Early in 2011, IEEE Computer Society (IEEE-CS) President Sorel Reisman and I began discussing how IEEE-CS and ACM could work together more cooperatively. We shared that news with our members in a “Letter from the Presidents” published in the August is- sues of both Communications of the ACM and Computer. We solicited suggestions from our members (http://cooperation.acm.org/) and received some ideas that are worth pursuing for the benefit of the community, which I discuss here.
On September 22, 2011, ACM Chief Executive Officer John White, Chief Operating Officer Pat Ryan, and I met with IEEE-CS President Sorel Reisman and Executive Director Angela Burgess at ACM headquarters in New York City. The goal of this meeting was to build on the many areas in which ACM and IEEE-CS cooperate. Based on input from our members, we looked at: working together to support the efforts of the Computing in the Core Coalition; improving access to our respective digital libraries; reducing joint member fees; sharing speaker programs; and the possibility of merging the two organizations. In reading through the agreements reached for increased co- operation, it is important to remember that IEEE-CS is one (albeit the largest) of 38 societies of the IEEE. As a result, while some proposals for increasing cooperation can be dealt with directly by IEEE-CS, others require IEEE-CS engaging successfully with “parent” IEEE.
Computing in the Core is a non-partisan advocacy coalition established by ACM to elevate the national profile of computer science education in K−12 within the U.S. and work toward ensuring that computer science is one of the core academic subjects in K−12 education. Several associations, corporations, scientific societies, and other non-profits who share the goal of seeing real computer science exist and count—particularly at the high school level—have joined the coalition. IEEE- CS has agreed to formally join Computing in the Core and work with ACM and the other members of the coalition on these important issues. At this meeting we signed a memorandum of understanding whereby IEEE-CS formally joined the Computing in the Core Coalition.
Improved Access to Digital Libraries. We agreed that an important goal would be to work toward seamless access to content for individuals with access (individual subscription or institutional subscription) to both the IEEE-CS’s Digital Library (CSDL) and the ACM DL. Both ACM and IEEE-CS are eager to implement this feature; however, because of the relationship between CSDL and Xplore, it may be some time before we can start real discussions with IEEE and the Xplore staff.
Reduced Joint Member Fees. We agreed that we would institute a 20% discount for individuals who were both Members of ACM and Affiliate Members of IEEE-CS. The goal is that an individual should be able to go to one place to join/renew his/her mem- bership at a rate of $160 (based on current dues levels). ACM is ready to move on this agreement; IEEE-CS needs to hold discussions with IEEE in order to put this reduced joint membership rate into effect.
Shared Speakers Program. We agreed that we would share lists and promote each other’s lectureship programs to appropriate subunits. I am pleased to say this is currently underway and that ACM Chapters will be able to request IEEE-CS Distinguished Lecturers and IEEE-CS Chapters will be able to request ACM Distinguished Speakers.
Highlighting cooperation. It is important to remember that while ACM and IEEE-CS initiated these exploratory conversations last year, in fact, there are many areas where cooperation between the two organizations already exists. Indeed, the level of cooperation between ACM and IEEE-CS is higher than with any other organization. That said, we felt it would be appropriate to highlight the full extent to which we are working together. We agreed to develop a joint Web page to keep members apprised of what the two societies are doing together.
The initiatives noted here represent a good start on increasing collaboration and cooperation with IEEE-CS, and the ACM Council fully supports these efforts. In fact, the ACM Council feels that working on increased collaboration between the two societies is the right focus and the right next step to take. To help ensure continued progress, Sorel and I will establish an ACM/IEEE-CS Task Force on Cooperation to oversee the work we have started and to look for additional areas of potential cooperation.