acm - an acm publication

2011 - April

  • An interview with Melanie Mitchell: On complexity

    Melanie Mitchell, a Professor of Computer Science at Portland State University and an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, has written a compelling and engaging book entitled Complexity: A Guided Tour, published just last year by Oxford University Press. This book was named by as one of the 10 best science books of 2009. Her research interests include artificial intelligence, machine learning, biologically inspired computing, cognitive science, and complex systems.

  • Ubiquity symposium: What have we said about computation?: closing statement

    The "computation" symposium presents the reflections of thinkers from many sectors of computing on the fundamental question in the background of everything we do as computing professionals. While many of us have too many immediate tasks to allow us time for our own deep reflection, we do appreciate when others have done this for us. Peter Freeman points out, by analogy, that as citizens of democracies we do not spend a lot of time reflecting on the question, "What is a democracy," but from time to time we find it helpful to see what philosophers and political scientists are saying about the context in which we act as citizens.

  • 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.