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CACM Reports: Training Computers to Analyze Crowd Behavior from Video

December Issue Reports on Legacy of Steve Jobs, Expanding Reach of Computer Science Education Week, and Today's Social Media Activists

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

Contact: Virginia Gold

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NEW YORK – November 22, 2011 –  Major research efforts are underway to develop systems that cue security personnel to individuals or events of interest in crowded scenes.  Researches from the University of South Florida and SRI International Sarnoff are using cutting-edge techniques to enable video cameras to recognize crowd behaviors, track individuals in crowds, and detect abnormal events.  In the December Communications of the ACM (CACM) cover story, they describe visual crowd surveillance using ideas and techniques based on the notion that people in crowds behave at times like particles in fluids.  Also in this issue, Editor-in-Chief Moshe Y. Vardi, captures the fundamental duality of computing in his comparison of pioneers Steve Jobs and Dennis Ritchie.  While Ritchie (1941-2011) was the "techies' techie," Jobs (1955-2011) focused on the human side of computing. Citing Leibniz's (1646-1716) prophesy of computing as an "instrument of the human mind," Vardi urges readers to keep the human in the center of the discipline. 

            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. 

            In a Practice article developed by acmqueue, two University of Toledo professors analyze the factors that separate good code from great code.  They cite the nuances of a programmer’s technique and tools that make code clear, concise, and understandable, and examine the underlying principles they used to develop a system of coding guidelines to improve the sustainability of a code base. 

Also in this issue:

  •        In a series of essays on the legacy of Steve Jobs, Jaron Lanier describes how Jobs manipulated technical minds by importing the marketing techniques of India’s gurus to the business of computation; Genevieve Bell applies her anthropology skills to illustrate how Apple products crossed the line between mere technologies and beloved objects; and Michael Cusumano reflects on the ability of Jobs to master the business side of technology, and to create the future as he envisioned it.  
  •        Samuel Greengard surveys the progress of Computer Science Education Week, which now includes groups in more than 130 countries, and their focus on how computer science education prepares today’s youth for the digital age at a time when the current CS student pipeline will fill only half the projected positions in 2018
  •        In "Data Trends on Minorities and People with Disabilities in Computing," Valerie Taylor and Richard Ladner call for a comprehensive review of  data to determine what programs and polices are needed to promote diversity. 
  •        Kode Vicious columnist George V. Neville-Neil addresses “Debugging on Live Systems,” advising readers  that debugging is more of a social than a technical problem.
  •        ACM Infosys Systems Award winner Frans Kaashoek answers questions about multicore computing, security, and operating system design from Leah Hoffman in "Scaling Up."
  •        Dennis McCafferty finds that today’s activists are highly plugged into social media, mobile apps, and other digital tools, but wonders if this makes a difference where it matters most in “Activism vs. Slacktivism.”
  •        Blog@CACM blogger John Langford analyzes whether conferences should offer video lectures; and Judy Robertson discusses the merits of the Game Design through Mentoring and Collaboration Project.

            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.