Published: November 2017, Issue: Vol. 29/No.10, Download as PDF

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CRA Statement on US News and World Report Rankings of Computer Science Universities


The latest US News and World Report (USN&WR) ranking of Computer Science (CS) at global universities does a grave disservice to USN&WR readers and to CS departments all over the world. Last week, we respectfully asked the ranking be withdrawn. Unfortunately USN&WR declined.

The methodology used — rankings based on journal publications collected by Web of Science — ignores conference publications and as a consequence does not accurately reflect how research is disseminated in the CS community or how faculty receive recognition or have impact. Furthermore, the list of venues is not public. So while some may debate the soundness of any bibliometric-based rankings, there will be no debate about the flaws in the rankings USN&WR has published; the methodology makes inferences from the wrong data without transparency and, consequently, it arrives at an absurd ranking.

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2017 Computing Research Symposium on Addressing National Priorities and Societal Needs


The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) held its second symposium on Computing Research: Addressing National Priorities and Societal Needs on October 23-24, 2017. As computing has grown even more essential to day to day life, the capacity of computing research to effect societal change and address the needs of society has subsequently increased. In convening the Computing Research Symposium, our goal was to grow awareness and enthusiasm for the role that computing research plays in addressing timely and critical societal needs.

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Data Breaches: Time to Implement a Forward-looking Research Agenda


“Massive breach of databases containing personal information. Millions of records exposed.”

This seems to be an almost daily headline these days. One of the most serious events in recent memory is the breach of the Equifax databases, potentially compromising 143 million records with personal information such as name, social security number, and credit history.

While the Equifax breach garnered much attention, it is just the latest in a string of serious breaches. These events have highlighted the need for a forward-looking research agenda in support of regulatory frameworks and discourse necessary to increase the literacy level among corporate leaders. These are issues the computer science community can help advance, though we must be willing to engage with lawmakers, the business community, and others to have real impact.

Announcements


Save the Dates:
2018 CRA Career Mentoring Workshop
2018 CRA Conference at Snowbird

Nominees Sought for CRA Board of Directors 
The deadline for receipt of nominations is December 1, 2017.

Nominations Open for 2018 CRA-E Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentoring Award
Nominations are due Monday, November 27, 2017 by 5 PM (ET).

Are You Working on the Taulbee Survey?
The CRA Taulbee Survey is in progress. The deadline for the salary section is November 20 and the deadline for the rest of the survey is January 8, 2018.

CRA Summit on Technology and Jobs
On December 12, CRA will host a Summit on Technology and Jobs in Washington, DC.

Applications Open for CRA-W Grad Cohort Workshop
Applications are now open until November for the CRA-W Graduate Cohort Workshop, which will be held April 13-14, 2018 in San Francisco, CA.

Nominations Open for CRA Distinguished Service and A. Nico Habermann Awards
The deadline for receipt of nominations for both awards is December 8.

CRA-E Graduate Fellows Program Accepting Nominations
Faculty members are invited to nominate a graduate student by January 29, 2018.

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New Approaches to Producing High-Performance Code, Thanks to Compiler Technology


What does it take to produce application code that performs as close as possible to a parallel architecture’s compute or memory peak performance? This question is one that programmers of high-performance architectures contemplate regularly since using such systems efficiently can solve problems faster, or solve larger or more complex problems. 

This question fundamentally changes the approach to programming. 

Programming is no longer simply about the correct specification of an algorithm, but expands to understanding and exploiting features of the target architecture in all aspects of an application: algorithm choice, data structures and data layout, where to exploit parallelism, how to make the best use of the memory hierarchy, and how to avoid costly communication and synchronization between cooperating computations. Building applications while addressing performance and scalability concerns is difficult and frequently leads to low-level software that exposes architectural details.

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NAS Report Investigates the Growth of Computer Science Undergraduate Enrollments


The NAS report discusses strategies central for managing enrollment and resources, and makes recommendations for departments and institutions. Its findings and recommendations provide much-needed guidelines on how institutions can allocate resources to meet growing student demand and to adequately support their computer science department in the increasingly central role of computer science in education and research.

Outcomes of Advertised Computer Science Faculty Searches for 2017


Professor Craig E. Wills presents new work that directly follows his previous analysis of current and future computer science needs via advertised tenure-track faculty searches for 2017. This follow-on work looks to understand the relative success of institutions in hiring the tenured/tenure-track faculty in the areas of computer science that were being sought.

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Expanding the Pipeline: Toward Gender Parity in CS @ ILLINOIS


This article outlines several activities at UIUC geared towards encouraging women to join and stay in a computing major. As the authors note, the link between UIUC’s efforts and the uptick in women in computing at UIUC is speculative, as no formal evaluation has been conducted. Nevertheless, the level of engagement in broadening participation in computing at UIUC is encouraging. Of note, UIUC is one of many computing departments and organizations working to increase the representation of women in computing courses and majors. This article is the first in a series highlighting some of these departments. 

The CS undergraduate program at the University of Illinois is among the largest in the nation. It has grown by 250 percent over the last decade to nearly 1,800 undergraduates—and it is still growing. In the last four years, the percentage of women in our CS programs rose from 10 percent to more than 25 percent. And our freshmen class in the College of Engineering rose from 11 percent women in 2012 to about 45 percent in 2016.

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Expanding the Pipeline: Key Learnings on Retaining Underrepresented Minorities and Students with Disabilities in Computer Science


Retention and graduation of underrepresented minorities and students with disabilities is critical to creating a strong pipeline of employees for both industry and academia. In early 2017, the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT) announced the call for nominations for the first annual CMD-IT University Award for Retention of Minorities and Students with Disabilities in Computer Science. The University Award was created to recognize a U.S. academic institution that has demonstrated a commitment and shown results for the retention of students from underrepresented groups in undergraduate computer science programs over the last five years.