acm - an acm publication

Commentaries

2018
  • P2P networks are inherently unstable

    The P2P technology underlying file-sharing systems like Gnutella and distributed autonomous organizations like blockchain are inherently unstable because of self-organizing processes akin to Gause's competitive exclusion principle, and preferential attachment. To maintain an egalitarian P2P organization it is necessary to conserve the original network's entropy, defined as the random structure of the network and actions among peers.

2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
  • Resurrecting the bullet point: the return of an old and valued friend

    PowerPoint has come under attack in recent years. Well known figures such as Edward Tufte have castigated PowerPoint for corrupting minds and numbing thought. Some sociologists have condemned it for luring people away from listening to each other and communicating effectively. Scott Adams (author of Dilbert) often depicts PowerPoint as a facilitator of office dysfunction. From all this, you might think PowerPoint has badly wounded us and our society with its barrage of bullet points.

2010
  • The New Ubiquity
    Ubiquity's new site will launch this month, marking a new editorial direction. Ubiquity is now a peer-reviewed online publication of ACM dedicated to the future of computing and the people who are creating it.
2009
  • How to Generate Reader Interest in What You Write
    Who has not discovered to their dismay that no one wants to read their most carefully crafted, meritorious, compelling, and passionate writings? Think of all the proposals you have written that no one is interested in. Or the web pages, the blog posts, or the company brochures. Chances are, your failures are linked to an inability to connect with what your readers would be interested in reading. Our intrepid writer about writing, Phil Yaffe, offers some valuable insight into how to get people to read your stuff. He says you need to adopt the "expository writing challenge": that no one is interested in what you are inclined to write, therefore you must discover what they want to read. Only then you can get started, and only then you can succeed.
  • Mind Hygiene for All: A Concept Map
    Maintaining mental sharpness and clarity is important to most everyone, and doing so is valuable for maintaining our professional edge. But we are under assault from many directions with challenges ...
  • How to Rapidly Improve Speaking Skills
    Even as written communication is important, spoken communication has been assuming an increasing role. We are called on to speak in such media as videos, teleconferences, and podcasts. ...
  • The Fallacy of Premature Optimization
    Moore's Law makes it seem as if resource limitations are always a minor consideration. If there will be twice as much memory for the same price in 18 months, why ...
2008
  • Long Live the .250 Hitter
    The dearth of women in computing is very much on everyone's mind. Elena Strange offers a new perspective on this. She observes that the solid, utility hitters (and players) are the backbone of every baseball team. In playing on her computing teams she has no aspirations for MVP awards and strives for personal excellence in the things she does. She asks her male colleagues to value her as a .250 hitter without holding her to the standard of a .314 hitter. This simple change could open the gates to a flood of women in computing. Elena holds Grace Hopper as the equivalent of the legendary .314 hitter in computing. Hopper told her friends that she was never aspiring to be a legendary leader, but only to do the best possible job with the tasks that were before her. Be personally excellent and interact with people from your heart, said Hopper, and all the rest will take care of itself. You can see in Elena's story the seeds that Grace Hopper planted.
  • The Power of Dispositions
    Many people have been trying to come to grips with the new ways of learning that are supported by networked tools in recent years. These new ways feature distributed social ...
  • Mirrorware
    As we use and design computing systems, Michael Schrage asks us to reflect on what these systems reveal of ourselves and not just what they reveal to others. ...
  • Why Does Time Go Faster As We Get Older?
    Persons in every age group wonder why time seems to move so much faster than it did in their pasts. It seems as if there is never enough time to ...
  • The Three Acid Tests of Persuasive Writing
    If there are still scientists toiling away with little regard for what others may think of their efforts, it's time to drag them kicking and screaming into the 21st century. ...
  • My Problem with Design
    I was reminded today of the things I find troubling about our modern notions of design and designing. Hundreds of years ago, if one wanted to become a designer, one ...
  • Wot do U think? (What Do You Think?)
    (NOTE TO READERS: Out of sheer curiosity I used a website that allowed me to translate text from English to the language used by those who send and receive text ...
  • Technological Transformation of Human Experience
    This article was inspired by Don Ihde's work on the experience of technology in human-machine relations. (See Don Ihde. " The Experience of Technology," Cultural Hermeneutics, Vol. ...
  • Thoughts on the Nature of the Virtual
    This article seeks to formulate some brief sociological and philosophical thoughts on the radically problematic nature and character of the virtual. These ultimately aim to critically challenge and reinvent the ...
  • Information technology as an ethical challenge
    Information technology has an ambiguous impact on society. This situation calls for a two-level ethical analysis. On the one hand the issues of power and control must be reconsidered under ...
  • Mathematics by Jannat
    Arrgh!!! Well! If this is your reaction upon hearing the word MATH, you are not alone. ...
  • Scarce resources in computing
    How we organize computing - and innovate with it - is shaped by what at any time is the most scarce resource. In the early days of computing, processing (and, ...
  • Employee retention: By way of management control systems
    Loyalty is passé in the modern time and professionalism is the buzzword in the contemporary corporate world. The reasons of employee attrition are also changing. Now-a-days employee leaves an organization ...
  • The rise and fall of a good programmer
    Of all the sayings I dislike, the most vapid is one I have heard as long as I have been working with IT: We will have the paperless toilet before ...
  • Anticipating and resolving resource overloads
    The Concept of a Project Resource In the context of project management, a resource is any entity that contributes to the accomplishment of project activities. Most project resources perform work ...
  • Why visual aids need to be less visual
    I was recently invited to a presentation by an accomplished speaker. Needless to say, his speech was well structured, his manner relaxed and confident, his eye contact and body language ...
  • Hermeneutics facing the
    The origin of this paper goes back to the International Conference "Phenomenology and Technology" held at the Philosophy and Technology Studies Center, Polytechnic University (New York), October 2- 4, 1986 ...
  • ERP system replacement criteria
    An ERP system is our information backbone and reaches into all areas of our business and value-chain. Replacing it can open unlimited business opportunities. The cornerstone of this effort is ...
  • Whatever happened to cybernetics?
    Has the discipline of cybernetics been unable to recognize and respond to appropriate "midcourse corrections" and in the process had its destiny imposed by external "turning points"? ...
  • End laptop serfdom
    Time to end personal technology serfdom! I hate company-specific technology standards, at least those that specify technology in terms other than file formats, access protocols and application programming interfaces. ...
  • About english: On the other hand
    I read Philip Yaffe's two recent Ubiquity pieces with interest, all the more so because I myself have plunged back into an international experience after sampling the delights of retirement ...
  • Is the GMO controversy relevant to computer ethics?
    Computing and information technology professionals have exhibited high standards of engagement with ethical issues relating to privacy, information security and abuse of the technical capabilities they have been responsible for ...
2007
  • Understanding dependable computing concepts
    This work aims to visually describe the important concepts of a dependable computing system and the relationships between the concepts. The concept map here for dependable computing system concepts would ...
  • Economic recognition of innovation
    Globalization has benefited the economies of member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) by helping their businesses stay profitable through cost-effective outsourcing of mostly garden-variety tasks ...
2006
  • AI re-emerging as research in complex systems
    The history and the future of Artificial Intelligence could be summarized into three distinctive phases: embryonic, embedded and embodied. We briefly describe early efforts in AI aiming to mimic intelligent ...
  • The waning importance of categorization
    The mobile phone has caused us to plan less and communicate more. The Internet causes us to categorize less and search more - and media's increasing Internet nervousness is driven ...
2005
  • Artificial and Biological Intelligence
    Subhash Kak of Louisiana State University says that "humans will eventually create silicon machines with minds that will slowly spread all over the world, and the entire universe will eventually ...
  • Mailbag
    In his article 'Artificial and Biological Intelligence,' Subhash Kak of Louisiana State University asks if 'humans will eventually create silicon machines with minds that will slowly spread all over the ...
  • IT job outsourcing
    Bhumika Ghimire, who is from Nepal, is a graduate of Schiller University, where he studied IT Management and where outsourcing was his special field of interest. ...
  • PCs in the classroom & open book exams
    What are the motivations behind giving an open-book/open-notes exam? Does giving free access to all of the resources of the Internet conflict with these motivations? ...
2004
  • Computing or Humanities?
    The application of computing to research problems in the humanities is not new...
  • Technology footnotes: international time line
    In the days of hot type, magazine content was set in film. This writer offered "intriguing" suggestions for making publications more appealing to international audiences. ...
  • Interfaces for staying in the flow
    Psychologists have studied "optimal human experience" for many years, often called "being in the flow". Through years of study, the basic characteristics of flow have been identified. ...
  • Calm technologies in a multimedia world
    In an ideal world, computers will blend into the landscape, will inform but not overburden you with information, and make you aware of them only when you need them. ...
  • Technology benefiting humanity
    Memo to the new generation of tech philanthropists: Apply the same intellect and discipline to your philanthropy as you employ in business. ...
  • 2004, The turning point
    An overview of some of the issues that will change the way we use the Internet ...
  • Emotional design
    Beauty and brains, pleasure and usability go hand-in-hand in good design. ...
2003
  • The aeffability of knowledge management
    The Aeffability of Knowledge Management [1] The challenge of knowledge management, and hence of online learning, is to make it work with the complexity and richness of actual human communication. ...
  • Port wars
    In the not-too-distant-future, firewalls spark a battle over port regulation and ownership ...
  • Commercial computational grids: a road map
    A consideration of the state of computational grids with respect to standards, current uses, and a road map for commercial benefit beyond their common applications ...
  • Learning by redoing
    The availability of components that do a myriad of tasks could lead programmer complacency ...
2002
  • Teaching the history of computer science
    Students who are truly interested in computer science would enjoy learning about those programmers who went before them, and how they overcame their difficulties. ...
  • Digital promises
    The prospect of living our lives online may not be so attractive after all ...
  • Channeling innovation
    Despite its importance to business, innovation can be a confusing distraction. ...
  • The future of internet security
    Should common security technologies be blended with biometrics for accuracy and reliability? ...
  • Beyond numbers
    Martha Amram on the current economics of technology investment. ...
  • The somatic engineer
    Engineers trained in value skills will be superior professionals and designers. ...
  • Stamp out technology virginity
    Technology virginity and technology virgins are everywhere -- and more influential than you might like. Time to go on the offensive. ...
  • Nowhere to hide
    Companies will need to make themselves components of their customers' lives rather than trying to make customers a component of their organizations. ...
  • Intel's inside track
    Annabelle Gawer on the surprising sources of leadership in interdependent environments. ...
  • The privacy paradox
    A national biometric database in place of our current flawed identification systems could prevent the loss of liberty and autonomy. ...
  • Freedom to think and speak
    Under Microsoft's Digital Rights Management operating system, the ability to use information freely will be policed at the most intricate level. ...
2001
  • Optimizing bandwidth
    An approach to high performance distributed Web brokering. ...
  • What is software engineering?
    The name implies scientific rigor, and opens software engineering to the charge that it is a pseudo-science flying under false colors. ...
2000
  • Guide to the internet
    No matter where on earth, it isn't hard to find creative individuals who see the advantages that technology can confer. ...
  • Tomorrow's news
    What will the news be like in the continuing evolving age of information? Ifra, an international association of newspaper organizations, has created a 10-minute video to provide a peek into ...