Picture of William Gropp
The Computer Society will face unprecedented challenges in the next few years as the world adapts to the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. How do we support the community? How do conferences change? How can we use technology to bring people together, supplementing or even replacing the ways that conferences and in-person meetings have in the past? How does open access change the way that the Computer Society serves the community?

The strength of the Computer Society is that it is first and foremost just that – a society and a community. The job of the leadership of the Computer Society is to build and improve on the framework of that society to ensure that it meets the needs of its members and our profession. This is a challenging time for the Computer Society, which needs to reinvent itself to thrive in this rapidly changing environment.

As president, I have three main goals:

Connect. We need to work on connecting those in our profession to the communities of researchers and practitioners in our Society. We must make membership more attractive to students and to those in industry as well as academia. Like much of computer science, our membership must be more diverse. We are a very international field; our membership must reflect that as well. Our most powerful tools in this endeavor are our conferences, journals, and technical committees, along with the technologies that have let us hold virtual conferences and stay connected during the current crisis. We must build on these.

Communicate. Working together, we can increase communication and make that communication more effective and efficient. Within the society, we can provide more ways to communicate with our membership. We are part of the largest professional organization; we can work with IEEE and our sister societies to share ideas and to leverage our resources.

Explore and Adapt. In an era of change, no one has all of the answers. A more robust way to thrive in the midst of change is to explore different options, encourage competition, and see which ones work best. And with success comes the need to adapt; I will work with the Board of Governors to create ways to create pilot projects to help us learn what works best.

See my website wgropp.cs.illinois.edu/ieeepres.htm for more information. I look forward to serving you as president of the Computer Society.


The opinions on this page are mine and are not necessarily those of the IEEE Computer Society or the IEEE.

Computer Science Department
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign