ACM SGB Meeting Materials October 20, 2006

Volcheck provided an update on USACM activities. USACM supports voter verified audit trails and voter verified paper ballots. To protect the accuracy and impartiality of the electoral process, ACM made the following recommendations:

  • All voting systems -- particularly computer-based electronic voting systems -- embody careful engineering, strong safeguards, and rigorous testing in both their design and operation; and,
  • Voting systems should also enable each voter to inspect a physical (e.g., paper) record to verify that his or her vote has been accurately cast and to serve as an independent check on the result produced and stored by the system. Making those records permanent (i.e., not based solely in computer memory) provides a means by which an accurate recount may be conducted.

Ensuring the reliability, security, and verifiability of public elections is fundamental to a stable democracy. Convenience and speed of vote counting are no substitute for accuracy of results and trust in the process by the electorate.

In September 2006, USACM Members Barbara Simons and Ed Felten provided expert testimony to Congress on the state of e-voting machines and made recommendations on how to improve them. USACM advocates best practices for security and accuracy in Voter Registration Databases (VRD).

Volcheck reported that USACM wrote policy briefs and letters to Congress supporting no mandates for proprietary DRM technology and protection of consumer rights. In a letter to the U.S. Senate concerning S. 1621, the Consumers, Schools, and Libraries Digital Rights Management Awareness Act, USACM welcomed provisions of the Act that block government imposed DRM regulations, provide public transparency concerning the commercial use of DRM, and that require a review of DRM restrictions on research, education and communication activities.

USACM EC member Annie Anton (NCSU) was appointed to DHS Advisory Committee on Data Privacy. ACM SIGCHI policy group is expected to issue a statement in support of 508 accessibility. Volcheck encouraged SGB leaders to volunteer their expertise. There are several volunteers from SIGCHI and SIGCAS already involved. For more information, SGB leaders were asked to visit

Mary Fernandez of SIGMOD suggested that Mentornet be added as a student member benefit. Mentornet has 17,000 students since 1997 and is at a cost of $1 per student. SIGMOD, SIGCOMM, SIGKDD, and SIGPLAN all indicated support of this. A large number of schools already participate in this. ACM needs to participate and broaden coverage to non- U.S. students. ACM Membership Services looked at this but question the cost and what students need from the mentors.

Emil Volcheck of SIGSAM discussed a financial issue with both a storage overcharge of $1,000 in the last few years and the publications cost per page. He is looking for a better breakdown of costs and charges. It is a challenge to understand the DL income. A few SIG’s found this to be an issue.

Scott Owen of SIGGRAPH next discussed the new use of a Website Interface with the company SOMA. He pointed out that this is a better source for videos and PowerPoint presentations than the Digital Library. Owen stressed the ease of this as SOMA designs the website interface and the SIGs put in the information. SIGGRAPH considers this a great member benefit. The cost of this may be too much for the smaller SIGs. Scott Owen offered to provide more information if contacted directly.

Alex Wolf observed that ACM is not visible enough at the international conferences that it sponsors/co-sponsors. The general chairs have no incentive in making ACM visible. What can ACM do to raise its visibility? Branding is a major investment and a style guide is being put together that might help push ACM’s name at these conferences. Lillian Israel could possibly come and discuss this. Another issue came up with in cooperation conferences listing sponsorship on their conferences as opposed to in cooperation status.

Flo Appel from SIGCAS raised a question about newsletters and how they’re being published, formatted and distributed. Most SIGs are still using print in some form. They believe this is giving a tangible membership benefit. SIGCAS went electronic but is finding membership is not satisfied and they are trying to get a handle on this.

Keith Marzullo from SIGOPS discussed getting ACM involved in China and its major universities. How can we get professionals and students in China to play a larger role in ACM and the SIGs? We should reach out to include Chinese in program committees. How do you get papers submitted and accepted for these conferences? Two major universities went from 2 papers being accepted to 60 papers being accepted. Light reviewers of these papers review 25 papers while heavy reviewers are looking at around 35.

Motion: Mentoring relationships between students and professionals have been proven to increase the retention of students in the educational pipeline, from the high school level through graduate school, and to improve overall satisfaction with and success in their academic careers.

Given the importance of developing ACM’s student members into professionals, and the proven value of mentoring, the SGB strongly urges ACM to offer a mentoring program for all ACM student members including SIG-affiliated members, and to encourage ACM professional members to become mentors. SGB urges the ACM to explore the use of Mentornet, an award-winning e-mentoring program, to provide this service to the ACM community.


Action: Konstan/Cappo to inform MSB Chair of the SGB motion urging the MSB to explore the use of Mentornet as a service to the ACM community.

Action: Coatta/Israel to provide SGB with decision from MSB on Mentornet partnership.

Action: Cappo to work with appropriate staff to provide ACM visibility guidelines to SGB leadership and conference organizers.

Action: Cappo to work with appropriate staff to provide ACM logo style guidelines for sponsored conferences, cooperating conferences, chapter events and SIGs.

Action: Konstan/Cappo to schedule September leadership workshop to allow time for SIG specific finance sessions.

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