SIG Governing Board Meeting

Friday, March 16, 2012

1.0 Welcome

1.1 Welcome, Introductions (Hanson, Sears)

The microphone was passed around for those in attendance to introduce themselves.

1.2 Welcome, ACM President (Chesnais)

Alain Chesnais welcomed all attendees to the SGB meeting, noting the increased attendance and growth of the SGB.  He expressed his excitement for the SIGs full participation in the meeting and all of the exciting things that would develop as a result.

2.0 Report from ACM CEO (White):

John White introduced himself and said it was a pleasure to be back with the SIG Chairs and proceeded to provide an update on the state of ACM as well as the organizations’ priorities.   

Membership: ACM has 107,132 members (as of February 29, 2012) and over 700 chapters around the world.  The organization is working hard not to be US-centric.  We have been working with CCF and gaining members. Over the last 10 years our membership has increased with most new members being outside of the US.

Finances:  Last year was a good year for Financials.  We had a large net surplus and the general revenue and SIG revenue were both high. There was a positive swing in conference net last year. SIG performance is driven by how well conferences go. Our 150 conferences are dominated by Supercomputing, SIGGRAPH, CHI and DAC and these were very strong.  The DL distribution has increased and further contributed to our strong financials.  Overall, ACM is extremely healthy.   Our overall fund balance of $54 million has increased from last year.

Turing Celebration: As this year’s Turing Award winner has been announced, Judea Perle will be joining us as well as the other 33 living Turing Award winners.  The event will run for one and a half days with talks delivered from many people in the community including people from Turing’s life who will speak about specific remembrances.  There will be eight panels in all.  This is an ACM and SIG funded event. It will be video captured and webcast as well.  The leadership includes Vint Cerf as the General Chair, Program Co-Chairs are Mike Schroder, John Thomas, Moshe Vardi and Vint Cerf.  The program will include 34 Turing Award Winners, 4 talks and 8 panels over 1.5 days.  The organizing committee includes Steve Homer from SIGACT; Doug Burger and David Wood of SIGARCH; John Thomas, SIGCHI; Vint Cerf, SIGCOMM; Srinivas Katkoori,  SIGDA; Mary Whitton, SIGGRAPH; Mike Schroeder, SIGOPS: Andrew Black, SIGPLAN; Will Tracz, Mark Grechanik and Carlo Gehzzi of SIGSOFT; Keith van Rijsbergen, SIGIR; Yannis Ioannidis, SIGMOD; Brent Hailpern, ACM History Committee.  Registration is closed again and we are working to ensure 1,000 attendees.  We have established 75 student scholarships and have provided for seating for 1,000 attendees, lunch and a reception.  The cost totals $620K and is funded by ACM General and ACM SIGs.

International Initiatives in China: We renewed membership with CCF. CCF will raise dues for all renewing members to cover ACM membership beginning in 2012.  There will be ACM keynotes at the CCF annual conference (CNCC). A possibility of a joint publication is currently under consideration. There are ACM pages in Communications of the CCF.  We will be migrating some CCF YOCSEF chapters into ACM chapters. We are translating select CACM articles to Chinese.  We are continuing to work on launching more ACM chapters.  We have been seeing more ACM conferences held in China.

International Initiatives in India:  We continue to work with the India Council to enrich the Computer Science community there.  ACM India is now a legal educational/scientific society in India with a business model in place.  The third successful ACM India Conference was held in January with 600 attendees and two major ACM keynotes. The education initiative is moving forward with Ed Board involvement. There is a new group in India similar to ACM-W which holds a meeting similar to Hopper. There are many SIG like groups building on the national SIG model. We are moving forward with India-wide SIGs using the regional chapter model. Launch and management will involve the parent SIG.

International Initiatives in Europe: We have successfully developed a budget that will allow us to continually grow European chapters and do a better job in the process.  Plans are underway for the first ACM Europe Computing Research Congress (ECRC) which will be held in conjunction with CHI ‘13 in Paris May 2-4, 2013.   We held a successful ACM Europe Chapters workshop.  We continue to hold many ACM conferences in Europe.  The following 2013 conferences are being planned in Europe: CHI ’13, The digital agenda for eAccessibility in Europe, HiPEAC Spring Networking Meeting, GLSVLSI 2013, Euro-TM Plenary Meeting, HypterText ’13, Science ’13.  We are seeking significant SIG conference involvement in ACM ECRC ’17.  Also involving European initiatives, our Turing award has been included in a new Lindau-Nobel-Laureates-like annual meeting for Award winners.  It is called the Heidelberg Laureates Forum and will bring together winners of the Turing, Abel, and Fields laureates.  On the education front in Europe, we will initiate a Europe-wide assessment of computing in secondary schools.  We will be discussing engaging in EU/EC public policy issues.  Also, we are considering incorporating ACM Europe activities in the EU.

Other Initiatives and Challenges:

Publications: we have over 50 periodicals in computing and computer science, a significant digital library and bibliographic database for computing. The DL is at 3,000 institutions worldwide.

Special Interest Groups: we have 37 SIGs and over 150 annual sponsored/co-sponsored conferences, symposia, workshops.

Chapters: we have 534 student chapters worldwide, 158 professional chapters, 692 total chapters.

Initiatives: we are working on creating and maintaining an international presence

Operations:  we have a vibrant pool of volunteers. 16 Council members, Regional Councils in India, China and Europe; USACM Council; Four Operating Boards: Publications, SIGs, Education, Practitioner; hundreds of committees (including SIG Executive Committee, Conference Committees, Program Committees); Staff: at New York headquarters we have 72 members.

Policy Initiatives - Policy Office: We have a new Senior Policy Analyst, Renee Dopplick who has a JD from Georgetown; a MS from College of Agriculture and Natural Resources from Michigan State; BS of Psychological Science from UCLA.  She is also a former Law Fellow at the World Wildlife Fund.

Policy Initiatives - USACM Council: Five subcommittees are up and running well.  They are filing many comments and testifying before Congress.  There was an annual policy summit meeting held in February.

Policy Initiatives - Education Policy: Initiatives include advocacy work to make sure real computer science courses count in high schools.  Computing in the Core advocacy coalition is working on Federal engagement with CSEA and ESEA; select state engagement; increasing public awareness with Computer Science Education Week. Professional member groups include ACM, IEEE-CS, CSTA, ABI, NCWIT, CRA, NCTM, and NSTA.  Corporate members include Google, Microsoft, SAS, and Oracle.  We are also at work in reforming the Advanced Placement requirements for CS by adding a new course called “CS Principles”.  We are working with the College Board.  This includes the 10K project which scales AP SC reform to 10,000 teachers and 10,000 high schools.  This project has received 750K in funding from Google.  Immediate goals include consolidate and validate teacher PD for CS Principles; demonstrate how to prepare teachers and engage schools; build a proven approach and platform to scale to 10K teachers and schools.

Overall challenges:

We are working on ways to cooperate more with IEEE-CS; understanding the impact of social media and social networks on the products, services and future of organizations like ACM.

3.0 Viability Reviews

3.1 Viability Review: SIGDOC (Brad Mehlenbacher)

Mehlenbacher provided an update on SIGDOC activities as requested by the SGB (see slides).

Action: Boucher-Owens has been appointed as a Mentor for the SIGDOC leadership and will work with them following the SGB meeting.

Recommendation: The SGB EC continues to be concerned with SIGDOC volunteer development, conference losses and the lack of a long term plan for SIGDOC. It is recommended that the SIGDOC status be extended for a one-year period. During that year, SIGDOC leadership is expected to engage in community outreach with the goals of defining their community, determining which activities are valuable and launching a volunteer development program. In addition, the leadership is expected to develop a contingency plan should the SIG be unable to sustain viability. Barbara Boucher-Owens has been appointed as a Mentor to SIGDOC and will work with the SIGDOC leadership following the SGB meeting.

3.2 Viability Review: SIGGRAPH (Jeff Jortner)

Jortner provided an update on SIGGGRAPH activities as part of the SIGs regularly scheduled program review (see slides).

Recommendation: The SGB EC congratulates SIGGRAPH on their exceptional program performance over the past 2 years. The leadership has steered the SIG through a financial crisis, have gotten it back on track and are moving forward in a positive direction for ACM and the SIGGRAPH community. The SGB EC recommends that SIGGRAPH continue in its viable status for the next 4 years.

Unanimous approval of the recommendation by SGB

Action: Frawley to update viability schedule

4.0 Publications Board Update (Joe Konstan)

How do in-cooperation conferences get into the ACM DL? The proceedings of all approved cooperating events may be deposited in the DL as long as they have a formal publisher.

ACM as Publisher:

Those cooperating conferences that have published with ACM for 3 or more years have been “grandfathered” to be published by ACM. For newer conferences, publishing by ACM requires a formal route through the ICPS.

Other Publishers:

The publishing organization must supply approval for the proceedings to be placed in the ACM DL. ACM has a template letter that can be submitted by the publisher along with format guidelines. There are no further reviews required beyond the SIG In-Cooperation approval process.

Copyright: ACM requires copyright transfer for full papers (And similar items) that it publishes. There has been serious discussion with the publications board on some issues that have come up including a SIGPLAN workshop author  who made his work public domain (CC0 license) before submitting camera ready; thus he could not transfer copyright; paper was presented, but not in proceedings/digital library. The decision was explained to the SGB.

Journals: The ACM Publications Board adopted a policy prohibiting direct conference-to-Journal publication; endorsing journal-first with full review. Some conferences are ramping up this process. The SGB needs to understand that this has business model implications including: who pays the cost of transactions pages and who gets credit for the DL Downloads. This will be discussed at the June Publications Board Meeting and Konstan will report back to the SGB in the fall.

5.0 Education Board Update (Andrew McGettrick):

Overview of the Education Council and Education Board activities:

The general scope of the Education Board is to promote computer science education at all levels and in all ways possible.  The Board is an executive-like committee overseeing the Education Council and will initiate, direct, and manage key ACM educational projects.  This includes activities such as the promotion of curriculum recommendations, the coordination of educational activities, and efforts to provide educational and information services to the ACM membership. 

The Education Board oversees the work of the Education Council, internal to ACM, which includes representatives of all ACM committees concerned with accreditation, curricula, aid to educational institutions, and other educational activities.

Strategic Objectives 1: provide a focus for ACM activity and leadership in the general area of computing education; support of ACM’s strategic objectives through activities and initiatives in computing education; this includes providing support for ACM’s various Councils; understand the education related needs and aspirations of ACM members – students, academics, practitioners (and their managers) and employers - and to respond appropriately on behalf of ACM; provide leadership for the computing community in curricular development and curricular guidance; the community is to include all levels of education (specifically including K-12 and Two-Year College activity) with the emphasis being on higher education.

Strategic Objectives 2: where possible to act on behalf of the computing community to increase the status and standing of computing education.  In recognizing ACM’s role as an international organization, to understand the differing needs of the international community and to address these in Education Board and Education Council considerations.  To organize and manage meetings of the Education Council, while keeping the Council members up-to-date with significant developments and generally to manage the work of the Council. To approve ACM appointments to education-related bodies such as ABET, and to keep informed about and engage in significant related activity.

Immediate priorities: Support for CS 2013, The Advanced Placement initiative, 10k teachers issue, ACM India initiative, Statistics gathering for all CS institutions, Curriculum review associated with CS2013.

Computer Science 2012: To review the Joint ACM and IEEE/CS Computer Science volume of Computing Curricula 2001 and the accompanying interim review CS 2008, and develop a revised and enhanced version for the year 2013 that will match the latest developments in the discipline and have lasting impact.   The CS2013 task force will seek input from a diverse audience with the goal of broadening participation in computer science.  The report will seek to be international in scope and offer curricular and pedagogical guidance applicable to a wide range of institutions. The process of producing the final report will include multiple opportunities for public consultation and scrutiny.  The straw man version was completed in February 2012 and available for public consultation.  It could be very helpful for the SIGs to comment on areas of particular interest:

The new AP exam and the 10k teachers project: Several members of the Education Board / Education Council have been involved in pioneering particular implementations of the new Advanced Placement (AP) exam. Other members are involved in giving advice on AP committees. All members of the Education Council have been involved in the successful attestation activity. Additional activity has involved thinking about the associated 10k teacher’s problem.

Beyond NSF support: Certain matters now need to be addressed; some fall within the scope of CE21, namely additional course models and standards and assessment issues; others are beyond NSF support and indeed NSF mission such as teacher preparation (scaling up to 10 000) and making contact with and gaining entry to high schools.  Ed Board /Council is setting up a subcommittee to take certain ideas forward.

There is also the issue of public/private partnership to support aspects of this CS 10k project.

Partnership: Involves ACM, NSF and Google, and is based around the new AP CS Principles course. It has a focus on developing training and professional development materials. It involves securing significant funding from the private sector for the training of up to 10,000 teachers. It seeks to find ways of engaging the appropriate folk (teachers, school authorities, etc.) and pursing the goals of the project.

Initiative with ACM India: Following discussion, a proposal has been received from ACM India (Mathai Joseph) seeking support for activity that would contribute towards the improvement of CS education in India. The Education Board has wrestled with this and progress is being made (almost all effort to date coming from ACM India).  Five courses have been identified: introduction to programming, functional programming, modern automata theory, machine learning / data mining, foundation of systems.  Initial course is being developed by ACM India; important for these to be developed locally.  An initial way of presenting the material has been agreed; online education is highly relevant here. A workshop involving Education Board members is being planned for September 2012.

Additional ongoing activity: Ongoing support for CCECC, which is following up on the outcomes of an earlier summit, and planning an IT initiative for two year colleges. Reviews have taken place to help decide on updating 2004 publications on Software, Engineering and Computer Engineering.  Interim reviews are about to go ahead. There is an initiative with ACM Europe, passed to SIGCSE for consideration; the topic is a high profile Computing Education conference in Europe and for Europe.  In conjunction with Informatics Europe, ACM Europe is undertaking a computing-in-schools (pre-university) study; note that a report on computing-in-schools in the UK has just been produced by the Royal Society in London.

TauRus: the name comes from “Taulbee for the Rest of Us.”  It is a project sponsored by SIGCSE; presentation given at Ed Council meeting by Jodi Tims; builds on initial work by Michael Goldweber. Aim is to gather statistics from a wide range of institutions on the state of computing education.  Results based on responses, and response rate has been poor (around 65 out of 2500); initially Taulbee responses were poor. Various results: on enrollments to BS degrees, increases in 2007-2008 was  2.40%, in 2008-2009 was 9.02% and in 2009-2010 was 32.26%.  Ed Board / Council challenges on how to extend this and fund it. ACM has now agreed to sponsor this as it goes forward (with support from Google).  Hence the ACM Taurus project.

PACE (Partnership for Advancing Computing Education): Recall that a summit of professional societies was held in June 2009 in Washington DC.  An outcome of this was a proposal to set up a Computing Education Coordinating Council (CECC). An inaugural meeting of CECC took place in Washington DC on 26th April 2011. At the meeting it was felt that CECC, as a name for the organization, lacked buzz and aspiration.  The name PACE was chosen instead.  The member organizations present were ACM, the Association for Information Systems (AIS), the Computer Society (IEEE CS), the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).  Mark Guzdial (from Georgia Tech) was selected as the PACE Administrative Director. NCWIT will provide the first Chair of the PACE board of directors (Lecia Barker).

PACE: Goals and objectives include high quality, diversity, and capacity of the computing workforce.  High quality of computing education at all levels. Also: increased stability of enrollments at levels and compatible with demands.  Membership provides opportunities to advance the state of computing education. Share strategies and innovations. Build partnerships to support and enhance current and new initiatives

Reduce expense and increase impact. Formally not yet launched; web site being developed. Immediate tasks being considered

Very recent concerns: Online education has arisen as an important matter that we need to better understand.  This could be relevant to the ACM India initiative, the 10k teacher’s problem, promoting ideas from CS2013 and beyond. Education on cyber security has also featured heavily in recent discussions.  Keen to know of expertise or interest within the SIGs on both these matters.

Summary of strategic priorities: Progress on all fronts having an international perspective and reach. Support of additional important activities such as involvement in ACM India and ACM Europe.

6.0 USACM Update (Jenna Mathews)

USACM is a committee within ACM that focuses on public policy.  The core mission is to act as the central point for ACM’s interactions with other organizations such as the U.S. government, the computing community and U.S Public Policy which relates to information technology and computing, except issues that relate to science and math education relevant to computing and computer science, which is the responsibility of the Educational Policy Committee (EPC). USACM is authorized to take official policy positions that reflect the position of the USACM but may not be that of ACM. These policy positions are decided by a majority vote of the USACM Executive Committee.

The Core principle of USACM is to educate the public, policy makers and community about public policy issues which affect the development of technology and how technology influences policy issues better inform these policy decisions.  In order to do this, USACM must be a non-partisan, honest broker of scientific and technical expertise, which is free from any influence of product vendors or others with relegated interests, reinforced by scientific evidence in order to improve the field of computing and the responsible use of technology. Some issues that USACM helps to improve are:

Identifying technical risks in proposed systems for electronic voting, internet voting, employment eligibility tracking (e.g. E-Verify), identification systems (e.g. REAL ID, NSTIC), etc. Proposed legislation would impact existing Internet infrastructure. Comments on Menlo Report on extending ethical guidelines for research involving human subjects to computing and information security research. Application of American with Disabilities Act. Standards for Government websites.

Examples of activities that take place are: Respond to calls for public comment on proposed legislation. Congressional testimony, briefings and visits. Interaction with federal agencies which include the DHS, NSF, NIST, FTC, etc. Interact and collaborate with other groups such as Educause and AAAS. Track emerging trends in legislation, initiatives, funding, etc. To learn more and how to get involved with USACM, refer to the websites and USACM’s Tech Policy Blog. Also the ACM Washington Update newsletter and podcasts and info from SIG rep Emil Volcheck.

With regards to reporting issues and helping track emerging trends, please let us know what we should be commenting on that we are not already.

Connecting with people in your SIG may offer expertise on specific issues and we encourage you to join USACM.

7.0 SGB EC Administration Reports

7.1 SGB EC Update (Hanson)

A focus is on keeping the webpages updated for Brent Halpern and the History Committee. Curators are needed for the Turing Award webpages for these winners:

Leonard M. Adleman, Frances (Fran) Allen, John Cocke, John Hopcroft, Butler Lampson, Ronald L. Rivest,  Dana Scott, Adi Shamir, Joseph Sifakis, Richard E. Stearns, Charles P. Thacker.

Contact Michael R. Williams directly with qualified volunteers.

Individual SIGs might want to think ahead to upcoming SIG birthday/anniversaries that could be a suitable venue for some history activities.  Contact Brent Halpern with ideas.

7.2 Task Force Report on Conference Practices (Sears)

Preliminary Ideas:

1) There are opportunities for ACM to simplify life for conferences. While there may be instances where these ideas are perceived as introducing challenges, by and large, they tend to reduce challenges and often save money. Examples include: Sheridan services for conference proceedings; PAF/TMRF processes have been simplified, pre-populated, and reminders added; electronic copyright process; preferred vendors RegOnline, HM Marketing; ACM's ability to negotiate contracts based on buying power.

The thought is that there are more opportunities, and it would seem useful if we could figure out how to identify these opportunities to do things better and more effectively support the SIGs and conferences. 

2) There are many situations where issues are discovered rather late making it more difficult to manage the issues. Identifying potential issues and developing new guidelines or policies may allow everyone to be more proactive rather than reactive. Some examples of situations that come up periodically include:  Making purchases outside of existing policy (e.g., computers, a/v equipment); posting conference video online which is not consistent with ACM policy; questions and issues regarding complimentary registrations; unexpected legal issues.  In the coming months, we will continue to discuss these issues and gather input with the goal of coming to the fall meeting with a report and recommendations.

7.3 Task Force Report on Alternate SIG Structure (Altman)

Members: Erik Altman, Donna Cappo, Patrick Madden, Klara Nahestedt, Scott Owen.

Overview: ACM receives many SIG proposals with challenges such as: Major overlap with one or more existing SIGs; very small or narrow community or volunteer pool; no experience with ACM or broader SIG activities; self-sustaining revenue source unclear; SIG being too heavyweight for proposed activity (having only one conference); no other SIG activities such as awards, newsletters, student travel, CACM nominations

Vicki Hanson chartered task force after last SGB meeting. They’ve made significant progress, but there are still some issues pending: 1) How can we better nurture SIGs? 2) Is there an appropriate alternative structure for groups that do not fit SIG the model?

Task Force Activity: Three phone call meetings and many discussion emails. Both Scott Owen and Donna Cappo created an initial draft proposal, as Klara on the other hand drafted financial implications. Donna laid out many of the procedures and has been on top of updating the proposal document accordingly. Plenty of comments, feedback and suggestions came from everyone.

Task Force Proposal 1: Create a new entity such as “ACM Steering Committee on X” which is similar to a steering committee to support a conference and/or community for building activities, (e.g. website). The steering committees would: be lightweight, often one activity only; be a formally named structure reporting to the SGB through the SGB EC; have a fund balance initially seeded by SGB; have a Chair who attends SGB meetings as a guest, but not vote; be drawn from the group proposing the new activity as well as related SIGs.

The task force’s goals are to answer these questions: How can we better nurture SIGs? Is there an appropriate alternative structure for groups that do not fit SIG model?

The task force broke down the challenges into these challenges: For new computing areas that have no overlap with existing SIGs, a lightweight structure for Steering Committees is preferred. If it contains only the conference, not forced into other SIG activities and where no membership is required may be helpful. Also the Steering Committee should have the freedom to fail, prosper and/or evolve to SIG. For new computing areas that have some overlap with existing SIGS may use the existing SIG reps on their Steering Committee. Where the computing areas and SIGs have a combination of many overlapping/ already existing areas may create collaboration via the Steering Committee. An example being, Games from SIGGRAPH, SIGMM, SIGCHI….etc. These ideas are to encourage cooperation and development of new computing areas and different combinations of SIGs and Communities to decrease the competition surrounding them.

Additional Nurturing Activities: The SGB EC will assign a “mentor” to each Steering Committee that will have ACM volunteer experience and will provide guidance on moving to SIG status if appropriate. Steering Committee leaders will be invited to attend the SIG Officers’ Orientation if appropriate and the New Officer training may be released as Webinars. All successful SIG proposals will be created as a template for future reference. The task force will also recommend a new detailed summary of what is expected to be a viable SIG and Steering Committee.

Task Force Open Issues: The definition between the Steering Committees and SIGs.

Should Steering Committees be allowed to sponsor more than one conference? Can a SIG become a Steering Committee? Coming to a resolution regarding whether non-ACM co-sponsorship is allowed for Steering Committee Conferences, such as IEEE, IFIP, Eurograph, etc…Determining the amount of people that must endorse the Steering Committee petition.  Complete the compiling of standard operating rules for the Steering Committees. Determine if we should proceed with the protocol of requiring SGB and SGB-EC votes to create Steering Committees.

The concept was met with a lukewarm response from the SGB. The task force will regroup and continue discussions.

7.4 ACM/AMIA Task Force Report (Joe Konstan)

I have been asked to look at Health Informatics and AMIA.  We had initial talks and the main theme which came from that is that this area is terribly underserved. A steering committee will be named to oversee a joint annual conference sponsored by ACM and AMIA. The event is expected to start in 2013 with a three year commitment from each organization. The steering committee will be made up of representative from AMIA and the ACM SIGS and will initially be sponsored by the SGB. Once the conference is established the SIGs taking the most interest in the technical program will be asked to become co-sponsors.

8.0 Best Practices Session

Vicki Hanson closed the meeting.

The next meeting will be held on October 5, 2012 in Chicago Illinois.

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