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Communications of the ACM


Upholding ACM's Principles

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In response to serious violations against ACM's Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, the ACM Council voted unanimously to revoke the ACM membership of Tao Li, a professor of computer engineering at the University of Florida, at its meeting on June 11, 2021. The Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE) recommended this action to Council after considering the evidence it received concerning Li's repeated violations of the ACM's Code of Ethics ( Council's action demonstrates ACM's commitment to advancing computing as a profession and as a service to society. ACM is not alone in this commitment. Indeed, other professional organizations have adopted ACM's Code of Ethics indicating their support of its values and the positive impact its Principles afford the computing community.

Both ACM and IEEE received complaints about Li's actions surrounding two computer architecture conferences: The 2019 IEEE International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA) and the 2017 ACM Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS). A Joint Investigation Committee (JIC) was convened in early 2020 and a team of professional investigators were hired. As a result of the investigation, JIC filed an ACM Code of Ethics violation complaint against Li, submitting as evidence the investigators' final report. COPE reviewed the evidence and determined that Li willfully violated scientific research integrity standards. Quite simply, Li orchestrated an attack on the ethical computing values expressed in the ACM Code of Ethics and most other codes of scientific conduct.


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