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CACM Reports: How Artificial Intelligence Can Put the "Smarts" in the Smart Grid

April Issue Reports on Preserving Digital Data, Technology that Enables Talking Machines, and the Status of Agile Software Development

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

Contact: Virginia Gold

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NEW YORK – March 26, 2012  –  In a time of rising oil prices, the urgency of reducing the world’s reliance on fossil fuels is growing. According to researchers at the University of Southampton, it is essential to build cleaner and more efficient electrical grids to safeguard future generations.  In the April Communications of the ACM (CACM) cover story, they envision a fundamental reengineering of the current electricity grid into a smart grid, which provides challenges to computer science and artificial intelligence.  This grid, they argue, will include technologies that require algorithms and mechanisms that can solve complex problems.  They also provide a research agenda for the computing community to make the smart grid a reality.  Also in this issue, the ACM China Council reports on the burgeoning joint activities between ACM and the China Computer Federation, which are aimed at raising ACM’s visibility and advancing computing as a science and profession in China.  The council expects to expand the number of ACM chapters in the country and begin translating selected articles from Communications into Chinese for distribution to members in China. 

            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.           

            Also in this issue:

  •       Visualization provides a powerful means of making sense of the growing scale and availability of digital data, write Jeffrey Heer of Stanford University and Ben Shneiderman of the University of Maryland.  They review the interactive dynamics for visual analysis that can inform public policy, scientific discovery, business strategy, and even our personal lives.
  •       Laurie Williams of North Carolina State University reports on her surveys of the Agile Manifesto that transformed the software industry over more than a dozen years.  Despite the initial  controversy over this methodology, she tracks its evolution as a solid guidance for software development teams and their projects. 
  •       Technology writer Tom Geller examines voice recognition programs like Siri, whose abilities go far beyond simple transcription.  He reports that the device’s software agents are striving to know more about you than you know about yourself.
  •       The number of open access journals is exploding, notes Leah Hoffman, a technology writer.  She examines whether the model is sustainable in the long run, and looks at ACM’s new Author-Izer service, which allows authors to create a link that grants free access to the definitive version of their work in the ACM Digital Library.
  •       Science and technology writer Gregory Goth argues for increased funding and improved policy coordination of scientific data, which is expanding at an unprecedented rate, in order to preserve the resulting digital artifacts. 
  •       David Blei of Princeton University surveys probabilistic topic models, a suite of algorithms that provides a statistical solution to the problem of managing large archives of documents.
  •       Blog@CACM blogger Daniel Reed writes about how computing systems increase human intellect and abilities. Mark Guzdial discusses the need to avoid polarized and extreme positions in education, and the trend toward design-based research. 

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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.