Hello again and welcome to ACM Inroads and its 2012 March issue. This issue marks the start of the third year of ACM's computing education magazine. It seems it was yesterday when the inaugural issue (Volume 1, Number 1) enjoyed its maiden run. I hope you have enjoyed the presentations.
Several readers have expressed some confusion regarding the nature of this publication. Firstly, ACM Inroads is not a journal or a newsletter; it falls within ACM's category of magazines similar to the Communications of ACM and ACM Interactions magazines. Secondly, ACM Inroads is not a SIG publication; it is an ACM publication and it falls under the jurisdiction and control of the ACM Publications Board. Thirdly, ACM Inroads traces its roots to SIGCSE as an outgrowth of its publication, the SIGCSE Bulletin. In fact, the SIGCSE Board has elected to provide ACM Inroads as a benefit to its members by helping to fund the production and distribution of the magazine.
Our contributing authors have assembled another stimulating issue. In this issue, the Critical Perspectives section provides readers with a general viewpoint on number bases. I have asked Michael De Vlieger to write an in-depth perspective on this topic incorporating historical and academic overtones. His exciting and colorful presentation addresses the general nature of bases and the way they evolved over time. He shows how some bases (e.g. Base Twelve or Dozens) have optimal properties such as factoring while other bases (prime bases such Base 7) are not conducive to factoring. The presentation provides interesting episodes on these ideas and demonstrates geometric number patterns to highlight underlying concepts. I hope you enjoy this presentation and find ways to engage your students in learning some of the concepts presented.
As always, we continue to show our gratitude to all authors of the Featured Columns, which form the foundation of the ACM Inroads magazine. Feel free to contact these dedicated authors who present their views and inform us of new thoughts on a variety of topics. They would love hearing from you.
The Bits & Bytes section, the Standard Articles section, and the Comprehensive Articles section contain a fine assortment of interesting material that may be useful to teachers and students. Topics presented in this issue include references and pointers, code library, programming beauty, transformation systems, and reverse engineering. These topics should interest even the casual reader and the articles deserve at least a glance, a scan, or a read. Try contacting at least one author; they would be delighted to hear from you.
Please remember to visit "EduBits", a quarterly feature of the magazine that highlights educational happenings within ACM and in particular, the accomplishments of the ACM Education Board and the ACM Education Council. Remember that ACM Inroads is a principal vehicle by which ACM communicates its education activities to its constituencies. Feel free to contact EduBits' coordinators, Andrew McGettrick (Chair of the Education Board) and Yan Timanovsky (ACM Education Manager).
This issue also includes a special report by Jodi Tims and Susan Williams reflecting educational trends in the computing disciplines. The current name of their report is "TauRUs", an acronym for "Taulbee for the Rest of Us". The special report intends to complement CRA's well-known Taulbee report and is a carry-over from Michael Goldweber's article that appeared in ACM Inroads in June of 2011. The authors and others seek to identify a permanent sponsoring organization (or group of organizations) to administer the survey annually. In so doing, the name of the survey will change to reflect the intended scope of the effort.
Once again, Curt White, the SIGCSE Trend Tracker, is continually looking for news items for the SIGCSE Spotlight section of the magazine. Contact Curt with any SIGCSE-type news that should be sharable with a global community.
I hope you enjoy this issue of ACM Inroads. Thanks again to all authors and readers who help make this publication an outstanding magazine.
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