Published: August 2013,  Issue: Vol. 25/No.7, Download as PDF

Archive of articles published in the August 2013, Vol. 25/No.7 issue.

Announcements from CRA

Congratulations to Peter Lee, former CRA Board Chair, on his new position at Microsoft Research. Lee is now Corporate Vice President and head of Microsoft Research USA. CRA also congratulates Jeanette Wing, former CRA Board Member, on her new position as Vice President, Head of Microsoft Research International. The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) recognized Ed Lazowska and Lance Fortnow for their service to the CCC at its Council meeting in July.

2013 Microsoft Research Faculty Summit – OFF THE CHARTS

From the CCC Blog post on July 16: It’s impossible to convey how great this year’s Microsoft Research Faculty Summit has been: a “who’s who” of attendees from academia; heavy participation by top people from Microsoft Research; superb presentations on a range of research topics; and a total absence of marketing.

Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline (CERP):

It is now well established that the field of computing research is lacking in demographic diversity, both in the academy and in industry. To address this issue, many computing-related mentorship and training programs with diversity goals have been established. But do they really work? And how, exactly, do we determine whether they do? In this article, I discuss the lack of diversity that exists in computing, examples of programs that have been developed to address the lack of diversity, and a new evaluation center at the CRA headquarters that offers rigorous, comparative evaluation of how participants in a given program fare in their computing career progression relative to non-participants. We invite all computing community members to get involved with CERP by (a) providing data to enable us to do comparative evaluation, (b) employing our infrastructure for program evaluation, and/or (c) by being an active audience as we learn about ways to increase diversity in computing.

Among women, U.S. citizens indicated that dependable employment was less important in their decision to pursue a PhD in computing than non-citizens

First year graduate students enrolled in a Ph.D. program in computing (N = 129) were asked How important was each of the following factors in your decision to pursue your current graduate degree in computing? Salary potential; Dependable employment; Career opportunities/advancement outside of academia. Responses ranged from (1) Not at all to (5) Extremely.

Computing Researchers Get ‘Schooled’ on Science Policy at LiSPI 2013

As part of its mission to develop a next generation of leaders in the computing research community, the Computing Research Association’s Computing Community Consortium recently held its second Leadership in Science Policy Institute (LiSPI). This one and a half-day workshop was intended to educate a cadre of computing researchers on how science policy in the U.S. is formulated and how our government works. Participants heard candid and “off the record” views from people who do it or have done it. Fifty-three computer scientists and engineers from forty-eight different universities and research organizations attended the April 11-12th workshop.

Taulbee in Depth: Department Space per Faculty Member

Every three years, the CRA Taulbee Survey asks a set of Department Profiles questions including questions about department space. In the full Taulbee report published in CRN in May 2013, we reported on the space data collected in fall 2012. Tables in that report provided percentiles for department space in the categories of total space, offices, conference and seminar rooms, research labs, and instructional labs. The percentiles were across all departments of a given type (US CS Public, US CS Private, US CE, US Information, and Canadian) without regard for the size of the department. However, department size is clearly a major determiner of space. To allow departments to better compare their own space allocations to the overall Taulbee numbers, this analysis reports on space per faculty member in two ways: by number of tenured and tenure-track faculty, and by number of tenured and tenure-track faculty plus number of research faculty and postdocs. Those values were computed for each department; percentiles of the normalized space for all US departments and for each type of department are given in tables.

Reflections from a CIFellows Alumna

During the economic downturn in 2009, Xiaojuan Ma was one of the many new PhDs in computing who considered delaying or abandoning a research career because of insufficient funding. From 2009- 12, the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) developed and administered the Computing Innovation Fellows (CIFellows) project, a short-term initiative that addressed this problem by providing funding for 127 postdoctoral positions throughout academia and industry.

Ideas Lab Fostering Transformative Approaches to Teaching and Learning:

NSF has announced a new funding opportunity to explore using large data sets to improve STEM teaching and learning environments (RFP 13-565) that will be of interest to many CRN readers. But this new activity includes a radically different funding mechanism – participation in an Ideas Lab workshop which is designed to foster novel, transformative, multidisciplinary approaches (and proposals). Participants in the Ideas Lab workshop will build interdisciplinary teams solely eligible to submit proposals for a majority of program funds. The Ideas Lab workshop will be held October 7-11, 2013. Applications for the workshop are due August 19, 2013.