The opinion archive provides access to past opinion stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.
Twenty five years ago, the historic World War II codebreaking center Bletchley Park faced demolition.
Each time I make a house call, I stay much longer than I should.
Soon after Maryanne Wolf published "Proust and the Squid," a history of the science and the development of the reading brain from antiquity to the twenty-first century, she began to receive letters from readers. Hundreds of them…
As an academic, Cynthia Breazeal pioneered research into social interaction between humans and robots, developing Kismet, a robot that used facial expressions in a meaningful way.
The robots are coming, and they're getting smarter.
In his celebrated journey around the world on the HMS Beagle from 1831 to 1836, Charles Darwin collected a plethora of information on the geology, animals, plants and people he encountered—observations that later helped him to…
"A grass roots effort is under way to stop the project... 'Mediocre science, terrible science policy,' begins the spirited letter…"
Space fans were startled—and perhaps a little skeptical—in May when the Russians announced that they intend to build a manned moon base.
A year after Edward Snowden's digital heist, the NSA's chief technology officer says steps have been taken to stop future incidents. But he says there's no way for the NSA to be entirely secure.
The fields of data communication, fabrication, and ultrasound imaging share a common challenge when it comes to improving speed and efficiency: light's diffraction limit. Nicholas Fang thinks his group at MIT might have found…
Are we ever going to figure out how the brain works?
Building a brain sounds like a worthy goal, one that makes it seem as though the future is within reach.
On March 17, a panel of four astrophysicists held a press conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., to announce that they had discovered features in the cosmic microwave background (CMB)…
I can hear the alien breathing.
When a chatbot called Eugene Goostman passed Alan Turing's famous measure of machine intelligence in June by posing as a Ukrainian teenager with questionable language skills, the world went nuts for about an hour before realizing…
When I travel these days, I tend to look like a walking Radio Shack—cords bursting out of my pockets, bag overflowing with chargers and accessories.
The classroom looked like a call center.
Late last year, hackers breached Target's data security and stole information from millions of credit cards.
Several years ago, my student and I studied anonymous email server data from 40,000 students, faculty and staff at a large university.
James H. Simons likes to play against type.
Baseball—my passion and profession for three decades—has been at the forefront of the analytics revolution sweeping through sports.
Forest fire on the way? Building stress getting too high? Farmland too moist?
You know when you dial a number, and a man reads you the exact time at the tone? That precise timekeeping starts at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.
Should we worry that technology companies can secretly influence our emotions?
Revelations by Edward Snowden about U.S. surveillance continue to shake Germany more than one year after he came forward as a National Security Agency whistleblower.
A few days before Halloween in 1961, a young astronomer was mulling over a fairly serious problem.
Facebook's massive psychological experiment involving almost 700,000 unwitting users has attracted plenty of attention and outrage, but it's far from the only time the company has used its enormous data set to conduct social…
Considering the opportunities and challenges for commercial firms involved with government business process outsourcing.
There is tremendous value to society in doing large-scale A/B studies, and the current framework we have for human subjects …
What makes a good candidate for a research position?
The pathway to CS in schools starts with teaching the adults.