Computing Applications Editorial pointers

Editorial Pointers

  1. Article

This month marks my 17th year with Communications. During that time this magazine has chronicled the evolution of practically every known—and heretofore unknown—discipline within computer science. Indeed, we watched the computing field itself evolve into a global arena of unprecedented triumphs and erratic spirals. But with it all, it’s still difficult to accept that events would one day warrant the coverage we feature here—U.S. homeland security.

Naïve? Perhaps. ACM is indeed a global village; we are well aware there are many readers of and authors in this magazine who live in parts of the world where homeland security—or lack thereof—has always been a tangible part of everyday life. For many more of us, however, terrorism on home soil is fresh ground. In its aftermath, governments worldwide have turned to their science and technology communities to build the tools and intelligence capabilities to better secure their citizens and defend their borders against attack.

The U.S. government has drawn upon a vast universe of technologists from all disciplines to develop new digital techniques for defending national borders and interests. Although homeland security incorporates myriad research branches, this month’s special section introduces some of the information and communications technologies that have emerged as a result, particularly as they pertain to intelligence gathering, protecting the global network infrastructure, and enhancing emergency response. Guest editor John Yen says such protective efforts require "tremendous science" and that major challenges remain, given the secretive nature of terrorist activities and daunting environmental constraints. We hope this section prompts the IT community—worldwide—to help develop the solutions together.

Also in this issue, Wang et al. contend the criminal mind is no match for a new record-linkage method designed to match different, deceptive criminal identity records. And Escudero-Pascual and Hosein argue that government attempts to create a one-size-fits-all technology policy to protect communications infrastructures do not translate on an international scale.

Dalal et al. describe a framework for enterprise process modeling that should enhance the design of the next generation of ERP systems. Kim and Schneiderjans offer a unique interpretation of distance learning, asserting success of Web-based education programs may depend on the personality characteristics of employees. And Sethi interprets a series of studies on stress among IS professionals and how it affects productivity and costly employee turnover.

Diane Crawford,

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