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CRA Conference at Snowbird 2010

July 18-20, 2010
Snowbird, Utah

Preliminary Program

About the Snowbird Conference: The biennial CRA Conference at Snowbird is the flagship invitation-only conference for the leadership of the North American computing research community.

Invitees: Computer science, computer engineering, and information technology department chairs; assistant, associate, and prospective chairs; directors of graduate or undergraduate education; directors of industry or government research labs/centers; and professional society or government leaders in computing.

The conference site: The Snowbird Resort is located in the Wasatch Mountains about 30 miles from Salt Lake City. A top-rated ski resort in the winter, off-season at Snowbird offers hiking amidst beautiful scenery.

This year at Snowbird: Yoky Matsuoka, Torode Family Endowed Career Development Professor at the University of Washington, will be the after-dinner speaker on the opening night of the conference. Her topic will be: "Move Better with a Robot." One of the plenary speakers will be Dr. Regina E. Dugan who was sworn in as the 19th Director of DARPA on July 20, 2009. She will outline her vision for the Agency; the need for adaptability and discontinuity; the willingness to challenge one's world view; and a conceptual framework for creating strategic surprise and disruptive changes. In addition to four plenary sessions, there will be numerous parallel workshop sessions, a workshop for new department chairs, a "State of the CRA" address, and the presentation of the CRA Distinguished Service and A. Nico Habermann Awards. Below is a preliminary program that will continue to be updated on the CRA website as additional information becomes available. Online registration will open on the CRA website in April.

New Chairs Workshop (July 18, 3:00 - 5:45pm)

This workshop will give new CS Department Chairs some of the skills to lead their organizations and work with Deans, Provosts, and Advisory Boards - the stuff they never told you in graduate school. Tentative topics include: Strategic thinking, What is different about CS? Communication Matters! and Dealing with Different Stakeholders. Whether you've been department chair for one week or one year, there is more to the job than you think. Come join your fellow new chairs in this workshop.

Chair: Mike Gennert (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)
Speakers: Barbara Ryder (Virginia Tech), Darrell Whitley (Colorado State)

Plenary Sessions

Why Can't Teaching Be More Like Research?
Chair: Lynn Andrea Stein (Olin College of Engineering)
Speaker: Sally Fincher (University of Kent)

Peer Review in Computing Research
Chair: H.V. Jagadish (University of Michigan)
Panel Moderator: Moshe Y. Vardi (Rice University)
Speakers: Rich Baranuik (Rice University); Lance Fortnow (Northwestern University); Jeffrey Mogul (HP Labs); Jeannette Wing (NSF)

Making a Federal Case for Computing
Chair: Fred Schneider (Cornell University)
Speaker: Peter Harsha (CRA)

Foresight and Flexibility
Chair: Peter Lee (DARPA)
Speaker: Regina Dugan (Director, DARPA)

Workshop Sessions

The CS/10K Project
The CS/10K Project aims to transform high school computing with a rigorous and well-taught curriculum centered on a completely new Advanced Placement (AP) course. The new course will not replace AP CS A, but will provide a more accessible option for students. It will be rigorous, but also engaging and inspiring. It will not be programming-centric, but instead will focus on the fundamental concepts of computing, while exposing students to its breadth of application and "magic." This panel covers the motivation, design methodology, and current thinking for the new course in the larger context of high school computing curriculum.
Chair: Jan Cuny (NSF)
Panel: TBA

CRA-E Report on Basic Computing Knowledge
CRA-E was created by CRA to explore the issues of undergraduate education in computing and computational thinking for those who will do research in disciplines from the sciences to the humanities. The committee generated six recommendations in two main themes: mechanisms for refactoring the computer science curricula that provide a flexible and adaptable range of options, and issues of mind skills and mastery that pervade the entire curriculum, from introductory "attractor" courses through the advanced courses taken by seniors heading to graduate school. In this session, we will discuss these recommendations.
Chair: Mary Fernandez (AT&T Labs Research)
Speaker: Andries van Dam (Brown University)

Enriching Undergraduate Learning Through Apprenticeships
Learning a discipline and preparing for a profession benefit greatly from exposure to a variety of teachers, each helping to develop a student's education through his or her own experience. This workshop explores three modes of apprenticeship: co-operative education, research internships, and mentorships. Co-operative programs supplement academic teachers with managers and senior co-workers from industry and government. Research internships provide opportunities to work with senior researchers from academic or industrial laboratories. Mentorships engage experienced professionals to motivate and guide students towards their objectives. Each speaker will outline a form of apprenticeship and describe how to incorporate it, or improve it, within your undergraduate program.
Chair: Frank Tompa (University of Waterloo)
Panel: Arnie Dyck (University of Waterloo), Ran Libeskind-Hadas (Harvey Mudd College), David Porush (MentorNet)

CCC Workshop on Discovery and Innovation in Health IT
Chair: Susan Graham (University of California, Berkeley)
Panel: TBA

Education in the Magic Circle: The Promise of Games
A strong motivator for students entering computer science programs is a desire to create computer games. This session will present success stories from several computer science departments that have dramatically and persistently increased their enrollments by offering strong, game-oriented degree programs. Games also can be inspirational for K-12 education: we present an update on efforts to use computer games as a means of educating students in traditional K-12 subjects.
Co-Chairs: Michael Mateas (University of California, Santa Cruz) and John Nordlinger (Microsoft)

Computer Science and Global Development: A New High-Impact Research Area
There has been a recent explosion in the use of information and communication technologies (particularly mobile phones) in many developing countries. These technologies have the potential to aid in many global development efforts, including those focusing on public health, sustainable livelihood development, the environment and education. Computer Science researchers have been assisting in these efforts by developing novel approaches for long-distance wireless networking, human-computer interaction for different literacy levels and cultures and low-cost computing devices, among other areas. Technical research must be inherently multi-disciplinary, as it seeks to use the tools and techniques of Computer Science to problems faced by these domains. This session will summarize and discuss some of these efforts, and provide a brief overview of this new but growing field. We will also discuss our proposal for SIGDEV, a new ACM special interest group focusing on this topic.
Speakers: Tapan Parikh (University of California, Berkeley), and Lakshmi Subramanian (New York University)

Communicating Computer Science
Computing has become extremely complex, especially with the rapid leaps made in the Internet, hardware, entertainment and information science. The trend over the past ten to fifteen years has been to present computing via applications that are visual and application-oriented. Computer scientists have been tasked with the challenge of making computing palatable to the general public, and this they have done royally with robotics, gaming, applications in medicine, sensors, early education, to name a few. However, such exposure is at the expense of what is happening underneath. Thus the terminology of our core disciplines-graphics, languages, OS, AI, SE, networks-is much less known. It is time to assess and reverse this trend. We will be looking at novel ways to communicate our science to the public, to statesmen, and to university management. Speakers in this session have experience in a wide variety of public communication.
Chair: Judith Bishop (Microsoft)
Panel: TBA

The Computing Innovation Fellows (CIFellows) Program
The past year's economic downturn caused universities and companies to severely curtail their hiring of new PhDs in computing fields. In February 2009, when it became clear that many new PhDs were in danger of falling out of research and education careers, a project was undertaken, with support from NSF, to create opportunities for at least some new PhDs to start careers at top research and education organizations, thereby saving the large investments that have been made in their training and education. In this session, we will review the origins, structure, and process of the CIFellows Project. We will discuss some preliminary lessons learned, plans for continued assessment, and possibilities for the future. Ultimately, the future of CIFellows will be determined by engaging the community, starting with this session at Snowbird.
Speaker: Peter Lee (DARPA)

Understanding and Using Graduate Program Rankings in Computer Science
Computer Science rankings, whether by the National Research Council, The US News and World Reports, or by any of several other groups generate considerable discussion among faculty, students, and academic administration alike. In this panel, we overview several different ranking efforts of graduate programs and research activity in computer science departments and the methodologies by which these rankings are established. We also discuss various perspectives on how rankings might be used by various individuals, and will have an open discussion on what advice/perspectives that we, as a community, might want to provide to these individuals.
Chair: Jim Kurose (University of Massachusetts)
Panel: Charlotte Kuh (National Research Council)
Other panelists (TBA)

CRA Guidelines for Coordinating Faculty Recruitment
In 2008, the CRA Board considered the issue of faculty hiring practices, especially the timing of the process and associated gridlock as faculty candidates wait to hear from universities and vice versa. Several problems were identified with the current procedures and guidelines were suggested for improvement. The effectiveness of the improvements depends on how broadly they are implemented, and thus we need, as a community, to decide if we have a strong will to implement new procedures. This session will review the CRA's proposal, encourage open discussion on the proposal, and discuss potential implementation.
Chair: Jeffrey Vitter (Texas A&M University)

For program details and registration information, please see the CRA website:; e-mail:; or call 202-234-2111.

Additional Opportunities at Snowbird

CRA Board of Directors Meeting - July 17-18

Workshop for New Department Chairs - July 18 - Chair: Mike Gennert (WPI), Barbara Ryder (Virginia Tech), and Darrell Whitley (Colorado State)

CRA-Deans' Meeting - July 20-21 - Chair: Debra Richardson (UC Irvine)

Conference Sponsors

ACM; Avaya; CA Labs; Google; IBM; Intel; Microsoft Research; Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs; Sun Microsystems; and USENIX.

Organizing Committee

David Notkin (University of Washington) Academic Co-Chair
Mary Fernandez (ATT Labs - Research) Labs/Centers Co-Chair

Sarita Adve (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign); Judith Bishop (Microsoft Research); Ed Fox (Virginia Tech); H.V. Jagadish (University of Michigan); Renee McCauley (College of Charleston); Bobby Schnabel (Indiana University); Fred Schneider (Cornell University); Mark Segal (National Security Agency); Lynn Andrea Stein (Olin College); and Frank Tompa (University of Waterloo).

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