ACM Washington Update
November 30, 2015
Vol. 19, Issue 9
ACM Washington Update



ACM Washington Update recaps ACM's initiatives in the U.S. technology policy arena monthly. Please forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues in the computing community. View more details on each item below, as well as on the blog. Follow USACM on Twitter and Facebook.

  • ACM partnered with CRA and three other organizations on a briefing on Capitol Hill on the importance of the STEM education and research pipelines.
  • ACM named Jeffrey R.N. Forbes, an Associate Professor of the Practice of Computer Science at Duke University, as Chair of the ACM Education Policy Committee.
  • Join ACM in celebrating Computer Science Education Week during December 7-13.
  • The White House is accepting public comments on a revised policy for the management of federal information technologies and information services.
  • NTIA will hold the next cybersecurity multistakeholder forum on vulnerability research disclosure on December 2.
  • Submissions for the inaugural ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize in High School Computing are due by January 1.

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ACM and CRA Sponsor Congressional Briefing on the STEM Education Pipeline

The ACM Education Policy Committee partnered with the Computing Research Association (CRA), the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), ASME, and the American Chemical Society (ACS), on a Congressional briefing on "Building a STEM Education Pipeline Aligned with Industry Needs: Perspectives from the Field" hosted by the Congressional STEM Education Caucus. The briefing focused on ways that community colleges, four-year colleges, and universities can creatively engage students in the STEM fields and inspire them to pursue careers in related fields. The panelists discussed initiatives aimed at strengthening and expanding postsecondary STEM education and research opportunities, including at the graduate and doctoral levels.

Texas A&M University Professor Nancy Amato, an ACM Distinguished Speaker and Co-Chair of CRA-W, stressed the need for: (1) strengthened flexible education pathways, (2) diversity and inclusiveness for students, researchers, faculty, and professionals, and (3) robust and stable federal investments in research. She provided specific examples of how federal funds are being used to advance opportunities for students, faculty, and researchers. She highlighted several ACM and CRA activities, including the Grace Hopper Celebration, the Tapia Celebration, the Coalition to Diversify Computing, ACM-W, and CRA-W. She also spotlighted several NSF programs and industry partnerships that are demonstrating effectiveness at increasing diversity, expanding access to postsecondary education opportunities, and leveraging industry collaborations.

Other panelists included George Mason University Mechanical Engineering Department Head Oscar Barton and Montgomery College Biotechnology Professor Collins Jones. Elizabeth L. Ambos, the Executive Officer of the Council on Undergraduate Research, moderated the discussion.

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Jeffrey Forbes Appointed Chair of the ACM Education Policy Committee

ACM President Alexander L. Wolf appointed Jeffrey R.N. Forbes, an Associate Professor of the Practice of Computer Science at Duke University, as Chair of the ACM Education Policy Committee. Created in 2007, the ACM Education Policy Committee is dedicated to improving opportunities for quality education in computer science and computing education around the world. Forbes succeeds Robert B. (Bobby) Schnabel, the founding chair of the ACM Education Policy Committee, who assumed a new role as CEO of ACM on November 1. In leading the committee, Forbes will play a major role in developing initiatives aimed at shaping education policies that impact the computing field.

"Not only is computer science education one of Jeff's core research interests, but he has extensive experience directing educational programs in this area," said Alexander L. Wolf, President of ACM. "More and more school systems around the world are integrating computing science into the core curriculum, and workforce demand for computing professionals worldwide is growing rapidly. The field is at an exciting inflection point, and Jeff Forbes is the perfect person to ensure that ACM will continue to be a leading voice in promoting and shaping computer science education at all levels."

Forbes also is an Associate Dean of the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences at Duke University. He served as Program Director for the Education and Workforce program in the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. His research interests include computer science education, social information processing and learning analytics.

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Celebrate Computer Science Education Week, December 7-13

Join ACM in celebrating Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) during December 7-13! This year's CSEdWeek, produced by along with the Hour of Code, seeks to inspire tens of millions of students to learn computer science.

Preparations for the Hour of Code are kicking into high gear, with more than 70,000 organizers signing up to plan activities to get students (and others willing to learn) excited about programming. Central to the Hour of Code events are one-hour tutorials, which are fun ways of showing students - via games, apps, stories, animations, and more - how code works. An exciting new offering this year is the Star Wars tutorial, which enables users to learn basic concepts of programming using "blocks" of code while building their own Star Wars game. The game is available in several languages. More new tutorials are in the pipeline.

The ACM Education Policy Committee was a founding partner of the nonpartisan coalition Computing in the Core, which instituted Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek). Since 2009, ACM has partnered with, a nonprofit coalition dedicated to expanding computer science education. Computer Science Education Week is held annually the second week in December in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper.

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White House Seeks Public Comments on Revised Policy for Managing Federal IT

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is accepting public comments on proposed changes to the policy document for the planning and management of federal information services. The document was last updated 15 years ago. The changes would include supporting electronic transactions, cybersecurity, modern computing architectures, mobile technologies, cloud computing, and agile development processes. OMB extended the public comment period until December 5.

The policy document, known as Circular No. A-130, Managing Information as a Strategic Resource, provides guidance to federal agencies on how to manage effectively information technologies and information services used within and by the federal government. The guidance aims to foster systems that are trustworthy, resilient, responsive, secure, and manageable over time. The proposed changes seek to address current technical, privacy, and security threats while providing flexibility for integrating and deploying emergent technologies. To help ensure increased privacy and security protections, the proposed revisions would require agencies to make systems less vulnerable by implementing security by design.

Several new definitions are proposed, including: accessibility, enterprise architecture, federal information system, information security, information technology resources, open data, and personally identifiable information.

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NTIA to Host Next Cybersecurity Multistakeholder Forum on Vulnerability Research Disclosure on December 2

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will hold the next meeting of the cybersecurity multistakeholder process on vulnerability research disclosure on December 2 in Washington, D.C. The process aims to establish stakeholder consensus about high-level principles that will promote better collaboration among security researchers, vendors, and owners of products.

A critical part of this effort is to explore how vulnerabilities can and should be disclosed. The objectives include exploring how vulnerability information is shared, received, and resolved and how to create successful collaborations. Prior meetings have discussed vendor-side principles, a range of researchers' concerns, protections for researchers, how to improve vendor-to-vendor communications and researcher-to-vendor communications, and incentives for reporting vulnerabilities to owners of products.

The meeting will be open to all interested parties. A live webcast will be available.

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ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize in High School Computing

The new ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize in High School Computing challenges high school seniors in the United States to develop innovative solutions using their knowledge of computer science. Four winners will each be awarded $10,000 and a trip to an awards reception.

Submissions should demonstrate ingenuity, complexity, relevancy, originality, and a desire to further computer science as a discipline. Students should be prepared to describe what the project is, how it was created, and why it is relevant.

The prize is named for David Cutler and Gordon Bell. Cutler is a software engineer, designer and developer of several operating systems including Windows NT at Microsoft and RSX-11M, VMS and VAXELN at Digital Equipment Corporation. He is Senior Technical Fellow at Microsoft. Bell is an electrical engineer and an early employee of Digital Equipment Corporation where he led the development of VAX. He is now a researcher emeritus at Microsoft Research.

Submissions are due by January 1, 2016.

Submit a Project - Review the required materials and then fill out the online submission form.

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About Washington Update - ACM Washington Update is produced by the ACM Public Policy Office. It highlights activities of the ACM U.S. Public Policy Council (USACM) and the ACM Education Policy Committee (EPC), as well as other events in Washington that affect the computing community.

About USACM - The ACM U.S. Public Policy Council (USACM) is the focal point for ACM's interactions with U.S. government organizations, the computing community, and the U.S. public in all matters of U.S. public policy related to information technology.

About EPC - The ACM Education Policy Committee (EPC) engages policymakers and the public on public policy issues that relate to computer science and computing-related education, including the importance of high-quality education at all levels to the labor market and the economy.

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