CACM Reports: Achieving Faster Circuits, Searches and Software

February 2015 Issue Reports on How Information Technology May Be Shrinking the Middle Class; Visualizing Sound; the Stat

Subtitle: February 2015 Issue Reports on How Information Technology May Be Shrinking the Middle Class; Visualizing Sound; the State of Model-Based Testing; to Govern or Not to Govern IT


French computer scientists have developed new and faster ways to compare theoretical machines in order to optimize searches. Citing vending machines to illustrate their methods, they build on algorithms created by former ACM Turing Award recipients John Hopcroft and Richard Karp using innovative optimization techniques that drive the technology world. Check out the video for this cover story.

  • Communications of the ACM Editor-in-Chief Moshe Y. Vardi poses a question: Is information technology destroying the middle class? Citing analysis by MIT labor economist David Autor, Vardi acknowledges that while automation may not lead to broad destruction of jobs in the near term, it is having a major impact on the economy by creating polarization of the labor market, resulting in a shrinking middle class.
  • Science and technology writer Neil Savage reports on new techniques that capture speech by looking for the vibrations it causes. He cites research presented at ACM SIGGRAPH in 2014 by MIT computer scientists. Although originally intended to amplify motion in video to remotely monitor infants in intensive care units by extracting sound from video images, it may be useful in biomedical applications.
  • The state of model-based testing (MBT) used by many software-engineering professionals was assessed in a recent survey to determine its effects on efficiency and effectiveness. The results confirmed the diversity of MBT approaches and may have put an end to discussions of whether an MBT model is classified as a system model, test model, or environmental model.
  • Business leaders may bemoan the burdens of governing IT, but the alternative could be much worse, conclude researchers from Spain and Australia. They assert that governance of IT is a board and top-executive responsibility, which focuses on business performance and capability, not on technology details. Emphasizing technology rather than its uses, they claim, has yielded a culture in which business leaders resist involvement in leadership of the IT agenda.
  • Technology writer Logan Kugler compares how the U.S., Europe and Japan differ in their approaches to data protection. Noting that the EU is concerned with anyone who collects and tracks data, while in the U.S. the larger concern is government surveillance, he concludes that it is increasingly important that different regions are on the same page about these issues.

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ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting 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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