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

August 2012


From ACM News

A Who's Who of Mideast-Targeted Malware

A Who's Who of Mideast-Targeted Malware

What do Stuxnet, Duqu, Gauss, Mahdi, Flame, Wiper, and Shamoon have in common?


From ACM TechNews

Visual Programming Means Anyone Can Be a Coder

Visual Programming Means Anyone Can Be a Coder

New York University programmer Toby Schachman has developed Recursive Drawing, an experimental programming interface that enables coders to manipulate source code by building and manipulating fractal-like structures.


From ACM News

Researchers Hack Brainwaves to Reveal PIN Numbers, Other Personal Data

Researchers Hack Brainwaves to Reveal PIN Numbers, Other Personal Data

Don't you dare even think about your banking account password when you slap on those fancy new brainwave headsets.


From ACM TechNews

A Peace Corps for Civic-Minded Geeks

A Peace Corps for Civic-Minded Geeks

The nonprofit Code for America, a kind of Peace Corps for geeks, has led the way in bringing online efficiency to offline government systems, picking a team of tech stars each year to take time off from their jobs and offer their…


From ACM News

Inside Huawei, the Chinese Tech Giant That's Rattling Nerves in D.C.

Inside Huawei, the Chinese Tech Giant That's Rattling Nerves in D.C.

Chen Lifang is a bit flummoxed.


From ACM TechNews

Russia Joins the Supercomputer Race

Russia Joins the Supercomputer Race

The Russian Academy of Sciences is building a supercomputer that it says will have a capacity of 10 petaflops, which would make it the most powerful in Russia.


From ACM TechNews

This Touch Screen Knows Your Touch

This Touch Screen Knows Your Touch

Rutgers University researchers have developed a device that could identify an individual user and rapidly switch a system's settings to adjust to the user, providing another layer of protection in addition to passwords.


From ACM TechNews

Software Meant to Fight Crime Is Used to Spy on Dissidents

Software Meant to Fight Crime Is Used to Spy on Dissidents

Commercially available spyware originally designed to aid in criminal investigations is being used by repressive regimes to track political dissidents, according to Google engineer Morgan Marquis-Boire and computer science Ph…


From ACM TechNews

Computer Viruses Could Take a Lesson From Showy Peacocks

Computer Viruses Could Take a Lesson From Showy Peacocks

To test theories in mate attraction in nature, Michigan State University researchers developed Avida, a virtual world in which promiscuous computer programs compete and reproduce.


From ACM News

From Smart to Genius: Will Design Define Future Gadgets?

From Smart to Genius: Will Design Define Future Gadgets?

In a pre-iPhone age, mobile phones came in all shapes and sizes. Remember the clamshell, candy bar, swivel, backflip, slider, dual-slider, lipstick, and, of course, the taco?


From ACM Opinion

How Steve Jobs' Love of Simplicity Fueled A Design Revolution

How Steve Jobs' Love of Simplicity Fueled A Design Revolution

Steve Jobs' interest in design began with his love for his childhood home.


From ACM TechNews

Artificial Intelligence Fights Notorious Crop Pest

Artificial Intelligence Fights Notorious Crop Pest

National Taiwan University researchers have developed an artificial intelligence system that can predict an outbreak of crop-damaging fruit fly swarms.


From ACM News

NASA's Dawn Prepares for Trek Toward Dwarf Planet

NASA's Dawn Prepares for Trek Toward Dwarf Planet

NASA's Dawn spacecraft is on track to become the first probe to orbit and study two distant destinations to help scientists answer questions about the formation of our solar system. The spacecraft is scheduled to leave the giant…


From ACM TechNews

New Zealand Software Patent Law 'Betrays' Developers

New Zealand Software Patent Law 'Betrays' Developers

A New Zealand politician has advanced a proposed software patent measure that contains an exemption for software embedded in other inventions. Critics say that  loophole will be exploited by large corporations to patent their…


From ACM News

From Bug Drones to Disease Assassins, Super Weapons Rule U.S. War Game

From Bug Drones to Disease Assassins, Super Weapons Rule U.S. War Game

A rogue state is on the verge of developing a deadly biological weapon against which the rest of the world has no defense.


From ACM TechNews

Google Seeing-Hand Patent Shows Smart Glove Ambitions

Google Seeing-Hand Patent Shows Smart Glove Ambitions

Google has received a patent for a device and methods for obtaining information with one's hands. Some observers view the patent as a sign of Google's plans for smart gloves and interacting with the virtual world.


From ACM TechNews

Magnetic Vortex Reveals Key to Spintronic Speed Limit

Magnetic Vortex Reveals Key to Spintronic Speed Limit

Brookhaven National Laboratory researchers say they have precisely measured an important parameter of electron interaction known as non-adiabatic spin torque, which is essential to the future development of spintronic devices…


From ACM News

How Pacific Island Missile Tests Helped Launch the Internet

How Pacific Island Missile Tests Helped Launch the Internet

There are a thousand stories about the origin of the internet, each with their own starting point and their own heroes. Charles Herzfeld's tale began in 1961 on a series of tiny islands in the South Pacific.


From ACM News

Active in Cloud, Amazon Reshapes Computing

Active in Cloud, Amazon Reshapes Computing

Within a few years, Amazon.com's creative destruction of both traditional book publishing and retailing may be footnotes to the company’s larger and more secretive goal: giving anyone on the planet access to an almost unimaginable…


From ACM TechNews

Cutting the Costs of Secure, Evolving Software

Cutting the Costs of Secure, Evolving Software

The European Union-funded SecureChange project found that only about one-third of a program's code changed from one version to the next.


From ACM TechNews

Robots to Rescue Coral Reefs

Robots to Rescue Coral Reefs

Heriot-Watt University researchers are developing a swarm of intelligent robots to help save coral reefs.  


From ACM TechNews

Can 'Serious Games' Be an Effective Tool for Workplace Learning?

Can 'Serious Games' Be an Effective Tool for Workplace Learning?

University College London researchers are analyzing TARGET, a computer game that could help workers develop skills such as negotiating and trust building.


From ACM TechNews

'Frankenstein' Programmers Test a Cybersecurity Monster

'Frankenstein' Programmers Test a Cybersecurity Monster

University of Texas (UT) at Dallas researchers have developed Frankenstein, a software system that can cloak itself as it steals and reconfigures information in a computer program.  


From ACM TechNews

Post-'Pinch'? Apple Patent-Case Could Point to New Digital Age for Smartphones

Post-'Pinch'? Apple Patent-Case Could Point to New Digital Age for Smartphones

The future of smartphone development has been muddled with Apple's recent court win against Samsung in a patent infringement case involving the "pinch to zoom" and other key smartphone features.  


From ACM TechNews

How to Feed Data-Hungry Mobile Devices? Use More Antennas

How to Feed Data-Hungry Mobile Devices? Use More Antennas

Rice University researchers recently unveiled Argos, a multi-antenna technology that could help wireless providers keep up with the demands of data-hungry smartphones and tablets. 


From ACM News

NASA's Kepler Discovers Multiple Planets Orbiting a Pair of Stars

NASA's Kepler Discovers Multiple Planets Orbiting a Pair of Stars

Coming less than a year after the announcement of the first circumbinary planet, Kepler-16b, NASA's Kepler mission has discovered multiple transiting planets orbiting two suns for the first time. This system, known as a circumbinary…


From ACM News

GPS Technology Finding Its Way Into Court

GPS Technology Finding Its Way Into Court

The rapid spread of cellphones with GPS technology has allowed police to track suspects with unprecedented precision—even as they commit crimes. But the legal fight is only now heating up, with prosecutors and privacy activists…


From ACM News

Smartphones Challenge Chip Limits

Smartphones Challenge Chip Limits

Smartphones and other devices keep getting smarter, but that may change if a key step in manufacturing computer chips isn't updated soon.


From ACM Careers

Visual Programming Means Anyone Can Be a Coder

Visual Programming Means Anyone Can Be a Coder

Many great ideas start out as scribbles on scraps of paper, as thinking visually is an intuitive way to grapple with abstract concepts. Part of the reason is the immediacy—thoughts can be captured and communicated in a sketch…


From ACM News

Analysis Shows Traces of Wiper Malware But No Links to Flame

Analysis Shows Traces of Wiper Malware But No Links to Flame

One of the things about the investigation into the Flame malware that's remained unclear for several months now is what ever became of the so-called Wiper virus that had been seen erasing data on machines in Iran and that led…

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