Celebrating Excellence

Communications of the ACM

As we do every year, ACM convenes a gala event to celebrate and honor colleagues in our computing universe who have achieved pinnacle success in the field. Our most prestigious recognition is the ACM A.M. Turing Award and the 2017 award goes to John Hennessy and David Patterson: Their primary insight was to find a method to systematically and quantitatively evaluate machine instructions for their utility and to eliminate the least used of them, replacing them with sequences of simpler instructions with faster execution times requiring lower power. In the end, their designs resulted in Reduced Instruction Set Complexity or RISC. Today, most chips make use of this form of instruction set. A complete summary of their accomplishments can be found within this issue and at the ACM Awards website.a

Google Duplex beat the Turing test: Are we doomed?


Video: Google's Assistant gets an AI upgrade with Duplex Here's how it's related to artificial intelligence, how it works and why it matters. Alan Turing helped pioneer the idea of programmable computers and built one of the first general purpose computing machines, the Bombe, which decrypted the Nazi's Enigma code and saved thousands of lives. Turing's contributions to the war effort, and to computer science as a discipline, are astonishing. As Albert Einstein was to math and physics, Alan Turing was to computer science. But in the 1950s, the British government considered Turing a criminal.

ACM's 2018 General Election

Communications of the ACM

The ACM constitution provides that our Association hold a general election in the even-numbered years for the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, and Members-at-Large. Biographical information and statements of the candidates appear on the following pages (candidates' names appear in random order). In addition to the election of ACM's officers--President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer--two Members-at-Large will be elected to serve on ACM Council. Please refer to the instructions posted at To access the secure voting site, you will need to enter your email address (the email address associated with your ACM member record) and your unique PIN provided by Election Services Co. Should you wish to vote by paper ballot please contact Election Services Co. to request a paper copy of the ballot and follow the postal mail ballot procedures: [email protected] or 1-866-720-4357. Please return your ballot in the enclosed envelope, which must be signed by you on the outside in the space provided. The signed ballot envelope may be inserted into a separate envelope for mailing if you prefer this method. All ballots must be received by no later than 16:00 UTC on 24 May 2018. Validation by the Tellers Committee will take place at 14:00 UTC on 29 May 2018. Jack Davidson's research interests include compilers, computer architecture, system software, embedded systems, computer security, and computer science education. He is co-author of two introductory textbooks: C Program Design: An Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming and Java 5.0 Program Design: An Introduction to Programming and Object-oriented Design. Professionally, he has helped organize many conferences across several fields.

Qualitative Judgement of Research Impact: Domain Taxonomy as a Fundamental Framework for Judgement of the Quality of Research Machine Learning

The appeal of metric evaluation of research impact has attracted considerable interest in recent times. Although the public at large and administrative bodies are much interested in the idea, scientists and other researchers are much more cautious, insisting that metrics are but an auxiliary instrument to the qualitative peer-based judgement. The goal of this article is to propose availing of such a well positioned construct as domain taxonomy as a tool for directly assessing the scope and quality of research. We first show how taxonomies can be used to analyse the scope and perspectives of a set of research projects or papers. Then we proceed to define a research team or researcher's rank by those nodes in the hierarchy that have been created or significantly transformed by the results of the researcher. An experimental test of the approach in the data analysis domain is described. Although the concept of taxonomy seems rather simplistic to describe all the richness of a research domain, its changes and use can be made transparent and subject to open discussions.

Continuously Learning and Reinventing, This Man is Connecting Everything to the Internet - THINK Blog


Dinesh Verma is an IBM Fellow, the company's pre-eminent technical distinction granted in recognition of outstanding and sustained technical achievements and leadership in engineering. Dinesh has worked in IBM Research for nearly 25 years, holds more than 150 patents, is a member of the IBM Academy of Technology, and heads a team that is focused on Distributed Artificial Intelligence (AI). The IBM THINK Blog caught up with Dinesh recently to talk about his current work, as well as his career at IBM. The following is an excerpt and is part of our Perspectives series featuring stories by and about IBMers who take the "long view." THINK: Can you tell us a little bit about your role at IBM? Dinesh Verma: I lead the Distributed AI team at IBM Research at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown, NY.

Elements of the Theory of Dynamic Networks

Communications of the ACM

A dynamic network is a network that changes with time. Nature, society, and the modern communications landscape abound with examples. Molecular interactions, chemical reactions, social relationships and interactions in human and animal populations, transportation networks, mobile wireless devices, and robot collectives form only a small subset of the systems whose dynamics can be naturally modeled and analyzed by some sort of dynamic network. Though many of these systems have always existed, it was not until recently the need for a formal treatment that would consider time as an integral part of the network has been identified. Computer science is leading this major shift, mainly driven by the advent of low-cost wireless communication devices and the development of efficient wireless communication protocols. The early years of computing could be characterized as the era of staticity and of the relatively predictable; centralized algorithms for (combinatorial optimization) problems concerning static instances, as is that of finding a minimum cost traveling salesman tour in a complete weighted graph, computability questions in cellular automata, and protocols for distributed tasks in a static network. Even when changes were considered, as is the case in fault-tolerant distributed computing, the dynamics were usually sufficiently slow to be handled by conservative approaches, in principle too weak to be useful for highly dynamic systems. An exception is the area of online algorithms, where the input is not known in advance and is instead revealed to the algorithm during its course. Though the original motivation and context of online algorithms is not related to dynamic networks, the existing techniques and body of knowledge of the former may prove very useful in tackling the high unpredictability inherent in the latter. In contrast, we are rapidly approaching, if not already there, the era of dynamicity and of the highly unpredictable. According to some latest reports, the number of mobile-only Internet users has already exceeded the number of desktop-only Internet users and more than 75% of all digital consumers are now using both desktop and mobile platforms to access the Internet. The Internet of Things, envisioning a vast number of objects and devices equipped with a variety of sensors and being connected to the Internet, and smart cities37 are becoming a reality (an indicative example is the recent £40M investment of the U.K. government on these technologies).

What Question Would Turing Pose Today?

AI Magazine

Conjectures are of great importance since they suggest useful lines of research. It is stunning that so many predictions in Turing's 1950 Mind paper were right. In the decades since that paper appeared, with its inspiring challenges, research in computer science, neuroscience, and the behavioral sciences has radically changed thinking about mental processes and communication, and the ways in which people use computers has evolved even more dramatically. Turing, were he writing now, might still replace "Can machines think?" with an operational challenge, but it is likely he would propose a very different test. This paper considers what that might be in light of Turing's paper and advances in the decades since it was written.

Artificial Intelligence

AI Magazine

These technologies would not exist today without the sustained federal support of fundamental AI research over the past three decades. This article was written for inclusion in the booklet "Computing Research: A National Investment for Leadership in the 21st Century," available from the Computing Research Association, Early work in AI focused on using cognitive and biological models to simulate and explain human information processing skills, on "logical" systems that perform commonsense and expert reasoning, and on robots that perceive and interact with their environment. This early work was spurred by visionary funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Office of Naval Research (ONR), which began on a large scale in the early 1960s and continues to this day. By the early 1980s an "expert systems" industry had emerged, and Japan and Europe dramatically increased their funding of AI research.