Published: May 2005,  Issue: Vol. 17/No.3, Download as PDF

Archive of articles published in the May 2005, Vol. 17/No.3 issue.

Despite Budget Climate, Industry/Academia Argue for Fundamental R&D

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.

Lazowska and Margolis to Receive CRA Service Awards

CRA is pleased to announce the winners of its 2005 service awards. The Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Ed Lazowska, the Bill and Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. Jane Margolis, Research Educationist, IDEA, UCLA Graduate School of Education Information Studies, will receive the A. Nico Habermann Award. The awards will be presented at ACM’s Awards Banquet in San Francisco on June 11, 2005.

In a More Balanced Computer Science Environment, Similarity is the Difference

Gender differences in computer science tend to dissolve—that is, the spectrum of interests, motivation, and personality types of men and of women becomes more alike than different—as the computing environment becomes more balanced. This finding is emerging from our ongoing studies of the evolving culture of computing at Carnegie Mellon as our undergraduate computer science (CS) environment becomes more balanced in three critical domains: gender, the mix of students and breadth of their interests, and the professional experiences afforded all students.

CRA Elects New Board Members

CRA recently elected five new members to its board of directors. Anne Condon (University of British Columbia), Richard A. DeMillo (Georgia Institute of Technology), Peter Lee (Carnegie Mellon University), J Strother Moore (University of Texas at Austin), and David Notkin (University of Washington) will serve three-year terms beginning July 1, 2005.

Computing, We Have a Problem…

The computing community—including the computing research community—suffers from one major problem: the public does not fully understand, and hence does not appreciate, what computing is and why computing and computing research are important. The bottom line is: We have an “image” problem, and it extends to our elected and appointed government officials, prospective students and their parents, some colleagues in other disciplines who use computing in their research, and the general public.

Thanks to Retiring Board Members

This year CRA bids farewell to several long-term board members whose contributions will be sorely missed. On behalf of CRA and the computing research community, we express our gratitude to these board members for their dedicated service. We highlight only a few of their many contributions here.

Challenges for Computing Research

Advances by computer science and engineering (CS&E) researchers have, over the past forty years, changed the world. Similar opportunities still exist, but excitement is tempered by challenges beyond our control. We explore issues facing our field and describe efforts by NSF’s CISE (Computer and Information Science and Engineering) to better understand future opportunities and also to maximize the impact of current resources.

Interest in CS as a Major Drops Among Incoming Freshmen

An analysis of survey results from the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles (HERI/UCLA) indicates that the popularity of computer science (CS) as a major among incoming freshmen at all undergraduate institutions has dropped significantly in the past four years. Alarmingly, the proportion of women who thought that they might major in CS has fallen to levels unseen since the early 1970s.