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ACM Computing Classification System

The ACM Computing Classification System is a subject classification system for computing devised by the Association for Computing Machinery. The system is comparable to the Mathematics Subject Classification in scope, aims, and structure, being used by the various ACM journals to organise subjects by area.


The system has gone through seven revisions, the first version being published in 1964, and revised versions appearing in 1982, 1983, 1987, 1991, 1998, and the now current version in 2012.


The ACM Computing Classification System, Version 2012, has a revolutionary change in some areas, for example, in Software that now is called "Software and its engineering" which has three main subjects:

  • Software organization and properties. This subject addresses the programming language theory and, in a broad sense, what software is.
  • Software notations and tools. This subject classify some practical concerns about software development.
  • Software creation and management. This subject is which we know traditionally as Software Engineering (SE), but SE as category as missed.

The ACM Computing Classification System,version 1998, is hierarchically structured in four levels: three outer levels, coded by capital letters and numbers, and an uncoded fourth level of subject descriptors. Thus, for example, one branch of the hierarchy contains

I. Computing Methodologies, which contains:
I.2 Artificial Intelligence, which contains:
I.2.4 Knowledge representation formalisms and methods, which contains:
Temporal logic.

Each top-level category has two standard subcategories: "general", coded with a "0", and "miscellaneous", coded with a "m". For instance, I.0 denotes the "general" subcategory of Computing Methodologies, while I.m denotes its miscellaneous subcategory. Several subtopics are listed as uncoded subject descriptors in these standard subcategories.

See also

  • arXiv, a preprint server that uses a somewhat different subdivision of topics in its computer science subject areas but also allows papers to be classified using the ACM system


External links

  • ACM Computing Classification System is the homepage of the system, including links to four complete versions of the system, for 1964 [1], 1991 [2], 1998 [3], and the current 2012 version [4].
  • The ACM Computing Research Repository uses a classification scheme that is much coarser than the ACM subject classification, and does not cover all areas of CS, but is intended to better cover active areas of research. In addition, papers in this repository are classified according to the ACM subject classification.

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