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, William E.Mihalo (Northwestern University).
Q: What is the most important thing that's happened in computing in the past 10 years?
A: The increased size of storage capacity associated with computers has had the greatest impact upon computing and society as a whole. Previously, large amounts of information could not be stored cheaply. Today's increased storage capacity has organizations collecting large amounts of data and storing it. I have the impression that not a lot of thought is going into the storage of data. Rather, everything is collected with the intention of analyzing it later. There is also the problem associated with backing up large amounts of data. Tape backup is too expensive and most organizations rely on disk-to-disk backup of important data.
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: I believe quantum computing will begin to make its appearance by the end of my career. It will have a tremendous impact upon computing. I was fortunate early in my career to see the emergence of small desktop computers and their integration into the workplace. Quantum computing will have a similar impact.
Q: Who is your favorite historical figure? Why?
A: Martin Luther King, Junior is my favorite historical figure. He never held political office, yet he had a tremendous influence upon American society. He did all of this in a non-violent manner and he was also one of the youngest people to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Q: If you weren't working in the computer science field, what would you be doing instead?
A: I would be teaching sociology of work and possibly demography courses to undergraduate and graduate students at a university. I would also be doing some sociological research.
Q: What is your favorite type of music?
A: Heavy metal rock from the late 1970s, which is best exemplified by Rush and AC/DC.