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CACM Reports: Using Computational Methods to Chase AIDS Virus

March Issue Reports on the Evolving Google File System; Challenges of Global IT Management; Engineering the Web’s Third Decade

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

Contact: Virginia Gold

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NEW YORK, NY, February 25, 2010 – In the March Communications of the ACM (CACM) researchers in Germany are pursuing the highly resistant AIDS virus by mining clinical databases that predict the resistance of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) to administered drugs.  The team, from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken and the Virological Institute in Köln, is generating statistical models that incorporate interactions between drugs in combination with drug therapies to rank possible therapies.  The models also provide a computational test for the expected effectiveness of new drugs capable of blocking viral cell entry.  Also in this issue, in an article developed by acmqueue, Kirk McKusick, known for his work on BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) Unix and Sean Quinlan, a principal engineer at Google, discuss the initial designs and subsequent adaptations of the Google File System. 

            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

            A report on the challenges of global IT management examines the balance of trade-offs, practice and research in the structural design of IT for businesses to succeed on a global scale.  The authors, from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and MIT Sloan School of Management, studied four industry-leading multinational corporations that have established a strong global presence, particularly in emerging markets such as Asia, and found that they all used three common structural elements to link the enterprisewide IT leadership.  Although sometimes labeled differently, these elements included shared services to achieve scale economies; centers of excellence to drive innovation; and value managers to enable responsiveness. 

            Editor-in-Chief Moshe Vardi revisits the publication culture in computing research with an Editor’s Letter responding to Lance Fortnow’s August 2009 article that it was “Time for Computer Science to Grow Up.”  Fortnow argued that computing research should publish in journals rather than rely on conference publications as the primary means of publishing research.  Observing that the editorial process in computing-research journals is “soooo slow,” Vardi concludes, “we simply do not take journals as seriously as other fields.”  He looks forward to discussions on this topic at the 2010 Conference of the Computing Research Association (July 18-20) plenary panel on “Peer Review in Computing Research.” 

            In an article on the Web’s evolution, writer Kirk L. Kroeker surveys promising research that is advancing Web technologies beyond two-way interactive capabilities that rely on the popular Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) model.  The developing models are more infused with semantic technologies that facilitate interlinked data and customizable, portable applications that are device- or system-neutral.  Some researchers are predicting that that the future Web will facilitate a more pervasive and intuitive user experience, providing content or services specific to the user’s implied needs.                       

            Other March Communications articles:

  •     Gaming 2.0 is not just the application of new computing and Internet technologies to old gaming paradigms, writes Tim Chang of Northwest Venture Partners.  It combines new technologies, new designs, and new business paradigms, and is fueled by major changes in consumer behavior.
  •     Richard Tapia of Rice University urges the computing research field to create more programs and invest more funding with the goal of developing minority faculty at top research universities.  Tapia, Principal Investigator and Director of the National Science Foundation’s Empowering Leadership Alliance, suggests specific steps to hire and promote minority faculty members to significantly improve their representation over the next five years.
  •     Advances in computing drive our economy, not just through the growth of the IT industry, but also through productivity gains across the entire economy, write director of the ACM U.S. Public Policy Office Cameron Wilson and Computing Research Association director of government affairs Peter Harsha.  They argue that without a strong case and support for a sustained, robust commitment to long-term, fundamental research from a broad community of industry, higher education, and scientific societies, research funding will face a chilly reception among policymakers. 
  •     BLOG@CACM guest blogger Mark Guzdial of Georgia Institute of Technology questions whether expecting students to program is an effective way to teach programming, and explores other options to “do computing education better.”  Guest blogger Judy Robertson of Heriot-Watt University points to a range of teaching approaches to novice programming across the world, and suggests that the best approach is a mixed bag of instructional techniques rather than basing pedagogy on pure theory. 

            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. 

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