Technology is not stagnant, it moves from place to place and person to person. In this issue of XRDS, we observe what happens when computing, culture, and postcoloniality collide. A major theme of the “Cultures of Computing” issue is how dominant narratives frame technology in terms of development for the global South—as opposed to from, or of, or with the global South.
The authors in this issue address how to decolonialize computing, the participation of Africans in the global HCI community, and the ways in which the globalization has changed cultures and given rise to new identities, new practices, and new systems. You will find representation of a variety of views. Not only from cultures around the world, but from different disciplinary cultures as well. We hope this issue will spark thoughtful and reflective discussions and debates about the role of computing in these fluid times.
The gears of the medical droid whir as its mechanical arms work nimbly to replace the human’s hand severed with a new, robotic one. As the human waits, her gaze wanders out the viewport of the huge, 1200 meter-long spaceship, taking in the infinite field of stars beyond. If this scene reminds you of a galaxy far, far away, think again. Advances in digital fabrication may soon bring not only customized prosthetics, but habitable cosmic structures within the realm of possibility. This issue of XRDS focuses on how computer-controlled fabrication promises to revolutionize the way we think about how things are "made." Also discussed are issues that arise in making machines that make. How do we ensure the sustainability of a future where millions of computers are churning out physical products? Where does personal creativity fit into this? These questions—social, technological, and artistic—and more—are addressed within these pages.
This forward-thinking issue focuses on the Internet of Things or IoT, a progressive state of the Internet in which every single device in the physical world is connected and possesses the ability to communicate with one another. By 2020, 6.4 billion devices will be connected to this network; the IoT has the ability to both reflect upon and transform the reality that it mirrors. In this issue we hear from Vint Cerf, the father of the Internet, on some challenges that this configuration poses. Cornell University's Dr. Alyssa Apsel and Enkhbayasgalan Gantsog discuss pivotal issues in building the IoT, such as the synchronization that creates the “connectivity” of the network. Other articles in this issue address: communication in the IoT, construction of the network, powering the devices, data transmission, as well as responses from academia and industry to this new technology.
Virtual Reality (VR) opens up an immense space where computer science dives in; this special issue will be an eye-opener for emerging computer science students who are considering the world of VR; either as recent graduates ready to join the bubbling industry (think Valve, HTC, Samsung, Sony, Microsoft, Facebook, and Google), or as researchers looking to connect with fellow academics who research novel ways of experiencing VR. Within these pages, XRDS shines light on both sides of the coin.
Over the past couple of decades, technology has gained an increasingly critical role in many areas of biology. We've come a long way from 2003, when the Human Genome Project successfully identified and mapped all of the genes of the human genome. Today new technologies are gaining traction for understanding gene regulation by looking at how chromosomes are packaged inside cells or how specific genomic elements induce gene editing. Where will these technologies take us next? What new algorithms will be developed to understand and integrate this data? This issue of XRDS explores computational biology in detail from personalized medicine to managing large-scale biomedical data.
The Spring issue of XRDS features
contributions from the who’s who of cryptography. Within are a range of
articles from the early beginnings of cryptography through present-day
research. Discover modern cryptographic techniques like searchable
encryption, read interviews with leading researchers in the field, and
enjoy a wonderful look back at Bletchley Park, home of Colossus (the
world’s first electronic digital computer).
More and more, technology is playing a crucial role in the reincarnation of healthcare. Today your personal health data is accessible at the touch of your fingertips. There is a growing market for mobile health apps and tracking (e.g. Apple Watch, FitBit, Jawbone etc.). With pervasive healthcare comes patient empowerment. Many of us are actively managing our own healthcare thanks to smart devices, online communities, and big data. From peer health groups to self tracking, in this issue we look at the cutting-edge research driving health informatics. Peer-oriented, collaborative allow patients to share their health information with one other; patient-contributed data is being used to discover novel medical insights; several technological efforts are helping to facilitate decision making, both on behalf of patients and on behalf of doctors; and work on interfaces and systems are helping people manage the day-to-day challenges of their medical conditions.
The current issue focuses on natural language processing (NLP), with an emphasis on humanistic applications that lie at the intersection of computer science and linguistics. The articles within this issue touch upon artificial intelligence and machine learning—specifically machine translation (e.g. “Google Translate”), speech recognition and synthesis, knowledge modeling using language, automatic summarization, automatic error detection and correction—as well as softer topics, such as work on the digitization of ancient Sumerian using modern computational tools and dialect switching in Arabic. (If you are so inclined, try to find the three “Easter eggs” hidden on the cover!)
When it comes to pursuing computer science, and science in general, at the doctorate level in the U.S., some groups are still lagging. Less than 6% of degree holders are Black and/or Hispanic, while 30% are women—although women make up 51% of the general population. In this issue, we tackled the following questions: Is there something inherently boring about CS to women? What are the barriers facing underrepresented minorities and women in the field? What aspects of CS in a social sense (constructs, culture) are unappealing to underrepresented groups? Why does diversity matter? Is CS—and more importantly, society—poorer for a lack of inclusivity? We hope the articles in this issue can further stimulate the conversation in and out of the classroom.
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
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
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.