Jens Palsberg, a professor of computer science at UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, has been elected to the Association for Computing Machinery’s Executive Committee and will serve as chair of the Special Interest Group Governing Board for a two-year term. As chair, Palsberg will oversee activities of ACM’s 37 special interest groups, including 200 annual conferences, awards and volunteer opportunities.
Headquartered in New York, ACM is the world’s largest scientific and educational computing society with nearly 100,000 student and professional members. The nonprofit provides resources to advance computing as a science and a profession, as well as access to the ACM Digital Library, the most comprehensive database of literature on computing and information technology.
Palsberg, whose research spans compilers, embedded systems, programming languages, software engineering and information security, said this is an exciting time to be on the ACM’s executive committee for two reasons.
For one, the pandemic-driven virtual events hosted by the ACM are becoming ever more inclusive which allows a fresh crop of computing enthusiasts to participate online. For example, the annual Programming Language Design and Implementation (PLDI) event in June usually hosts 500 attendees; this year, the online event attracted more than 4,000 attendees. With hundreds of events worldwide, Palsberg notes that the committee is working to make the events as all-encompassing as possible and to “identify aspects that make them even better than in-person events.”
Palsberg is also enthusiastic about championing ACM’s role in providing open access, where material generated by the organization’s membership is made publicly available at no cost. Starting last month, the University of California made open access the default publication option for articles generated by UC-affiliated authors for the ACM through a prepaid publishing agreement which will end December 31, 2022. Authors are able to opt out if they choose to publish behind a paywall.
“COVID-19 is a great lesson in why open access is better,” said Palsberg. “The more researchers are aware of each other’s work, the faster we can make progress. Research results should be available to all.”
With the new changes taking place at the ACM, Palsberg looks forward to pushing the organization’s goals even further to advance technology, research and collaboration.