Published: September 2010,  Issue: Vol. 22/No.4, Download as PDF

Archive of articles published in the September 2010, Vol. 22/No.4 issue.

Education a Hot Topic at Snowbird Conference

It seems so obvious that it hardly needs to be repeated: the future of computing research depends on a reliable pipeline of talented young researchers who share a passion for expanding the boundaries and advancing the frontiers of computation. As the organization that represents academic and industrial computing research in North America, CRA has a vital interest in ensuring the health of the research pipeline. In 2008, after consulting with many organizations, the CRA Board established the CRA Education Committee (CRA-E) and charged it with finding ways for CRA to take additional responsibility for the continued flow of quality researchers to the field.

Advancing Women in Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania

Attracting women to study computer science and engineering is an ongoing challenge at colleges and universities across the nation. In the fall of 2007, women in the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) at the University of Pennsylvania made up 30 percent of the undergraduate population.

Reinvigorating the Field

A few weeks ago, members of the computing research community assembled for the 19th biennial Conference at Snowbird, the flagship conference for chairs of Ph.D.-granting departments of computing and allied fields and leaders from U.S. industrial and government computing research laboratories and centers. Here are some observations on trends in the field evident during the meeting.

CRA-E White Paper Summary

The overall goal of this White Paper is to provide guidance that will help institutions create an undergraduate environment that supports the acquisition and internalization of the computationally-oriented researcher mindset. We addressed overall directions rather than comprehensive details, not a curriculum design.

New Activities

In the summer of 2008, Andries van Dam from Brown University convened the CRA-E committee – the Mark I committee as it has become known. Mark I was a panel of world-class computing researchers and educators who were asked to identify and recommend best practices for preparing undergraduates for research careers in computing. A summary of their findings and recommendations appears elsewhere in this issue of Computing Research News.

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.