Computing Profession Editor's letter

Today’s Communications of the ACM

  1. Article
  2. References
  3. Author
CACM Editor-in-Chief Andrew A. Chien

Greetings! It is with great pleasure that I take the helm as the ninth Editor-in-Chief of Communications, the flagship publication and ACM’s vessel for the most important and interesting happenings across the field of computing. Communications is the indispensible source of information and insights for the well-educated computing professional around the world.

Computing is unique. In many fields, fundamental breakthroughs take years to reach the market and even longer to achieve full impact. Computing’s "clock speed" is far faster;2 set by exponential hardware performance advances and now driven by rapid and exponential advances in algorithms and cloud services. Clockspeed and computing’s extraordinary leverage enables tiny teams to translate insights into powerful change with global reach and impact (for example, this year’s Turing Laureate Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the WWW, but also public-key cryptography, social networks, and blockchain, deep learning, and many more). These advances arise from academe, startups, practitioners, and even from garages and basements … and their worldwide impact inevitably frames profound new problems for deep research. Computing’s rapid disruptive change is so powerful and transformative that the term "Internet speed" is deeply embedded in the popular vernacular.

Communications core elements reflect computing’s extraordinary dynamism:

  • News: Updates on hot topics in technology, practice, and public policy
  • Viewpoints: Reasoned, thought-provoking perspectives that bring out the balance of concerns in critical technology and policy issues
  • Practice: Frames cutting-edge software challenges and disruptive technologies that are breaking through
  • Contributed Articles: Peer-reviewed articles of compelling interest spanning computing’s breadth; framed to be approachable to the broad computing community
  • Reviews: New significant developments as seen through the lens of their future impact
  • Research Highlights: Outstanding research, drawn from ACM’s leading SIG conferences, put in context, and made accessible to the educated computing professional
  • Editorial Elements: Letters to the Editor, blogs, and columns that connect to the community

Each month Communications brings these elements together to inform your professional perspective, framing rapid change, new fundamental problems, and disruptive developments in perspective. The magazine’s structure is the product of a radical editorial transformation.1,3

Each issue is the product of the extraordinary efforts of contributors (authors, columnists, reviewers, bloggers), the editorial board (co-chairs, associate editors), and an extraordinary production team. These volunteer efforts reflect great passion and dedication for the field of computing. Some are reflected on the masthead and bylines, but others remain anonymous. Let me take a moment to thank all of the volunteers who generously contribute their time and leadership each month! And of course, I would be remiss to not include the members of Communications’ amazing production team who render each issue a polished work of beauty.

In the history of Communications, each Editor-in-Chief has faced significant challenges, but by any standard the past 10 years have been an extraordinary period of change and renewal. Today’s Communications is a dynamic, vibrant reflection and beacon of the computing profession, and that is in no small part due to Moshe Vardi’s dynamic, thoughtful, and tireless leadership. So on behalf of the editorial board, the members of the ACM, and the computing profession, thank you for a decade of extraordinary service!

Looking forward, I am acutely aware of computing’s relentless advance and rapid "creative destruction;" our challenge is to invent Communications’ future—thereby ensuring its vitality, relevance, and impact. I hope many of you will join in and enable our success. Next month, I will describe a few new challenges and opportunities that lie directly in our sights!

Andrew A. Chien, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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    1. Aho, A. and Gottlob, G. A front row seat to Communications' editorial transformation. Commun. ACM 57, 4 (Apr. 2014), 5; https://doi.org/10.1145/2582611.

    2. Fine, C. Clockspeed: Winning Industry Control in the Age of Temporary Advantage. MIT Sloan School, Basic Books, 1999.

    3. Vardi, M.Y. CACM: Past, present, and future. Commun. ACM 51, 1 (Jan. 2008), 44–48; http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1327452.1327474

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