September 2008 - Vol. 51 No. 9

September 2008 issue cover image


Opinion Letters to the editor

Knuth’s Art of Recovering from Errors

I really enjoyed Donald E. Knuth reminiscing in Edward Feigenbaum’s interview with him ("The ‘Art’ of Being Donald Knuth," July 2008). Who else would have moved to Stanford University to slow down? Knuth’s self-effacing modesty notwithstanding, I would like to challenge anyone to examine the literature preceding Knuth’s contribution to algorithms and compiler theory. There […]
Opinion CACM online

Current Features

Our readers are a most opinionated audience and we value those opinions. Feel free to share your thoughts or get something off your chest. There are many ways to present your insights, comments, complaints, or questions to Communications: Read something that’s got you thinking? Set you reeling? Send a letter to the editor: Questions […]
Research and Advances Research highlights

TxLinux and MetaTM: Transactional Memory and the Operating System

TxLinux is the first operating system to use hardware transactional memory (HTM) as a synchronization primitive, and the first to manage HTM in the scheduler. TxLinux, a modification of Linux, is the first real-scale benchmark for transactional memory.
Research and Advances Research highlights

Technical Perspective: Distributing Your Data and Having It, Too

Interconnected Systems—the Internet, wireless networks, or sensor nets—embrace virtually all computing environments. Thus our data no longer needs to be stored, nicely organized, in centralized databases; it may instead span a great many heterogeneous locations and be connected through communication links. Records about stock-exchange transactions, for example, reside in broker firms and other financial entities […]
Research and Advances Research highlights

Distributed Selection: A Missing Piece of Data Aggregation

In this article, we study the problem of distributed selection from a theoretical point of view. Given a general connected graph of diameter D consisting of n nodes in which each node holds a numeric element, the goal of a k-selection algorithm is to determine the kth smallest of these elements. We prove that distributed selection indeed requires more work than other aggregation functions such as, e.g., the computation of the average or the maximum of all elements. On the other hand, we show that the kth smallest element can be computed efficiently by providing both a randomized and a deterministic k-selection algorithm, dispelling the misconception that solving distributed selection through in-network aggregation is infeasible.
Research and Advances Virtual extension

Using Traceability to Mitigate Cognitive Biases in Software Development

Are Software Developers Affected by Cognitive biases while performing changes to design artifacts? If so, how can we mitigate the impact of such biases on developers’ performance? Despite the criticality of these questions, they have been relatively unexplored in the context of software development. When making changes to software artifacts, developers use heuristics that are […]
Research and Advances Virtual extension

Understanding User Perspectives on Biometric Technology

Biometric technology, mainly used today in security sensitive organizations like governments and financial institutions, is soon expected to play an increasing role in all aspects of our daily lives. Some reasons for this increase are decreasing costs of the technology and improved technical quality of the systems. Combined with the generally escalated security levels across […]
Research and Advances Virtual extension

Following Linguistic Footprints: Automatic Deception Detection in Online Communication

Deception occurs in interpersonal, group, media, and public contexts everyday, driven by various motivations such as punishment avoidance, aggression, wish fulfillment, and even enjoyment. Some deception is of little damage (e.g., white lies), while deception with high stakes can result in devastating consequences to both the victims of the deception and society at large. Unfortunately, […]
Research and Advances Virtual extension

Towards Agility in Design in Global Component-Based Development

The potential benefits of implementing Component-Based Development (CBD) methodologies in a globally distributed environment are many. Lessons from the aeronautics, automotive, electronics and computer hardware industries, in which Component-Based (CB) architectures have been successfully employed for setting up globally distributed design and production activities, have consistently shown that firms have managed to increase the rate […]
Research and Advances Virtual extension

The Student Productivity Paradox: Technology Mediated Learning in Schools

With increasing pressure on educational institutions to enhance learning outcomes and effectiveness, many school administrators and school boards are investing heavily in information and communications technologies (ICT). Of the 51 chief state school officers in the U.S., 48 ranked the “use of technology in instruction” as the second most important issue facing public education in […]
Research and Advances Virtual extension

What Factors Drive the Assimilation of Internet Technologies in China?

The globalization of Internet technologies has brought about tremendous changes in how a business should be and could be run regardless of where the business is. As a leader in the transition from a planned economy to a market economy, China is believed to be the world’s “super economic power” in the decades to come.4 […]

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