Gordon Bell Prizes Awarded at SC21 Conference

A 12-member research team from Chinese institutions was awarded the 2021 ACM Gordon Bell Prize for their project, Closing the “Quantum Supremacy” Gap: Achieving Real-Time Simulation of a Random Quantum Circuit Using a New Sunway Supercomputer. In their prize-winning work, the researchers introduced a systematic design process that covers the algorithm, parallelisation, and architecture required for the simulation.

The ACM Gordon Bell Prize tracks the progress of parallel computing and rewards innovation in applying high performance computing to challenges in science, engineering, and large-scale data analytics. The award was presented by ACM President Gabriele Kotsis and Mark Parsons, Chair of the 2021 Gordon Bell Prize Award Committee, during the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC21).

Also at SC21, the 2021 ACM Gordon Bell Special Prize for High Performance Computing-Based COVID-19 Research was presented to a six-member team for their project Digital transformation of droplet/aerosol infection risk assessment realized on “Fugaku” for the fight against COVID-19. In April 2020, in response to the worldwide spread of COVID-19, the Japanese government made Fugaku, the world’s fastest supercomputer, available to scientists working to combat the epidemic. The research team employed Fugaku to run a variety of simulations of how COVID-19 might spread from person to person via aerosolized droplets.

This special prize is being awarded in 2020 and 2021 to recognize outstanding research achievement toward the understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic through the use of high-performance computing.

ACM India Outstanding Contribution to Computing Education 2021 Award

The ACM India Council has named C. V. Jawahar, Amazon Chair Professor at the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Hyderabad, as the recipient of the ACM India Outstanding Contribution to Computing Education (OCCE) Award for 2021. The citation reads: “Prof C. V. Jawahar’s fundamental, selfless service in teaching of computing, and nurturing a generation of students who now serve the larger society, have led to an impact in multiple dimensions of computing education.” Read more.

ACM Releases Computing and Climate Change TechBrief 

ACM’s global Technology Policy Council (ACM TPC) has released “ACM TechBrief: Computing and Climate Change,” a concise report outlining the energy consumed by the information and communication technology (ICT) sector and the climate impacts of the carbon emissions resulting from that energy consumption. One of the report’s key findings is that computing can help mitigate climate change but must first cease contributing to it.

The TechBrief is the first in a series of short technical bulletins by ACM TPC that present scientifically grounded perspectives on the impact of specific developments or applications of technology. Designed to complement ACM’s activities in the policy arena, the primary goal is to inform rather than advocate for specific policies. Topics under consideration for future TechBriefs include facial recognition, election security, smart cities, and encryption, among others.

The report points out that most analysts estimate that between 1.8% and 3.9% of global carbon emissions are attributable to information and communication technologies activities. This makes the ICT sector’s carbon footprint comparable to, and by some estimates higher than, that of the aviation sector. And most worryingly of all, at a time when all sectors across the global economy are being told to reduce carbon emissions, computing’s carbon footprint is steadily growing.

The ACM TPC believes that now is an opportune time to release a report on this topic, as the energy demands of computing have grown exponentially in recent years.

Featured ACM Member: Rute Sofia

Rute C. Sofia is the Industrial IoT Head at fortiss, the research institute of the Free State of Bavaria for software intensive services and systems in Munich, Germany. She is also an Invited Associate Professor at Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias in Lisbon, Portugal, and an Associate Researcher at ISTAR, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa. At Universidade Lusófona, she co-founded the research unit Cognitive and People-Centric Labs (COPELABS). Rute is an ACM Senior Member, an IEEE Senior Member, and an N2Women Awards Co-chair. She was recently elected a Councilor of the ACM Europe Council.

Read her People of ACM interview.

ACMMM Asia 2021, December 1 to 3 (hybrid)

ACM Multimedia Asia (hosted in Gold Coast, Australia) will include a new session for research students and early career researchers with strategies on how to approach PhD study, opportunities to communicate with internationally-renowned researchers and platforms for social networking. Other activities will focus on empowering women in technology. Scheduled keynote speakers are Mohan Kankanhalli (National University of Singapore), Yong Rui (Lenovo Group), Klara Nahrstedt (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), and Divesh Srivastava (AT&T Labs-Research).

VRST 2021, December 8 to 10 (hybrid)

The ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology is an international forum dedicated to virtual and augmented reality software and technology. Domestic participants in Japan will be able to attend in-person events at a local venue; online sessions are available to all. Scheduled keynote speakers are VR performance artist Aimi Sekiguchi and University College London’s Sriram Subramanian.

SIGGRAPH Asia 2021, December 14 to 17 (hybrid)

The ACM SIGGRAPH Asia Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (hosted at the Tokyo International Forum) will feature paper and poster presentations, a computer animation festival, speakers from industry and academia, art gallery, courses and more. Keynotes by Toru Katsumoto (Sony Corp.) and Matt Omernick (Akili Interactive) will explore “Creativity x Technology—How to Fill the World with Emotion” and “Video Games as Medicine,” respectively.