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<< Back to the CRA Conference at Snowbird site

[Published originally in the January 2006 edition of Computing Research News, Vol. 18/No. 1]

CRA Conference at Snowbird, June 25-27, 2006

Snowbird, Utah

Preliminary Program

About the Snowbird Conference:  The biennial CRA Conference at Snowbird is the flagship conference for the leadership of the North American computing research community.

Who should attend:  Computer science, computer engineering, and information technology department chairs; assistant, associate, and prospective chairs; directors of graduate or undergraduate education; directors of industry or government research labs/centers; and professional society or government leaders in computing.

Information about the conference site:  The Snowbird Resort is located 30 miles from Salt Lake City, in the Wasatch Mountains. A top-rated ski resort in the winter, off-season at Snowbird offers hiking amidst beautiful scenery.

This year at Snowbird:  Genevieve Bell, PhD, Director of Domestic Designs and Technologies Research at Intel, will give the keynote address. There will be three plenary sessions, numerous parallel workshop sessions, a workshop for new department chairs, a “State of the CRA” address, and presentation of the CRA Distinguished Service and A. Nico Habermann Awards. Below is a preliminary program that will continue to be updated here as additional information becomes available.

Keynote Address

Genevieve Bell (Director, Domestic Designs and Technologies Research, Intel)

Computing for Many Futures

Dr. Bell will draw on her recent ethnographic research in Asia and beyond to illustrate a range of different kinds of computing futures. From issues around power and access to those of emerging usage models, this talk will shine new light on the many technology trajectories already at play around the world, and hint at their possible evolutions.

Plenary Sessions

Computing Research Funding: Circling the Wagons or Expanding the Frontiers?

Chair: Craig Wills (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)
Speaker: Ed Lazowska (University of Washington)

The Changing Dynamics of University/Industry Relations

Chair: J Moore (University of Texas at Austin)
Speaker: Robert Miller (University of California, Santa Cruz)

The Image of Computing: How Do We Get the Romance Back?

Chair: Jeannette Wing (Carnegie Mellon University)
Speaker: Rick Rashid (Microsoft)


Achieving Success in Interdisciplinary Research

For at least ten years, national and international attention has been focused on analyzing the ingredients in success and failure of interdisciplinary research in academia. A 2004 National Academies report describes an array of communication and cultural obstacles, at the same time citing industry and national laboratories as institutions that strongly nurture interdisciplinary research. This session will consider ideas for creating academic environments that support interdisciplinary research, addressing both generic principles and issues specific to computer science.

Chair: Margaret Wright (New York University)

Speakers: Steven J. Fortune (Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies), Linda R. Petzold (University of California, Santa Barbara), Michael Strayer (Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research, Department of Energy)

Traditional Federal Research Sources for Computing

This workshop reports on federal research funding from traditional sources for computing initiatives. Current developments and expectations for the future will be discussed by participants from NSF-CISE and DARPA-IPTO.

Co-Chairs:  Craig Wills (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), Horst Simon (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Opportunities for Computing Research with Government Labs

This workshop involves government laboratory representatives reporting about their Computer Science research activities, in particular pointing out opportunities for collaborations, funding, student support and careers at the labs.

Chair: Horst Simon (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Filling in the Gap: Industrial Research Funding for Computing

With less federal funding available, one direction as an alternate source is industrial companies. However, industrial support for research is ultimately linked to sales, which hinders funding of basic research at the same levels as federal funding.  Industrial workshop participants with knowledge of academic research funding practices will present the current situation as well as lead discussion on how the situation can be improved for both industry and academia.

Co-Chairs: Craig Wills (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), Jeannette Wing (Carnegie Mellon University)

Publications in Computing

A workshop or panel will discuss the state of affairs of publications in CS. Specifically, this would be an opportunity to discuss: 1) the interplay of various issues (e.g., conferences as money-making propositions, tenure pressure of publish or perish, diminishing quality of reviews, effects on funding, misconceptions about value of conference versus journal publications, perception or reality of cliquishness of top-ranked conferences, among many others), 2) the impact of all of this on the "scientific record," and 3) the role, if any, that organizations such as CRA or NSF could or should play, including sponsoring studies that could educate or inform various stakeholders, or which may result in better models for publication and/or evaluation of scholarly impact.

Chair: Azer Bestavros (Boston University)

The Influence of Globalization on Computer Science Education

Should the globalization of the information-technology workforce change the way we teach computer science to future students? If so, how? This panel will explore the way universities are responding to changes in how and where industry employs IT workers, and the educational background companies would like to see from new graduates.

Chair: Jennifer Rexford (Princeton University)

Speakers: Bobby Schnabel (University of Colorado at Boulder), Lester Gerhardt (Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute)

Rethinking CS101: Engaging Students from the Arts and Sciences in Computer Science

 "If you figure out a way to make technology work for you, you can explore curved shapes and make them possible ... you can do this because of the computer"
—Frank Gehry, Architect

Wouldn't it be great to instill this level of excitement about computer technology in our students? This panel will explore innovative ways to convey an appreciation of computer science to students in the Arts and Life Sciences. The low cost of computer technology makes it possible now to experiment with genomic databases, laptop orchestras, or computer analysis of dance movement in the undergraduate classroom. Is it realistic to expose students to substantive computer science concepts in such courses? Can such interdisciplinary curricular approaches be used to draw students to computer science?

Chair: Anne Condon (University of British Columbia)

Alternative Entry Courses/Sequences That Work

The traditional approach to CS1 has been found to discourage many prospective computing majors and, in general, to give incorrect views of what computing is all about. In this workshop we will learn of severalproven approaches to teaching introductory computing concepts in ways that will attract students rather than discouraging them.

Chair:  Jim Foley (Georgia Institute of Technology)

Undergraduate Research: Best Practices in Universities, Colleges, and Industry

Undergraduate research is receiving considerable attention at major research universities, undergraduate institutions, and industrial laboratories. This panel session will address the merits and benefits of undergraduate research, best practices in undergraduate research programs, and funding opportunities.

Chair: Ran Libeskind-Hadas (Harvey Mudd College)

Interdisciplinary Courses 

Although computers have long been used as tools in the sciences and engineering, computer science has recently become a crucial part of the intellectual content of other disciplines. In response, colleges and universities have created new courses designed primarily for students in other disciplines, or have launched integrated courses intended to create connections among disciplines and break down traditional barriers. This session will explore the latest experiences in teaching computer science in conjunction with other disciplines, and discuss the interplay (and occasional tensions)  between "core" computer science topics and interdisciplinary work within computer science departments.

Co-Chairs: Anne Q. Gates (University of Texas at El Paso), Ann Sobel (Miami University)

Speakers: Don Marinelli (Carnegie Mellon University), Olga Troanskaya (Princeton University)

ACM Offshoring Study and Beyond

This workshop reports the findings from an international ACM study on offshore outsourcing and gives some updates on what has happened since the report was published. Topics include the globalization of research, education as an enabler and a response to offshoring, and risks and exposures concerning intellectual property, privacy, and security through offshoring.

Chair:  Moshe Vardi (Rice University)
Speakers:  William Aspray (Indiana University), Seymour Goodman (Georgia Institute of Technology), Richard Waters (Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs)

Finding the Next $1B Opportunity

In this workshop we will discuss various mechanisms for finding large novel business opportunities from current day computing research work. We will go into the university, industrial, and entrepreneurial models and discuss what works and what does not.

Chair:  Wim Sweldens (Lucent Technologies, Bell Labs)

Equal Access: Making sure your Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or Informatics Department is Accessible to Disabled Students

This workshop will address the problem of making your computer science, computer engineering, or information technology program more accessible to disabled students, faculty, and staff. What are best practices in helping disabled students reach their goals? How do we mentor disabled faculty to achieve success? The workshop will also describe activities of the new NSF-funded project, AccessComputing Alliance.

Chair: Richard Ladner (University of Washington)

Business Issues around Open Source and Standards

The Open Source movement is an appealing alternative to conventional commercial licensing of software. Among the tenets of the movement are access to source code, methods of insuring the integrity of the original authors' source code, provisions for the use of such code in derivative works, and provisions for restricting (or not) the distribution of code. However, a fundamental question is, “What are some viable business models to support an organization devoted to open source licensing?” In this panel discussion we will present a variety of models used in academia and industry.

Chair: Bill Coughran (Google)

Industrial Affiliate Programs

Industrial affiliate (IA) programs are often considered to be effective ways to both increase academic/industrial collaboration and generate discretionary income for CS departments. What are viable models for such programs?  How do the models change as a function of the local industrial base? In this panel we will have representatives from CS departments in both "target rich" and "target poor" environments discuss their IA programs. We will also have a representative from industry to discuss what industry wants from an IA program.

Chair:  J Moore (University of Texas at Austin)

What's Going On Outside North America

CRA is chartered only in North America, so this session provides a view of the issues in computing education and research in the remainder of the world. Presenters on this panel will come from CRA-like organizations that are concerned with the same issues we are facing. They will describe their efforts and activities, many of which impact us as well.

Chair:  Andrew Bernat (Computing Research Association)

Speakers: Willy Zwaenepoel (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne), David Arnold (University of Brighton), Jenny Edwards (University of Technology, Sydney)

Additional Opportunities at Snowbird

NSF Research Infrastructure Workshop – June 24-25

CRA Board of Directors Meeting – June 24-25

NSF Town Hall Meeting on GENI (Global Environment for Networking Innovations) - June 25 (8:30 AM - 2:30 PM)

Workshop for New Department Chairs June 25 (3:00 PM – 6:00 PM) – J Moore (University of Texas at Austin) and Mary Lou Soffa (University of Virginia)

IT Deans' Meeting – June 27-28 – Bobby Schnabel (University of Colorado at Boulder)


For program details and registration information, please visit the conference website, e-mail or call 202-234-2111.


Conference Sponsors:

ACM; Avaya; Computer Associates International; Google; IBM; Intel; Lucent Technologies, Bell Labs; Microsoft; Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs; Panasonic Princeton Laboratory; Sun Microsystems; and USENIX.

Organizing Committee 


David Notkin (University of Washington), Academic Chair
Wim Sweldens (Lucent Technologies, Bell Labs), Labs/Centers Chair


William Aspray (Indiana University); Anne Condon (University of British Columbia); William Coughran (Google); Ann Gates (University of Texas, El Paso); Ran Libeskind-Hadas (Harvey Mudd College);

J Strother Moore (University of Texas at Austin); Jennifer Rexford (Princeton University); Horst Simon (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory); Diane Souvaine (Tufts University); Craig Wills (Worcester Polytechnic Institute); Jeannette Wing (Carnegie Mellon University); and Margaret Wright (New York University).


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