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Communications of the ACM

Editor's letter

Five Years as Editor-in-Chief of Communications


CACM Editor-in-Chief Andrew A. Chien

This is my last editorial as Editor-in-Chief of Communications,a so it is a moment to share learnings and, of course, to reflect on accomplishments.

First, we launched the Regional Special Sections (RSS) in November 2018 with a spotlight on computing in the China Region. With 40 pages of articles, spanning tech idols to gaming to computing culture to fintech and "superAI," the first RSS created an excitement that inspired and challenged co-hosts of the Europe, India, East Asia and Oceania, Latin America, and Arabia Regions. In just three years, we have circumnavigated the globe,b and with the second Europe Region Section (April 2022) and India Region Section (November 2022), a new circuit is well under way!

The RSS are an exciting read for the ACM community (great job by the co-hosts and authors), delivering news insights and perspectives into how computing is shaping and being shaped around the world. As important, the RSS have grown the Communications community—each was created by a multinational workshop and led by co-hosts from the region, helping to expand the diversity of the Communications' author community. The eight RSS already published include 350 authors, 18 co-hosts, and hundreds of workshop attendees. They reflect diversity and inclusion as a geographic and cultural imperative! Thanks so much to the co-hosts and authors.

Second, we launched the "Computing Enabled Me To …" feature with the goal of highlighting the remarkable breadth of opportunity enjoyed by computing professionals.c Launched in May 2020, we have showcased a remarkable breadth of diverse career paths—from ict4d to edtech to robotic automation to acoustic epidemiology to live coding music and more. This spectrum of role models has both diverse career paths and equally varied backgrounds—ethnicity, gender (50% female), geographic region (Mexico, Japan, U.S., U.K., Australia, Indonesia, Kenya). This feature portrays a rich spectrum of role models and opportunities that a career in computing can provide. We published our 12th feature in the series and are producing half a dozen per year.

We are proud of these new initiatives (and the Digital Initiatived has just begun!), but the heart of Communications is the continued excellence of its research papers and core features. I am honored to have continued this tradition, and in the past five years, we have published over 350 excellent research papers and more than 2,000 Viewpoints, columns, practice, editorials, highlights, counterpoints, and more. From Communications' broad base, I have worked hard to expand our view to reflect the runaway excitement in areas such as AI/machine learning, blockchain, cyber-security, and data science that are driving the rapid growth of our field.

One privilege of being Editor-in-Chief is to take credit for the work of an amazing team (more than 100 members on the Editorial Board, a dozen co-chairs, and nearly a dozen staff). I would like to offer a heartfelt thanks to all of you for generously sharing your time and expertise. Thanks to Jakob Rehof and Sriram Rajamani, who took over and drove the RSS, and to Mei Kobayashi who created "Computing Enabled Me To … ." I am particularly indebted to Diane Crawford (executive editor) and the Communications staff—none of this would be possible without you. Also, thanks to the tireless support of two talented deputies—Morgan Denlow and her predecessor, Lihan Chen—who had the courage to take on an ill-defined role and make it successful.

I plan to stay engaged as a senior editor with an open portfolio, finding new ways to improve Communications' community.

I encourage you to bring your passion and expertise to support of new EiC as you have with me.

Thanks!

Andrew A. Chien, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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Author

Andrew A. Chien is the William Eckhardt Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Chicago, Director of the CERES Center for Unstoppable Computing, and a Senior Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory.

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Footnotes

a. Chien, A.A. Today's Communications of the ACM, July 2017.

b. Chien, A.A. Around the World: (The First Time) with Communications' Regional Special Sections, March 2021.

c. Chien, A.A. and Kobayashi, M. Launching a New Feature in Communications, May 2020.

d. Chien, A.A. Communications' Digital Initiative and Its First Digital Event, April 2022


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