Archive of articles published in the 2010 issue.

NSF’s Broader Impact Criterion

NSF proposals must address, and are evaluated according to, two fundamental criteria: Intellectual Merit and Broader Impact. Intellectual Merit is well understood (if frequently argued) – how well does the proposed research advance the field? Broader Impact, however, is not nearly as well understood and consequently often has played a more minor role in the review process. This might very well be changing. The purpose of this article is to provide context and information around recent discussions of Broader Impact, and to identify issues that the CISE academic research community may soon face.

CCC: Audacious Visioning for the Future

“The [Computing Community Consortium (CCC)] has played an important role in identifying and promoting exciting research ‘visions’ for the future of information technology (IT) research,” Tom Kalil, the Deputy Director for Policy in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), recently blogged. “[These] ideas … have the potential to attract the best and brightest to the field, drive economic growth, and address national challenges in areas such as health, energy, and education.”1 Kalil’s comments serve as renewed inspiration for our efforts.

Congress Appears Bullish on NSF, NIST

Congress appears favorably inclined to approve significant increases to some key science agencies next fiscal year, based on early action by both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Before the August recess both of the House and Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations subcommittees approved increases for the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Standards and Technology that were at or just below the significant increases requested by President Obama in his FY 2011 budget request in February.

The STARS Alliance: A Viable Approach to Broadening Participation in Computing

The STARS Alliance is a consortium of regional partnerships among 20 colleges and universities and more than 80 regional partners in academia, education, business and community organizations, with a mission to broaden participation in computing. The flagship initiative of the Alliance is the STARS Leadership Corps (SLC), a multi-year curricular or cocurricular experience for computing students based on the STARS core values of civic engagement and service, leadership, technical excellence, and community.

Successful Start for Inaugural Computing Innovation Fellows

Last fall, 60 recent Ph.D. graduates were awarded Computing Innovation Fellowships supporting postdoctoral positions at research institutions throughout the country. This first-ever initiative coordinated by the computing research community was funded by the National Science Foundation and sought to retain new Ph.D.s in research and teaching during difficult economic times, as well as to support intellectual renewal and diversity in computing at U.S. organizations.

Dangers of Rankings with Inaccurate Data

Our culture is embedded with rankings: of movies, of college athletic teams, of consumer products, of universities, and of graduate programs. Rankings are a guilty pleasure—we claim they don’t influence us, and we know their foibles, yet we can’t help looking to see where we stand. Academics understand the problems behind reputational rankings such as the US News and World Report’s ranking of universities, of graduate and undergraduate programs, and of specialties within a field: they are largely subjective and influenced by non-scientific factors, they have long time-constants and are subject to hysteresis, and they at best reflect an overall assessment of a program without acknowledging exceptional elements. Yet we also know that rankings are used by prospective students, by university administrators allocating limited resources between units, and by sponsors.

CCC: The CRA in Action

CRA is all about ensuring that the future of computing research is even brighter than the past has been. The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is one of CRA’s prime mechanisms for doing so with the goal of creating such compelling research visions that researchers, funders, policy folks, students and the public become engaged. CCC is pursuing several strategies which are discussed in detail on its website Here we’d like to provide some highlights with the goal of enticing you to explore more about CCC and then to become engaged in its current activities or to propose new ones.

Engaging Introductory Computer Science Undergraduates through Peer-Led Team Learning

As technology becomes ever more pervasive in everyday life and across many disciplines, one might expect that the study of Computer Science (CS) would become more appealing to more people, and to a broader spectrum of students. However, the number of undergraduate CS majors in 2009 is still much lower than it was during the dot-com boom of 2000…