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Communications of the ACM

Table of Contents

DEPARTMENT: Editor's letter

Open, Closed, or Clopen Access?

A frequent question I hear about Communications, and about ACM publishing in general, involves its access model. I am asked: "Why don't you adopt the open-access model?" Good question! Why don't we?
DEPARTMENT: Publisher's corner

Communications' Annual Report Card

This issue marks the first anniversary of the completely revamped Communications, so I thought it would be appropriate to report on how we're doing so far.
DEPARTMENT: Letters to the editor

Inspire with Introductory Computer Science

Mark Guzdial's Viewpoint "Teaching Computing to Everyone" (May 2009) was interesting reading but included several implications, possibly unintentional, that should be corrected.

Sharing Ideas, Writing Apps, and Creating a Professional Web Presence

Greg Linden reveals his new approach to reading research papers, Mark Guzdial discusses how to encourage students to write computer programs, and Tessa Lau shares her ideas about the importance of Web visibility.

Moving Forward and Backward


Contemporary Approaches to Fault Tolerance

Thanks to computer scientists like Barbara Liskov, researchers are making major progress with cost-efficient fault tolerance for Web-based systems.

Toward Native Web Execution

Several software projects are narrowing the performance gap between browser-based applications and their desktop counterparts. In the process, they're creating new ways to improve the security of Web-based computing.

Are We Losing Our Ability to Think Critically?

Computer technology has enhanced lives in countless ways, but some experts believe it might be affecting people's ability to think deeply.

Liskov's Creative Joy

Barbara Liskov muses about the creative process of problem solving, finding the perfect design point, and pursuing a research path.

Master of Connections

Jon Kleinberg is honored for his pioneering research on the Web and social networking.

ACM Award Winners

Among this year's distinguished honorees are Barbara Liskov of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Jon Kleinberg of Cornell University.
COLUMN: Viewpoints

The Dead Souls of the Google Book Search Settlement

Why the Google Book Search settlement agreement under consideration could result in an extensive restructuring of the book industry.

Globalization of Knowledge-Intensive Professional Services

Does the trend toward standardization and modularization of professional services make outsourcing inevitable?

The Cliché Defense

A guide to playing the ploys frequently employed by cliché-driven management.

Why Computer Science Doesn't Matter

Aligning computer science with high school mathematics can help turn it into an essential subject for all students.

CS Education in the U.S.: Heading in the Wrong Direction?

Considering the most effective methods for teaching students the fundamental principles of software engineering.
SECTION: Practice

The Five-Minute Rule 20 Years Later

Revisiting Gray and Putzolu's famous rule in the age of Flash.

Fighting Physics: A Tough Battle

The laws of physics and the Internet's routing infrastructure affect performance in a big way.
SECTION: Contributed articles

Steps Toward Self-Aware Networks

Network software adapts to user needs and load variations and failures to provide reliable communications in largely unknown networks.

The Metropolis Model: A New Logic For Development of Crowdsourced Systems

It takes a city of developers to build a big system that is never done.
SECTION: Review articles

Probabilistic Databases: Diamonds in the Dirt

Treasures abound from hidden facts found in imprecise data sets.
SECTION: Research highlights

Technical Perspective: The Ultimate Pilot Program

In one scene from The Matrix, two leaders of the human resistance are trapped on the roof of a skyscraper. The only means of escape is by helicopter, which neither can operate. The humans quickly call up a "pilot program" for …

Apprenticeship Learning For Helicopter Control

Autonomous helicopter flight is widely regarded to be a highly challenging control problem. As helicopters are highly unstable and exhibit complicated dynamical behavior, it is particularly difficult to design controllers that …

Technical Perspective: A Compiler's Story

In the early 1970s, pioneers like Floyd, Dijkstra, and Hoare argued that programs should be formally specified and proven correct. But for the past 40 years, most of the computer …

Formal Verification of a Realistic Compiler

This paper reports on the development and formal verification of CompCert, a compiler from Clight (a large subset of the C programming language) to PowerPC assembly code, using the Coq proof assistant both for programming the …
COLUMN: Last byte

Q&A: Liskov on Liskov

Barbara Liskov talks about her ground breaking work in data abstraction and distributed computing.
SECTION: Virtual extension

Security Challenges of the EPCglobal Network

The "Internet of Things," once reality, will have to rely on a global IT infrastructure that provides information about all those "things" in a secure and reliable manner. The EPCglobal Network is a proposal for a widely distributed …

Churchman's Inquirers as Design Templates For Knowledge Management Systems

Introduction A number of years ago, Peter Keen implored information systems researchers to develop theory they could call their own, which would build a cumulative tradition in the area, while maintaining close ties to practice …

A Relevancy-Based Services View For Driving Adoption of Wireless Web Services in the U.S.

Wireless service providers have invested heavily in upgrading their networks to the next generation standard (3G). However, consumer interest in data services does not paint a rosy picture for the providers.

The Impact of Subversive Stakeholders on Software Projects

The literature in the field of project management, especially the literature about risk, is particularly rich in advice about addressing software failure …

Improving the Cyber Security of SCADA Communication Networks

Since SCADA networks were initially designed with little attention to security, they can be easy targets of attacks by terrorist groups.

Adoption Leadership and Early Planners: Comcast's IP Upgrade Strategy

Occasionally self-described laggards behave as early adopters. In this article, we examine the early implementation by a late adopter in a semi-crisis position, using the case of Comcast IPv6 adoption as an example.

Software Project Scope Alignment: An Outcome-Based Approach

Decades of evidence reveal a shockingly low success rate for software projects. Although the record is slowly improving, much work remains before software project success becomes the norm rather than the exception.

Technical Opinion: The Ethics of IT Professionals in China

In modern information societies, the ethical integrity and accountability of IT professionals is particularly important, given the extensive reliance of individuals as well as organisations and governments on various forms of …