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Communications of the ACM


The Future of Computer Science and Engineering Is in Your Hands

conceptualized software system, illustration

A conceptualized software system inspired by a DARPA project investigating software systems that will remain functional in excess of 100 years.

Credit: DARPA

Many researchers are concerned about flat or declining research budgets in computer science and engineering. Although the research community is right to be concerned about the shortage of funds, they should also be concerned about the shortage of scientists and engineers that are willing to serve in governments to address this challenge. Computer scientists and engineers can have a huge impact on the future of the field and the future of the U.S. By serving in the government, they can design and launch new research initiatives, inform IT-related policy decisions, and serve as a catalyst for public-private partnerships involving government, industry, and academia.

In the U.S., one way of advancing computer science and shaping public policy in computer science research and education is by serving in federal agencies that oversee investments in education and research in science and technology. Program and division directors at the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and many other federal agencies help create national research and development initiatives that can create and/or transform disciplines.


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