This article is published in the September 2010 issue.

CCC: Audacious Visioning for the Future


“The [Computing Community Consortium (CCC)] has played an important role in identifying and promoting exciting research ‘visions’ for the future of information technology (IT) research,” Tom Kalil, the Deputy Director for Policy in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), recently blogged. “[These] ideas … have the potential to attract the best and brightest to the field, drive economic growth, and address national challenges in areas such as health, energy, and education.”1 Kalil’s comments serve as renewed inspiration for our efforts.

As we have reported in previous issues of the Computing Research News, the CCC was established in 2006 through a cooperative agreement between the National Science Foundation and the Computing Research Association.  A council of experts drawn from and chosen by the computing research community, the CCC seeks to mobilize the community to debate long-range research challenges, to build consensus around specific research visions, and to articulate those visions, including developing the most promising ones into clearly defined initiatives. In this update, we summarize our most recent activities in support of these goals:

  • As a standing committee of CRA, the CCC helped launch the Computing Innovation Fellows Project in 2009.2This fall, the CIFellows Project will support a new cohort of 47 talented recent Ph.D.s, retaining them in computing research and teaching during exceptionally difficult economic times. These 2010 CIFellows follow an initial cohort of 60 CIFellows funded last fall. The 2009 CIFellows have already reported incredibly rewarding experiences.  For example, 17 have landed other opportunities, including tenure-track faculty positions and permanent jobs at industrial research labs.  Importantly, the CIFellows Project is designed to ensure broad institutional participation.  (Read more about the CIFellows Project elsewhere in this CRN:  “NSF Funds a Second Cohort of Computing Innovation Fellows.”)
  • Last September, the CCC published a list of landmark contributions by students in computer science, describing truly game-changing contributions that undergraduate and graduate students have made in the course of their studies.3The timing of the list coincided with the leadership transition at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and emphasized the tremendous value in Federal funding for education in computing.
  • The CCC has funded over a dozen community-initiated workshops to define new research directions. Last fall, CCC Council co-chair Susan Graham(University of California-Berkeley) organized a workshop on health information technology; the workshop report (Information Technology Research Challenges for Healthcare:  From Discovery to Delivery4) describes basic R&D challenges in the space, and it has helped NSF establish a new FY 2011 program on “Smart Health and Wellbeing.” In the past year, Beverly Woolf (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) organized a series of workshops and drafted a Roadmap for Education Technologydescribing the role and impact of computing and technology in education.  Woolf has already received enthusiastic feedback on the roadmap from NSF and the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences.  In addition, CCC-led efforts have yielded outstanding visions for theoretical computer science6 (led by Salil Vadhan at Harvard University) and global development7 (led by Tapan Parikh at the University of California-Berkeley), and they are catalyzing Federal investment in robotics8 (Henrik Christensen, Georgia Institute of Technology).
  • This spring, the CCC commissioned a series of fast White Papers on data analytics,9including data mining, machine learning, predictive modeling, knowledge discovery in databases, and others. These short reports—on topics such as eScience, healthcare, new biology, intelligence, energy, transportation, and education—specifically link data analytics to the missions of the corresponding Federal funding agencies.
  • The CCC website includes special features such as “Computing Research Highlight of the Week”10—allowing individual researchers to showcase breakthroughs to the community and beyond—and a newly published “Undergraduate Research Opportunities (URO) Zone”11— explaining computing research opportunities for undergraduates throughout the United States.
  • The CCC Blog12is an increasingly followed resource for the computing research community, highlighting landmark research advances, new funding opportunities, and news and information about Federal agencies. In addition, the CCC Blog serves as a voice for the community—for example, recently calling for a large-scale, comprehensive, coordinated, collaborative, and multi-disciplinary basic research investment in health information technology by the Federal government.13

To learn more about the CCC, please visit our website today:  http://www.cra.org/ccc.  We enthusiastically welcome your involvement!

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Dr. Erwin Gianchandani is the Director of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) and the Computing Innova-tion Fellows Project
Dr. Ed Lazowska is Chair of the CCC Council and Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington

Notes:

1   http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/06/02/setting-21st-century-research-agenda.

2  http://www.cifellows.org.

3  http://www.cra.org/ccc/docs/Student_Achievements.pdf.

4  http://archive.cra.org/ccc/docs/init/Information_Technology_Research_Challenges_for_Healthcare.pdf.

5  http://archive.cra.org/ccc/docs/groe/GROE%20Roadmap%20for%20Education%20Technology%20Final%20Report.pdf.

6  https://turing.cra.org/ccc/theory.php.

7  https://turing.cra.org/ccc/globaldev.php.

8  https://turing.cra.org/ccc/robotics.php.

9  https://turing.cra.org/ccc/initiatives.php.

10 https://turing.cra.org/ccc/rharchive.php.

11 https://turing.cra.org/ccc/uro-zone.php.

12 http://www.cccblog.org.

13 http://www.cccblog.org/2010/06/14/taking-on-healthcare-the-time-is-now/.

CCC: Audacious Visioning for the Future