Policy Highlights from Communications of the ACM – October 2010 (Vol. 53, No. 10)

Below is a list of items with policy relevance from the October issue of Communications of the ACM. As always, much of the material in CACM is premium content, and free content one month may slip behind a pay wall the next. You need to be a member of ACM or a subscriber to CACM to access premium content online.

News: Society
Should Code be Released? by Dennis McCafferty
The author covers the various pros and cons behind disclosing software code connected to scientific research.

Contributed Articles
How Offshoring Affects IT Workers by Prasanna B. Tambe and Lorin M. Hitt
The authors present an analysis of survey data on how offshoring affects the U.S. work force. They find that jobs dealing with more personal delivery of products or services are much less likely to be sent offshore.

ACM and CSTA Release Report Outlining Challenges in K-12 Computer Science Education

At a National Press Club event earlier today, ACM and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) released its report Running on Empty. According to the report, roughly two-thirds of the country have few computer science education standards for secondary school education, and most states treat high school computer science courses as simply an elective and not part of a student?s core education. Given the increasing importance of computer science and computing in everyday life, this is a serious problem. Read the full report at the above link, or download PDF versions of the full report and executive summary.

The release of the report was part of the announcement of Computing in the Core, a non-partisan advocacy coalition focused on building a strong K-12 education program in computer science. Both ACM and CSTA are members, along with other associations, corporations, scientific societies and non-profits all committed to this goal. You can read more about Computing in the Core at the website or in the press release announcing the coalition and highlighting conclusions from Running on Empty.

National Academies Releases Report on Cyberattack Deterrence

Coming from a call for papers and workshop held earlier this year, the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Academies has released Proceedings of a Workshop on Deterring CyberAttacks: Informing Strategies and Developing Options for U.S. Policy. The report focuses on the papers presented at a June workshop, and range from general technical examinations of cyberattacks and deterrence to cover connections with privacy, international laws and agreements, and how to best organize efforts at deterrence.

In addition to the papers, the reports include the letter report the study group submitted to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It focuses on describing the nature of the problem and identifying important questions related to preventing, discouraging and reducing cyberattacks against U.S. cyberinfrastructure.