Chronicle Prints USACM Response to E-voting Brouhaha

Last month the Chronicle of Higher Education ran a story (subscription required) about the unique relationship the State of Georgia has with Kennesaw State University. The State contracts with KSU to assist with all of Georgia’s e-voting machines, including inspection, ballot databases and training of poll workers. The article generated quite a bit of controversy within the computing community (Here is the start of a thread of debate within the community) about how it was written, the relationship between Georgia and KSU, and the topics it covered and missed. USACM felt the article missed several issues and responded with a letter to the editors. The Chronicle printed (subscription required) a condensed version of our letter on Monday. The full letter is below.

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Hill Tech Happenings, Week of February 26

Updated: Several additional appropriations hearings.

February 28
Markup:
The House Science and Technology Committee will markup pending legislation, including a revision to the High Performance Computing Act and a competitiveness bill.
10 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Building

Hearing:
The Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies of the House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the National Science Board.
10 a.m., 2359A Rayburn Building

The same subcommittee will hold a separate hearing on science funding in general.
2 p.m., 2359A Rayburn Building
Continue reading “Hill Tech Happenings, Week of February 26”

Sarasota Audit Report Complete

The State of Florida has released its audit report for the contested election in Sarasota County. You can see the report from the state and the report from the SAIT lab at Florida State University online, along with the Secretary of State’s statement. Regular readers know we have posted on this subject before. And while the audit is complete, the legal case needs to be resolved, as well as the official contest process in the House. In other words, this isn’t over, but it’s probably the beginning of the end.

This was released only a few hours ago, so we have yet to give it a detailed reading. The audit team did not find that the voting machines contributed to the undervote. The audit team did recommend the following:
Continue reading “Sarasota Audit Report Complete”

Measuring Innovation in the 21st Century

That is the name of an advisory committee to the Secretary of Commerce. Its objective is to make recommendations for new and revised metrics to better capture innovative activity. We posted about this group in December, shortly after it was formed. They held their first meeting February 22 in Washington, D.C. The agenda, members, and other documents related to the committee and their first meeting can be found online.

As we noted in that earlier post, the group is focused on business and economic measures, as befits a Department of Commerce work. The Committee Chair is Carl Schramm, President and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a foundation focused on economic research and entrepreneurship. Secretary of Commerce Gutierrez attended the meeting, but let the committee direct the discussion.

This was the group’s first public meeting. They have met before, through a series of visists to the companies of several of the members. The group met earlier that day in private, and may do so again on the 23rd. Even so, much of the meeting was thinking out loud, working out what exactly they were going to develop.
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Frances E. Allen Wins ACM’s Turing Award; First Woman To Win

ACM has named former IBM researcher as the winner of this year’s Turing Award — the “Nobel Prize in Computing.” Dr. Allen, known for her award-winning work in program optimization, is the first woman to receive the award. From today’s LA Times story:

“When Allen receives the award, which comes with a $100,000 prize, at the association’s annual banquet in San Diego on June 9, it won’t take a computer scientist to wonder: What took so long?

Allen’s achievement comes long after women toppled barriers in other professions. Marie Curie became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in 1903. Edith Wharton won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1921. Sandra Day O’Connor joined the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981, two years before Sally Ride became the first American woman in space.

But computer science still is dominated by men. Fewer than one in five bachelor’s degrees in computer science were given to women in 1994, according to the Computing Research Assn. Ten years later, that figure remains about the same, at 17%.”

Dr. Allen’s work made fundamental contributions to the field of computing and helped crack Cold War-era code:

“Fran Allen’s work has led to remarkable advances in compiler design and machine architecture that are at the foundation of modern high-performance computing,” said Ruzena Bajcsy, Chair of ACM’s Turing Award Committee, and professor of Electrical and Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. “Her contributions have spanned most of the history of computer science, and have made possible computing techniques that we rely on today in business and technology. It is interesting to note Allen’s role in highly secret intelligence work on security codes for the organization now known as the National Security Agency, since it was Alan Turing, the namesake of this prestigious award, who devised techniques to help break the German codes during World War II,”said Bajcsy, who is Emeritus Director of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) at Berkeley.

The ACM A.M. Turing Award was named for Alan M. Turing, the British mathematician who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing, and who was a key contributor to the Allied cryptanalysis of the German Enigma cipher during World War II. Since its inception, the Turing Award has honored the computer scientists and engineers who created the systems and underlying theoretical foundations that have propelled the information technology industry.

It carries a $100,000 prize, with financial support provided by the Intel Corporation.

Frances E. Allen Wins ACM's Turing Award; First Woman To Win

ACM has named former IBM researcher as the winner of this year’s Turing Award — the “Nobel Prize in Computing.” Dr. Allen, known for her award-winning work in program optimization, is the first woman to receive the award. From today’s LA Times story:

“When Allen receives the award, which comes with a $100,000 prize, at the association’s annual banquet in San Diego on June 9, it won’t take a computer scientist to wonder: What took so long?

Allen’s achievement comes long after women toppled barriers in other professions. Marie Curie became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in 1903. Edith Wharton won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1921. Sandra Day O’Connor joined the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981, two years before Sally Ride became the first American woman in space.

But computer science still is dominated by men. Fewer than one in five bachelor’s degrees in computer science were given to women in 1994, according to the Computing Research Assn. Ten years later, that figure remains about the same, at 17%.”

Dr. Allen’s work made fundamental contributions to the field of computing and helped crack Cold War-era code:

“Fran Allen’s work has led to remarkable advances in compiler design and machine architecture that are at the foundation of modern high-performance computing,” said Ruzena Bajcsy, Chair of ACM’s Turing Award Committee, and professor of Electrical and Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. “Her contributions have spanned most of the history of computer science, and have made possible computing techniques that we rely on today in business and technology. It is interesting to note Allen’s role in highly secret intelligence work on security codes for the organization now known as the National Security Agency, since it was Alan Turing, the namesake of this prestigious award, who devised techniques to help break the German codes during World War II,”said Bajcsy, who is Emeritus Director of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) at Berkeley.

The ACM A.M. Turing Award was named for Alan M. Turing, the British mathematician who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing, and who was a key contributor to the Allied cryptanalysis of the German Enigma cipher during World War II. Since its inception, the Turing Award has honored the computer scientists and engineers who created the systems and underlying theoretical foundations that have propelled the information technology industry.

It carries a $100,000 prize, with financial support provided by the Intel Corporation.

New Offshoring Report, Same Response: Innovation is Critical

The Brookings Institution (a well-respected Washington D.C. think tank) just released a report exploring how offshoring impacts local economies in the U.S. and how public policy should respond. Unfortunately, The San Jose Mercury News wrote a story about how the study predicts that Silicon Valley will lose one out of every five computing jobs over the next decade. This completely ignores the report’s own admission that it does not account for jobs that may be created during that time, leading the reader to believe it is a net loss of jobs. Further, the article has no mention of the interesting part of the report — its policy recommendations.
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Hill Tech Happenings, Week of February 12

February 14
Hearing:
The House Science and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal year 2008 budget for science research and development.
10:00 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Building

The Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity and Science and Technology of the House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on the budget and strategic agenda of the Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security.
2:30 p.m., 2118 Rayburn Building

February 15
Hearing:
The Technology and Innovation Subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on the role of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in economic competitiveness.
10:00 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Building

Election Reform Picks Up Steam

Election reform was an active issue during the past ten days. Legislation was introduced, a hearing held on electronic voting, and the Election Assistance Commission decided to implement its full testing and certification program for voting systems in early March.

Two pieces of electronic voting legislation have been introduced in the House. HR 756, the E-Poll Book Improvement Act of 2007, was introduced on January 31 by Representative DeGette (D-Colorado). You can read the full text of the bill online. The legislation would require the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to develop and adopt guidelines for electronic poll books in the same way the EAC is obligated to do so for voting systems. While Rep. DeGette has not been at the forefront of voting reform legislation, she represents Denver and many of its suburbs. You may remember the trouble the Denver area experienced with electronic poll books in the November 2006 election. Part of the problem appears to be due to a lack of sufficient testing, and this is a likely motivation for her legislation.
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ACM Washington Update, Volume 11.1, February 7, 2007

CONTENTS

[1] Newsletter Highlights
[2] 110th Congress: Congress Boosts Research Funding; ACM Joins Computing Community in Urging Action on Funding
[3] 110th Congress: Science Committee Gets a New Look; Technology Policy a Priority
[4] USACM Advises Feds to Adopt Comprehensive ID Theft Prevention Measures
[5] Q&A with USACM Chair Spafford on E-voting
[6] Electronic Voting Continues to Attract Attention
[7] Data Mining Attracts Congressional Attention
[8] About USACM
Continue reading “ACM Washington Update, Volume 11.1, February 7, 2007”