our Dame commander
Wendy Hall discusses her plans to increase ACM’s membership
and to create task forces in China, India, and Europe.
a ProfeSSor of
computer science at the
University of Southampton and the
winner of numerous awards and honors, such as her recent appointment as
Dame Commander of the Order of the
British Empire, Wendy Hall was elected
president of ACM in July 2008.
You’re the third female president
of Acm, and the first non-north
American president. how does
For me, it’s more exciting that I’m the
first non-North American president. A
lot of times you don’t like to do things
just because you’re a woman—you
want to do stuff because you’re the best
person to do it, in the whole competitive field.
What are your plans for Acm?
ACM is in a good position, with 92,000
members and counting, and we had a
fantastic year last year. But we mustn’t
be complacent. Broadly speaking, I
want more people to join ACM, I want
more women to join ACM. ACM is a
U.S.-based organization, but it reaches
out to the whole world through its publications and conferences.
What will you be doing to support
those international members?
We’re developing a series of task forces
to explore what ACM can do in particular areas of the world—China, India, Europe. We need to ask: What can we do to
support each of these cultures in their
how will the task forces operate?
The task forces are geographically
based, and [ACM CEO] John White is
working very hard to get a good quality,
diverse membership. The idea is that we
start off with a task force, and as it matures, it will become a council in that region. We also want the task force chairs
to come to New York and be a part of our
discussions. It would be hopeless if it
were always done at a distance.
What’s been accomplished thus far?
In November, we held a summit largely
aimed at Chinese educators. It was very
112 communicAtionS of the Acm | APriL 2009 | voL. 52 | no. 4
successful, but we want to build on it.
There’s a huge amount of computing
activity in China. At the moment our
work is in Beijing—and we’ll arrange a
meeting of the ACM China Council later
in the year—but we must expand it to
Shanghai and Hong Kong and other regions. We also have an embryonic task
force in India, which held its first meeting in early February.
Photogra Ph by jon banfielD
And in europe?
We, too, held [continued on P. 111]