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Communications of the ACM

Table of Contents

DEPARTMENT: Editor's letter

Today's Communications of the ACM

It is with great pleasure that I take the helm as the ninth Editor-in-Chief of Communications, the flagship publication and ACM's vessel for the most important and interesting happenings across the field of computing.

A Brittle and Fragile Future

While this is not intended to be a dystopian rant, I feel strongly motivated to draw attention to the fragile and interdependent future we are creating through the use of programmable devices and systems.

'Generation CS' Drives Growth in Enrollments

Undergraduates who understand the importance of computer science have been expanding the CS student cohort for more than a decade.

Building a Brain May Mean Going Analog

Analog circuits consume less power per operation than CMOS technologies, and so should prove more efficient.

Cracking the Code on DNA Storage

Researchers are tapping DNA to create a new and different type of storage media. The technology could prove revolutionary.

Artificial Intelligence Poised to Ride a New Wave

Flush with recent successes, and pushed by even newer technology, AI systems could get much smarter.

Jean E. Sammet 1928-2017

Jean E. Sammet, an American computer scientist who served as the first female president of ACM, passed away on May 21 at the age of 89.
COLUMN: Privacy and security

Cryptovirology: The Birth, Neglect, and Explosion of Ransomware

Recent attacks exploiting a known vulnerability continue a downward spiral of ransomware-related incidents.
COLUMN: Economic and business dimensions

Unknowns of the Gig-Economy

Seeking multidisciplinary research into the rapidly evolving gig-economy.
COLUMN: The profession of IT

The Beginner's Creed

We all need to learn to be expert beginners.
COLUMN: Viewpoint

The Informal Guide to ACM Fellow Nominations

Recommendations for a successful nomination process.
SECTION: Practice

Side Effects, Front and Center

One system's side effect is another's meat and potatoes.

The IDAR Graph

An improvement over UML.

Research for Practice: Tracing and Debugging Distributed Systems; Programming by Examples

Expert-curated guides to the best of CS research.
SECTION: Contributed articles

Reimagining the Avatar Dream: Modeling Social Identity in Digital Media

Explore the limits of using the computer to imagine yourself as whomever or whatever you want to be.

How Important Is IT?

Information and communication technology patents are more influential on subsequent inventions than are other types of patents.
SECTION: Review article

Inference and Auction Design in Online Advertising

Econometrics is a key component to gauging user satisfaction and advertisers' profits.
SECTION: Research highlights

Technical Perspective: IronFleet Simplifies Proving Safety and Liveness Properties

"IronFleet: Proving Safety and Liveness of Practical Distributed Systems," by Chris Hawblitzel, et al., describes mechanically checked proofs for two non-trivial distributed services: A Paxos-based library to support replication …

IronFleet: Proving Safety and Liveness of Practical Distributed Systems

We demonstrate the methodology on a complex implementation of a Paxos-based replicated state machine library and a lease-based sharded key-value store. With our methodology and lessons learned, we aim to raise the standard for …

Technical Perspective: Building a Better Hash Function

In "Fast and Powerful Hashing Using Tabulation," Mikkel Thorup describes a variation of simple but surprisingly effective and powerful hash functions based on using small tables of random hash values.

Fast and Powerful Hashing Using Tabulation

We survey recent results on how simple hashing schemes based on tabulation provide unexpectedly strong guarantees.
COLUMN: Last byte

Ruby Risks

You have three covered boxes of Burmese rubies before you. You know there are a total of 30 identical seven-carat rubies in the three boxes.