Featured in Five is a monthly section where we pose five questions to a Computing Reviews featured reviewer. Here are the responses from our current featured reviewer, Raghvinder Sangwan (Penn State University, Malvern, PA).
Q: What is the most important thing that's happened in computing in the past 10 years?
A: Computing has come to be recognized as not just a tool for science, but also a new method of thought and discovery in science.
Q: By the end of your career, where do you think computer science will have taken us? What are you working on that might contribute toward that?
A: There isn't a branch of science today that doesn't have a computational or informatics focus. As such, the demand for increased capabilities to capture, organize, summarize, analyze, and visualize vast amounts of data and information is giving rise to computer systems of greater scale and complexity. Achieving these capabilities with ultra-large-scale and complex systems using current computing technologies is an ongoing challenge. I anticipate a lot of progress will have been made to overcome these challenges by the end of my career. My own focus is on researching design mechanisms that help maintain an intellectual grasp on large and complex systems so that we have the ability to evolve them gracefully over a long period of time.
Q: Who is your favorite historical figure? Why?
A: I was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi's ideals that encouraged simple living and high thinking. He used to say, "We must become the change we want to see." If we want the world to be a peaceful and loving place where future generations can enjoy its bounties, we must embrace nonviolence, shed hatred for others, and give up greed.
Q: If you weren't working in the computer science field, what would you be doing instead?
A: My undergraduate degree is in plant breeding and genetics. I could see myself working in the field of bioinformatics; the computational thinking element would have to be there!
Q: What is your favorite type of music?
A: I enjoy listening to spiritual music and the calming sounds of nature; there’s nothing like a long walk on a beach at the break of dawn!