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Communications of the ACM

Table of Contents

DEPARTMENT: Editorial pointers

Editorial Pointers



COLUMN: The Business of software

Digging CACM

An archeological view of a classic.
COLUMN: Staying connected

Happy Anniversary, CACM

Sampling the various slices of the telecommunications and computing spectrum over the years.
COLUMN: Viewpoint

Back to Experimentation

Three forward-looking projects depend on experimentation under real-world conditions.
COLUMN: President's letter

Fifty Years and Still Growing

SPECIAL ISSUE: From the editor's desk


A Time to Retrospect and Prospect

As noted in these introductory pages, Alan Perlis was the founding Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of Communications, with the first issue debuting in January 1958. He resigned upon being elected ACM President in June 1962. During his …

The Battle of the Covers

The battle of the covers. That was the beginning. I had just taken over as Editor-in-Chief of CACM in 1969. Don Madden was then ACM's Executive Director. With undoubtedly some justification, he was concerned that the covers of …

The Battle Behind the Scenes

Like Stuart Lynn, I had been a department editor for CACM before becoming its EIC. In fact, the "Computer Systems" department was initiated by Kelly Gotlieb during his editorship. He sent me a letter enclosing a submitted paper …

Déja Vu All Over Again

After a 10-year struggle within ACM to define a Journal for All Members (JAM), a "new" Communications was launched in the cold of February 1983. CACM was to leave behind its pure research past and transform into a professionally …

From Academia to the Editorship

Communications has always had a special meaning to me since the beginning of my career, both professionally and personally. My fascination with computers started in the late 1950s when I was pursuing my doctoral degree at the …

CACM: Past, Present, and Future

The French adage "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose," or, the more things change, the more they stay the same, still rings true today. Reading over the essays of my predecessors, one recognizes the thread that runs through …


In the Realm of Insight and Creativity

The intellectual pleasures and financial rewards of solving one programming problem, it turns out, are just the prelude to solving many more.

Information Security: 50 Years Behind, 50 Years Ahead

Trust among people and organizations will be even more critical in securing communications and commerce in the future networked environment.

Five Deep Questions in Computing

Even if they seem unanswerable, just trying to answer them will advance the field's scientific foundations and help engineer the systems we can only imagine.

Inspiration and Trust

Not every important problem can be solved through science and technology, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be addressed.

The Next 50 Years

Expect new ways to understand computation, computational abstractions for our computing machinery, and connections between people and their information sources, as well as each other.

Hacking Intellectual Property Law

Considering how intellectual property law has evolved in response to advances in computing technologies.

Ode to Code

Computing in Pervasive Cyberspace

Freed from the temporal constraints of hardware, software could be the ultimate cyberorganism---a mind taking a body as needed to fulfill a particular function or mission.

Could Googling Take Down a President?

Everything we do online is known and knowable and can be combined with everything else that is known and knowable.

Toward a Network Architecture that Does Everything

In the same way light propagates through a medium, analogous wave-particle principles could help model communications through the future Internet architecture.

Reflections on Computer-Related Risks

Tracing the history of exposing and elucidating the wide variety of system problems and associated social implications of uses and misuses of computing technology.

Cyber-Commons: Merging Real and Virtual Worlds

Cyber-mashups of very large data sets let users explore, analyze, and comprehend the science behind the information being streamed.

Bell's Law For the Birth and Death of Computer Classes

A theory of the computer's evolution.

The Centrality and Prestige of CACM

Journal rankings identify the most respected publications in a field, and can influence which sources to read to remain current, as well as which journals to target when publishing. Ranking studies also help track the progress …
SPECIAL ISSUE: Breakthrough research: a preview of things to come


A preview of things to come.

Technical Perspective: The Data Center is the Computer

Internet services are already significant forces in searching, retail purchases, music downloads, and auctions. One vision of 21st century IT is that most users will be accessing such services over a descendant of the cell phone …

MapReduce: Simplified Data Processing on Large Clusters

MapReduce is a programming model and an associated implementation for processing and generating large datasets that is amenable to a broad variety of real-world tasks. Users specify the computation in terms of a map and a reduce …

Technical Perspective: Finding a Good Neighbor, Near and Fast

You haven't read it yet, but you can already tell this article is going to be one long jumble of words, numbers, and punctuation marks. Indeed, but look at it differently, as a text classifier would, and you will see a single …

Near-Optimal Hashing Algorithms for Approximate Nearest Neighbor in High Dimensions

In this article, we give an overview of efficient algorithms for the approximate and exact nearest neighbor problem. The goal is to preprocess a dataset of objects (e.g., images) so that later, given a new query object, one can …
COLUMN: Inside risks

The Psychology of Risks