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Communications of the ACM

Table of Contents

A Tour of ACM's HQ

With a membership fast approaching 100,000, ACM's 170 conferences, 45 periodicals, 34 Special Interest Groups, and 644 professional and student chapters are all supported by 72 staffers.
DEPARTMENT: Letters to the editor

Workflow Tools For Distributed Teams?

"Orchestrating Coordination in Pluralistic Networks" by Peter J. Denning et al. (Mar. 2010) offered guidance for distributed development teams. I can vouch for the issues …

In the Virtual Extension

Communications' Virtual Extension brings more quality articles to ACM members. These articles are now available in the ACM Digital Library.

The Chaos of the Internet as an External Brain; and More

From the early days of computers, people have speculated that computers would be used to supplement our intelligence. In the last decades, most of the work toward this dream has …

Interact Naturally

The mouse's days are numbered. Computer interfaces that remove user-system barriers are in the works and are intuitive enough for first-time users to throw away the manual.

Straightening Out Heavy Tails

A better understanding of heavy-tailed probability distributions can improve activities from Internet commerce to the design of server farms.

Beyond the Smart Grid

The electrical grid isn't the only utility acquiring intelligence, as water and gas meters throughout the U.S. gain radio communication capabilities and …

Mine Your Business

Researchers are developing new techniques to gauge employee productivity from information flow.

Robin Milner: The Elegant Pragmatist

Remembering a rich legacy in verification, languages, and concurrency.

CS and Technology Leaders Honored

Awards were recently announced by ACM and the American Association for the Advancement of Science honoring leaders in the fields of computer science and technology.
COLUMN: Privacy and security

Myths and Fallacies of 'Personally Identifiable Information'

Developing effective privacy protection technologies is a critical challenge for security and privacy research as the amount and variety of data collected about individuals increase exponentially.
COLUMN: Inside risks

Privacy By Design: Moving From Art to Practice

Designing privacy into systems at the beginning of the development process necessitates the effective translation of privacy principles, models, and mechanisms into system requirements.
COLUMN: The profession of IT

The Resurgence of Parallelism

Parallel computation is making a comeback after a quarter century of neglect. Past research can be put to quick use today.
COLUMN: Kode Vicious

Plotting Away

Dear KV, I've been working with some code that generates massive data sets, and . . . I'm finding that more and more often I have to explain my data to people who are either …
COLUMN: Law and technology

Intel's Rebates: Above Board or Below the Belt?

Over several years, Intel paid billions of dollars to its customers. Was it to force them to boycott products developed by its rival AMD or so they could sell its microprocessors at lower prices?
COLUMN: Viewpoint

Institutional Review Boards and Your Research

Researchers in computer science departments throughout the U.S. are violating federal law and their own organization's regulations regarding human subjects research—and in …
COLUMN: Interview

An Interview with Ed Feigenbaum

ACM Fellow and A.M. Turing Award recipient Edward A. Feigenbaum, a pioneer in the field of expert systems, reflects on his career.
SECTION: Practice

Securing Elasticity in the Cloud

Elastic computing has great potential, but many security challenges remain.

Simplicity Betrayed

Emulating a video system shows how even a simple interface can be more complex—and capable—than it appears.

A Tour Through the Visualization Zoo

A survey of powerful visualization techniques, from the obvious to the obscure.
SECTION: Contributed articles

Managing Scientific Data

Needed are generic, rather than one-off, DBMS solutions automating storage and analysis of data from scientific collaborations.

Conference Paper Selectivity and Impact

Conference acceptance rate signals future impact of published conference papers.
SECTION: Review articles

Efficiently Searching For Similar Images

New algorithms provide the ability for robust but scalable image search.
SECTION: Research highlights

Technical Perspective: Building Confidence in Multicore Software

Surprises may be fun in real life, but not so in software. One approach to avoiding surprises in software is to establish its functional correctness, either by construction …

Asserting and Checking Determinism For Multithreaded Programs

The trend towards processors with more and more parallel cores is increasing the need for software that can take advantage of parallelism. Writing correct …

Technical Perspective: Learning To Do Program Verification

When you decide to use a piece of software, how do you know it will do what you need it to do? Will it be safe to run? Will it interfere with other software you already have …

seL4: Formal Verification of an Operating-System Kernel

We report on the formal, machine-checked verification of the seL4 microkernel from an abstract specification down to its C implementation. We assume correctness of compiler, assembly code, hardware, and boot code.
COLUMN: Last byte

Puzzled: Solutions and Sources

Last month (May 2010, p. 120) we posted a trio of brainteasers, including one as yet unsolved, concerning variations on the Ham Sandwich Theorem.

Future Tense: How the Net Ensures Our Cosmic Survival

The Internet has changed the way I think, though, ironically, less than I expected.
SECTION: Virtual extension

Beyond Connection: Situated Wireless Communities

Advances in wireless information technologies have placed users in a ubiquitous computing environment that allows them to access and exchange information anywhere and anytime through wireless handheld devices such as smartphones …

Examining Perceptions of Agility in Software Development Practice

Organizations undertaking software development are often reminded that successful practice depends on a number of non-technical issues that are managerial, cultural and organizational in nature.

Factors That Influence Software Piracy: A View from Germany

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) provides compelling evidence that software piracy continues to be a global problem. The growing worldwide use of PCs has contributed to a 84% increase in piracy losses since 2003, a number …

Panopticon Revisited

The year is 1787. Utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham publishes his ideas for a panopticon, a quite brilliant merger of architectural design with an understanding of human …

Barriers to Systematic Model Transformation Testing

Model Driven Engineering (MDE) techniques support extensive use of models in order to manage the increasing complexity of software systems. Automatic model transformations play a critical role in MDE since they automate complex …

The Requisite Variety of Skills For IT Professionals

Some commentators have suggested that, in order to stay competitive, IT professionals should retool themselves to gain competency in specific in-demand technical skills. Thriving in a dynamic environment requires competency in …

The Social Influence Model of Technology Adoption

Human innovation, in combination with the Internet, networking, and communications technologies have produced a new platform for social and business networking, formation of community, and communication.

Future Tense: I, Myself and E-Myself

The Internet has revolutionized the manner in which people interact. Web 2.0 applications supporting Web-based social networking through blogs, wikis and folksonomies have proven potent in changing users' perception and use of …