The Association for Computing Machinery was founded as the Eastern Association for Computing Machinery at a meeting at Columbia University in New York on September 15, 1947. Its creation was the logical outgrowth of increasing interest in computers as evidenced by several events, including a January 1947 symposium at Harvard University on large-scale digital calculating machinery; the six-meeting series in 1946-47 on digital and analog computing machinery conducted by the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers; and the six-meeting series in March and April 1947, on electronic computing machinery conducted by the Department of Electrical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In January 1948, the word “Eastern” was dropped from the name of the Association. In September 1949, a constitution was instituted by membership approval.
The present constitution states: The Association is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to advancing the art, science, engineering, and application of information technology, serving both professional and public interests by fostering the open interchange of information and by promoting the highest professional and ethical standards.
ACM has established student chapters to provide an opportunity for students to play a more active role in the Association and its professional activities. More than 500 colleges and universities throughout the world participate in the ACM Student Chapter Program, whose aims are to enhance learning through exchange of ideas among students, and between established professionals and students. By encouraging organization of student chapters on college and university campuses, the Association is able to introduce students to the benefits of a professional organization. These benefits include periodic meetings, which encourage and enhance learning through the exchange of ideas among students, and between established and students.
ACM’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs) in 34 distinct areas of information technology address varied interests: programming languages, graphics, computer-human interaction, and mobile communications, to name a few. Each SIG organizes itself around those specific activities that best serve both its practitioner- and research-based constituencies. Many SIGs sponsor conferences and workshops and offer members reduced rates for registration and proceedings. SIGs also produce newsletters and other publications or support lively e-mail forums for information exchange.