This is an archived version of CCC's website. Please visit the new ccc website for the latest information.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why A CCC ?

What questions shape our intellectual future? What attracts the best and brightest minds of a new generation?

What are the next big computing ideas, the ones that will define the future of computing, galvanize the very best students, and catalyze research investment and public support?

The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) seeks to mobilize the computing research community to answer these questions by identifying major research opportunities for the field. The CCC will create venues for community participation in this exciting process.

Who is the CCC ?

The CCC is broadly inclusive of the computing research community. Any computing researcher who wishes to be involved is encouraged to be involved.

The CCC comprises a standing committee of faculty from around the country, and we work hard to ensure this Council is diverse by institution, geography, research area, and gender/ethnicity.

What is CRA's role?

The Computing Research Association is the parent organization of the CCC and provides both fiscal and policy oversight to ensure that the CCC activity goes forward with maximum value for the computing research community. The mission of CRA is to strengthen research and advanced education in the computing fields, expand opportunities for women and minorities, and improve public and policymaker understanding of the importance of computing and computing research in our society. This mission nicely encompasses the mission of CCC - to foster exciting new research visions in the computing community which attract support.

The CCC has been established as a standing committee of CRA in cooperation with NSF.

What is the CCC Council? How were they chosen?

The CCC Council comprises a Chair, Vice Chair, and 18 additional members who serve staggered three-year terms. Members of the Council are listed in the column on the right. The Council was originally chosen through an open process led by Randy Bryant, Dean of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, and new members are added every January following an open nomination process conducted by a Subcommittee of the CCC with oversight by CRA and NSF.

Ed Lazowska currently chairs the Council (this selection, too, involved an open process led by Randy), and Susan Graham from UC Berkeley serves as Vice Chair.

Erwin Gianchandani serves as Director of the CCC and ex officio member of the CCC Council.

What is the Role of the Council ?

The CCC Council´s role is to stimulate and facilitate visioning. The Council is responsible not for doing the visioning, but for putting processes into place that stimulate and facilitate visioning by the computing research community. This effort encompasses:

Mobilization (Shaping the voice of the community)
- there are times when the field needs to come together to ask difficult questions, such as determine priorities for major initiatives when resources are not sufficient to support all the good ideas. The council helps to shape that process in ways in which there is no tyranny of the majority or the minority.

Brokerage (Strengthening the marketplace of ideas)
- Research funding takes place in a marketplace of ideas, a meritocracy in which the strongest ideas prevail. But there can be market failures -- cases in which bold ideas cannot gain necessary traction because there is no existing constituency. All bold ideas come from the distributed community of the field, not from the "top." The CCC provides a vehicle for helping to shape such high-risk, high return ideas so they at least get a hearing.

Advocacy (Promoting research support)
- other fields (physics, astronomy, life sciences) have increased their funding by speaking with one voice regarding needs

Performance (Proactive position on the field´s value)
- as our science becomes more important, it becomes more political. Expectations of performance are high -- the public wants value for money. The CCC keeps an eye on the the politics of performance.

How is the Council facilitating visioning?

The CCC has established two core programs with the goal of creating new research visions and bringing the appropriate research communities together:

- A program to support "visioning workshops" organized by members of the computing research community. Sponsorship can be obtained through a lightweight proposal process; we have funded over a dozen such visioning activities over the past several years.

- A program to support special visioning sessions at major conferences, to help the conferences reach out beyond the usual research papers and instead seek out papers that present ideas and visions that can stimulate the research community to pursue new directions.

For more details, click here.

The CCC also runs a blog ( where the entire research community can engage in visioning in real time.

We coordinate closely with Federal funding agencies so that we can help to transition visionary ideas generated through the above means into new programmatic initiatives.

How does the CCC relate to CRA and to NSF?

CRA and CCC both are concerned with the health of the computing research community: CRA in a broad-based way, and CCC with a narrower focus on research visions. One way to view the relationship is that NSF, by funding the CCC through CRA, has provided CRA and the computing research community with the means to dramatically expand our efforts in this particular area.

The relationship between CCC and CRA is extremely close: Andy Bernat serves as the Executive Director of CRA, the Chair of the CRA Board is an ex officio member of the CCC Council, and several members of the CCC Council (including the Chair) are current or former CRA Board members. NSF funds the CCC through a "cooperative agreement," meaning that we consult closely with NSF on all of our activities. Dick Karp from UC Berkeley, Chair of the NSF CISE Advisory Committee, is a member of the CCC Council, as are several other members of the CISE AC. Farnam Jahanian, NSF AD for CISE, and a number of other CISE personnel participate in CCC activities in various ways.

Why a Cooperative Agreement Award rather than a traditional grant?

From the NSF Grant Policy Manual, Chapter II Section 210 DEFINITIONS:

d. A COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT* is a type of assistance award which may be used when the project being supported requires substantial agency involvement during the project performance period. Substantial agency involvement may be necessary when an activity: is technically or managerially complex; requires extensive or close coordination with other Federally supported work; or helps assure suitability or acceptability of certain aspects of the supported activity. Examples of projects which might be suitable for cooperative agreements are systemic reform efforts, research centers, policy studies, large curriculum projects, multi-user facilities, projects which involve complex subcontracting, construction or operations of major in-house university facilities and major instrumentation development.

Additionally, it is important to note (Section 221):

... While NSF will monitor cooperative agreements, it will not assume overall control of a project or unilaterally change or direct the project activities. All cooperative agreements will state the nature and extent of expected NSF involvement to ensure that the responsibilities of each party are fully understood.

The cooperative agreement ensures that CCC (CRA) and NSF work together to ensure the success of the CCC. This close working relationship is important because, ultimately, we are interested in creating funded computing research activities.

Is NSF the only funding agency involved?

We are currently developing additional relationships, with NSF's strong encouragement. The CCC Council includes individuals with strong ties to DARPA, the Department of Energy, NIH, and other agencies. At least one of our visioning activities has received support from multiple Federal agencies in addition to NSF.

In addition, we are working to develop ties with Federal advisory committees, industry (there are several industry members of the Council), and our international partners.

Will CCC decide what is high value research?

Absolutely not. The goal of CCC is not to determine what is worth doing, but to help the community create exciting visions of its own determination. The creation of such visions and the process of disseminating them and gathering support for them from the community and from agencies is for the researchers, with CCC Council assistance.

Will CCC decide agency funding priorities?

No, deciding upon funding is the privilege and responsibility of each funding agency (within the federal budget process). The goal of CCC is to make the best research visions potential winners in this process.

How are visioning activities funded?

The CCC Council has chosen to create a process based on a Request for Proposals in order to ensure that the process is open and available to every computing researcher. Prospective proposers are encouraged to contact the Council with any questions.

Proposals will be reviewed at least quarterly; but particularly striking ideas may be supported at any time. The proposals are reviewed by the Council and proposers receive feedback from one or more Council members based upon these reviews. As appropriate, external reviews may be solicited.

This process is often iterative, with the Council working with the proposers to craft an enhance proposal ready for implementation.

Remember - the point is to get people involved in creating exciting research agendas so the Council is ready to work with you to develop your vision.

How can I get Involved? or How can I participate?

Check out our numerous activities. Put in a proposal to run a visioning activity or visionary conference track. Submit a "highlight" describing a recent research result. Or simply e-mail CCC Director Erwin Gianchandani to learn more.