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Communications of the ACM

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

May 2015


From ACM Careers

MIT'S Humanoid Robot Goes to Robot Boot Camp

MIT'S Humanoid Robot Goes to Robot Boot Camp

As Russ Tedrake flings up the garage door to the dusty MIT lab, light whooshes in, revealing a 360-pound humanoid robot hanging from a rope.


From ACM News

The House Just Passed a Bill About Space Mining

The House Just Passed a Bill About Space Mining

For as long as we've existed, humans have looked up at the stars—and wondered.


From ACM TechNews

9 Programming Languages and the Women Who Created Them

9 Programming Languages and the Women Who Created Them

Women have made many important and lasting contributions to software development, including the development of programming languages. 


From ACM TechNews

With One False Tweet, Computer-Based Hack Crash Led to Real Panic

With One False Tweet, Computer-Based Hack Crash Led to Real Panic

A false tweet sent from a hacked account caused the Dow Jones Industrial Average to fall and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index to lose more than $136 billion in seconds. 


From ACM TechNews

New Technology Could Fundamentally Change Future Wireless Communications

New Technology Could Fundamentally Change Future Wireless Communications

A new technique that can estimate and cancel out interference from a transmission allows a radio device to simultaneously transmit and receive data on the same channel. 


From ACM TechNews

Oculus Rift Hack Transfers Your Facial Expressions Onto Your Avatar

Oculus Rift Hack Transfers Your Facial Expressions Onto Your Avatar

Researchers have developed a system to track the facial expressions of users wearing a virtual-reality headset and transfer them to a virtual avatar. 


From ACM TechNews

Real-Time Data Sharing Can Make Airports Greener

Real-Time Data Sharing Can Make Airports Greener

University of Lincoln researchers have created a new framework designed to reduce delays, improve efficiency, and curb pollution at major international airports. 


From ACM News

Microsoft’s HoloLens Will Put Realistic 3D People in Your Living Room

Microsoft’s HoloLens Will Put Realistic 3D People in Your Living Room

Demonstrations of augmented-reality displays typically involve tricking you into seeing animated content such as monsters and robots that aren’t really there.


From ACM News

How Stargazing Became a Numbers Game

How Stargazing Became a Numbers Game

People have long thought of astronomy as the science of looking to the stars, but discoveries in the cosmos increasingly come from a different kind of observational power.


From ACM News

NASA's WISE Spacecraft Discovers Most Luminous Galaxy in Universe

NASA's WISE Spacecraft Discovers Most Luminous Galaxy in Universe

A remote galaxy shining with the light of more than 300 trillion suns has been discovered using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).


From ACM TechNews

Wolfram's ID Project Launch Touts ImageIdentify Function

Wolfram's ID Project Launch Touts ImageIdentify Function

Wolfram Research's artificial intelligence-based Language Identification Project is equipped with an ImageIdentify function.


From ACM TechNews

Better Predicting Flu Outbreaks With Wikipedia

Better Predicting Flu Outbreaks With Wikipedia

A team of researchers has developed a method for forecasting the course of upcoming flu seasons by analyzing the views of Wikipedia articles. 


From ACM TechNews

Project Oxford APIs Offer Facial, Voice Recognition Capabilities

Project Oxford APIs Offer Facial, Voice Recognition Capabilities

Microsoft's age-guessing site, How-Old.net, is powered by Project Oxford, which now offers tools developers can use to incorporate intelligence into their apps.


From ACM TechNews

Fast Track Program Invites Non-Traditional Roboticists to Help Bolster National Security

Fast Track Program Invites Non-Traditional Roboticists to Help Bolster National Security

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Robotics Fast Track program aims to create a system for the rapid, cost-effective development of new robotics. 


From ACM News

Quantum Life Spreads Entanglement Across Generations

Quantum Life Spreads Entanglement Across Generations

Computer scientists have long known that evolution is an algorithmic process that has little to do with the nature of the beasts it creates.


From ACM News

Your Brain's Unique Response to Words Can Reveal Your Identity

Your Brain's Unique Response to Words Can Reveal Your Identity

Watch your language. Words mean different things to different people—so the brainwaves they provoke could be a way to identify you.


From ACM Careers

Humans Out-Play an AI at Texas Hold 'Em—For Now

Humans Out-Play an AI at Texas Hold 'Em—For Now

In 1997 chess master Gary Kasparov went to battle against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue in a landmark match. After six games Deep Blue prevailed, marking the first time that a computer defeated a reigning world champion under


From ACM News

Oculus Rift Hack Transfers Your Facial Expressions Onto Your Virtual Avatar

Oculus Rift Hack Transfers Your Facial Expressions Onto Your Virtual Avatar

When Facebook bought Oculus VR back in March of 2014, many wondered exactly what the social network was going to do with it; let's face it, many of us are still wondering.


From ACM News

Quantum Physics: What Is Really Real?

Quantum Physics: What Is Really Real?

Owen Maroney worries that physicists have spent the better part of a century engaging in fraud.


From ACM News

NASA Soil Moisture Mission Begins Science Operations

NASA Soil Moisture Mission Begins Science Operations

NASA's new Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission to map global soil moisture and detect whether soils are frozen or thawed has begun science operations.


From ACM TechNews

New Computer Bug Exposes Broad Security Flaws

New Computer Bug Exposes Broad Security Flaws

An international team has discovered an Internet bug that enables an attacker to trick a Web browser into believing it is using a regular key rather than the export version.


From ACM TechNews

To Handle Big Data, Shrink It

To Handle Big Data, Shrink It

A new algorithm finds the smallest possible approximation of a matrix that guarantees reliable computations. 


From ACM TechNews

New Chip Architecture May Provide Foundation for Quantum Computer

New Chip Architecture May Provide Foundation for Quantum Computer

A new device that enables more electrodes to be placed on a chip could bring the field one step closer to a quantum computer that can perform complex algorithms. 


From ACM TechNews

A Nano-Transistor Assesses Your Health Via Sweat

A Nano-Transistor Assesses Your Health Via Sweat

A new ultra-low-power sensor enables real-time scanning of the contents of liquids such as perspiration. 


From ACM TechNews

The Machine Vision Algorithm Beating Art Historians at Their Own Game

The Machine Vision Algorithm Beating Art Historians at Their Own Game

Recent advances in machine learning such as deep convolutional neural networks are enabling the development of machines that perform pattern-recognition tasks. 


From ACM Opinion

Hacking the Brain

Hacking the Brain

The perfectibility of the human mind is a theme that has captured our imagination for centuries—the notion that, with the right tools, the right approach, the right attitude, we might become better, smarter versions of ourselves


From ACM News

U.S. Science Academies Take On Human-Genome Editing

U.S. Science Academies Take On Human-Genome Editing

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) will launch a major initiative to develop guidelines for editing human genomes, they said on 18 May.


From ACM TechNews

Computing at the Speed of Light

Computing at the Speed of Light

A new ultracompact beamsplitter for dividing light waves into separate channels could lead to computers that work millions of times faster than conventional machines. 


From ACM News

Predictive Analytics Provides Powerful Benefits to Healthcare

Predictive Analytics Provides Powerful Benefits to Healthcare

Medical treatment is on the verge of a "radical transformation" thanks to statistical data analysis techniques that predict future outcomes.


From ACM News

Technology Doesn't Explain the Philly Train Crash

Technology Doesn't Explain the Philly Train Crash

Cars can now drive by themselves. Automatic pilot systems can fly a jet airliner much of the time. Why is it so hard to make trains that can stop on their own?

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