Architecture and Hardware Editorial pointers

Editorial Pointers

  1. Article

A month from now one of the most contested U.S. presidential elections will be history. And it will make history. For in an effort to avoid another Florida 2000, an unprecedented wave of electronic voting systems will replace traditional lever machines and chad-producing punch cards. As a result, tens of millions of U.S. citizens will cast their votes into computing systems on November 2; a scenario that has caused many researchers and technologists to speak out against such balloting strategies, as the technology, they contend, is still too vulnerable, untested, and untrustworthy.

E-voting is a universal hot button; in use and under scrutiny worldwide. Indeed, as I write this, Venezuela is reeling from a presidential recall referendum in which election officials were suspected of rigging the nation’s touch-screen voting machines in favor of the incumbent. There are many red-flag issues at hand, particularly the inability to verify or audit votes and the proprietary software involved. This month’s special section explores a variety of voting-related weaknesses and possible solutions from differing, even opposing, perspectives.

The global media has simply devoured e-voting in coverage and commentary. We are most honored to have the very "go-to" experts the press has depended on to explain the technical liabilities and promise of e-voting as contributors here. Leading this project is Guest Editor Peter G. Neumann, whose dedication and tireless efforts on behalf of this publication merit our highest debt of gratitude.

Also in this issue, David Patterson traces the persistent imbalance between bandwidth and latency while detailing ways to cope with it. Samoladas et al. determine how open source code maintains its integrity against time and countless iterations. And Wang and Wang tell how the age-old struggle between steganography and steganalysis is having a profound effect on information security.

Michael Cusumano warns venture capitalists and entrepreneurs that only a select few will truly benefit from open source business opportunities. And Phillip Armour insists the problems typically faced when developing software most often reflect what developers don’t know.

Finally, let me point you to "Hot Links" on page 19, a new feature alerting readers to the most popular articles in ACM’s Digital Library by listing the top 10 monthly downloads.

Diane Crawford

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