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

December 2009


From ACM TechNews

Wireless Smart Sensors Inspect Bridge

Wireless Smart Sensors Inspect Bridge

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and the University of Tokyo have developed and deployed a network of wireless smart sensors on a bridge…


From ACM TechNews

Exponentials R Us: Seven Computer Science Game-Changers From the 2000's, and Seven More to Come

University of Washington professor Ed Lazowska identifies seven game-changing computer science advancements that emerged over the past decade and speculates on seven others to come in the years ahead.


From ACM TechNews

New Algorithm Ranks Sports Teams Like Google's PageRank

New Algorithm Ranks Sports Teams Like Google's PageRank

Sandia National Laboratory researcher Ed Feng has developed PowerRank, an algorithm for ranking sports teams that is similar to how Google's PageRank ranks Web sites.


From ACM TechNews

Researchers Develop Drug Interface to Save Lives

University of Alberta researchers have developed software that enables users to research information on drugs that may have been taken accidentally. Alberta professors Lisa Given and Stan Rueker say they designed the software…


From ACM TechNews

OLPC Unveils Slimline Tablet PC

OLPC Unveils Slimline Tablet PC

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) recently announced that the latest version of the XO laptop series, the XO-3, will be available in 2012 and will cost less than $100. The XO-3 will be a slim-line touchscreen tablet PC that features…


From ACM TechNews

Financial Instruments Could Be Spiked With Unfindable Risks

Princeton University researchers report that sellers of financial derivatives could intentionally include pieces of bad risk that buyers couldn't detect with even the most powerful computers. The research focused on collateralized…


From ACM TechNews

Scholars Test Emotion-Sensitive Tutoring Software

Scholars Test Emotion-Sensitive Tutoring Software

University of Massachusetts Amherst's Beverly Park Woolf and Ivon M. Arroyo, along with Arizona State University's Winslow Burleson have developed an intelligent-tutoring system known as Wayang Outpost, which uses realistic problems…


From ACM News

Trading Shares in Milliseconds

Today's stock market has become a world of automated transactions executed at lightning speed. This high-frequency trading could make the financial system more efficient, but it could also turn small mistakes into catastrophes…


From ACM TechNews

How Intelligent Vehicles Will Increase the Capacity of Our Roads

How Intelligent Vehicles Will Increase the Capacity of Our Roads

Traffic flow will improve as more computer-controlled vehicles hit the road, according to new research from Arne Kesting and colleagues at the Technical University of Dresden. "One percent more [computer-controlled] vehicles…


From ACM TechNews

Do Computers Understand Art?

Researchers from the University of Girona and the Max Planck Institute have demonstrated that certain mathematical algorithms can offer clues about a painting's artistic style. The research team has shown that some artificial…


From ACM TechNews

Obama Cyber Czar Choice Worries About Smartphones, Social Networking

Obama Cyber Czar Choice Worries About Smartphones, Social Networking

Howard Schmidt, U.S. President Obama's choice for cybersecurity czar, has previously worked in both the public and private security sectors and also has written a book on defending the Internet. He is expected to focus on a…


From ACM TechNews

R&D Spending in U.S. Expected to Rebound

The United States recorded its first annual decline in spending on research and development (R&D) since 2002, as R&D spending this year fell about 3.8 percent to $382.6 billion, after accounting for inflation, according to the…


From ACM TechNews

Women's Issues in Science and Engineering Take Center Stage

Women's Issues in Science and Engineering Take Center Stage

The focus of the recent Women in Science and Engineering Workshop was the challenges that female scientists and engineers must contend with. The goal of the workshop was to learn about best practices at other institutions while…


From ACM TechNews

Computer Science Education: It's Not Shop Class

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has a plan to reform U.S. high school computer science education by giving the curriculum a much-needed update. NSF program director Janice Cuny says the goal is not to offer students…


From ACM TechNews

Computer Identifies Authentic Van Gogh

Computer Identifies Authentic Van Gogh

Tilburg University Ph.D. student Igor Berezhnoy has used artificial intelligence to develop new digital technology for analyzing the authenticity of paintings. Berezhnoy has proposed a way to analyze colors in paintings and…


From ACM TechNews

As Attacks Increase, U.S. Struggles to Recruit Computer Security Experts

Cyberattacks are increasing in frequency and sophistication at a time when the U.S. government is struggling to address a shortage of proficient computer security experts. Realizing that meeting this goal will be difficult,…


From ACM News

Cyber Security Shortcomings at Nuclear Labs?

Cyber Security Shortcomings at Nuclear Labs?

The U.S. Department of Energy, which is responsible for the nation's nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, may jeopardize the security of its technology and lose millions of dollars if it does not improve its cyber security, according…


From ACM News

Obama to Name Chief of Cybersecurity

Obama to Name Chief of Cybersecurity

Nearly seven months after highlighting the vulnerability of banking, energy and communications systems to Internet attacks, the White House on Tuesday is expected to name a technology industry veteran to coordinate competing …


From ACM TechNews

Putting the Squeeze on Data

Putting the Squeeze on Data

Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Piotr Indyk and graduate student Radu Berinde last year introduced two versions of a linear data-compression algorithm that equaled, and in some applications exceeded, the performance…


From ACM TechNews

Stanford Technology Helps Scholars Get 'Big Picture' of the Enlightenment

Stanford Technology Helps Scholars Get 'Big Picture' of the Enlightenment

Stanford University professors Dan Edelstein and Paula Findlen used visualization technology developed by professor Jeff Heer to map thousands of letters that were exchanged during the period of the Enlightenment. The project…


From ACM News

Robot Assists Surgeon in Removal of Lung Tumor

Robot Assists Surgeon in Removal of Lung Tumor

When Craig Harrison found out he would be the first patient in North Texas to have robot-assisted lung-tumor surgery, an operation performed at UT Southwestern Medical Center, he wasn't nervous at all. "I know most people would've…


From ACM News

Cyber Challenge Tests Nation's Top Hackers

Cyber Challenge Tests Nation's Top Hackers

With the coolness of a card shark at the final table of the World Series of Poker, Matt Bergin pulls the hood of his brown sweatshirt over his head and concentrates on the task at hand.

The task: hacking into as many target …


From ACM TechNews

Real-Time Action in a Virtual World

Real-Time Action in a Virtual World

A new digital system developed by the University of Illinois and the University of California, Berkeley enables people in different locations to interact in real time in a shared virtual space. "It's a virtual environment that…


From ACM TechNews

Learning to Love to Hate Robots

Learning to Love to Hate Robots

Several studies have recently been conducted to determine how humans and robots interact and how to improve the human-robot relationship. For example, a Carnegie Mellon University study examined how people responded to the Roomba…


From ACM TechNews

New Programs Aim to Lure Young Into Digital Jobs

New Programs Aim to Lure Young Into Digital Jobs

Educators and technologists say both the image of computing work and computer science education in high schools need to change to fill what are expected to be the new American jobs of the future. Professional organizations like…


From ACM TechNews

Complex Integrated Circuits Made of Carbon Nanotubes

Stanford University researchers have developed the first three-dimensional (3D) carbon nanotube circuits. Three-dimensional nanotube circuits could be a major step toward making nanotube computers, which could be faster and…


From ACM TechNews

Privacy Concerns Could Limit Benefits From Real-Time Data Analysis

Privacy Concerns Could Limit Benefits From Real-Time Data Analysis

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) computer scientist Tom M. Mitchell says society will be unable to capitalize on real-time data analysis technologies unless questions are resolved regarding how much of a person's life can be…


From ACM TechNews

Scientists Explore Energy Efficiency in Multi-Scale Computing Systems

Scientists Explore Energy Efficiency in Multi-Scale Computing Systems

The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and nine other universities are collaborating on the Multi-Scale Systems Center (MuSyC), a new research center that will focus on improving the design of computing systems, particularly…


From ACM TechNews

Handheld Touch Screen Device May Lead to Mobile Fingerprint ID

Handheld Touch Screen Device May Lead to Mobile Fingerprint ID

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed software for a handheld touch-screen device that identifies fingerprints and faces. A major challenge was understanding what functions are the most important…


From ACM TechNews

Give a Humanist a Supercomputer . . .

Give a Humanist a Supercomputer . . .

Humanities researchers involved in the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Department of Energy's high-performance computing competition provided updates on their "computationally intensive" humanities projects during…

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