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March 2004 Conference Call

March 8, 2004
12:00PM - 1:10PM EDT

Robert B. Allen, William Aspray, Thomas Haigh, Mark Scott Johnson, Elisabeth Kaplan, Michael Mahoney, Patricia Ryan, Richard Snodgrass (Co-Chair), and David S. Wise (Co-Chair)

    Pat mentioned that Mark Scott had just been awarded the ACM Contributions Award, for his many years of service to SIGPLAN, the SGB, the Awards Committee, Council, and of course continuing on this committee!

  1. Summary of EC discussion of History Proposal

  2. David summarized by observing that the committee and the effort in general enjoyed good support on the ACM EC, and that the EC was comfortable proceeding. The EC established the committee as a standing committee of the EC and forwarded the budget to Council at the full amount ($55K).

    ACTION ITEM: ACM History Committee to be noted on EC web site (COMPLETED)
    • Monique will have the EC web site amended to indicate this "Committee on ACM History" (no "Presidential Ad Hoc") is a "Committee of The Executive Committee", joining the other two such committees, the "Coalition to Diversity Computing" and the "Committee on Women in Computing". She will also amend the History Committee's web site History Committee's web site appropriately.
    • Updates:
      • Completed May 30th, 2008: Done years ago!
      • May 30th, 2008: Done years ago!

    The EC recommended acceleration of interviews, focusing on Turing Award winners. The EC also recommended attempting to find other sources of funding.

    David mentioned that he had visited the computer exhibit at the Smithsonian, and remarked that it was rather poor, with few CS luminaries mentioned. Perhaps a partnership with that institution might be useful.

    It was noted that it was doubtful that external co-sponsors would pay for interviews of ACM Presidents for an institutional history.

  3. Discuss, possibly amend, and approve January minutes

  4. We discussed some medium-level changes to the minutes.

  5. Discuss initial progress on identifying the qualifications of the Turing Editor-in-Chief (for the web site)

  6. Bob summarized an email discussion that is attempting to identify a possible EiC. He stated that the ACM Publications Board was willing to treat the web site as a new ACM publication and to provide some funds to manage this web site.

    Bob raised the general issue of the scope of this publication. Was it for instance to include *all* materials of every winner (i.e., is it more of an archive), or should it be edited. Rick suggested that perhaps this should be the topic of a later conference call, to be explored in depth. Bob felt that it was best if an energetic EiC be found who could contribute to such a discussion, rather than waiting until the scope was determined before searching for a suitable EiC.

    Due to other responsibilities Bob is resigning from the history committee. He is currently searching for someone else on the pubs board to serve on the History Committee as pubs board liaison.

  7. Discuss additional materials for Council meeting for March 30 (backup needed by March 19)

    • Budget proposal (that sent previously to the EC)
    • Ordered wish list of oral histories (draft sent as backup)
    • Listing of possible sources of funding (short list sent as backup)

    We discussed the list of possible interviewees at length.

    Mike made the point that two rather different efforts were involved.

    Mike reiterated his point that a computer science history program limited on Turing award winners might be arbitrarily limited, given the very real kinds of accomplishments acknowledged by the ACM's other major awards.

    There have been interviews of some of these people. Most likely, these interviews will have little about ACM organizational activities, and probably won't characterize their intellectual contributions fully, but we should at least find out what is available.

    Bill pointed out that the various Turing award winners worked in quite disparate areas of computer science. This would make it hard to find a single interviewer who could really do justice to a wide range of them -- one reason he suggested these interview might be handled by people already researching relevant specialized historical topics. Also, preparation for one interview would not do much to help with another. Therefore, these interviews might be more expensive or of lower quality than those of ACM presidents, where studying the association's history in (say) the 1970s would help with half a dozen different interviews.

    This list of interviewees will be communicated to the EC and Council orally by David, due to its sensitivity.

  8. Discussion of what is needed and what should be done at the SGB meeting to be held March 21.
  9. Pat estimated that the backup is due March 14, though Mark Scott said that his presentation would not have to be in the backup.

    ACTION ITEM: Draft presentation (COMPLETED)
    • Mark Scott will draft a presentation and will send out a copy of the handout for email discussion by the committee.
    • Updates:
      • Completed June 30th, 2008: This was completed a long time ago!

    The next conference call will await final action by Council at the end of this month.