This article is published in the November 2020 issue.

CRA Releases ‘2020 Quadrennial Papers’ Focused on Illuminating Computing Research Challenges and Opportunities for the Next Four Years

The Computing Research Association (CRA) recently released the first of more than a dozen planned white papers produced through its subcommittees, exploring areas and issues around computing research with the potential to address national priorities over the next four years. Called Quadrennial Papers, the white papers attempt to portray a broad picture of computing research detailing potential research directions, challenges, and recommendations for policymakers and the computing research community. The release of the 2020 Quadrennial Papers covers five thematic areas: Core Computer Science, Broad Computing, Socio-Technical Computing, Artificial Intelligence, and Diversity & Education. 

CRA recently released the first set of four papers from the Core Computer Science theme, papers that explore the foundations of our algorithmic world through theoretical computer science, ponder computing challenges in the post-Moore’s Law world, address the opportunities with next generation wireless technologies, and prepare us for the challenges of security in a post-quantum computing world. Over the next several weeks, CRA will release papers in the four other thematic sets. 

The Quadrennial Papers are a part of CRA’s mission to catalyze the computing community to advance future research directions in the field. CRA’s Computing Community Consortium subcommittee (CCC), Committee on Widening Participation in Computing Research (CRA-WP), and Education subcommittee (CRA-E), all contributed white papers to the effort. The topics chosen represent areas of mutual interest among the committee members spanning various subdisciplines of computing research.

CRA, primarily through the CCC, has been producing these white papers every four years since 2008 on topics as wide-ranging as Robotics and Synthetic Biology to Intelligent Infrastructure and the Internet of Things. The papers have frequently had notable impact, including helping motivate a re-envisioning of DARPA, establishing the need for a Big Data Initiative, buttressing support for a National Robotics Initiative, and laying the groundwork for an Artificial Intelligence Research Roadmap. Contributors have included members of CRA committees, as well as experts in academia and industry inside and outside the computing research community. 

CRA thanks all those authors, contributors and reviewers who were part of the effort to bring these papers to fruition. As each of the 2020 Quadrennial papers is released, it will be available at