[Published originally in the March 2009 edition of Computing Research News, Vol. 21/No. 2]
The Computing Community Consortium was established by the National Science Foundation (NSF) two years ago to identify new visions and opportunities, build and expand communities, and increase support for computing research. The CCC has been busy and productive in the first two years of its existence.
One of the largest and most visible CCC activities is the funding of visioning workshops in various areas of computing to help build and reinforce research communities. In the past year, CCC has supported workshops on a range of topics, including network science and engineering, cyber-physical systems, robotics, “big data” computing, and theoretical computer science. Workshops planned for the coming year include topics on global resources for online education, achieving predictable systems from unpredictable components, how free/open source software fits with CISE research, and information technologies for the developing world. Information on all past and upcoming workshops can be found at the CCC website.
The CCC is constantly reviewing and funding new visioning workshops. If you have a research vision that you would like CCC’s help to realize, a Request for Proposals is always available on the CCC website.
To increase the reach of the community and ensure that CCC and its activities are truly community-oriented, the consortium has implemented a number of communications efforts over the past two years. An initial effort was the launch in April 2008 of the CCC Blog, which appears to have gained wide readership within the computing community. The blog has information on CCC activities, news items of interest to the research community, and articles and updates on various research sub-areas within the larger computing community. Readers are invited to comment on all the posts—and, in fact, reader comments have been specifically solicited on occasion to provide input on CCC activities, including input from the community on the topic of “Game Changing Advances from Computing Research in the Last 20 Years” for an upcoming CCC-sponsored event.
Additionally, the blog was used to announce another CCC outreach activity, the Computing Research Highlight of the Week, and to seek submissions from researchers or departments who want to see their research highlighted. The Highlight of the Week is featured prominently on the CCC and CRA websites to elicit more attention from our community, the press, and policymakers about the exciting research happening in the field.
To date, highlighted research has included sensor technology in cell phones to track transportation and exercise, a program to calculate body shape, search applications for Internet archives, a geographic location estimating algorithm, creating 3D models from 2D images, and boosting routing efficiency with a new algorithm. To submit your research highlights, visit: http://archive.cra.org/ccc/submitrh.php.
The CCC also made significant efforts to educate policymakers and the press on the positive impact of computing research on society. This ongoing effort recently included preparing a series of ‘white papers’ detailing some of the exciting and important opportunities in computing to help the presidential transition team and new Congress, as well as the press and the community itself, become more familiar with the exciting work that continues in the field. The output of this effort, a set of essays under the theme of Computing Research Initiatives for the 21st Century, is available on the CCC website.
These essays address areas ranging from energy, medicine, and education to quantum computing and networking. This was a collaborative effort and highlights the breadth and depth of the impact of computing research in all areas of life and science. These essays have been widely distributed, including to members of President Obama’s transition team and the congressional leadership who had requested them. The essays had impact because of CCC’s ability to quickly tap the resources of the community to produce papers on a wide range of topics and deliver them on short notice to the policymakers who requested them.
A primary goal for the CCC is to be as open and inclusive as possible. Members of the community and those who want to learn more about the field—or propose a visioning workshop of their own or participate in CCC-sponsored activities—can find all the information required at the CCC website. And while there, please do not forget to visit the CCC blog and provide your input to the CCC process.
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