Published: May 2006,  Issue: Vol. 18/No.3, Download as PDF

Archive of articles published in the May 2006, Vol. 18/No.3 issue.

Innovation, Competitiveness Plans Advance, But Hurdles Ahead

Some high-profile legislative efforts to bolster U.S. competitiveness by fostering greater U.S.-based innovation have begun to move in Congress, putting the spotlight on the importance of increasing federal support of fundamental research, improving education efforts, and addressing needs in federal tax policy and workforce and immigration issues. But despite the positive action, there are a number of obstacles to enactment of these innovation plans including, most seriously, a perceived lack of support from the House Republican leadership.

CRA-W and CDC Form an Alliance for NSF’s New Program to Broaden Participation in Computing

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has always been a major source of support for activities aimed at diversifying science and engineering fields. So when NSF launched a visionary new program aimed specifically at increasing the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in computing, CRA’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W) partnered with the Coalition to Diversify Computing (CDC) to submit a proposal.

Research: On Being the Right Size

In 1928, the British geneticist J.B.S. Haldane wrote a now famous essay entitled On Being the Right Size, where he noted, “The most obvious differences between different animals are differences of size … it is easy to show that a hare could not be as large as a hippopotamus, or a whale as small as a herring. For every type of animal, there is a most convenient size, and a large change in size inevitably carries with it a change of form.” It was a cogent argument about surface area to volume ratios, structures, respiration and energy.

Are Computer Scientists Timid?

But, we’ve become too timid in many of the ambitions we collectively and individually have for our field. I start to come to that conclusion when I hear from our Program Directors that too few of the proposals they see offer truly innovative ideas that excite panels or themselves. While confirmatory or incremental work is essential, we must also have a continuous flow of exciting, innovative ideas (and the community must ensure they are well received, and then we must ensure they are funded).

Computing Community Consortium (CCC)

The time has come for the computing research community to unite in identifying and formulating large-scale research infrastructure needs that are critical to U.S. competitiveness in Information Technology. On March 10, 2006 the National Science Foundation (NSF), Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) released a solicitation calling for the computing research community to unite in the establishment of a Computing Community Consortium (CCC). The consortium is expected to be broad-based, with member institutions with strong research track records in computer science and engineering. CCC members are not individuals, but rather are comprised of higher education institutions, private and public sector organizations, and industry.