For more than 50 years the United States has attracted the best minds in the world to study, teach, and work—an influx of talent that has helped the nation become the world’s dominant economic power, driven its military ascendancy, and improved the lives of its citizens. But changing government policies may put that influx at risk, as regulators threaten to clamp down on the freedom of foreign nationals to pursue research and work with cutting-edge technologies in U.S. universities, federal labs, and companies.
Computing Research News
Archive of articles published in the 2005 issue.
CISE is planning an initiative called “Global Environment for Networking Investigations” (GENI) to explore new networking and other capabilities that will advance science and stimulate innovation and economic growth. The GENI Initiative responds to an urgent and important challenge of the 21st century to improve significantly the capabilities provided by networking and distributed system architectures.
In December 2004 and January 2005, CRA conducted its eighth annual salary survey of computing research staff in industrial laboratories. Twelve organizations representing 879 researchers responded. Of these 879 researchers, 76% held PhDs, 17% master’s degrees, 7% bachelor’s degrees, and 3 had no degree.
CRAMusings from the Chair
If one believes the popular press, computer science careers are going the way of the passenger pigeon and the woolly mammoth.Of course, we know better. First, we’ve “seen this movie before” as enrollments dipped in the 1980s, before skyrocketing again during the dot-com boom. Some degree of oscillation is inevitable in a field where the core technologies evolve so rapidly.
The University of Washington, Seattle hosted the first International Computing Education Research (ICER) workshop the first weekend of October 2005. Sponsored by ACM SIGCSE, the gathering drew nearly 60 participants from America, Europe, Asia, and Australia to present and discuss research on how people come to understand computing, and how to improve that understanding. The presentations addressed issues ranging from explaining why some students succeed in their first computing courses, to developing evaluation metrics for student programming environments, to considering how much paradigm or language really matter in teaching programming.
The concerns of computing researchers about the overall underinvestment in the federal IT research portfolio—and specific concerns about DARPA’s steady withdrawal from long-term IT research, especially in universities—have gained new prominence in Congress thanks to a series of recent news reports, studies and congressional actions. That attention has so far culminated in a hearing of the full House Science Committee on the future of computer science research in the United States and questions about the implications of the shift in the overall landscape for federal support of computing research.
As computing researchers, we can rightly take pride in having been key enablers of today’s knowledge economy; networks, sensors, data management systems, email, web technologies and collaboration tools have helped create the global village. As Marshall McLuhan described so perspicuously in the 1960s, “Today, after more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned.”
CRA-WPGuest Article, Expanding the Pipeline
My morning routine is to stop in the office early and see what has come in during the night. Then, over yogurt, cranberry juice, and The New York Times, I let issues sift and settle. Afterwards I reverse my commute—all thirty-four steps of it—and return to my study. I am a Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems and I work from home.
I trust that you had a refreshing and productive summer and are beginning the new academic year with renewed vigor to help advance our field. The NSF staff continued to work long hours with great dedication over the summer to make sure that we are serving you well. As usual at this time of year, we have a number of personnel transitions underway; these will appear on our website as they occur. As we begin a new academic year, I want to give a brief status report on CISE and then outline some of the major issues we will be discussing this year.
CRA-WPExpanding the Pipeline
CRA-W Receives National Science Board Award
As the fiscal year 2006 budget process heats up in Congress with an austere outlook for federal research and development funding, a loose coalition of industry and scientific groups is taking its case to Capitol Hill to advocate for increased federal support for fundamental research, especially in the physical sciences. In the wake of an FY 2005 appropriations deal in Congress that led to a two percent cut in the budget of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the President’s FY 2006 budget submission that included a 4.5 percent cut to information technology research and development (as well as cuts to several science agencies), companies, academic institutions, and professional societies are making the case for research support by arguing that it plays a critical role in fueling the innovation necessary to keep the United States competitive in a global economy. The resonance of the message in Congress and in the national press appears to have put the Administration on the defensive.