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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

In the Virtual Extension

Contributed article DOI: 10.1145/1924421.1924449
Emergency! Web 2.0 to the Rescue!

Ann Majchrzak and Philip H.B. More

Beginning Sunday October 21, 2007, San Diego County experienced the worst fires ever reported in a large urban area in the U.S. As seven major fires and five lesser fires raged, Ron Roberts, Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, said, "We are entering day three of what appears to be one of the worst fires, probably the worst fire in San Diego County history, and easily one of the worst fires in the history of the state of California." The after-action report later said the seven fires collectively caused 10 civilian deaths, 23 civilian injuries, and 89 firefighter injuries, consumed 370,000 acres, or about 13% of the county's total land area, destroyed 1,600 homes, and cost in excess of $1.5 billion.

Sociological research on disaster situations has repeatedly recognized the value of volunteers, demonstrating their importance providing physical and emotional assistance, as well as their need for timely information. However, local and federal disaster-management planning and policy implementation have generally ignored the role of volunteers. Because volunteers sometimes add to the chaos of a disaster, disaster officials may even discourage their participation.

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Contributed article DOI: 10.1145/1924421.1924450
A Research Doctorate for Computing Professionals

Fred Grossman, Charles Tappert, Joe Bergin, and Susan M. Merritt

The Doctor of Professional Studies (DPS) in Computing at Pace University provides computing and information technology professionals a unique opportunity to pursue a doctoral degree while continuing to work full time. It supports interdisciplinary study among computing areas and applied research in one or more of them, and thereby provides a background highly valued by industry. It is an innovative post-master's doctoral program structured to meet the needs of the practicing computing professional. The DPS in Computing is distinguished from the Ph.D. by focusing upon the advancement of the practice of computing through applied research and development. It is designed specifically for people who want to do research in an industrial setting.

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Viewpoint DOI: 10.1145/1924421.1924448
Reaching Future Computer Scientists

Patricia Morreale and David Joiner

The decline in undergraduate enrollment at the university level is well documented and it begins in high school. Today's high school students are exposed to traditional math and science curriculums but exposure to computer science and associated computational thinking is frequently absent from the U.S. high school experience.

While the importance of computer science to the U.S. national curriculum has been addressed by some states with teacher certification programs, the field cannot wait another generation of students for legislated standards to be implemented. Instead, the authors advocate university faculty reaching out to high school faculty. By holding teacher workshops, the authors have been able to update and enhance many of the ideas current high school faculty have regarding applications of computers in the sciences.

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Review article DOI: 10.1145/1924421.1924451
Achievements and Challenges in Software Reverse Engineering

Gerardo Canfora, Massimiliano Di Penta, and Luigi Cerulo

The need for changing existing software has been with us since the first programs were written. Indeed, the necessity for modifying software requires understanding it. Software comprehension is a human-intensive process, where developers acquire sufficient knowledge about a software artifact, or an entire system, so as to be able to successfully accomplish a given task, by means of analysis, guessing, and formulation of hypotheses. In most cases, software comprehension is challenged by the lack of adequate and up-to-date software documentation, often due to limited skills or to resource and timing constraints during development activities. This article discusses the developments of broad significance in the field of reverse engineering, and highlights unresolved questions and future directions. The authors summarize the most important reverse engineering concepts and describe the main challenges and achievements. They provide references to relevant and available tools for the two major activities of a reverse engineering process and outline future trends of reverse engineering in today's software engineering landscape.

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