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CACM Reports: The Promise and Problems of Artificial Intelligence

January Issue Reports on the Legacy of AI Founder John McCarthy, AI’s Impact on Jobs, Celebrating the Turing Centennial, and Better Medicine Through Machine Learning

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

Contact: Virginia Gold

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NEW YORK – December 20, 2011 –  John McCarthy, recipient of the 1971 ACM Turing Award in part for his pioneering work in artificial intelligence (AI), initiated the study of logical AI.  In the January Communications of the ACM (CACM) cover story (available later this month), science and technology writer Paul Hyman surveys the late computer scientist’s contributions to building intelligent systems, including his coinage of the term “artificial intelligence.”  Also in the issue, Editor-in-Chief Moshe Y. Vardi probes the tensions surrounding AI between overpromising pioneers and underappreciated accomplishments.  In this centennial year of the birth of computing icon Alan Turing, who explored the concept of machine learning, Communications reports on a range of planned global events including ACM’s two-day celebration June 15-16 in San Francisco that will bring together 32 Turing Award winners. 

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

            The promise of better medicine through machine learning is examined in an article on how computer scientists are searching for patterns that can aid diagnosis and improve clinical care.  Citing efforts to apply machine learning at a variety of institutions, writer Neil Savage details promising programs that include detection of cancerous lesions, improving diagnosis and treatment options, and building models that can predict treatment outcomes. 

            Also in this issue:

  •        In “(Computer) Vision without Sight,” Roberto Manduchi of the University of California, Santa Cruz and James Coughlan of The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute describe the use of computer vision systems and algorithms to support visually impaired people in their daily tasks.  They propose promising research directions that combine computer vision (VI) and assistive technology for the VI population.
  •        In an article developed by acm Queue titled “1/O Virtualization,” Carl Waldspurger and Mendel Rosenblum examine the compelling advantages as well as the challenges of decoupling a logical device from its physical implementation, which they maintain can improve flexibility and high performance.
  •        Carnegie Mellon’s Jason Hong identifies three strategies for protecting end users from phishing scams, which are becoming increasingly pervasive and sophisticated.  He advises developers to go beyond blaming users if they expect to deploy effective countermeasures against phishing attacks.
  •        In an article on interfaces for the ordinary user, Kai Olsen of the University of Bergen, Norway and Alessio Malizia of the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain challenge today’s tendency to hide the underlying file structure from users.  They note that  increasing the visibility and access to underlying file structure on consumer devices can vastly improve the user experience.
  •        Samuel Greengard argues that cyberlaw—the real-world law extended to the virtual world—is at the center of an increasingly contentious battle over rights, responsibilities, and resources.  He examines how technology is changing the way countries approach matters as diverse as international crime and content ownership.
  •        In an interview with Stephen A. Cook, winner of the 1982 ACM Turing Award, he reflects on his career as one of the forefathers of computational complexity theory, and the feasibility of solving the P versus NP problem, which has recently received renewed attention.
  •        Blog@CACM blogger Mark Guzdial writes about why teachers must grasp introductory computer science students’ theories about computing; and Bertrand Meyer argues for the necessity of analyzing large-scale software disasters and publishing detailed technical studies.   

            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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