In March 2020 ACM formed a Presidential Task Force (PTF) to help conference organizers transition their events to online. The PTF is working on a guide to offer practical advice and shed light on the largely unfamiliar territory of online conferencing.
The report, available here, includes pointers to a live document with additional resources. We welcome comments, suggestions and experience reports from the community.
ACM's Practitioner Board has created ACM ByteCast, a new podcast series in which hosts Rashmi Mohan and Jessica Bell interview researchers, practitioners, and innovators who are at the intersection of computing research and practice. In each monthly episode, guests will share their experiences, the lessons they’ve learned, and their own visions for the future of computing.
Listen to the latest episode featuring Robin Murphy, ACM Fellow and recipient of the ACM Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions, on the ACM Learning Center website, and subscribe to the series wherever you get your podcasts.
ACM Selects are themed shortlists curated by subject matter experts for both serious and emerging computing professionals, with the goal of providing new ways to discover relevant resources, either through ACM or authenticated by ACM-affiliated specialists. The latest Selects cover Getting Started with Software Engineering Best Practices; Understanding Machine Learning; and People in Computing #1.
Michael Wooldridge is a Professor and Head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford, and a Program Director for AI at The Alan Turing Institute. He has authored more than 400 scientific publications, two popular science introductions to AI, and seven more technical books. Wooldridge serves on the steering committee for the inaugural ACM International Conference on AI and Finance (ICAIF). He was named an ACM Fellow for contributions to multi-agent systems and the formalization of rational action in multi-agent environments.
The Computing Research Association (CRA) conducted two surveys about the COVID-19 disruption in summer 2020. One surveyed computer science faculty members about their experiences transitioning from teaching in person to teaching online as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The other surveyed department chairs, asking them about the impact of COVID-19 on their faculty, department operations, student job searches, and budgets, and their concerns going into fall 2020.
Meena Mahajan is a Professor at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai, India. She has served as member and Past Chair of the Steering Committee of the IARCS Conference on Foundations of Software Technology and Theoretical Computer Science; as Paper Chair for the Computational Complexity Conference; as a member of the Editorial Board of the Leibniz International Proceedings in informatics, as and an editor of Logical Methods in Computer Science. Mahajan is also an ACM India Eminent Speaker.
ACM's US Technology Policy Committee filed a friend of the court brief with the US Supreme Court in the landmark case of Van Buren v. United States—the first time it has reviewed the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a 1986 law that was originally intended to punish hacking. USTPC notes that the questions posed in this case have broad implications for data and computing scientists, as well as other professionals who use the internet and computing technology, particularly to access information posted online.
ACM's US Technology Policy Committee has called for “an immediate suspension of the current and future private and governmental use of facial recognition (FR) technologies in all circumstances known or reasonably foreseeable to be prejudicial to established human and legal rights” in its “Statement on Principles and Prerequisites for the Development, Evaluation and Use of Unbiased Facial Recognition Technologies.”
ACM’s US Technology Policy Committee (USTPC) joined many of the nation’s leading experts in cybersecurity, computing, and science in calling on all governors and state election directors to refrain from using any form of internet voting or voting app system in the 2020 elections. The joint open letter includes a detailed analysis prepared by the AAAS Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues which clearly demonstrates that internet voting is not a secure solution for voting in the US.
Responsible Vulnerability Disclosure in Cryptocurrencies
Despite the focus on operating in adversarial environments, cryptocurrencies have suffered a litany of security and privacy problems. Sometimes, these issues are resolved without much fanfare following a disclosure by the individual who found the hole. In other cases, they result in costly losses due to theft, exploits, unauthorized coin creation, and destruction. These experiences provide regular fodder for outrageous news headlines. While Bitcoin is the best known, more than 2,000 cryptocurrencies are in circulation, collectively valued at $350 billion as of August 2020. In this video, Tyler Moore discusses "Responsible Vulnerability Disclosure in Cryptocurrencies," a Review Article in the October 2020 Communications of the ACM. This article focuses on the disclosure process itself, which presents unique challenges compared to other software projects, and examines some recent disclosures and discuss difficulties that have arisen.
Mozilla’s record-and-replay debugging tool rr was built to test failures in the Firefox browser. After it was delivered, it became widely used outside of Mozilla, for regular debugging as well as for sleuthing out elusive failures. In “To Catch a Failure: The Record-and-Replay Approach to Debugging,” a Case Study in ACM Queue, Mozilla developers Robert O'Callahan and Kyle Huey recount the challenges they faced in creating and extending rr to Devon O'Dell, Senior Systems Engineer at Google, and Terry Coatta, CTO of Marine Learning Systems.
ACM recently updated its Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. The revised Code of Ethics addresses the significant advances in computing technology since the 1992 version, as well as the growing pervasiveness of computing in all aspects of society. To promote the Code throughout the computing community, ACM created a booklet, which includes the Code, case studies that illustrate how the Code can be applied to situations that arise in everyday practice and suggestions on how the Code can be used in educational settings and in companies and organizations. Download a PDF of the ACM Code booklet.
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