Barbara Simons Receives 2019 ACM Policy Award


Barbara Simons was named the recipient of the 2019 ACM Policy Award for long-standing, high-impact leadership as ACM President and founding Chair of ACM’s US Public Policy Committee (USACM, now USTPC), while making influential contributions to improve the reliability of and public confidence in election technology. Over several decades, Simons has advanced technology policy by founding and leading organisations, authoring influential publications, and effecting change through lobbying and public education.

Now part of ACM’s Technology Policy Council (TPC), which serves global regions, the TPC groups have continued Simons’ original vision for ACM: to provide cogent advice and analysis to legislators and policymakers about a wide range of issues including cryptography, computer security, privacy, and intellectual property.

Simons is internationally known as an expert on voting technology, an advocate for auditable paper-based voting systems, and author of numerous papers on secure election technology. Through her publications, reports, testimony to the US Congress, and advocacy, Simons has been a key player in persuading election officials to shift to paper-based voting systems, and has contributed to proposals for reforms in election technologies.


Tel Aviv University Graduate Receives ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award

Dor Minzer of Tel Aviv University is the recipient of the 2019 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award for his dissertation, “On Monotonicity Testing and the 2-to-2-Games Conjecture.” The key contributions of Minzer’s dissertation are settling the complexity of testing monotonicity of Boolean functions and making a significant advance toward resolving the Unique Games Conjecture, one of the most central problems in approximation algorithms and complexity theory.

Honorable Mentions for the 2019 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award went to Jakub Tarnawski of École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and JiaJun Wu of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tarnawski’s dissertation “New Graph Algorithms via Polyhedral Techniques” made groundbreaking algorithmic progress on two of the most central problems in combinatorial optimisation: the matching problem and the traveling salesman problem. Wu’s dissertation, “Learning to See the Physical World,” has advanced AI for perceiving the physical world by integrating bottom-up recognition in neural networks with top-down simulation engines, graphical models, and probabilistic programs.

The 2019 Doctoral Dissertation Award recipients will be formally recognised at the annual ACM Awards Banquet on October 3 in San Francisco. The Doctoral Dissertation Award is accompanied by a prize of $20,000, and the Honorable Mention Award is accompanied by a prize totaling $10,000.


Featured ACM Distinguished Speaker: Susan M. Zvacek 

Susan M. Zvacek ( is an independent consultant, speaker, and teacher, focused on cultivating learning-centered teaching in higher education. Her disciplinary interests include online learning, STEM education, and instructional design. Susan’s background includes keynote addresses and workshops in the Czech Republic, Austria, Costa Rica, Estonia, Slovakia, Cyprus, England, Portugal, China, Germany, and throughout the United States. She has had two Fulbright appointments (Prague, Czech Republic and Porto, Portugal) and has 25+ years of experience in higher education including teaching, curriculum design, faculty development, and administration. She is an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer and co-author of Teaching and Learning at a Distance and Blackboard for Dummies, as well as numerous articles on topics such as course design, remote labs, and higher-order thinking.

For more information on Susan, please visit her DSP speaker information page.


Shwetak Patel Featured Speaker at AI for Good Global Summit 

ACM Prize recipient and ACM Fellow Shwetak Patel was a featured keynote speaker at the AI for Good Global Summit, which is being held virtually through to the end of 2020. Patel is a Computer Science and Engineering Professor at the University of Washington. You can view his talk, “New Ways of Thinking of the Mobile Phone for Healthcare and the Current Pandemic,” on the ITU YouTube channel. 


SIGCOMM 2020, August 10 to 14

The flagship annual conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication focuses on the applications, technologies, architectures, and protocols in the computer communication field. Technical sessions will cover routing, telemetry, switching, verification, congestion control, datacenters, wireless technologies, and more. Amin Vahdat (Google) and Lixia Zhang (UCLA) will deliver keynotes.




L@S 2020, August 12 to 14

Learning @ Scale investigates large-scale, technology-mediated learning environments that typically have many active learners and few experts on hand to guide their progress or respond to individual needs. Workshops will address inclusivity, testing, AI for video-based learning, chatbot development, MOOCs and more. Katie Davis (University of Washington) will keynote.

SIGGRAPH 2020, August 17 to 28

This year’s virtual SIGGRAPH conference will include both on-demand presentations and scheduled sessions, with expanded opportunities to experience the Animation Festival, Art Gallery, and Theater, as well as the many courses, technical sessions and networking events, in cyberspace. Keynote speaker Marco Tempest (MIT, NASA, magicLab) will deliver a multimedia virtual presentation titled “Invent the Impossible.”

KDD 2020, August 23 to 27

The SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining brings together researchers and practitioners from data science, data mining, knowledge discovery, large-scale data analytics, and big data. Scheduled keynoters are Emory Brown (MIT), Yolanda Gil (UCLA), Kate Crawford (NYU and Microsoft Research), Manuela Veloso (Carnegie Mellon) and Alessandro Vespignani (Northeastern University).



ICFP 2020, August 24 to 26

The SIGPLAN International Conference on Functional Programming provides a forum for researchers and developers to learn about the latest work on the design, implementations, principles, and uses of functional programming. Keynote talks will be delivered by Evan Czaplicki (Github) on the Elm programming language and Audrey Tang (Taiwan’s Digital Minister) on how software developers can contribute to fighting the pandemic.