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Communications January Issue Features Digital Edition to Enhance Usability

The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession

Contact: Virginia Gold

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New York, NY, January 17, 2008 – The January 2008 issue of Communications of the ACM marks the 50th anniversary of the magazine that has chronicled the remarkable developments in computing which have transformed the way we live and work. The issue includes articles from leading contributors to Communications’ pages throughout its history, sharing their perceptions of how computing influences the world. It also features some of the most prominent voices in the computing field as they offer their insights and concerns about future technology trends.

Starting with this issue, Communications is available in a digital version that enables readers to navigate, search, link to and browse articles. The new format will not replace either the print edition or articles posted in the ACM Digital Library. Instead, it offers the look and feel of thumbing through the pages of the magazine and zooming in on particular paragraphs, checking specific references or advertisements, or searching an issue for precise content markers. It also enables readers to store these editions on their PCs or laptops for long-term archiving or sharing with friends and colleagues.

Some of the prominent voices in this issue include Whitfield Diffie of Sun Microsystems, who made digital privacy possible by inventing a revolutionary concept in encryption. In his article “Information Security: 50 Years Behind, 50 Years Ahead,” he notes that trust among people and organizations will be even more critical in securing communications and commerce in the future networked environment. In 1996, Diffie was a co-recipient of ACM’s first Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award for his contribution to the first effective implementation of public-key cryptography, enabling the rapid growth of electronic commerce.

Another author in this month’s Communications is Rodney Brooks, professor of robotics at MIT, whose research on understanding human intelligence and intelligent robots led to the development of the artificial intelligence field. Brooks, who was appointed an ACM Fellow in 2006 for his contributions to artificial intelligence and robotics, says the most surprising thing about computing has been the radical new applications “from spreadsheets to email to the Web to search engines to social-interaction sites to the convergence of telephones, cameras, and email in a single device.” In his article titled “The Next 50 Years,” he predicts the future will bring computing machinery into our bodies to connect us to information sources and each other through these devices.

In an article titled “Reflections on Computer-Related Risks” Peter G. Neumann, principal scientist at SRI International’s Computer Science Lab, says that computer-related technologies have changed enormously over the years, with huge advances in processor power and storage capacity, high-speed networking, and highly distributed systems. But Neumann, who edits the Inside Risks columns for ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes and Communications, asserts that “risky problems are as great today as they were when we first set out to expose and eradicate them.” One of the biggest challenges for ACM members and the computing community as a whole, he says, is bridging the gap between research and development and between theory and practice.

Launched as a vehicle for publishing academic and professional research, Communications has also served as an unofficial forum for the computing community to debate technology innovations and applications, as well as their impact on ordinary human activity. With the recent appointment of Moshe Vardi, professor in computational engineering and director of the Computer and Information Technology Institute at Rice University, as Editor in Chief, Communications has embarked on a course that will transform it into the flagship publication of the entire computing field.

The January issue of Communications is freely available online. Click on to access all the articles in this issue.

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is an educational and scientific society uniting the world’s computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.