Computing in the new century is no longer confined to the desk, behind a monitor. It is wireless, ubiquitous, and on the go. It has taken to the skies, the oceans, and the land all around us. These cyber-physical systems are co-habitants of a complex and advanced ecology we have built for ourselves. Cyber-physical systems are electro-mechanical systems, which harness the power of computation, communication, control, and coordination to accomplish their assigned task(s) efficiently. In this issue, we present the concept, applications, challenges, and progress of ubiquitous computing; the technologies that make computing infiltrate into every aspect of our daily lives; and the machines and systems that reshape the air, water, and land on earth.
"Wearable Computing" refers to embedding sensors and computation devices on the body in a seamless, unobtrusive, and invisible way. Such technology may very well revolutionize the way we live, behave, and interact. Beyond the current commercial applications, extensive research is being done to push the limits of wearable computing. Highlighted in this issue are applications in personal behavior monitoring, health care, and human-computer interaction. From monitoring a runner's performance in the field to using standard smartphone sensors as part of an mHealth project, there are endless opportunities to get dressed in tech.
When real and digital worlds collide things can get messy. Complicated problems surrounding privacy and anonymity arise as our interconnected world evolves technically, culturally, and politically. But what do we mean by privacy? By anonymity? Inside this issue we have contributions from lawyers, researchers, computer scientists, policy makers, and industry heavyweights all of whom try to answer the tough questions surrounding privacy, anonymity, and security. From cryptocurrencies to differential privacy, we look at how technology is used to protect our digital selves, and how that same technology can expose our vulnerabilities causing lasting, real-world effects.
This issue highlights how computers aid us all in realizing creative expression across various mediums. The presence of computers in our daily lives has produced an environment where various mediums coexist in a digital space where creativity can fly. Our images and data have quickly become creative artifacts. The emergence of online, collective communities, which support new forms of combined creativity, is leading to new types of creative partnerships. In many ways the tools that we use or produce for creative ends can enable or hinder artists. This all begs the question: Who owns this content? Video mashups, online music composition, animation, visual effects, computational origami are just some of the ideas explored in this issue.
Solving large-scale, complex problems, such as climate change or nuclear stockpile stewardship, would be next to impossible without scientific computing. And thanks to advances in high-performance computing, scientific computing continues to flourish. Scientific computing, also known as computational science, emphasizes interdisciplinary collaboration in the development of computer programs, software applications, and computer simulations. The intersection of computer science, engineering, and applied mathematics is at the heart of scientific computing; computer-based models are used to analyze diverse scientific problems across biology, geology, chemistry, ecology, climatology, and physics, to name a few. For those of you who are computational scientists, or leaning in that direction, this issue provides a comprehensive overview of a diverse and growing field.
The power of technology could improve the lives of millions of people around the world. ICTD (Information and Communication Technologies and Development) addresses some of the most critical societal issues across the globe, including healthcare, education, crime, finance, and agriculture. However the challenge for computer scientists is to not only produce feasible solutions but to do so in the context of the developing world. Not only must technical constraints be accounted for, but also there are foundational issues inherent to the target community that have to be addressed. This issue of XRDS focuses on the unique challenges and opportunities within ICTD.
Big data is everywhere—from financial transactions to Tweets, from ad click throughs to medical records—and is continuously growing. The Information Age has lead to a proliferation of data across all industries. However harnessing all of this data can be a daunting task. There are many challenges facing the big data community. In this issue we provide a comprehensive overview of recent developments affecting big data. The issue is divided into three main themes: theory, systems, and applications. We've also included discussions on how data is used in the real word at IBM and Google. As more businesses use data analytics to make better strategic decisions, there is an increasing need for educated researchers, scientists, and engineers. We hope to encourage our readers to explore this growing field.
In today's world of mobile apps and social media, an entrepreneurial sprit is no longer just for the adventurous. It's safe to assume that anyone with basic programming skills has considered jumping into the deep end to find success in the startup world. And it's not so surprising, considering the everyday tools we use began as startups: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, Instagram. From dedicated conferences like TechCrunch Disrupt to venture capitalist bloggers, startups are big business. We've compiled interviews and articles from those with direct experience working for, funding, and launching a startup. We hope this issue will fill in the gaps you may have about starting your own business. Perhaps upon turning that last page you realize a startup is not for you, or you may be reinvigorated to go out there and make your mark. In light of Facebook's recent IPO struggles, it's apparent that you will need more than a big idea. If you're willing to take the risk, you may be part of something that fundamentally changes how we live.
2012 has been designated the "Alan Turning Year." Celebrations on both sides of the pond are being held to commemorate Alan Turing's legacy. His contributions to not only computer science, but society as well, are vast. In this special issue of XRDS, we explore what we mean by computation; consider the relevancy of Turing's work today; discuss computational complexity, while taking a detour into cryptography; and wrap up with what the future holds for computing. If Turing is the "Father of Computer Science,” we as his descendants must continue to push the boundaries of computing science.
Since the passing of the Freedom of Information of Act in 1966, open government has become a term bandied about by journalists, activists, and even the current President of the United States. However more than the declassification of state secrets, information access—spurred on by the World Wide Web—has opened the door for a global movement: open democracy. The combined efforts of politicians, programmers and everyday citizens are highlighted in the latest issue of XRDS. From censorship to crimemapping, we explore how computer science can strengthen democracy.
Your brain is a wonderful and powerful thing—it is intricately involved with everything you do and everything that makes you who you are. As the interests of computer scientists gravitate toward the brain, entirely new questions emerge. Can we monitor the brain while writing a paper, playing a game, or performing a musical piece? Can we study how the brain learns and use it to influence and improve our own algorithms? Can we create computer applications that are attentive to our situational cognitive needs?
Although technology has improved our lives in immeasurable ways, it does have a cost. As computer scientists, engineers, designers, we often forget about the impact of our work. In this issue of XRDS, we explore the relationship between technology and environmental sustainability. Presented here are tangible ways technology is being used to inform better decisions, reduce energy consumption, and address the tradeoffs between globalization and a fragile ecosystem.
It’s been one year since we redesigned and renamed the magazine. Since then we’ve introduced you to new faces,published useful tutorials, and covered a range of topics from interactivity to parallel programming. In this issue we turn to the future of banking, currency and e-commerce—as technology evolves so will our relationship with money. Thanks to our Editors for putting together another great issue.
Humans are better at certain tasks than computers. In this issue of XRDS, we embrace the human side of computing and look at human computation, the act of using humans to 'compute' information, facilitated and organized with machines.
What is programming? Researchers, computing professionals, biologists, teachers, and students all have different ideas of what programming means and how to do it best. In this issue of XRDS, we investigate parallel programming, biological programming, genetic programming, and more. Department editor Jason Thibodeau shares five tips for first-time programmers starting their professional careers. Contributor David L. Largent provides an overview of the agile development movement.
Issue 16.4 marks the all-new XRDS. We're proud to introduce a new format, new content, and new vision for the student magazine of the ACM. Inside this issue, you'll discover a dozen new columns, things like "Advice," a tutorial called "Hello World," "Labz," and much more. You can also read a number of feature articles on the theme The Future of Interaction. No longer do we think of computing solely as sitting in front of a desktop computer with a keyboard and mouse. Computing happens everywhere.
In this issue of XRDS, we look at how computer users, businesses, researchers, and scientists are Plugging into the Cloud. In this issue, you'll find introductory articles on cloud computing, as well more detailed analytical views of security concerns related to the cloud, research questions, business implications, and more.
In this issue, we take a look at computing onThe Social Web. How sure are you that all your friends and connections on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, and anywhere else that your online network exists, are legitimate people posting real information? What happens when we start to ask real questions online; can computers always find the answers, or is there a point when we have to turn to real humans again? Read about these issues and more in this edition.
In this issue, a debate about whether computer science education is headed in the right direction, career advice for software developers who are new to the profession, an interview with a senior game programmer at Firaxis Games, and an in-depth article about server virtualization architecture and implementation.