Computing Profession Editor's letter

Here Comes Everybody . . . to Communications

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CACM Editor-in-Chief Andrew A. Chien

I am pleased to announce a new Communications of the ACM initiative with the ambitious goal of expanding the Communications community globally.

I hope it means "Here Comes Everybody to Communications."a Why bring everybody to Communications? To include important voices and perspectives in the conversation about the present and future of computing. With the proliferation of computing into every industry, every product, and every aspect of society, not only has computing spread throughout the society and economy of every nation, but the computing profession has spread into communities around the globe.

One natural consequence is that invention and innovation in computing, once concentrated in a few regions, is now a global enterprise. And, while the technical foundations of computing may be universal,b along with technical challenges of functionality, scale, reliability, and perhaps usability; increasingly, the design of many of a system’s most important aspects—how they relate to society, government, structure of commerce, and individual enlightenment and perspective as well as fundamental choices about security, privacy, free speech, and control—reflect distinctive regional, national, and community culture.

Communications, the flagship publication of world’s leading computing professional society, should be an inclusive forum, spanning this community. It should be a universal forum, an inclusive, global community, with active participation from everyone.

To that end, I am pleased to announce a Communications global initiative. Its goal is to give deeper insight, focused coverage, and elevate distinctive and compelling highlights of computing drawn from regions around the world. This initiative will add a 20–30 page special section to a few issues of Communications each year. Each special section will be a collection of short pieces, focused on a region and chartered to represent the best of computing leadership and distinctive development. We will bring a sharp focus on:

  • Leading technical and research advances and activities;
  • Leading and emerging industry and research players;
  • Innovation and shape of computing in the region; and,
  • Unique challenges and opportunities … and by doing so enrich the entire computing community’s perspective!

Communications’ global initiative will visit regions around the world in turn, shifting its spotlight to match the pace and impact of interesting developments in computing. We hope to revisit regions about once every two years.

I am pleased to report that we have already begun. The first special section will focus on China, where we have convened an extraordinary team of industry and academic leaders committed to attend the kick-off meeting (set for March 8th at the UChicago Beijing Center), and we are actively planning successors in other parts of the world.

How we do this is instrumental. The special sections will be led by a regional team who will nominate, select, and drive authorship of the section’s content. By design, this will encourage active participation of a growing global community in Communications. To drive creation of the regional teams and the entire series of special sections, we are adding a new section to the Editorial Board of Communications. Serendipitously, this creates new opportunities for you to volunteer and contribute to the magazine.

Expect to hear more about this late in 2018 when we print the first special section!

Andrew A. Chien, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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    a. This title borrows from Shirky's 2008 book that described the growing power of groups of individuals to organize large-scale activities, using Internet tools, and without traditional corporate organizations. In fact, this is what the ACM has been doing successfully for over 50 years.

    b. More on this later, as growing excitement about neuromorphic and quantum computing suggest we may soon see a proliferation of computing bases. Leading to a question, are we even engaged with the full breadth of computing?

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