Published: May 2009,  Issue: Vol. 21/No.3, Download as PDF

Archive of articles published in the May 2009, Vol. 21/No.3 issue.

Computing Research that Changed the World

On March 25, federal policy-makers and computing researchers came together for the CCC-organized symposium “Computing Research that Changed the World: Reflections and Perspectives” ( to examine the game-changing computing research advances of the past two decades and to extract lessons for structuring future programs to sustain that remarkable track record. Through the kind auspices of Congressman Bart Gordon (D-TN), Chair of the House Science Committee, the symposium was held in the Members Room of the Library of Congress, a spectacular venue.

CRA-Deans Committee Formed

The CRA-Deans Committee has a perspective on computing research that it believes can help advance the work of the Computing Research Association. Formerly known as the IT-Deans Group, the colleges and schools we represent approach the field from two perspectives, one as college-level units that emerged from computer science, say C-schools, and the other as schools that emerged from information schools, say I-schools, some of which were originally library schools.

Opportunities for Researchers at Government Labs

Graduate students planning a research career in computer science are often asked, “Do you want to go into academia or industry after your Ph.D.?” However, there is a stealth third option for a researcher: a career at a government lab. This column sheds some light on this “hidden” career. There are many government labs in the United States conducting computer science research (for a partial list, see: Although some of these institutions focus on classified or weapons research, most include unclassified or basic research in their missions, and a substantial minority work only on unclassified research.

CRA Elects Officers to Two-Year Terms

At its February 2009 meeting, the CRA board elected officers who will serve two-year terms. Peter Lee (Carnegie Mellon University) was elected Chair; Laura Haas (IBM Almaden Research Center) will serve as Vice Chair; and Susanne Hambrusch (Purdue University) was elected Secretary. Phil Bernstein (Microsoft Research) was re-elected CRA’s Treasurer.

Extraordinary Times, Extraordinary Challenges, Extraordinary Opportunities

The Danish philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard,1 once remarked, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” So it is with economic and social crises; they can be understood retrospectively, but must be experienced in the moment. Without doubt, these are extraordinary times, with global socioeconomic transformations most of us have heretofore experienced only via historical accounts and the stories of our elders.