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Communications of the ACM

Table of Contents

DEPARTMENT: Professions board letter

Communications and the practitioner

DEPARTMENT: Publisher's corner

Responding to the blogosphere

DEPARTMENT: Letters to the editor

Why invention and innovation diverge

DEPARTMENT: In the virtual extension

In the virtual extension

Communications' Virtual Extension brings more quality articles to ACM members. These articles are now available in the ACM Digital Library.

An ICT research agenda, HPC and innovation, and why only the developed world lacks women in computing

The Communications Web site,, features 13 bloggers in the BLOG@CACM community. In each issue of Communications, we'll publish excerpts from selected posts, plus readers' comments.

The new searchers


Just for you

Recommender systems that provide consumers with customized options have redefined e-commerce, and are spreading to other fields.

Face recognition breakthrough

By using sparse representation and compressed sensing, researchers have been able to demonstrate significant improvements in accuracy over traditional face-recognition techniques.

IT drives policy---and vice versa

Technologists discuss government policies affecting broadband, patent reform, privacy---and President Obama's effect on it all.

Learning through games

Electronic games can inspire players to explore new ideas and concepts. By gaining a better understanding of the dynamic between player and game, researchers hope to develop more interesting and effective approaches.

U.S. unveils cybersecurity plan

'Intent and timing' may help the federal cyberspace initiative work better than previous blueprints.
COLUMN: Viewpoints

Economic and business dimensions: Entrepreneurship during a slump

A contrarian's perspective on how entrepreneurial opportunities and innovation can thrive during an economic crisis.

Education: Alice 3: concrete to abstract

The innovative Alice 3 programming environment, currently in beta testing, teaches students to program with Alice and Java software.

Privacy and security: An ethics code for U.S. intelligence officers

Debating and arguing the points of a proposed code of behavior to provide guidance in making choices can produce the most effective ethics training.

Viewpoint: Time for computer science to grow up

As the computer science field has evolved, so should the methods for disseminating computing research results.
SECTION: Practice

The Pathologies of Big Data

Scale up your datasets enough and your apps come undone. What are the typical problems and where do the bottlenecks surface?

Browser Security: Lessons from Google Chrome

To shield the browser from attacks, Google Chrome developers eyed three key problems.

CTO Roundtable: Cloud Computing

The age of cloud computing has begun. How can companies take advantage of the new opportunities it provides?
SECTION: Contributed articles

A Blind Person's Interactions with Technology

Meaning can be as important as usability in the design of technology.

Revitalizing Computing Education Through Free and Open Source Software for Humanity

The humanitarian focus of socially useful projects promises to motivate community-minded undergrads in and out of CS.
SECTION: Review articles

Boolean Satisfiability: From Theoretical Hardness to Practical Success

Satisfiability solvers can now be effectively deployed in practical applications.
SECTION: Research highlights

Technical Perspective: Maintaining Quality in the Face of Distributed Development

It was a problem that should not have taken three weeks to solve. The documentation claimed that if a function was called from a command line with particular parameters, it …

Does Distributed Development Affect Software Quality?: An Empirical Case Study of Windows Vista

Existing literature on distributed development in software engineering and other fields discusses various challenges, including cultural barriers, expertise transfer difficulties …

Technical Perspective: Where the Chips May Fall

The traditional approach to circuit design has been to build chips that work correctly at extreme-case process corners, thereby guard-banding them …

Statistical Analysis of Circuit Timing Using Majorization

Future miniaturization of silicon transistors following Moore's Law may be in jeopardy as it becomes harder to precisely define the behavior and shape of nanoscale transistors …
COLUMN: Last byte

Puzzled: Probability and intuition

Welcome to three new puzzles. Solutions to the first two will be published next month; the third is (as yet) unsolved. In each puzzle, the issue is how your intuition matches up with the mathematics.
SECTION: Virtual extension

What determines IT spending priorities?

Introduction Global spending on Information Technology (IT) continues to grow and is expected to reach $1.66 trillion in 2009. In addition, IT represents a large (40--45%) and stable share (in nominal dollars) of firm spending …

Distinguishing citation quality for journal impact assessment

Introduction The research community has long and often been fervently keen on debating the topic of journal impact. Well, just what is the impact of a journal? Today, the Science Citation Index (SCI) recognizes over 7,000 journals …

The critical elements of the patch management process

Introduction "After the flames from the slammer's attack were doused and the technology industry caught up on its lost sleep, we started asking questions. Why did this happen? Could we have prevented it? What can we do to keep …

Learning to build an IT innovation platform

Introduction Information Technology (IT) pervades every aspect of a firm's value chain as a vast electronic network of interconnected applications and data. Managers perceive the immense potential of this complex infrastructure …

Global software development: where are the benefits?

Introduction Global Software Development (GSD) is increasingly becoming the normal practice in the software industry, readily evidenced by U.S. estimates that the value of the offshore software development market has increased …

Ranking billions of web pages using diodes

Introduction Because of the web's rapid growth and lack of central organization, Internet search engines play a vital role in assisting the users of the Web in retrieving relevant information out of the tens of billions of documents …

Attracting Native Americans to computing

Introduction In the last two decades, the racial/ethnic composition of those earning computer science (CS) bachelor's degrees has changed in the U.S. Between 1985 and 2005, the proportion of CS bachelor's degrees awarded to White …

Technical opinion: What drives the adoption of antiphishing measures by Hong Kong banks?

Introduction Phishing mongers and posers have taken the world by a storm and it is estimated that the annual financial loss due to phishing scams is at least US $320 million. Hong Kong has been a hotspot of phishing attacks and …