Hello World: Welcome to the FCA Blog!

Welcome to the blog for the ACM Future of Computing Academy!

The Future of Computing Academy (FCA) is a global professional society for early-career researchers and practitioners in computing. We’re a competitively-selected organization within ACM, the world’s largest computing professional society (and the facilitator of the Turing Award, the “Nobel Prize” of computer science).

ACM has given those of us in the FCA a mandate that is both high-stakes and open-ended: we have “the privilege and responsibility to become the voice of the future of the computing field at large and of ACM specifically.” To action this mandate, we in the FCA have developed the mission to “improve (1) computing, (2) the computing community, and (3) computing’s role in society.”

As the first chair of the FCA, however, I find that our organization is perhaps better described by our less formal mission statement: “We’re a ragtag bunch of early-career computing folks working together to solve computing’s biggest problems.”

Indeed, at the heart of the FCA is a belief that the computing community can solve more problems by working together than by retreating into our like-minded silos. The power of collective action to solve problems is the primary value-add provided by a professional society, and it’s one we in the FCA intend to maximize.

And, wow, does computing have a lot of problems that need solving. The under-representation of entire swaths of the population. New areas for innovation that remain underexplored. Computing’s role in wealth inequality. A need for more open-access publishing. Threats to democracy due to computing technologies. Work/life balance and burn-out. Barriers facing interdisciplinary work. The FCA is working on many of these problems now, and we’ll begin to attack the others as we grow.

Complex problems like those above almost never have simple solutions, and the FCA is an organization that recognizes and respects this complexity. In the FCA, we’re not only working to make a difference, we’re seeking to do so in a fashion that provides a reasonable guarantee that we’re solving more problems than we’re causing. We are not interested in disruption for disruption’s sake, nor are we interested in the false comfort of imagined simplicity, no matter how confidently it is expressed.

And this is where the blog comes in. Many of our posts on this blog will appear in a series called FCA Discussions. In this series, we will highlight ideas for bold action to address some of the biggest problems facing computing, the computing community, and computing’s role in society. Rather than assuming we already have the solutions to major problems, our goal in this series is to inspire conversation around our ideas and the underlying issues. Moving forward, we intend to use these conversations to inform high-impact initiatives.

Of course, we’ll have other types of blog posts as well: announcements, podcast episodes, and eventually, more formal recommendations for action. But for now, we encourage you to engage with our ideas and let us know what you think!

Brent Hecht, FCA Chair

p.s. If you’re interested in joining the Future of Computing Academy, we’ll be launching our second recruitment process in the coming months. You can stay tuned by signing up here.