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Communications of the ACM

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The blog archive provides access to past blog postings from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.

August 2014


From The Eponymous Pickle

Internet of Things Rising

Internet of Things Rising

Statistics on how the Internet of things is increasing in traffic and concern for the implications.  especially resource needs and security.  In Baselinemag:  " ...  By 2020, the Internet of things (IoT) is expected to interconnect


From Schneier on Security

The Security of al Qaeda Encryption Software

The Security of al Qaeda Encryption Software

The web intelligence firm Recorded Future has posted two stories about how al Qaeda is using new encryption software in response to the Snowden disclosures. NPR picked up the story a week later. Former NSA Chief Council Stewart


From Computer Science Teacher – Thoughts and Information From Alfred Thompson

Why AP

Why AP

Sometimes you miss something by reading a blog post too early. Such is the case with a recent post by Mark Guzdial - Python is the most popular intro language: But what about CS Principles? There have been some 37 comments worth


From The Eponymous Pickle

Reaching the Customer in Real Time

Reaching the Customer in Real Time

To reach the right customer, in the right place and time, with the right offerperhaps a chicken dinneryou need real-time actionable insight ...   From IBM.Watch as a grocery store uses this insight to sell more chicken dinners


From The Eponymous Pickle

Visual Search in Apps

Visual Search in Apps

Accurate visual search for shopping was a particular are of interest.  An example:" ... Slyce Inc Signs Agreement with Leading Grocery App Network PDN to Provide Visual Search Technology for Photo-Driven Shopping List Creation


From The Eponymous Pickle

Improving Retail Employee Enthusiasm

Improving Retail Employee Enthusiasm

A long time ago an enterprise I worked in was talking about acquiring a coffee emporium operation what was to become very successful.   But the talk always went back to:  We don't know how to run a retail business, especially


From The Eponymous Pickle

Rural Telemedicine

Rural Telemedicine

Lots of news out there on using video conferencing systems for Telemedicine.  Some hospital systems are starting to use it broadly to extend their reach, especially for rural applications:" ... A growing number of South Dakota


From Computational Complexity

Complexity versus Algorithms: The FOCS Challenge

In recent years, I've heard complaints from my complexity colleagues that FOCS and STOC are mostly algorithms and from the algorithm buddies that STOC and FOCS are mostly complexity. What exactly counts as a complexity or algorithms


From Schneier on Security

US Air Force is Focusing on Cyber Deception

US Air Force is Focusing on Cyber Deception

The US Air Force is focusing on cyber deception next year: Background: Deception is a deliberate act to conceal activity on our networks, create uncertainty and confusion against the adversary's efforts to establish situational


From Schneier on Security

QUANTUM Technology Sold by Cyberweapons Arms Manufacturers

QUANTUM Technology Sold by Cyberweapons Arms Manufacturers

Last October, I broke the story about the NSA's top secret program to inject packets into the Internet backbone: QUANTUM. Specifically, I wrote about how QUANTUMINSERT injects packets into existing Internet connections to redirect


From The Computing Community Consortium Blog

New Multi-Year Initiative from NSF on the Professional Formation of Engineers is Launched

The Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF) has launched a new multi-year initiative to create and support an “innovative and inclusive” profession for the 21st century, called the Professional Formation…


From My Biased Coin

Back to Work

Back to Work

Harvard classes start up in a few weeks, and officially, my sabbatical is over.  I'm back in my office, trying to get back into a Harvard routine.I notice that I've been very light in posting over my sabbatical.  After my term


From Computer Science Teachers Association

Computer Science and "Makered"

Are you a Maker? Do you even know what that is? And how, exactly, is this related to Computer Science? The exact lineage of the Maker Movement is debatable. The idea of making things, hacking, repurposing, and doing things by


From The Female Perspective of Computer Science

How Small Changes in a Game's Story Can Make a Huge Difference

How Small Changes in a Game's Story Can Make a Huge Difference

I recently wrote to the author of a book I love, Think Like a Programmer.  I had wanted to ask some questions related to using the book for one of our first year classes. But it turned out that V. Anton Spraul also happens to


From The Eponymous Pickle

Analytics as Model for Customer Service

Analytics as Model for Customer Service

From the Cisco Blog: A good simplified, decision oriented view of solving data needs to provide personalized customer service. I like the close inclusion of the decision process.  It is not just about the data." ... I wrote in


From The Eponymous Pickle

An Introductory Look at Marketing Mix

An Introductory Look at Marketing Mix

A simplified look by a student, at the marketing mix problem using SAS.  Nicely presented.  A classic problem solved by every company that needs to determine advertising and marketing strategy.  Good introduction, though most


From Schneier on Security

NSA/GCHQ/CESC Infecting Innocent Computers Worldwide

NSA/GCHQ/CESC Infecting Innocent Computers Worldwide

There's a new story on the c't magazin website about a 5-Eyes program to infect computers around the world for use as launching pads for attacks. These are not target computers; these are innocent third parties. The article actually


From Computer Science Teacher – Thoughts and Information From Alfred Thompson

Interesting Links–18 August 2014

Interesting Links–18 August 2014

Seems like I spent all my time last week doing last minute tasks before school starts. Getting cars inspected and reregistered for example. And a haircut that my wife insisted, correctly, was overdue. Teachers at my school report


From The Eponymous Pickle

Memorable and Useful Visualizations

Memorable and Useful Visualizations

Should data visualization be memorable?  Or should it be the best starting point for interacting with data using analytics, or decision processes to improve?  That tell a useful story?  Memorable can be good,  especially with


From The Eponymous Pickle

Telepresence via Mobile Robotics

Telepresence via Mobile Robotics

Story of the visit of a conference via a mobile robot.  The idea is simple, practical to a certain degree.   Has been mocked in TV ads. Not quite the same experience as being there, but there has also been considerable increase…


From The Eponymous Pickle

More Humor at Work

More Humor at Work

More from Andrew Tarvin on Humor at work.  Why does humor matter?: The infographic.  Again see his site for much more.   Always liked the idea, but it is harder than you think to make it happen. Andrew has the insight.


From The Eponymous Pickle

Negroponte on the Future

Negroponte on the Future

Founder of the Media Lab, gives a TED talk on a 30 year History of the Future ...  We were members of the MIT Media Lab for years and enjoyed his thoughts then.


From The Eponymous Pickle

Mathematics of Discovery for Creativity?

Mathematics of Discovery for Creativity?

In the WaPo:  Having examined how expertise can be augmented by creativity, not sure how this is directly useful.  The graphical representation shown is thought provoking.  Does it describe creativity?   " ... “People listening


From Gödel's Lost Letter and P=NP

The 3SUM Assumption Is Wrong?

A new result on our three body problem Allan Grønlund and Seth Pettie are leaders in algorithm design and related problems. Today I want to give a quick follow up on our discussion of 3SUM based on a recent paper of theirs. I


From The Eponymous Pickle

Augmenting and Scaling Expertise

Augmenting and Scaling Expertise

Thoughts I just put in a private Linkedin Group that deals with how cognitive expertise is effectively delivered.  It is all about how we can now augment and scale expertise,  not easily done in the 90s during the last round"


From Putting People First

How to conduct design research for home healthcare devices

How to conduct design research for home healthcare devices

As healthcare shifts from the hospital to the home, design research must also morph to keep up, writes Shana Leonard. Who is the typical user of your medical product and what is the use environment? These used to be easy questions


From Putting People First

How Wells Fargo learned to innovate around the customer

How Wells Fargo learned to innovate around the customer

Wells Fargo, the world’s most valuable bank, learned to innovate around the customer. In 1999, Steve Ellis, who runs the bank’s wholesale services group, went to a conference where Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems described


From Putting People First

Leveraging ethnography to improve food safety

Leveraging ethnography to improve food safety

Carolyn Rose explains how ethnography can be used to improve food safety: If done correctly, ethnography leads to a holistic and unbiased understanding of current practices and the motivations that drive them. Looking specifically


From The Eponymous Pickle

Reasons for Being Cheerful

Reasons for Being Cheerful

Matt Ridley, the rational optimist,  provides a number of reasons to be cheerful.  Mark J Perry summarizes.  Not what I have been seeing in the news.


From The Eponymous Pickle

Consider Being Obsolete

Consider Being Obsolete

AdAge Video:  I still believe this will take longer than we think.  There will be transferal and re-apportionment of many jobs.   " ... Are You Obsolete? Yeah, Probably (This Fascinating Video Explains Why) ... Our Video of the