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CACM Reports: Technologies that Let the Voice of the People Be Heard

February Issue Reports on E-Democracy, Extending ACM's Presence in Europe, and What's Wrong With the Internet

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

Contact: Virginia Gold

NEW YORK – January 26, 2012  –  Internet and wireless technologies have expanded to help governments improve the way they listen and adapt to social change.  They have also amplified citizens’ voices and opinions, allowing direct participation in political discourse and reshaping the relationship between governments and citizens.  In the February Communications of the ACM (CACM) cover story, University of North Texas researchers Nicholas Evangelopoulos and Lucian Visinescu analyzed two examples of citizen feedback, including mobile phone short message service (SMS) messages, and online text submissions.  By applying text mining technologies using concept extraction, they demonstrated the effectiveness of Latent Semantic Analysis to remove bias and close the loop in the political dialogue.  Also in this issue, ACM Europe Council Chair Fabrizio Gagliardi, who is Europe, Middle East and Africa Director for External Research at Microsoft Research, reviews the progress of the council in increasing the presence of Europeans as leaders and distinguished members; expanding the number of chapters and conferences throughout Europe; and extending ACM’s reach to Turkey and Russia. 

            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

            Internet delays, which are as common as they are maddening, end up affecting systems engineers as well as consumers who rely on the network for information, commerce, and social interaction. In a case study developed for ACM Queue, Vint Cerf, Van Jacobson, Nick Weaver, and Jim Gettys address the problem known as bufferbloat.  The term, coined by Gettys, refers to excess buffering inside a network, resulting in high latency and reduced throughput.  The article considers the extent of the bufferbloat problem and its potential implications. 

            Also in this issue:

  •        In “Yet Another Technology Cusp,” Donald A. Norman, a visiting professor at Korea Advanced Institute of Technology,” surveys the confusion, vendor wars, and opportunities that can result from  the unexpected risks of seemingly minor technological changes.
  •        Beth Simon of the University of California, San Diego, and Quintin  Cutts, of the University of Glasgow, Scotland, note the high failure rates and lack of students interested in computing.  Examining the similarities between physics and computing education, they find that Peer Instruction is an important method for the computing education community because it fosters a deep understanding of the subject. 
  •        In “Emotion and Security,” Rose McDermott of Brown University examines the role of emotional response in security measures implemented by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to make airline passengers feel more secure.  She urges more effective communication of the nature of objective risks posed by cyber threats.
  •        The University of British Columbia’s Holger Hoos encourages developers to avoid premature commitment to certain design choices, and to follow Programming by Optimization, which actively develops promising alternatives for parts of the design. 
  •        In an article on smart vehicle research, the authors survey the main innovations in intelligent vehicle area networks (VANS) featuring driver safety.  They cite the challenges of applying multidisciplinary analytics from signal processing to machine learning and data mining.
  •        Blog@CACM blogger Michael Stonebraker issues a call to arms about research groups’ data-management problems; and Jason Hong discusses the nature of functionality with respect to design.             

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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