Computing Applications

Editorial Pointers

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In the U.S., November is the month in which we usually take time to give thanks, joining with family and friends to celebrate our lives together. As I write this column (on a solemn September afternoon in New York City), I cannot tell you how truly thankful we are to be able to present this issue. Not just for its content, but because it represents an effort that succeeded despite great uncertainties, fear, and heartache.

The articles within trace new ways to apply emerging technologies and forecast the future of the IT field; how it will change our personal and professional lives, our responsibilities to the cause, and our perspectives on what technology can do. The irony of it all is now so apparent.

Brock Meeks’s "Electronic Frontier" column, written weeks before the events of September 11th, will now be read with new awareness and regard as this country and so many others around the world struggle with the delicate balance of security versus privacy. Indeed, the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon pulled a wide array of security issues and possible solutions into the global spotlight. Peter Neumann devotes his "Inside Risks" column to the risks and implications of decision-making in panic mode.

A foursome of articles by John Gray, John Backus, Mark Burgin, and Nicholas Carriero and David Gelernter help prepare us for the future by discussing how lives and livelihoods—and computer science itself—may be affected by various societal and scientific directions.

Fran Berman’s "Viewpoint" discusses the role and responsibilities of supercomputing, particularly for meeting the needs of the Data Decade. Brad Myers presents a new architecture that allows PCs and wireless handheld devices to be used seamlessly. Michael Ettredge, Vernon Richardson, and Susan Scholz analyze ways to use corporate Web sites to reach and market to financial consumers.

Finally, allow me to close with a personal thanks to the many Communications authors, reviewers, and readers who contacted us over the past few weeks to check our well-being and offer such kind, thoughtful words. Your generosity and concern touched us deeply.

Diane Crawford,

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