Computing Applications President's letter

Fifty Years and Still Growing

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This anniversary issue represents how Communications has covered the depth and breadth of the computing field over the decades, as well as its growth, and the industry’s shifts in technological focus. The name "Association for Computing Machinery" once explained the primary interest of our members. Of course, over the last 50 years, both ACM and CACM have embraced systems, software, services, policy, the role professionals play, and other topics relating to information technology.

Subjects such as algorithms, architecture, operating systems, programming languages, networking, databases, software engineering, and artificial intelligence are at the heart of the "classic" CACM and have driven decades of progress. CACM published many great papers in these areas that are still quoted today.

Nevertheless, those subjects do not cover the bulk of activity in computing. Far more effort goes into design, integration, deployment, and support of applications than into the creation of new algorithms and core components. Successful software developers will always need to engineer core software, essential tools, and critical applications. But they must also apply their skills and knowledge to problems of societal, scientific, and commercial importance. In recent years, CACM has reflected these broader concerns.

The global IT industry will continue to expand, with turns toward services, integration, distributed computing, dynamic information, and increasing demands for reliability, security, usability, and accessibility. Research and advanced technology are growing in these areas, and are new generating true excitement and new possibilities.

ACM is creating a new editorial model for CACM (see Moshe Vardi’s article, page 44). We have taken great care to ensure this plan reflects the needs of our readers, particularly their strong interest in areas at the forefront of the computing field—what is coming from research labs and appearing in advanced applications as well as what is required to deliver advanced systems. Our members are also keen to learn how government and policy initiatives can shape progress around the world.

This issue sums up the glorious past of CACM. Its future should be even better!

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