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

July 2009


From ACM TechNews

Talking Paperclip Inspires Less Irksome Virtual Assistant

Talking Paperclip Inspires Less Irksome Virtual Assistant

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has spent an estimated $150 million developing an artificially intelligent (AI) virtual assistant. DARPA's virtual helper was created to ease the U.S. military's bureaucratic…


From ACM TechNews

A Portrait of STEM Majors

A Portrait of STEM Majors

A new report from the U.S. Education Department delves into how young students fare when they pursue science and technology degrees in college. The report, "Students Who Study Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics…


From ACM TechNews

Seeking Efficiency, Scientists Run Visualizations Directly on Supercomputers

Seeking Efficiency, Scientists Run Visualizations Directly on Supercomputers

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Argonne National Laboratory are using a method called software-based parallel volume rendering to accelerate the generation of quadrillions of data points for visualizations…


From ACM TechNews

Haptics: The Feel-Good Technology of the Year

Haptics: The Feel-Good Technology of the Year

Touchscreens are already being implemented in cell phones and are expected to sweep through mobile and desktop computing, but a pair of Silicon Valley companies, Immersion and Apple, are planning to create haptic systems to artificially…


From ACM TechNews

ICANN President Debunks Internet Economics

ICANN President Debunks Internet Economics

New ICANN president Rod Beckstrom has proposed an economic model for valuing computer networks. In his speech at the recent Black Hat USA 2009 conference in Las Vegas, Beckstrom maintained that Metcalfe's Law, which posits that…


From ACM TechNews

U.S. Government Soliciting Broadband Experts

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is seeking industry experts to evaluate grant proposals for its $4.7 billion Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. NTIA is looking…


From ICT Results

Community-Driven, Open Source Solution for B2B Transactions

Community-Driven, Open Source Solution for B2B Transactions

A new open source, Web 2.0-inspired solution for building and managing business relationships online promises to level the playing field for small- and medium-sized enterprises.


From ACM TechNews

Carnegie Mellon Tackles Data Management Maturity Model for Finance

Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute (SEI) and the Enterprise Data Management (EDM) Council are collaborating to create a new data management maturity model for the financial industry. The new model will…


From ACM TechNews

Adding Meaning to Millions of Numbers

Adding Meaning to Millions of Numbers

True Engineering Technology has developed semantic technology that gives meaning to numerical data to prevent number-related mixups. The company has launched Numberspace, a Web site that allows users to upload pieces of numerical…


From ACM TechNews

EPUB: The Next PDF?

EPUB: The Next PDF?

EPUB, an XML format for reflowable text made from three open standards, is on its way to becoming an e-book industry standard. The standard, developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), is gaining support…


From ACM News

Video Game Minority Report: Lots of Players, Few Characters

Video Game Minority Report: Lots of Players, Few Characters

First comprehensive census of video game characters finds Latinos nearly invisible; women, other groups underrepresented. Combined with wide reach of video games and heavy play by minorities, findings suggest lack of representation…


From ACM TechNews

Cambridge University Builds Lamppost-Mounted Traffic-Counting Sensors

Cambridge University Builds Lamppost-Mounted Traffic-Counting Sensors

Sensors would offer traffic authorities a better way to measure traffic flow, according to a team at the University of Cambridge. The researchers plan to mount a sensor on a lamppost, and say the low-resolution infra-red video…


From ACM News

Want Responsible Robotics? Start with Responsible Humans

Want Responsible Robotics? Start with Responsible Humans

When the legendary science fiction writer Isaac Asimov penned the "Three Laws of Responsible Robotics," he forever changed the way humans think about artificial intelligence, and inspired generations of engineers to take up robotics…


From ACM News

Breaking the Law, at the Nanoscale

Breaking the Law, at the Nanoscale

A well-established physical law formulated by Max Planck describes the transfer of heat between two objects, but some physicists have long predicted that the law should break down when the objects are very close together. Scientists…


From ICT Results

Software Development: Speeding From Sketchpad to Smooth Code

Software Development:  Speeding From Sketchpad to Smooth Code

Creating error-free software remains time consuming and labor intensive. A major European research effort has developed a system that speeds software development from the drawing board to high-quality, platform-independent code…


From ACM News

Graphene Has High Current Capacity, Thermal Conductivity

Graphene Has High Current Capacity, Thermal Conductivity

Recent research into the properties of graphene nanoribbons provides two new reasons for using the material as interconnects in future computer chips. In widths as narrow as 16 nanometers, graphene has a current carrying capacity…


From ACM TechNews

U.S. Supercomputing Lead Rings Sputnik-Like Alarm for Russia

U.S. Supercomputing Lead Rings Sputnik-Like Alarm for Russia

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recently criticized his country's information technology industry for failing to develop supercomputing technology, and urged a drastic change in the country's use of high-performance computing…


From ACM TechNews

Researchers Try to Stalk Botnets Used by Hackers

To track the spread of botnets, Sandia National Laboratories computer security specialists Rob Minnich and Don Rudish have converted a Dell Thunderbird supercomputer to simulate a mini-Internet of one million computers. The…


From ACM TechNews

SIGGRAPH Announces Winners of New Award Honoring Achievement in Digital Art

SIGGRAPH Announces Winners of New Award Honoring Achievement in Digital Art

Minneapolis College of Art & Design professor Roman Verostko and University of California, Davis professor Lynn Hershman Leeson are the winners of the first ACM SIGGRAPH Distinguished Artist Awards for Lifetime Achievement in…


From ACM TechNews

Summer Program Opens High-Tech World to Deaf Students

Summer Program Opens High-Tech World to Deaf Students

The University of Washington's (UW's) Summer Academy for Advancing Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Computing, funded by the National Science Foundation, aims to diversity the computer science work force by encouraging deaf and hard…


From ACM TechNews

Barcode Replacement Shown Off

Barcode Replacement Shown Off

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed Bokodes, a new barcode format that could replace the current barcodes used on retail products. Bokodes are 3mm-diameter powered tags capable of containing…


From ACM TechNews

Smart Machines: What's The Worst That Could Happen?

Smart Machines: What's The Worst That Could Happen?

A panel of 25 artificial intelligence (AI) scientists, roboticists, and ethical and legal scholars have spent the past year discussing the risks of developing machines with human-level intelligence. The panel, organized by the…


From ACM TechNews

Netflix Challenge Ends, But Winner Is in Doubt

Netflix Challenge Ends, But Winner Is in Doubt

Netflix's $1 million contest to design a better movie preference-matching algorithm ended on July 26th, with two teams in a near tie and the outcome of the contest still in doubt. 


From ACM TechNews

Clarkson Project Will Protect Cyberspace

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $1.2 million grant to five research institutions to develop a computer program for detecting weak areas in cryptographic protocols that protect the Internet. Led by Clarkson University…


From ACM News

How to Harness Petaflop Performance

How to Harness Petaflop Performance

Several petascale computers are up and running, and others are sure to follow. All of them face many unique challenges in trying to harness a petaflop.


From ACM News

Computer Game Utilizes Human Intuition to Solve Complex Problems

Computer Game Utilizes Human Intuition to Solve Complex Problems

A new computer game prototype combines work and play to help solve a fundamental problem underlying many computer hardware design tasks. The online logic puzzle, called FunSAT, could help integrated circuit designers select and…


From ACM News

Chicago Program Targets 12th Grade Science and Math for College Success

Chicago Program Targets 12th Grade Science and Math for College Success

A $5 million National Science Foundation grant awarded to five Chicago area universities and the Chicago Public Schools will train high school teacher leaders on ways to boost math and science instruction in the 12th grade. The…


From ACM News

The LED's Dark Secret

The LED's Dark Secret

Solid-state lighting won't supplant the lightbulb until it can overcome the mysterious malady known as "droop."


From ACM TechNews

Semantic Technologies Could Link Up UK Learning

The United Kingdom should use Semantic Web technologies to link up its education system, according to a new report from researchers at the University of Southampton's School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS). Experts…


From ICT Results

45-nanometer Chips Promise Ultra-Fast WiFi

45-nanometer Chips Promise Ultra-Fast WiFi

Powerful new radio technologies that promise blisteringly fast WiFi have been given a boost by a team of European researchers’ cutting-edge work on miniscule microchips.

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