The first issue was 20 pages. Its technical content fell into three departments: Standards; Computer Techniques; and Unusual Applications. It told of new methods for square-root computations and of a programmed binary counter for the IBM Type 650 calculator.
It was January 1958. Sputnik had been launched by the Soviet Union three months prior; the computing field was still abuzz over IBM's commercial release of its pioneering Fortran compiler; and two teens in Liverpool named McCartney and Lennon had recently been introduced by mutual friends.
Communications of the ACM would join the then four-year-old Journal of the ACM as partners in the dissemination of computing research news. Indeed, CACM was created as a vehicle for ACM members to "communicate" their research findings with each other in an effort to eliminate reinventing the wheel. Over the years, this membership would grow to represent every known computing field; from every corner of the world, from the halls of academia to corporate suites and entrepreneurial garages. It would become ACM's flagship publication and share the kind of landmark discoveries, research, and accomplishments that would influence the course of computer science and, in turn, our daily lives and livelihoods.
Now it's 50.
To honor this milestone, we've invited many leading contributors from CACM's past, present, and future to share their memories and perceptions. The Editors-in-Chief who have guided this publication through the decades played a great role in CACM's distinguished history as chronicler of the field. We are honored to present their recollections here. We are also proud to introduce the newly appointed EIC, Moshe Vardi, who details the next editorial direction for CACM and the planning and preparation that has led up to this model (see page 44).
We also called on prominent voices in the computing field (and in the pages of CACM over the years) to participate in this anniversary celebration by sharing their thoughts, insights, and concerns about some of the next big stories likely to emerge. We are indebted to all who have offered their efforts and expertise to the issue. Their participation truly reflects great respect for this publication and for the audience it continues to serve.
On a personal note, many thanks to CACM's Senior Editor Andrew Rosenbloom; Managing Editor Tom Lambert; and Art Director Caren Rosenblatt for an extraordinary team effort.
We hope these stories serve to inspire, influence, and teacha legacy befitting ACM's premier publication. Enjoy.
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