Document Actions

CACM Reports: Mining the Wisdom of Online Crowds

September Issue also Surveys Status of Solving P vs. NP, a Fundamental Computational Problem

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

Contact: Virginia Gold

small_ms-word.gif Printable Word File

NEW YORK, NY, August 27, 2009 – In an age when the all-important teen market has altered its new-music consumption through online content and digital downloads, the September Communications of the ACM (CACM) reports on new technologies like Sound Index to measure popularity in the world of music.  IBM Almaden Research Center computer scientists Varun Bhagwan, Tyrone Grandson, and Daniel Gruhl assess the advantages and challenges of this technology, which they dub the “first definitive music chart for the Internet age.”  Cover story author Lance Fortnow of Northwestern University surveys the status of the P versus NP problem, a fundamental mathematical problem of our time, and its growing importance with the rise of powerful computers.  This problem is considered so critical among computer scientists that the Clay Mathematics Institute, Cambridge, MA, is offering $1 million for the first correct proof.  He describes a new long-term project to separate P from NP using algebraic-geometric techniques, and concludes that we have only begun to peel the layers around this increasingly complex question.  

            Communications, the flagship publication of ACM, offers readers access to this generation’s most significant leaders and innovators in computing and information technology, and is available online in digital format

            In an article on the long road to computer science education reform, Cameron Wilson, director of the ACM U.S. Public Policy Office (USACM), and Peter Harsha, director of government affairs at the Computing Research Association, probe the policy factors that impede improvements in CS education from kindergarten through grade 12.  Acknowledging the significant issues that beset higher education, they nevertheless encourage policy makers to address the myriad challenges that mark the beginning of the education pipeline.  These include limited opportunities to take rigorous courses, little diversity among enrolled students, a lack of professional development for teachers, and scant innovation in curriculum development.  Wilson and Harsha detail several initiatives underway by ACM and others to establish computer science as a core component of the educational experience. 

            Other September Communications articles: 

  •     Editor-in-Chief Moshe Vardi addresses the role of information technology in the recent financial meltdown, the advantages and liabilities of the computing infrastructure in today’s complex economic world, and the societal consequences that result.
  •     University of California Berkeley law professor Paul M. Schwartz contends that an annual statistical index of U.S. telecommunications surveillance activities and their results will benefit both civil liberties and law enforcement by permitting meaningful judgments about the extent of privacy invasions and the effectiveness of the activity.
  •     Writer Samuel Greengard reports on research that addresses the computing challenges of older individuals, whose needs are different and too often disregarded.
  •    Technology writer Kirk L. Kroeker examines current research into technology that proposes using tiny robots to access areas of the human body otherwise unreachable without invasive surgery.
  •     An analysis of the “conversion rate” of spam – the probability that an unsolicited email will ultimately elicit a “sale”  by two groups of researchers, one at the University of California at San Diego, and the other at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, CA.  The results suggest that the profit margin for spam may be meager enough that spammers are economically susceptible to new defenses.
  •     A technical perspective on this spam marketing conversion research by Marc Dacier of Symantec Research Labs in Europe, which labels this paper a must-read for those tempted to assess Internet threats.
  •     An article developed by acmqueue detailing the attributes of the Google Web Toolkit that makes Web development more efficient and effective, by Bruce Johnson of Google. 
  •     At BLOG@CACM, Michael Stonebraker discusses the problems with relational database management systems and possible solutions, and Jason Hong writes about interfaces and usable privacy and security.


            For more information on Communications of the ACM, click on


About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing 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. 


#  #  #