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Peter J. Denning, Editor in ChiefThe digitally connected world has become a large, swirling sea of information stripped of context. We help our readers make sense of it, find meaning in it, learn what to trust, and speculate on our future.

Peter J. Denning,



Is quantum computing for real?: an interview with Catherine McGeoch of D-Wave Systems

July 2017
Interviewed by Walter Tichy

In this interview, computer scientist Catherine McGeoch demystifies quantum computing and introduces us to a new world of computational thinking.



Mixing computation with people: an interview with Marianne Winslett

July 2017
Interviewed by Richard T. Snodgrass

In this interview, we learn about five fascinating subjects: security in manufacturing, negotiating trust in the web, updating logical databases, differential privacy, and scientific computing (including its security issues). This is a confluence that has, at its roots, the thorny problems that arise when you mix computation with people. Some beautiful technical results, many originated by Marianne Winslett, now address those challenges, but some surprises crop up along the way.



How to improve your writing by standing on your head

June 2017
by Philip Yaffe

Newspapers provide the best examples of clear, concise writing you can find anywhere. Learning how journalists work their magic can help you write better, and it all begins with the "inverted pyramid."



10 rules for an unhackable data vault

May 2017
by James B. Morris

Most recent publicity on cyber security has focused on preventing attacks by external hackers. While many of these attacks began with an insider, there has been much less discussion about preventing malicious insider exploits. Perhaps that is because untrustworthy insiders are hard to find and block before they strike. The Secure Data Vault (SDV) is an approach to protecting the most sensitive data from malware and insider exploits. Formal verification of the microservices that govern access to the vault will close down almost all malware pathways. The old military N-person rule will close down most insider pathways. This rule allows for a trade-off between security and convenience: the higher the number who have to cooperate to access the vault (N), the greater the security and the less the convenience. When based on this plus nine other construction rules, the SDV will protect sensitive data from malware and malicious insiders.