This article is published in the November 2020 issue.

CCC Quadrennial Papers: Core Computer Science

As part of the rollout of the 2020 CRA Quadrennial Papers, the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is pleased to publish the first four papers around the “Core Computer Science” theme, including papers on post quantum cryptography, the foundations of our algorithmic world, opportunities with next generation wireless technologies and computing challenges in the post-Moore’s Law world. The Quadrennial Papers are intended to help inform the computing research community and those who craft science policy about opportunities in computing research to help address national priorities. As part of CCC’s contribution, in addition to the theme of Core Computer Science, we will be releasing three additional sets of Quadrennial Papers over the next several weeks, including ones organized around themes of Broad Computing, Artificial Intelligence, and Socio-Technical Computing. The overall Computing Research Association effort includes contributions around the theme of Diversity and Education from our colleagues on CRA’s Committee on Widening Participation in Computing Research (CRA-WP) and CRA’s Committee on Education (CRA-E). 

As a field, computer science is always on the cusp of what comes next. Before we can take this next step, it is critical to make sure the foundation is solid and that the hardware and software we have now will be able to sustain and support this next generation of technology. The series of papers, ‘Core Computer Science’, takes a look at what needs to be done as a field to prepare for the future of computing research in Post Quantum Cryptography, Theory, Wireless Networking and Post-Moore’s Law to ensure CS has a strong enough foundation to carry our visions to realization.

Brief descriptions, author details, and links to the Quadrennial Papers released today are included below. We will announce future releases here in the coming days and weeks. For a complete list and brief descriptions of upcoming releases, check the CRA Quadrennial Papers page. All the CCC-contributed papers can also be found on the CCC-led White Papers page.

Post Quantum Cryptography:  Readiness Challenges and the Approaching Storm
Authors: Matt Campagna (Amazon), Brian LaMacchia (Microsoft Research), and David Ott (VMware Research)

Few people are aware that each advancement we make in quantum computing brings us closer to a complete breakdown of our digital security and privacy. As quantum-driven advancements in cryptographic analysis and computing technology are achieved, the cryptographic algorithms that protect our private online information and data is threatened.  This paper identifies issues that need to be addressed before the quantum transition, particularly in identifying a replacement for current cryptography algorithms and ensuring a safe transition of uses.

Theoretical Computer Science: Foundations for an Algorithmic World
Authors: Shuchi Chawla (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Jelani Nelson (UC Berkeley), Chris Umans (California Institute of Technology), and David Woodruff (Carnegie Mellon University)

This paper presents the case for robust support of research and funding of foundational work in Theoretical Computer Science (TCS), highlighting three major areas of current interest in the field. Work in this discipline benefits the entire field of computer science by offering insights to the possibilities and limitations of computation, identifying key issues in new areas and discerning computation and algorithms in settings beyond computer science.  

Computing Research Challenges in Next Generation Wireless Networking
Authors: Elisa Bertino (Purdue University), Daniel Bliss (Arizona State University), Daniel Lopresti (Lehigh University), Larry Peterson (Princeton University), and Henning Schulzrinne (Columbia University)

Wireless networking has seen explosive growth over the past decade and continues to evolve rapidly. Cellular technology is now progressing from 4G and its potential for broadband speeds to mobile devices, to 5G which will further enhance transmission speeds, cell capacity, and latency through the use of different radio technologies. 6G is already envisioned to employ virtualization across all layers and the pervasive deployment of AI. On the hardware side, new classes of highly flexible application specific processors (ASICs) are being developed, driving further progress. In addition, deep programmability will open up enormous opportunities to manage the complexity and harness the power of the new network infrastructure. This paper explores these key technologies and outlines a research agenda to make them a reality.

Advancing Computing’s Foundation of US Industry & Society
Authors: Thomas Conte (Georgia Institute of Technology), Ian Foster (University of Chicago), William Gropp (University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign), and Mark Hill (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

As the 55-year reign of Moore’s Law comes to an end, new computing techniques will be required in order to continue  the improvement of computer speed and performance. This paper outlines a number of techniques that will lead to advancements in the computing field and benefits society as a whole.

CCC Quadrennial Papers: Core Computer Science