A publication of the Special Interest Group on Applied Computing

From the Editor-in-Chief

Outgoing Editor-in-Chief's Farewell

My tenure as Editor-in-Chief of Applied Computing Review ended with Volume 3, Number 2. Perhaps this is a good time for me to reflect on this experience.

First, let me confess that I was unable to realize my vision. I started ACR with the idea of turning it into a forum for, and I apologize for this over-used term, "technology transfer." I saw ACR as a medium for practitioner and academic to communicate. Despite my efforts, ACR, like most other SIG periodicals, remains a primarily academic publication, a fairly good one in my estimation. While I'm on this subject, I'd like to relate the story of how ACR came to be a reviewed publication. I have heard this story told incorrectly so many times, that I want to set the record straight.

As many of you know, SIGAPP grew out of an international workshop on applied computing. We decided to start an ACM special interest group in applied computing to provide another venue for computing professionals interested in applications to get together. ACR was to be its "bulletin." The feeling of the SIGAPP organizers was that the world did not want its mailboxes littered with more unfiltered, printed material. I established the policy of "refereeing" articles in the first issue. In the first month of circulation, I was informed that the word "refereed" was reserved for ACM Journals, and that we would have to use the term "reviewed." I thought that we could live with the distinction, and changed our masthead accordingly. Other SIGs took a different view, and launched a major protest over this issue. The fact of the matter is that we never attempted to create a SIG archival publication, we were simply using reviewing as a screening tool to try to keep useless information out of your mailbox.

In my view, the most exciting period of publishing lies before us. Of course, much of that future is wrapped up with electronic publishing. The World Wide Web illustrated the capability of that Medium. But, more subtle changes may actually be more important in the long run. I'll just list a few changes which seem likely to follow in the years to come.

  1. The focus will be on the impact of publications, not the number and venue. Jeff Ullman has said for years, "Impact, not publications. Conferences, not journals." The future will make the second sentence of this mantra irrelevant. In the not-too-distant future, the medium will be digital and the distribution will be by common carrier. The distinction between types of publications will become irrelevant. The interest will be, as it should, over the use of the creative work rather than the method of dissemination. In this regard, it will be instructive to see how quickly academic institutions embrace these new standards. It will be useful to see how future promotion and tenure committees react to research on cd-rom and publications on Web sites. If history is any judge, computer scientists and engineers will be the worse for this experience. How long, for example, will it take all universities to recognize the primacy of conference publications in cs&e?

  2. Publications will become but "snapshots in time." Some have argued that the digital imprimatur will reign supreme. The documents which are loaded on X's server will be considered definitive, while those on Y's are of inconsistent quality, etc. While there will be some truth to this, the imprimatur will in the long run mean less than the document's links. Documents will progress from drafts to preprints to accepted versions to revisions to versions with imprimatur to expansions with rejoinders, to .... A token in the sequence is probably not the thing that we should focus on, but rather the entire process with all of the additional linked material that is related to the document. Eventually, perhaps, a small number of imprimatur hardcopies will be produced just for university administrators and mothers - the peerage will continue to use the digital forms with for all of the value added.

  3. We will finally achieve the computing professional's nirvana - impact assessments embedded in the abstract. The Web and it's search engines make it possible to determine the degree of self- citations, information about the indexing and abstracting services which include a publication in their databases, the number of external citations (positive and negative), quotations and reviews, circulation lists, reader reactions, and so forth. The technology for this is available now. It just remains for us to commit to use it.

So, I see the near-future of publication as revolutionary. I hope to join all of you in participating in this process.

With all best wishes.

Hal Berghel,

Incoming Editor-in-Chief's Greeting

It is an honor to have the opportunity to follow Hal Berghel as Editor-in-Chief.

My tenure begins with a special issue on applications of parallel object-oriented programming, guest edited by Boleslaw K. Szymanski and Charles D. Norton. As the computing community continues to move into object-oriented programming, many new application areas are emerging. It is not surprising that OOP lends itself naturally to parallel programming and this issue explores several facets of that.

This issue also marks the first time an issue of ACR is available in electronic form ( We plan to continue this practice for all future issues. As always, proposals for special issues and regular paper submissions in all areas of applied computing are welcome. If you have any suggestions about these, please e-mail me at, or look me up at SAC '97 in San Jose.

Barrett R. Bryant