This article is published in the January 2011 issue.

Pursuing Your Visions for the Future


Computing Community Consortium

In the three years since the inception of the Computing Community Consortium—an experiment by the National Science Foundation and the Computing Research Association to create an entity that mobilizes the community to debate long-range research challenges and builds consensus around specific research visions—researchers in many different areas of our field have stepped to the forefront to lead activities that have defined key questions shaping our intellectual future. Yet undoubtedly there are many areas and ideas still unexplored and, as we begin a new year, we encourage you and your colleagues to pursue your boldest, most innovative concepts with us—today!

CCC-funded visioning activities have covered a wide range of computing research areas, including cyber-physical systems, health information technologies, big data, theory, free and open source software, computer architecture, and interactive technologies (a full list appears at: https://turing.cra.org/ccc/activities.php). In addition, individuals (and, in some cases, small teams) have authored White Papers on topics spanning transportation, energy and sustainability, “P4 medicine,” and data analytics (see http://archive.cra.org/ccc/initiatives.php). And as reported in this space last November, the results of these activities are now informing our nation’s leaders on new directions and paths for Federal R&D funding.

For example, thanks in large part to the terrific efforts of Henrik Christensen at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Matt Mason at Carnegie Mellon University, and Vijay Kumar at the University of Pennsylvania, and several others, the CCC-led Robotics Roadmap project has resulted in numerous new funding programs, such as RTD2:  Research for Robotics which was announced by the White House last fall (for details, see:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/09/15/rtd2-research-robotics). Similarly,Beverly Woolf of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst has been working closely with Federal officials to explore possible initiatives in education technology, largely stemming from the CCC’s Ed Tech Roadmap (http://archive.cra.org/ccc/edtech.php). Later this spring, CCC leadership will begin to pursue action on a series of White Papers describing the role of data mining, machine learning, predictive modeling, and others, in the context of national priorities such as healthcare, energy, and transportation.

Although the CCC is pushing ahead on a number of new visioning topics (stay tuned for more details in the coming issues of the CRNand you can also keep up to date through our blog at http://cccblog.org), we welcome your involvement today. Do you have audacious and inspiring research challenges for the field? Can you work with others to refine and state them in compelling ways? And, guided by the CCC, would you be willing to devote time and energy to do the extensive work required to connect the resultant visions to initiatives at NSF and at mission agencies? If so, please consider submitting short visioning proposals to the CCC (for instructions, see https://turing.cra.org/ccc/visioning). Our goal is to help provide leadership to facilitate exciting visions put forward by the computing research community. To do that ably, we need your constant involvement!


Dr. Erwin Gianchandani (erwin@cra.org; 202-266-2936) is the Director of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) and the Computing Innovation 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. Dr. Susan Graham is Vice-Chair of the CCC Council and Pehong Chen Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Emerita at the University of California-Berkeley.

Pursuing Your Visions for the Future