Top Picks, Columnists, and Artists
May/June 2012 (Vol. 32, No. 3) pp. 2
0272-1732/12/$31.00 © 2012 IEEE

Published by the IEEE Computer Society
Top Picks, Columnists, and Artists
Erik R. Altman, ealtman@us.ibm.com
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This column discusses the process of choosing articles from the computer architecture conferences of 2011 for the Top Picks issue. It also acknowledges the 100th column of "Micro Economics" and IEEE Micro's new cover artist.

Welcome to the 2012 Top Picks issue of IEEE Micro, featuring the best papers published at top Micro-related conferences in 2011. We moved Top Picks to the third issue of 2012 to allow more time for consideration of papers published late in 2011, such as at the Micro conference. Guest Editors Paolo Faraboschi and T.N. Vijaykumar have done an outstanding job in all facets of putting together this issue, including recruiting a program committee; running a well-organized, open, and fair meeting; following up with authors; working to make everything come together for this issue; and, most importantly, ensuring that this issue contains "top picks"—an extremely challenging task given the number and quality of submissions.
In addition to reading the articles, I hope you will read Paolo and Vijay's Guest Editors' Introduction, which not only describes the procedures in more detail but gives a brief summary of each article, grouping and placing each article in context. This grouping and context thereby gives an indication of the major directions in the field, such as architecting, connecting, designing, and programming many-core processors; advances in memory technology; and scale-out computing.
To provide a bit of context for these general areas, the first Top Picks issue, in 2003, had significant focus on many related areas: coarse-grained parallelism, transactional memory, and power- and temperature-aware computing. However, 2003 also had articles covering instruction-level parallelism, program phases, and reliability. I suspect that some of these 2003 topics will be seen again in Top Picks. Indeed, reliability is a subtopic of "advances in memory technology" this year. Several other topics have also been addressed in Top Picks of recent years, such as security, interconnects, cache protocols, DSP architectures, predicated execution, and hardware debug support. As with the previous topics, I suspect that the hiatus of many of these areas is but temporary.
I would also like to salute Shane Greenstein for his 100th "Micro Economics" column. As such longevity may suggest, Shane has wonderful creativity, broad interests, and interesting metaphors—from "Canaries, Whips, and Sails" (Nov./Dec. 2004) to "The Paradox of Commodities" (Mar./Apr. 2004), "Innovation at the Edges" (Nov./Dec. 2007) to "Soccer Mom Messaging Is the Poetry of Our Age" (Jul./Aug. 2009). Shane's 100th column reaches back in time—though not quite 100 years. "The Secret Life of Wally Madhavani" transplants James Thurber's 1939 New Yorker short story on mild-mannered Walter Mitty to present-day Silicon Valley. Like Walter, Wally has a series of five heroic daydreams, well-attuned to life in modern North America, and thanks to Shane's talents, I think universally.
Finally, I would like to recognize IEEE Micro's cover artists. They do a creative and inspired job of converting Micro's technical topics to visual form. Micro recently switched artists, from Peter Nagy to Giacomo Marchesi, and I thank both of them for providing an engaging first view of Micro to everyone.
Erik R. Altman
Editor in Chief
IEEE Micro