Association for Computing Machinery

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Association for Computing Machinery
"acm" in blue circle with gray rim, surrounded by blue diamond
Formation1947; 72 years ago (1947)
Type501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership corporation
Headquarters2 Pennsylvania Plaza
New York City
Cherri M. Pancake

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is an international learned society for computing. It was founded in 1947, and is the world's largest scientific and educational computing society.[1] The ACM is a non-profit professional membership group,[2] with more than 100,000 members as of 2011. Its headquarters are in New York City.[3]

The ACM is an umbrella organization for academic and scholarly interests in computer science. Its motto is "Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession".


The ACM was founded in 1947 under the name Eastern Association for Computing Machinery, which was changed the following year to the Association for Computing Machinery.[4]


Street view of top half of skyscraper against the sky; its outside is dominated by vertical black and white lines
Two Penn Plaza site of the ACM headquarters in New York City

ACM is organized into over 171 local chapters and 37 Special Interest Groups (SIGs), through which it conducts most of its activities. Additionally, there are over 500 college and university chapters. The first student chapter was founded in 1961 at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Many of the SIGs, such as SIGGRAPH, SIGPLAN, SIGCSE and SIGCOMM, sponsor regular conferences, which have become famous as the dominant venue for presenting innovations in certain fields. The groups also publish a large number of specialized journals, magazines, and newsletters.

ACM also sponsors other computer science related events such as the worldwide ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), and has sponsored some other events such as the chess match between Garry Kasparov and the IBM Deep Blue computer.



ACM publishes over 50 journals[5] including the prestigious[6] Journal of the ACM, and two general magazines for computer professionals, Communications of the ACM (also known as Communications or CACM) and Queue. Other publications of the ACM include:

Although Communications no longer publishes primary research, and is not considered a prestigious venue, many of the great debates and results in computing history have been published in its pages.

ACM has made almost all of its publications available to paid subscribers online at its Digital Library and also has a Guide to Computing Literature. Individual members additionally have access to Safari Books Online and Books24x7. ACM also offers insurance, online courses, and other services to its members.

In 1997, ACM Press published Wizards and Their Wonders: Portraits in Computing (ISBN 0897919602), written by Christopher Morgan, with new photographs by Louis Fabian Bachrach. The book is a collection of historic and current portrait photographs of figures from the computer industry.

Portal and Digital Library[edit]

The ACM Portal is an online service of the ACM.[9] Its core are two main sections: ACM Digital Library and the ACM Guide to Computing Literature.[10]

The ACM Digital Library is the full-text collection of all articles published by the ACM in its articles, magazines and conference proceedings. The Guide is a bibliography in computing with over one million entries.[9] The ACM Digital Library contains a comprehensive archive starting in the 1950s of the organization's journals, magazines, newsletters and conference proceedings. Online services include a forum called Ubiquity and Tech News digest. There is an extensive underlying bibliographic database containing key works of all genres from all major publishers of computing literature. This secondary database is a rich discovery service known as The ACM Guide to Computing Literature.

ACM adopted a hybrid Open Access (OA) publishing model in 2013. Authors who do not choose to pay the OA fee must grant ACM publishing rights by either a copyright transfer agreement or a publishing license agreement.[11]

ACM was a "green" publisher before the term was invented. Authors may post documents on their own websites and in their institutional repositories with a link back to the ACM Digital Library's permanently maintained Version of Record.

All metadata in the Digital Library is open to the world, including abstracts, linked references and citing works, citation and usage statistics, as well as all functionality and services. Other than the free articles, the full-texts are accessed by subscription.

There is also a mounting challenge to the ACM's publication practices coming from the open access movement. Some authors see a centralized peer–review process as less relevant and publish on their home pages or on unreviewed sites like arXiv. Other organizations have sprung up which do their peer review entirely free and online, such as Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR), Journal of Machine Learning Research (JMLR) and the Journal of Research and Practice in Information Technology.

Membership grades[edit]

In addition to student and regular members, ACM has several advanced membership grades to recognize those with multiple years of membership and "demonstrated performance that sets them apart from their peers".[12]


The ACM Fellows Program was established by Council of the Association for Computing Machinery in 1993 "to recognize and honor outstanding ACM members for their achievements in computer science and information technology and for their significant contributions to the mission of the ACM." Since March 2015, there are about 958 Fellows[13] out of about 75,000 professional members.

Distinguished Members[edit]

In 2006, ACM began recognizing two additional membership grades, one which was called Distinguished Members. Distinguished Members (Distinguished Engineers, Distinguished Scientists, and Distinguished Educators) have at least 15 years of professional experience and 5 years of continuous ACM membership and "have made a significant impact on the computing field". Note that in 2006 when the Distinguished Members first came out, one of the three levels was called "Distinguished Member" and was changed about two years later to "Distinguished Educator". Those who already had the Distinguished Member title had their titles changed to one of the other three titles.

Senior Members[edit]

Also in 2006, ACM began recognizing Senior Members. Senior Members have ten or more years of professional experience and 5 years of continuous ACM membership.

Distinguished Speakers[edit]

While not technically a membership grade, the ACM recognizes distinguished speakers on topics in computer science. A distinguished speaker is appointed for a three-year period. There are usually about 125 current distinguished speakers. The ACM website describes these people as 'Renowned International Thought Leaders'.[14] The distinguished speaker program is overseen by a committee [15]

Norman E. Gibbs served as the president of the ACM.


ACM has three kinds of chapters: Special Interest Groups,[16] Professional Chapters, and Student Chapters.[17]

As of 2011, ACM has professional & SIG Chapters in 56 countries.[18]

As of 2014, there exist ACM student chapters in 41 different countries.[19]

Special Interest Groups[edit]

  • SIGACCESS: Accessible Computing
  • SIGACT: Algorithms and Computation Theory
  • SIGAda: Ada Programming Language
  • SIGAI: Artificial Intelligence
  • SIGAPP: Applied Computing
  • SIGARCH: Computer Architecture
  • SIGBED: Embedded Systems
  • SIGBio: Bioinformatics
  • SIGCAS: Computers and Society
  • SIGCHI: Computer–Human Interaction
  • SIGCOMM: Data Communication
  • SIGCSE: Computer Science Education
  • SIGDA: Design Automation
  • SIGDOC: Design of Communication
  • SIGecom: Electronic Commerce
  • SIGEVO: Genetic and Evolutionary Computation
  • SIGGRAPH: Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques
  • SIGHPC: High Performance Computing
  • SIGIR: Information Retrieval
  • SIGITE: Information Technology Education
  • SIGKDD: Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
  • SIGLOG: Logic and Computation[20]
  • SIGMETRICS: Measurement and Evaluation
  • SIGMICRO: Microarchitecture
  • SIGMIS: Management Information Systems
  • SIGMM: Multimedia
  • SIGMOBILE: Mobility of Systems, Users, Data and Computing
  • SIGMOD: Management of Data
  • SIGOPS: Operating Systems
  • SIGPLAN: Programming Languages
  • SIGSAC: Security, Audit, and Control
  • SIGSAM: Symbolic and Algebraic Manipulation
  • SIGSIM: Simulation and Modeling
  • SIGSOFT: Software Engineering
  • SIGSPATIAL: Spatial Information
  • SIGUCCS: University and College Computing Services
  • SIGWEB: Hypertext, Hypermedia, and Web


ACM and its Special Interest Groups (SIGs) sponsors numerous conferences with 170 hosted worldwide in 2017. ACM Conferences page has an up-to-date complete list while a partial list is shown below. Most of the SIGs also have an annual conference. ACM conferences are often very popular publishing venues and are therefore very competitive. For example, the 2007 SIGGRAPH conference attracted about 30000 visitors, and CIKM only accepted 15% of the long papers that were submitted in 2005.

  • MobiHoc: International Symposium on Mobile Ad Hoc Networking and Computing

The ACM is a co–presenter and founding partner of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) with the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.[26]

Some conferences are hosted by ACM student branches; this includes Reflections Projections, which is hosted by UIUC ACM.[citation needed].[27] In addition, ACM sponsors regional conferences. Regional conferences facilitate increased opportunities for collaboration between nearby institutions and they are well attended.

For additional non-ACM conferences, see this list of computer science conferences.


The ACM presents or co–presents a number of awards for outstanding technical and professional achievements and contributions in computer science and information technology.[28][29][30]

Over 30 of ACM's Special Interest Groups also award individuals for their contributions with a few listed below.[33]


The President of ACM for 2018–2020 is Cherri M. Pancake, Professor Emeritus at Oregon State University and Director of the Northwest Alliance for Computational Science and Engineering (NACSE). She is successor of Vicki L. Hanson (2016-2018), Distinguished Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology and Visiting Professor at the University of Dundee; Alexander L. Wolf (2014–2016), Dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz; Vint Cerf (2012–2014), an American computer scientist who is recognized as one of "the fathers of the Internet"; Alain Chesnais (2010–2012), a French citizen living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where he runs his company named Visual Transitions; and Dame Wendy Hall of the University of Southampton, UK (2008–2010).[34]

ACM is led by a Council consisting of the President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Past President, SIG Governing Board Chair, Publications Board Chair, three representatives of the SIG Governing Board, and seven Members–At–Large. This institution is often referred to simply as "Council" in Communications of the ACM.


ACM has five "Boards" that make up various committees and subgroups, to help Headquarters staff maintain quality services and products. These boards are as follows:

  1. Publications Board
  2. SIG Governing Board
  3. Education Board
  4. Membership Services Board
  5. Practitioners Board

ACM Council on Women in Computing[edit]

ACM-W,[35] the ACM council on women in computing, supports, celebrates, and advocates internationally for the full engagement of women in computing. ACM–W's main programs are regional celebrations of women in computing, ACM-W chapters, and scholarships for women CS students to attend research conferences. In India and Europe these activities are overseen by ACM-W India and ACM-W Europe respectively. ACM-W collaborates with organizations such as the Anita Borg Institute, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), and Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W).

Athena Lectures[edit]

The ACM-W gives an annual Athena Lecturer Award to honor outstanding women researchers who have made fundamental contributions to computer science.[36] This program began in 2006. Speakers are nominated by SIG officers.[37]


ACM's primary partner has been the IEEE Computer Society (IEEE-CS), which is the largest subgroup of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The IEEE focuses more on hardware and standardization issues than theoretical computer science, but there is considerable overlap with ACM's agenda. They have many joint activities including conferences, publications and awards.[39] ACM and its SIGs co-sponsor about 20 conferences each year with IEEE-CS and other parts of IEEE.[40] Eckert-Mauchly Award and Ken Kennedy Award, both major awards in computer science, are given jointly by ACM and the IEEE-CS.[41] They occasionally cooperate on projects like developing computing curricula.[42]

ACM has also jointly sponsored on events with other professional organizations like the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).[43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Indiana University Media Relations". Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  2. ^ "ACM 501(c)3 Status as a group". Retrieved October 1, 2012.
  3. ^ "Contact Information".
  4. ^ "ACM History". Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  5. ^ "Journals & Magazines".
  6. ^ Lowry, Paul Benjamin; Romans, Denton; Curtis, Aaron (2004). "Global Journal Prestige and Supporting Disciplines: A Scientometric Study of Information Systems Journals". Journal of the Association for Information Systems. 5 (2): 29–80. SSRN 666145.
  7. ^ Wakkary, R.; Stolterman, E. (2011). "WELCOME: Our first interactions". Interactions. 18: 5. doi:10.1145/1897239.1897240.
  8. ^ "Home page". Association for Computing Machinery. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  9. ^ a b "ACM Digital Library".
  10. ^ The University of Georgia Guide to Online Resources
  11. ^ "ACM Author Rights".
  12. ^ "ACM Senior Members–An Overview". Archived from the original on January 18, 2012. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
  13. ^ "List of ACM Fellows". Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  14. ^ "Homepage". ACM Distinguished Speakers. Association for Computing Machinery.
  15. ^ "ACM Speakers Committee". ACM Distinguished Speakers. Association for Computing Machinery.
  16. ^ "ACM Special Interest Groups". Archived from the original on July 27, 2010. Retrieved August 7, 2010.
  17. ^ "ACM Chapters". Retrieved August 7, 2010.
  18. ^ "Worldwide Professional Chapters". Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Retrieved 2012-12-27.
  19. ^ "Chapters Listing by Geographic Region — Association for Computing Machinery". Retrieved 2013-10-02.
  20. ^ "ACM Special Interest Group on Logic and Computation". Retrieved 2015-01-28.
  21. ^ "Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM)".
  22. ^ "Distributed Event-Based Systems".
  23. ^ "GECCOs". ACM.
  24. ^ "Hypertext 2009".
  25. ^ "Joint Conference on Digital Library (JCDL)–Home". JCDL.
  26. ^ "Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, Largest Gathering of Women in Computing, Attracts Researchers, Industry". Retrieved June 27, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  27. ^ "ACM@UIUC". 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  28. ^ "ACM's awards recognize excellence in computer science and information technology". Retrieved 2017-04-06.
  29. ^ "List of ACM Awards". Retrieved 2017-04-06.
  30. ^ "ACM Awards". Archived from the original on May 11, 2012. Retrieved April 26, 2012.
  31. ^ "Shun Receives ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award". School of Computer Science. Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  32. ^ Anon (2016). "ACM Inducts Fellows". Communications of the ACM. Association for Computing Machinery. 59 (2): 24–24. doi:10.1145/2856228.
  33. ^ "Special Interest Group (SIG) Awards". Retrieved 2017-04-06.
  34. ^ "ACM Past Presidents". Retrieved 2014-10-12.
  35. ^ "Home".
  36. ^ "About ACM Athena Lecturer Award". Retrieved 2017-04-06.
  37. ^ "ACM-W Athena Lecturers Award Winners". ACM. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  38. ^ "Berkeley Lab's Yelick Named "Athena Lecturer" for Contributions to Parallel Programming Languages that Improve Programmer Productivity" (PDF) (Press release). ACM. March 21, 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 3, 2013. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  39. ^ "ACM / IEEE-CS Cooperation — Association for Computing Machinery". Archived from the original on January 1, 2017. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  40. ^ "ACM / IEEE-CS Jointly Sponsored Conferences —Association for Computing Machinery". Archived from the original on January 1, 2017. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  41. ^ "ACM / IEEE-CS Joint Awards — Association for Computing Machinery". Archived from the original on April 6, 2016. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  42. ^ Joint Task Force on Computing Curricula; Association for Computing Machinery (ACM); IEEE Computer Society. "Computer Science Curricula 2013: Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Degree Programs in Computer Science".
  43. ^ "SIAM: ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA17)".

External links[edit]