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Communications of the ACM



Information Privacy: Changing Norms and Expectations
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Information Privacy: Changing Norms and Expectations

That picture of you at a family reunion, squinting into the sun, can rarely be delimited by a physical location once it is placed on the web. Instead, information...

Explaining Science and Engineering
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Explaining Science and Engineering

As I have followed the international news regarding the Japanese disaster, I have been struck by the challenges each news organization has faced in explaining technical...

Intellectual Amplification via Computing
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Intellectual Amplification via Computing

As the recent performance of IBM's Watson system on the game show Jeopardy! illustrated, the combination of large-scale data, rich algorithm suites and powerful...

Works in Progress: Mia
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Works in Progress: Mia

It is time we extracted a sample of cultural DNA from computing's history and engineered a new generation of contemplative, informal workshops. After gestation...

2010 Seymour Cray and Sidney Fernbach Awards
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2010 Seymour Cray and Sidney Fernbach Awards

This year, I again had the honor and privilege to chair the selection committee for the IEEE Seymour Cray and Sidney Fernbach awards, both of which were presented...

Hpc and the Excluded Middle
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Hpc and the Excluded Middle

Betwixt and between ubiquitous consumer software and the ethereal realm of ultra-high-performance computing, lies the excluded middle, the world of day-to-day computational...

Technology Transfer: A Contact Sport
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Technology Transfer: A Contact Sport

The success or failure of technology transfer depends on many factors. No single mechanism is guaranteed to succeed, though there are many mechanisms that are likely...

Simple Hpc Wins
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Simple Hpc Wins

You want to be the first person to design a successful, transistorized computer system, not the last person to design vacuum tube computer.  Any designer’s challenge...

Remembering Internet Dogs
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Remembering Internet Dogs

An iconic cartoon by Peter Steiner, which appeared in The New Yorker in 1993, captured the nature of the nascent Internet. It shows a dog seated at a computer,...

In Vivo, In Vitro, In Silico
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In Vivo, In Vitro, In Silico

These “grand challenges” of systems biology encompass almost every aspect of modern computing, from numerical and symbolic methods through data management and analytics...

Research Summers
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Research Summers

Research challenges us to pose new questions, choose exploratory avenues carefully, and be frugal and wise stewards of the financial trust invested in us. 

Consumerization of It and Research
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Consumerization of It and Research

When a corporate, government, or university IT department of the 1970s debated an upgrade to its IBM S/370 mainframes, it is doubtful that the IT director was in...

Presentations, Humor, and Memes
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Presentations, Humor, and Memes

I have been reflecting on the nature of technical presentations. Public speaking can be great fun. When done well, it is a form of performance art. Enjoy it, and...

Paucity to Plethora: Jevons Paradox
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Paucity to Plethora: Jevons Paradox

I suspect much of computing is still socially conditioned by its roots in computational paucity to recognize fully the true opportunity afforded by computational...

The Ghosts of Holiday Shopping: Past, Present and Future
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The Ghosts of Holiday Shopping: Past, Present and Future

In many parts of the western world, the frenzy of holiday shopping has reached its crescendo.  With apologies to Charles Dickens, it is instructive to consider...

Sc09 Reflections: The Need For Speed
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Sc09 Reflections: The Need For Speed

SC09 (aka the “Supercomputing Conference”) was held during the week of November 16.  The conference set an attendance record this year – roughly 10,000 attendees...

Consilience: The Path to Innovation
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Consilience: The Path to Innovation

I believe solutions to many of the most challenging problems facing our society – medicine and health care, climate and the environment, economic security and privacy...

Cray and Fernbach Award Winners
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Cray and Fernbach Award Winners

This year, I have the honor and privilege to chair the selection committee for the Seymour Cray and Sidney Fernbach awards, which recognize outstanding contributions...

Smart Grids: Getting Personal
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Smart Grids: Getting Personal

How many electronic devices do you own? It is tempting to answer, “Just a handful,” but the truth is much more nuanced. Here’s a simple experiment that will (quite...

The World Is Small
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The World Is Small

Not that many years ago international travel meant one was largely inaccessible to colleagues at home. Today, when my plane lands, I will turn on my smart phone...
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