Free reading matter from the NAS

Summary:The National Academies of Science has posted free PDFs and online reading versions of the more than 4,000 science books it publishes, and also provides code so you can host individual titles on your own site. Many of these are workshop reports, policy documents and the like, rather than textbooks.

The National Academies of Science has posted free PDFs and online reading versions of the more than 4,000 science books it publishes, and also provides code so you can host individual titles on your own site. Many of these are workshop reports, policy documents and the like, rather than textbooks. There's loads of good stuff in here, as many such workshops attract a high calibre of invited papers. In addition to computers and information technology section, there are many other topic areas covered including other types of security, behavioural and social sciences, mathematics and physics, food science, medicine and education.

Downloading a title requires you to supply a name and email address, but these aren't checked. Here are some recent releases that caught our eye:

The Future of Computing Performance Published this year, this report focuses on the research areas for parallel computing systems as the only way to continue the growth in computing power of the second half of the 20th century.

Biometric Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities Published in 2010, a close look at what biometrics can and can't do and the complexities of the broad-based deployments now being contemplated.

Toward Better Usability, Security, and Privacy of Information Technology Report of a 2009 workshop (which I attended) on the largely underappreciated importance of usability when designing security systems. Security personnel have traditionally treated users as the enemy, and the result is increased vulnerability when users circumvent the rules in order to get their jobs done.

Strategic Management of Information and Communication Technology: The United States Air Force Experience with Y2K Interesting for two reasons. First, because there are many lessons to learn about minimising and mitigating risk from this detailed account of remediating a complex ICT crisis involving thousands of people inside a single organisation. And second, because it puts paid to the widely voiced suspicion that the crisis was mere fear-mongering by greedy consultants.

Lots of holiday reading here!

Wendy M Grossman

Topics: Reviews

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