by Justin Solomon, Managing Editor
In this issue of ACM Crossroads, in addition to our interdisciplinary
computer science content, we explore the generation and processing of
images in depth from artistic, usability, and technical standpoints.
First, in his paper entitled, “Detecting Steganography on a Large
Scale,” William Ella from the University of Mary Washington presents his research into finding messages hidden in databases of
images. Ella scanned thousands of images from Wikipedia to detect
likely instances of steganography, in which messages are hidden in
unnoticeable details of image colors, compression, and artifacts.
Although Ella’s results are mixed, the process he presents may
become useful for future research into searching for hidden communication through “blind steganalysis.”
Moving from the analysis of the most subtle aspects of computer
imagery to that of more noticeable usability properties, Joonghoon
Lee of the University of Maryland describes his work designing a
viewer for open-source terrorism data in “Exploring Global Terrorism
Data: A Web-Based Visualization of Temporal Data.” After explaining
the technical and design decisions that went into the creation of his
viewer, Lee confirms the effectiveness of his work through a short
user study. This type of careful attention to the needs of the end user
represents sound software engineering practice and clearly resulted
in a particularly effective tool for visualization.
Finally, we examine the artistic aspects of generating computer
imagery through an interview with Ryan Bliss, creator of the popular
desktop art website DigitalBlasphemy.com. In this interview, Ryan
Bliss describes his transition from an English major to computer science to digital art and his outlook for the future of computer graphics. Those contemplating careers that combine computer science
with other disciplines will be interested to read how Ryan synthesizes
artistic and technical skills to produce his works, one of which is featured on the cover of this issue.
Outside of the area of computer imagery, Craig Thomas of the
Computational Linguistics Laboratory at Queen’s University investigates the usability of semantic formalisms, which express linguistic patterns for efficient communication between humans or with computers.
By examining the aspects of other formalisms that make them hard to
understand, Thomas proposes a new, simpler method that preserves
accuracy while keeping the system approachable by nonlinguists.
The last article in this issue deals with a challenging problem for
both undergraduate and graduate students in computer science: what
is the most effective way to communicate concepts from computer
science to students who have little programming experience? In this
column, entitled “On Teaching Computer Science: Thoughts and
Advice for TAs,” by David Chiu of Ohio State University, the author
offers concrete advice for teachers and teaching assistants based on
his own experiences teaching computer science.
While the articles in this particular issue might be focused in image generation and processing, Crossroads continues to seek submissions across the
spectrum of computer science research and development. As the school
year moves on, if you are completing interesting computer-related work—
whether it be part of a senior or PhD thesis, a science fair project, a homebrewed idea, or anything in between—definitely consider submitting
your work to us. As usual, you can find submission information on our
website, at http://www.acm.org/
crossroads, and feel free to email
us at email@example.com with
submission ideas or questions.
Also on our website, check out
listings of internships in computer science and ways in which you can get involved in the editing and
authorship of Crossroads.
Best wishes for continued success as the school year progresses.
We look forward to receiving more great content from you for future
issues as we strive to explore your interests, concerns, and opinions
as computer science students, professors, and enthusiasts worldwide.
Justin Solomon ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is an undergraduate at
Stanford University double majoring in computer science and mathematics. Along with his work as the managing editor for ACM Crossroads,
he participates in computer graphics research in collaboration with the
Stanford Department of Computer Science and Pixar Animation Studios, competes in programming contests, and plays cello and piano.
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