Highlights from the 2022 CRA Conference at Snowbird
After a four year hiatus due to COVID, the Computing Research Association (CRA) was thrilled to host the 2022 CRA Conference in person from July 19-21 in Snowbird, Utah. CRA welcomed department chairs and computing research leaders from across the country to network and discuss common issues concerning the future of the field. There were several engaging conference sessions on Computing Departments, Computing Education, Computing in Industry, and Computing for Good. Presentation slides have been posted to the website and are hyperlinked in blue if available.
This year’s event offered many new activities. CRA-Industry (CRA-I) held a pre-conference meeting to bring together computer researchers and introduce them to CRA’s newest committee. The main goal of the meeting was to generate ideas on ways CRA-I might expand and interact with the computer science research community. Many more computing leaders from Minority Serving Institutions were invited to attend the conference this year as well. Several gave short presentations about their institution, research portfolio, and areas for collaborations and partnerships with the larger CRA community. The session “How and Why to Create a Departmental BPC Plan” discussed their importance, shared information on how to write department plans, and highlighted resources available.
CRA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the organization’s founding with cake and a limited edition CRA Fleece Jacket. The CRA 50th anniversary fleeces were made possible by generous support from: Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft. CRA Board Chair Nancy Amato awarded former CRA Executive Director Andrew Bernat with the 2022 Service to CRA Award in recognition of his accomplishments leading the organization from 2002-2021. CRA also presented awards to recipients of the CRA-E Faculty Mentoring Award, CRA Distinguished Service, CRA A. Nico Habermann, and Service to CRA Awards. The awardees prepared brief remarks in video presentations available here.
Attendees heard from CRA’s new Executive Director Tracy Camp and former CRA Board Chair Ellen Zegura during the opening plenary “CRA: Looking Forward.” The session was focused on operationalizing and brainstorming activities as follow-up to the CRA Strategic Plan. Zegura described the strategic planning process and CRA’s current structure and governance. Camp shared her vision for where CRA is headed for both the long- and-short-term. She highlighted several pressing challenges in the CRA computing research community and solicited feedback from attendees. Camp will share a synthesis of the feedback attendees provided during her presentation in the near future. In addition, Camp will invite the larger CRA community to Zoom call sessions to develop ideas further.
CRA Board Member Ayanna Howard delivered a plenary talk on “The Trusting of Intelligent Machines: How AI Influences Human Behavior.” She shared insights from her research that demonstrated people tend to overtrust sophisticated computing devices, including robotic systems. Because of this, the role of bias in these human-robot interaction scenarios must be carefully investigated.
The parallel tracks dove further into timely community issues/topics. A few highlights included: booming enrollments while encouraging diversity and supporting undergraduate research, developing best practices for teaching faculty, and data science. The computing industry track shined the spotlight on computing research in an industrial setting, addressed industry-academia partnerships, and explored impacts of techlash.
The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) led an after-dinner brainstorming session, “Reboot!”, to help members of the community engage in a visioning discussion. The collaborative session encouraged idea sharing among the community. The conference concluded with “Making a Federal Case for Computing.” CRA’s Peter Harsha discussed how CRA is supporting the computing research community’s interests in Washington.
We hope that everyone who attended took home new insights and connections from this year’s conference. Thanks to everyone who contributed to making this event a success!
2022 Conference at Snowbird Organizing Committee:
Penny Rheingans (University of Maine) Co-Chair
Shashi Shekhar (University of Minnesota) Co-Chair
Jaime Teevan (Microsoft) Co-Chair
James Allan (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Christine Alvarado (University of California, San Diego)
Carla Brodley (Northeastern University)
Peter Harsha (CRA)
Kate Larson (University of Waterloo)
Ran Libeskind-Hadas (Claremont McKenna College)
Divesh Srivastava (AT&T)