive Q&A: Jeannette M. Wing, Head of Microsoft Research


Microsoft is a Lab and Center member of CRA. This article is the second in a series of our industry member profiles.

Jeannette M. Wing joined Microsoft Research in January 2013, after holding positions in academia and government, most recently at Carnegie Mellon University and the National Science Foundation (NSF). From 2007 to 2010, she served as assistant director of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate at the NSF. Wing is a former CRA board member and recipient of the 2011 CRA Distinguished Service Award. Her areas of expertise are in trustworthy computing, formal methods, concurrent and distributed systems, programming languages, and software engineering.

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De Lange Conference on Humans, Machines, and the Future of Work


CRA recently was a sponsor and participated in the De Lange Conference on Humans, Machines, and the Future of Work, which focused on the impact of the amazing technologies being developed by the computing research community on the nature of work and employment. The conference was held at Rice University with primary funding from the De Lange Conference Fund at Rice, which brings top experts and major figures to its campus in order to focus on a topic of great concern to society.