About the Symposium


Today’s computing research is increasingly shaped by forces and trends that separate it from the simpler circumstances of the field’s founding era. Among these, three that stand out are

  • Emergence of computing as a fundamental underpinning of modern society
  • Intellectual maturing of the discipline
  • Complexity and sophistication of the future research environment

Taken together, these forces are motivating a dramatic, qualitative shift in viewpoint about the expectations and demands placed on computing research in upcoming years. With this symposium, we hope to snapshot a moment in time in this transformation, capture and clarify the fundamental forces driving it, and discuss key strategies and approaches available to our research community as it shapes both its own and society’s future.

Symposium Focus

The symposium program will focus on a mix of topics identified as most critical to advancing future computer and information sciences research in light of new forces shaping the field. These include:

  1. Identifying and Emphasizing Emerging Technical Directions

    • How should we as a community identify emerging technical directions early and encourage researchers to pay attention? Can we do this more effectively in the future (and what would it mean to be “more effective”?) What new community structures, tools, collaborations, and activities might support this?
    • How should the computing research community better balance “new exploratory research” and “systematization of knowledge”, creating incentives and motivations to do both?
    • Can we identify specific technical directions that serve as exemplars or motivators? Are there developing or recently developed research areas that can teach us useful lessons about evangelizing important new research areas in general, about integrating computing research into larger societal concerns and other technical disciplines, about systematizing knowledge and making it more accessible?
  2. Recruiting Talent and Fostering Research Careers

    • What steps might the computing community take to strengthen interest in research careers? Can we address negative cultural perceptions about research as a career? About computing research in particular?
    • How does the changing landscape of “computing research” as a field affect the recruiting landscape? The nature of desirable educational background and preparation?
    • What new and emerging strategies for “early” (i.e., pre-grad-school) learning would lead to stronger interest and capability in research fundamentals? How might our community best support and evangelize these strategies across a broad educational landscape?
    • Broader participation and diversity (including national origin) as a strategic imperative.
  3. New Models for Research – Fostering Collaboration, Interdisciplinary, and Larger-Scale Efforts

    This trend is well underway now, but the historical model remains strong and the emerging model faces some difficult impediments.

    • How might the computing research community make collaborative and multidisciplinary research efforts:
      • More the norm, as and when appropriate
      • More effective
      • Easier to carry out
    • Identification of specific levers to foster this research – tools, processes, methods, etc. – that should be evangelized, and impediments that should be removed.
      • Career paths: Recognition for collaborative work, tenure and promotion expectations
      • Supporting technical tools and infrastructures
      • Data management, credit, and sharing models
    • New models for research infrastructure writ large – high end computing for the research community, data sharing and management, model validation, etc.
  4. Revisiting Research Funding Models

    What funding models are available, effective, and appropriate for a computing research landscape that is a critical underpinning of modern society in general?

    • Challenges and strengths of the current US research funding landscape
    • What works well elsewhere, and what works better here
    • Potential new approaches to strengthening research funding
      • Public funding – agency structure and mission, strengthening coupling and understanding between research sponsors and researchers, etc.
      • Policy-driven approaches and encouraging private funding

Who Should Attend?

We invite anyone with an interest in the future of computing research to attend the symposium. The symposium’s focus is on the development of the field itself, rather than on any specific technical area or research direction. With this overarching perspective, our aim is for the symposium to be interesting, informative, and valuable to:

  • Computing research professionals with strong interests and/or viewpoints about the evolution of their chosen field.
  • Younger computing researchers interested in their own place and career path within our rapidly changing profession.
  • Peer researchers, whose interests focus on areas and disciplines where advanced computing, data science, artificial intelligence, and related capabilities represent an existing or emerging critical underpinning for their own research area.
  • Industry technologists and policymakers interested in shaping the future relationship between computing research and the many consumers of our field’s research results.
  • Research policy professionals and those concerned with the advancement of future computing research in a larger societal or economic context.
  • Science and technology journalists and others interested in the emergence of new computing research paradigms.