Computing Applications Editorial pointers

Editorial Pointers

  1. Article

It was only a matter of time before outsourcing branched off in so many directions it would turn back on itself. Where industry was once motivated to move production or support operations to vendors many time zones away in order to cut costs, a new trend is fast emerging that promotes such opportunities much closer to home.

A growing number of companies and countries are promoting their "nearshore" advantages, still promising production cost reduction, but with all the benefits of a more convenient location. Erran Carmel and Pamela Abbott explore this trend in "Why `Nearshore’ Means that Distance Matters," finding evidence that miles indeed make a difference. Where offshore vendors have long promoted location transparency, nearshore vendors argue that proximity gives clients the benefits of better communication, supervision, and coordination. Moreover, Carmel and Abbott find "the emergence of nearshoring in an industry that encourages virtual forms of working presents yet more evidence that distance still matters."

Also in this issue, Umesh, Jessup, and Huynh discuss the challenges faced by entrepreneurs attempting to commercialize an IT idea. In an exercise to prove how easily today’s phishers are able to gain personal information from their unsuspecting targets, Jagatic et al. launched an actual (but innocuous) phishing attack on Indiana University students to study the kind of information they would reveal when they believe they know the sender. And Papazoglou and van den Heuvel explore an innovative methodology and roadmap that harnesses business process and Web services.

Akbulut and Looney examine the factors that motivate students to major in computer science. Unlike other studies that explore the downward turn in enrollment in terms of academic or industry implications, this one looks at the problem from the student’s perspective. And William Kuechler discusses the applications, technologies, and architectures needed for unstructured text acquisition and analysis.

Sebastian Thrun, director of the Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, led the development of the 2005 robotic vehicle Stanley, bringing his team DARPA’s $2 million prize. In this month’s "Viewpoint," Thrun writes of the next DARPA Grand Challenge slated for Nov. 3; particularly the expected roadblocks posed by its urban environment. In "Legally Speaking," Pamela Samuelson argues the existing 30-year-old copyright law needs some serious updating. And in "International Perspectives," Best et al. explore the state of IT in Liberia, featuring a message from the nation’s president: Her Excellency Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

Diane Crawford

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