Greetings! It is with great pleasure that I take
the helm as the ninth Editor-in-Chief of
Communications, the flagship publication
and ACM’s vessel for the most important
and interesting happenings across the
field of computing. Communications is
the indispensible source of information
and insights for the well-educated computing professional around the world.
Computing is unique. In many fields,
fundamental breakthroughs take years
to reach the market and even longer to
achieve full impact. Computing’s “clock
speed” is far faster; 2 set by exponential
hardware performance advances and
now driven by rapid and exponential advances in algorithms and cloud services.
Clockspeed and computing’s extraordinary leverage enables tiny teams to translate insights into powerful change with
global reach and impact (for example,
this year’s Turing Laureate Sir Tim
Berners-Lee and the WWW, but also
public-key cryptography, social networks, and blockchain, deep learning,
and many more). These advances arise
from academe, startups, practitioners,
and even from garages and basements
... and their worldwide impact inevitably
frames profound new problems for deep
research. Computing’s rapid disruptive
change is so powerful and transformative
that the term “Internet speed” is deeply
embedded in the popular vernacular.
Communications core elements reflect
computing’s extraordinary dynamism:
˲ News: Updates on hot topics in
technology, practice, and public policy
˲ Viewpoints: Reasoned, thought-provoking perspectives that bring out
the balance of concerns in critical technology and policy issues
˲ Practice: Frames cutting-edge software challenges and disruptive technologies that are breaking through
˲ Contributed Articles:
Peer-re-viewed articles of compelling interest spanning computing’s breadth;
framed to be approachable to the
broad computing community
˲ Reviews: New significant developments as seen through the lens of their
˲ Research Highlights: Outstanding
research, drawn from ACM’s leading
SIG conferences, put in context, and
made accessible to the educated computing professional
˲ Editorial Elements: Letters to the
Editor, blogs, and columns that con-
nect to the community
Each month Communications brings
these elements together to inform your
professional perspective, framing rapid
change, new fundamental problems, and
disruptive developments in perspective.
The magazine’s structure is the product
of a radical editorial transformation. 1, 3
Each issue is the product of the
extraordinary efforts of contributors
(authors, columnists, reviewers, bloggers), the editorial board (co-chairs,
associate editors), and an extraordinary production team. These volunteer efforts reflect great passion and
dedication for the field of computing.
Some are reflected on the masthead
and bylines, but others remain anonymous. Let me take a moment to thank
all of the volunteers who generously
contribute their time and leadership
each month! And of course, I would
be remiss to not include the members
of Communications’ amazing production team who render each issue a
polished work of beauty.
In the history of Communications,
each Editor-in-Chief has faced significant challenges, but by any standard
the past 10 years have been an extraordinary period of change and renewal. Today’s Communications is a
dynamic, vibrant reflection and beacon of the computing profession,
and that is in no small part due to
Moshe Vardi’s dynamic, thoughtful,
and tireless leadership. So on behalf
of the editorial board, the members of
the ACM, and the computing profession, thank you for a decade of extraordinary service!
Looking forward, I am acutely aware
of computing’s relentless advance
and rapid “creative destruction;” our
challenge is to invent Communications’
future—thereby ensuring its vitality,
relevance, and impact. I hope many of
you will join in and enable our success.
Next month, I will describe a few new
challenges and opportunities that lie
directly in our sights!
Andrew A. Chien, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Andrew A. Chien is the William Eckhardt Distinguished
Service Professor in the Department of Computer Science
at the University of Chicago, Director of the CERES Center
for Unstoppable Computing, and a Senior Scientist at
Argonne National Laboratory.
1. Aho, A. and Gottlob, G. A front row seat to
Communications’ editorial transformation.
Commun. ACM 57, 4 (Apr. 2014), 5; https://doi.
2. Fine, C. Clockspeed: Winning Industry Control in the
Age of Temporary Advantage. MIT Sloan School,
Basic Books, 1999.
3. Vardi, M. Y. CACM: Past, present, and future.
Commun. ACM 51, 1 (Jan. 2008), 44–48;
Copyright held by author.
Today’s Communications of the ACM
DOI: 10.1145/3101111 Andrew A. Chien