Archive for the ‘research horizons’ category


Testimony on “The IRS Data Breach: Steps to Protect Americans’ Personal Information” to Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs

June 16th, 2015


On June 2, our new CCC Council member starting July 1stKevin Fu (Associate Professor, Sloan Research Fellow Computer Science and Engineering Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan) was one of the five witnesses to testify to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs at a hearing on “The IRS Data Break: Steps to Protect Americans’ Personal Information.”

Fu recommend the following to the committee:

Encourage research collaboration between cybersecurity experts and social and behavioral science to carry out human subjects experiments that measure the risks and benefits of knowledge-based authentication.

A transcript of Fu’s oral testimony is here.  Visuals are here.

A list of all the witnesses and their written testimony is available here.


Great Innovative Idea- Known Unknowns: Testing in the Presence of Uncertainty

June 3rd, 2015

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The following Great Innovative Idea is from Sebastian Elbaum, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and David S. Rosenblum, Dean of the School of Computing at the National University of Singapore.

Their paper Known Unknowns: Testing in the Presence of Uncertainty won second place at the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) sponsored Blue Sky Ideas Conference Track series at the 22nd ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE), November 16-22, 2014 in Hong Kong.

The Innovative Idea

Uncertainty is present in most systems we build today, whether introduced by human decisions, machine learning algorithms, external libraries, or sensing variability. This uncertainty leads to occasional misbehavior or incorrect output that is deemed to be acceptable. In the context of software testing, this uncertainty makes it difficult to distinguish acceptable from unacceptable misbehaviors, and to determine when there are faults in the system that are being masked by acceptable misbehaviors. Existing approaches to deal with uncertainty in testing have been partial and of limited scope, leaving the systematic treatment of uncertainty in testing still open.  In the paper, we explore the use of Hidden Markov Models and statistical reasoning about behaviors observed during testing in order to distinguish between acceptable misbehavior and behavioral errors that are due to latent faults.


The idea will allow us to deal better with uncertainty that arises in modern complex software systems in many different forms, such as imprecision in readings from hardware sensors or imprecision in machine learning-based classifiers, and correspondingly in a broad range of applications from human activity recognition to quadcopter stabilization.

Other Research

We both work in testing and analysis of complex software systems.  Sebastian has interests in the development and assessment of automated techniques to improve software dependability. David has interests in the design, verification and testing of distributed systems and context-aware ubiquitous computing systems.

Researcher’s Background

Sebastian is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL). He is a co-founder of the E2 Software Engineering Group at UNL, and the Nimbus UAV Lab at UNL. He is the Program Co-Chair for the 2015 International Conference in Software Engineering, and a member of the ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology Editorial Board.


David is Professor of Computer Science and Dean of the School of Computing at the National University of Singapore (NUS).  He previously held academic positions at University College London and the University of California, Irvine, and he also was a research scientist at AT&T Bell Laboratories (Murray Hill) and CTO at a technology startup called PreCache, Inc.  He is the Editor-in-Chief of the ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology (ACM TOSEM) and is Past Chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Software Engineering (ACM SIGSOFT).


Sebastian’s homepage is at

David’s homepage is at

To view more Great Innovative Ideas, please click here.

Futurists Make Predictions about the Next Decade

May 27th, 2015

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Can you imagine a robot delivering your baby or downloading a file from your favorite designer to print clothes at home on your 3D printer?

You might not have to imagine these things for much longer. These are just a few of the amazing advances we are likely to see in the next ten years, according to seven top futurists who were recently interviewed by The Huffington Post. The article titled 7 Top Futurists Make Some Pretty Surprising Predictions About What The Next Decade Will Bring describes these advances and more.

Dr. Ray Kurzweil, inventor, computer scientist, and Director of Engineering at Google, believes that by 2025, 3D printers will be printing clothing and even human organs at a very low cost. 3D printers will print human organs using modified stem cells with a patient’s own DNA. They will be able to repair damaged organs with reprogrammed stem cells, for example a heart damaged from a heart attack. This will provide an inexhaustible supply of organs with theoretically no rejection problems.

Dr. Anne Lise Kjaer, founder of London-based trend forecasting agency Kjaer Global, believes that by 2020 the evolution of M Health (mobile diagnostics, bio-feedback, and personal monitoring) is set to revolutionize treatment of conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Medical professionals will be able to design apps that provide real-time feedback to both the patient and their medical professional. This could improve the lifestyles and life outcomes of the communities in the developed and developing world.

While the likelihood of every one of these ideas coming to fruition is unlikely, there is a good chance that this article gives us at least a glimpse into our future (whether we like the thought of robots delivering our babies or not).

Every College Student Should Take a Computer Science Course

May 4th, 2015


The following is a blog post by Ran Libeskind-Hadas, R. Michael Shanahan Professor and Computer Science Department Chair at Harvey Mudd College and Computing Community Consortium (CCC) Council Member, that was recently posted in the Huffington Post

Here are three good reasons why every college student should take an introductory computer science course.

First, computing has become an inextricable part of our lives. Understanding how computers and software work, what they can and can’t do, and their impact on society is, therefore, an important part of a modern liberal arts education.

Second, computing is a creative endeavor at the crossroads of engineering, mathematics, psychology, and the arts. A well-conceived computer science course can integrate problem solving, logic, human factors, and artistic creativity. It’s hard to imagine a domain that bridges more of what we hope to teach in college.

Third, computing is a valuable skill. While most people who take a single computing course — or even a few courses — won’t end up at Google or Microsoft, it doesn’t take a lot of computing background to develop a useful and highly sought-after skill set. In some introductory courses, students write their own smart phone apps, educational games, powerful web applications, and DNA analysis tools. A single computer science course can provide students with skills that they’ll use in later courses, projects, senior theses, and even internships and jobs.

But, it’s not just on the students. Colleges and universities need to reimagine computing courses that are meaningful and compelling for undergraduates who are not already predisposed to computer science and for whom a first computer science course may also be their last computer science course. In many cases, existing computing courses for non-majors teach students to use spreadsheets, presentation software, and maybe write a webpage. Those are useful skills, but lack both the intellectual depth and the creativity of a real introductory computer science course. Other introductory courses discuss the history of computing, its impact on society, and some computing concepts, but do not provide students with actual programming experience.

I believe that a first course in computing should certainly teach big ideas, discuss the fascinating history of the field, and explore the applications and implications of computing in society, but should also give students rich and meaningful experiences writing their own programs. And not just programs that the student will write, submit, and forget about, but programs that students are genuinely excited about and will spend at least as much time using and showing their friends and family as they did writing the code itself.

I’m encouraged by an increasing number of innovative introductory courses that provide students with these rich experiences. And, I’m very excited to see students voting for these courses with their feet. At my institution, Harvey Mudd College, we developed a set of introductory courses that are not only required for all Harvey Mudd students but are now immensely popular among non-majors at our four sister institutions in the Claremont Colleges consortium. At a college of 800 students, we are teaching introductory computer science to all of our first-year students, regardless of their ultimate major. And, we are attracting hundreds of students each from our sister colleges in Claremont. They are literature, economics, and sociology majors – among many others. And Harvey Mudd does not have a monopoly on innovative introductory courses. A number of other institutions including the University of Washington, Harvard, and others have pioneered their own successful courses in a similar spirit.

Compelling first courses can have a large impact in attracting traditionally underrepresented groups to computing. The most recent CRA Taulbee Survey of over 100 major computer science departments in North America reported that under 15 percent of bachelors degrees in CS go to women. Until 2007, Harvey Mudd’s numbers were — if anything — lower than the national average. In 2007, we implemented our new introductory courses and saw an immediate increase in the number of women choosing to major in computer science. Over 40 percent of our majors are now women and that has held steady for several years. While our numbers are too small to discern the impact on other traditionally underrepresented groups, we see some evidence that these courses are drawing more Hispanic/Latino and African-American students to the major as well.

Finally, universities and colleges should include appropriately designed computer science courses as part of their general education curricula. At many schools with undergraduate distribution requirements in mathematics and the sciences, a computer science course isn’t included as an option. While I can’t argue that computer science is more important than calculus or statistics or a physical or natural science course, it’s becoming extremely difficult to argue that it shouldn’t be an equal player in that array of extraordinary human achievement.



Cyber-Physical Systems Week 2015

April 17th, 2015

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The following guest blog post is from Tho Nguyen, AAAS Fellow in Computer Systems Research in the Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Today marks the end of the 2015 Cyber-Physical Systems Week.  As part of the week of celebrations, NSF sponsored a meeting of early-career investigators in cyber-physical systems to focus on exploring research challenges and opportunities in Smart Cities.

The Cyber-Physical Systems community is an exciting group of researchers and developers working to advance the emerging system science that deeply integrates computing (cyber) and engineered (physical) components. CPS enables truly “smart” technologies, systems, and infrastructures of the future. Examples of CPS today include the self-driving car, tele-operated robots, and smart-grid technologies.

With more than 80% of the US population living in urban environments, there is a clear and apparent need to further engage research and development innovations to enhance urban quality of life. Naturally, the CPS community plays a central role in the emerging Smart City paradigm.

NSF CISE Directorate prioritizes the professional development early-career investigators by supporting programs such as the innovative CISE Research Initiation Initiative (CRII) and NSF’s CAREER Awards. Recognizing that researchers in the multi-domains field of CPS need broad perspectives beyond their research expertise, the CISE Directorate initiated an early-career workshop concept where new investigators gather for professional development, building professional networks, and engaging in a national a discussion to explore research opportunities with their peers. The early-career workshop is both a professional development activities for researchers and as well as mechanism for NSF to develop a core researcher community to address emerging national priorities.

The CPS program enabling smart technologies for the future; the emerging Smart City paradigm to enhance urban quality of life; and the community meeting for early-career researchers are all coming together at CPS Week 2015 this April 13-17, 2015 in Seattle, WA. The early-career workshop is led by exciting thought leaders in the field such as Maryam Fazel (UW), Steven Low (Caltech), Babak Parviz (Amazon Inc.), Glenn Ricart (US-IGNITE), Jose Baptista (Rockefeller Foundation), and Vikram Janhdyala (UW).

The 2015 NSF Early-Career Investigator Workshop for CPS and Smart City marks the first meeting to develop a core research community that is truly for the future.

Great Innovative Ideas!

April 16th, 2015

The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is delighted to announce a new feature on our website!

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Great Innovative Ideas are a way to showcase the exciting new research and ideas generated by the computing community. Once a month we will post an article highlighting new research going on in the field and ideas generated by our colleagues. This feature will replace the Highlight of the Week. All previously posted highlights of the week are archived here.

A few of the ideas showcased in Great Innovative Ideas will be from the CCC Blue Sky Ideas Conference Track, including our first Great Innovative Idea from Marian Petre (Open University) and Daniela Damian (University of Victoria, Canada) on Development Methodology.

Check it out!