Saturday, August 02, 2008

Communications of ACM: 08/08

Normally, when I see a copy of the CACM magazine in my mailbox with its color-infused cover and screaming headlines that scare, tease, or scar, I put it away with other junk mail. This time I looked over the 08/08 issue since it was supposed to be a major renovation as Stu explains in his farewell message and as Suresh blogged earlier. Yishay points to its glory days with: A theory of the learnable , by L. G. Valiant, 27(11), Nov 84. The new CACM may not be all that, still here are two articles worth reading:
  • Yoav Shoham writes a tersely idiosyncratic description (Pg 74) of the interaction between game theory and computer science. He also proposes at least two large directions to theorize. This article is gem, a great example of writing for general *technical* audience: broad and bold!
  • CTO Storage Roundtable (Pg 45) is a discussion by a few CS systems thinkers on storage (in particular, flash drives). It is a window into how one needs to rig up/tear down, measure, tradeoff, compromise and generally grasp complex issues and trends in ones mind for good systems research, something theoretical computer scientists rarely understand about the "messy" real life world. Since many of you will probably not read this article, let me quote this war story by Mary Baker I really liked: "Talk about noise. We have three TBs of storage at home. What used to be my linen closet is now the machine room. While storage appliances are supposed to be happy sitting in a standard home environment, with three of them, I get overheating failures. Our house isn't air-conditioned, but the line closet is. It doesn't matter how quiet the storage is because the air conditioner is really loud."
Finally, for dessert, Peter delights with a triptych of puzzles on Page 104. Next time I get CACM, I may immediately just flip to that last page!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take a look at the July issue of CACM.

4:33 PM  

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