Published: November 2007,  Issue: Vol. 19/No.5, Download as PDF

Archive of articles published in the November 2007, Vol. 19/No.5 issue.

Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced its newest foundation-wide, multi-disciplinary initiative, “Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation (CDI),” released as a solicitation In a nutshell, CDI is computational thinking for science and engineering. Computational thinking refers to what the CISE community does in research and education on a daily basis: creating and creatively using computational concepts, methods, models, algorithms, and tools.

NCAR: Advancing Scientific Discovery to Benefit Society

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center, primarily sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and devoted to service, research, and education in atmospheric and related sciences. NCAR’s mission is to understand the behavior of the atmosphere and associated physical, biological and social systems and to support and extend the capabilities of the university community and broader national and international scientific communities by providing access to large-scale facilities, tools, and expertise. NCAR’s activities as an integrator, innovator and community builder contribute to the development of predictive Earth system science that can help sustain Earth’s habitability, improve environmental quality, safeguard human health, reduce the impacts of natural disasters, and increase economic productivity.

Networking Networking Women (N²Women)

As we know, women are a minority in the computer science community. Several organizations, such as CRA-W, ACM-W, the Anita Borg Institute, and the National Center for Women in Technology, have diverse efforts underway to increase the number of women in all fields of computer science. In addition to these field-wide efforts, we should assist women in finding female role models, female mentors, and/or female peers within their particular research discipline in order to reduce the isolation that many women researchers feel. This can best be achieved through communities that connect women in the same discipline, and several recent efforts have been underway to stimulate such discipline-specific communities. For example, CRA-W and CDC have, with NSF support, sponsored workshops targeted at women and under-represented minorities in computer architecture (July 2006) and in programming languages (May 2007).

Thinking About Computing

In answering “What is computable?” we must consider the underlying machine, abstract or physical, that is the computer. Consider the Internet as a computer. Now ask “What is computable?” Consider a molecular computer, a DNA computer, or even a quantum computer. If those kinds of computers are not mind-bending enough for you, consider a human and a machine working together as a single computer to solve problems that neither can solve alone. Now ask “What is computable?”

Mind-to-Mind: Broadening Access

My friend, Ray Ozzie, the creator of Lotus Notes and now Microsoft’s chief architect, relates a wonderful story about his undergraduate experience, when he worked as part of the Plato¹ project at the University of Illinois. Plato, you may recall, was an early computer-aided instruction (CAI) system that included touch-sensitive plasma displays (a precursor to today’s plasma televisions), computer-synthesized music, a chat system, message boards and email. A thriving electronic community grew up around Plato, which shaped the professional lives of many—more on that shortly.

While Appropriations Languish, Congress Passes Landmark Science Authorization

Despite a lack of progress in August and September towards resolving the veto threat causing a logjam in the FY 2008 federal appropriations process, many in the science advocacy community did have reason to celebrate. In early August, the President signed into law a landmark science and education authorization bill aimed at bolstering U.S. innovation and preserving American competitiveness.

Starting Salary Offers to CS Majors

There are many sources for salaries in the information technology sector. Most focus on specific occupations or types of industry. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports starting salary offers to new college graduates at the bachelor’s degree level. The survey collects data from college and university career services offices.