Petition for Withdrawal of Computing the Future

1996 April 13
In 1992 the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Research Council issued a report entitled Computing the Future. The report was harmful in that it merged computer science and computer engineering into "computer science and engineering" and left almost no place for computer science. This event was part of a fit of practicality, perhaps initiating in Congress. An electronic Petition for Withdrawal of the Report was circulated and received about 950 signatures.

Along with the petition, a letter letter urging signatures was circulated, and the Preface and Executive Summary of the Report were made available by anonymous ftp.

For those who need these forms, there are also .dvi and .ps forms of the the petition, whysign and the preface available by anonymous ftp from

The petition is not any more a live matter, so there is no point in adding your signature, but you may find it of interest.


More anti-science from the NRC

I just noticed a 1995 report from the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board Academic Careers for Experimental Computer Scientists and Engineers. It shows that the Board is as anti-science as it was in 1992. All experimental computer science is applied as far as this document is concerned. None of the extensive basic experimental work in heuristics, e.g. search, automatic theorem proving or game playing, apparently meets their criteria for experimental computer science. See the Executive Summary. You will need to be able to handle Postscript.

The members of the committee that produced the report are

Lawrence Snyder, Univ. Washington, chairman

Forest Baskett, Silicon Graphics and Stanford

Michael Carroll, Rice University

Deborah Estrin, USC

Merrick Furst, CMU

John Hennessy, Stanford

H.T. Kung, Harvard

Kurt Maly, Old Dominion U.

Brian Reid, D.E.C.

Some of them should have known better. Most likely many of them do but are hypnotized by the current fad for strategic research. Fortunately for computer science, the strategic research is unlikely to be able to to keep its promises.

Several computer scientists including Marvin Minsky and Robert Boyer have also criticized the NRC report. Help in making a report covering BASIC TOPICS IN EXPERIMENTAL COMPUTER SCIENCE is solicited.

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