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Editorial pointers

Editorial Pointers


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Today's newspaper proved a keen barometer for the timeliness of this issue. In the news section, the Associated Press reports that courts often favor employers who monitor and discipline employees for nonwork-related Internet use in the office. Indeed, we should expect an increase in disciplinary actions and firings for personal email and Web use on company time. The growing concernand evidenceof cyberslacking at work in terms of company productivity, liability, and security has prompted more and more employers to monitor the Internet activities of their employees.

Guest editor Murugan Anandarajan points out that employees squander from 30 minutes to 3 hours per day on nonwork-related Internet activity. Add it up. The cost of ignoring this phenomenon is enormous; yet the methods for controlling it remain unclear. With that in mind, we hope the special section on Internet abuse in the workplace sheds some well-informed light on what organizations, managers, and employees need to know to regulate this expansive problem in the contemporary work environment.

The business section of today's newspaper reports the soaring sales of the U.S. video games industry. Game sales logged $4.3 billion in revenue from JanuarySeptember 2001, and that was before the year-end debut of Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube, which are predicted to drive the industry to another record year this year.

The games industry is not the only one benefiting from this success. The research community is just beginning to appreciate the sophisticated graphics power of these inexpensive games and the potential they hold for pure scientific research. In the heated competition that is the games market, it is now common for leading developers to license their game engines (modular simulation code) to other developers to help ease costs. This modularity is what also allows game code to be implemented for scientific purposes. Michael Lewis and Jeffrey Jacobson present a detailed rationale for using game engines in research, which is followed by a series of short pieces illustrating the variety of ways the engines have been implemented.

Diane Crawford,
Editor


©2002 ACM  0002-0782/02/0100  $5.00

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