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Communications of the ACM

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

February 2018


From insideHPC

Flow Graph Analyzer – Speed Up Your Applications

Flow Graph Analyzer – Speed Up Your Applications

Using the Intel® Advisor Flow Graph Analyzer (FGA), an application such as those that are needed for autonomous driving can be developed and implemented using very high performing underlying software and hardware. Under the Intel…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Facebook Introducing Smart Speakers

Facebook Introducing Smart Speakers

Fastcompany Says Facebook will introduce multiple Smart Speakers  Unclear if there will be any remnants of the Facebook M assistant, reportedly dropped recently.   We would assume it will integrate the Facebook software.

The social…


From Computational Complexity

Corporate Education

First of all read the #metoo testimonial going around the TCS blogosphere. Our field is not immune.



Last Sunday Frank Bruni wrote an op-ed column Corporations will Inherit the Earth, an article on how corporations have taken…


From ACM-W supporting, celebrating and advocating for Women in Computing

ACM-W Connections – February 2018

ACM-W Connections – February 2018

Letter from ACM-W Chair News from ACM-W Celebrations News from ACM-W Professional Chapters News from ACM-W Student Chapters News from ACM-W Europe Welcome from the ACM-W Chair In the February issue of Communications of the ACM…


From insideHPC

Supercomputing Better Tools for Long-Term Crop Prediction

Supercomputing Better Tools for Long-Term Crop Prediction

Researchers are using the Blue Waters supercomputer to create better tools for long-Term crop prediction. “We built this new tool to bridge these two types of crop models combining their strengths and eliminating the weaknesses…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Slack Using AI

Slack Using AI

So far have not been impressed with Slacks chatbot, but gives the impression that they are working on assisting the user.   Especially useful for new or infrequent users.   At first expected this to take the initiative more than…


From insideHPC

Binary Packaging for HPC with Spack

Binary Packaging for HPC with Spack

In this video from FOSDEM 2018 in Brussels, Todd Gamblin presents: Binary Packaging for HPC with Spack. Spack is a package manager for cluster users, developers, and administrators, rapidly gaining populartiy in the HPC community…


From The Computing Community Consortium Blog

Computing Community Consortium at AAAS 2018

Computing Community Consortium at AAAS 2018

The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is proud to be a part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2018 Annual Meeting this weekend, February 15-19, 2018 in Austin, TX. CCC Executive Council Member…


From insideHPC

MIT helps move Neural Nets back to Analog

MIT helps move Neural Nets back to Analog

MIT researchers have developed a special-purpose chip that increases the speed of neural-network computations by three to seven times over its predecessors, while reducing power consumption 94 to 95 percent. "The computation …


From insideHPC

HPC Processor Competition Heats Up

HPC Processor Competition Heats Up

In this special guest feature, Robert Roe from Scientific Computing World explores efforts to diversify the HPC processor market. "With the arrival of Arm and now the reintroduction of AMD to HPC, there are signs of new life …


From The Eponymous Pickle

Wharton Podcast on Amazon Go

Wharton Podcast on Amazon Go


Will Amazon Go Capture the Holy Grail of Retail?

Amazon’s new cashier-less convenience store aims to answer one of retail’s thorniest challenges: Understanding why shoppers do what they do, and leveraging that knowledge into increasing…


From The Computing Community Consortium Blog

NSF DCL- President’s FY 2019 Budget Request for NSF

NSF DCL- President’s FY 2019 Budget Request for NSF

The following is a letter to the community from James Kurose, Assistant Director, and Erwin Gianchandani, Deputy Assistant Director, of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate of Computer & Information Science & Engineering…


From Gödel's Lost Letter and P=NP

Some Technical Tidbits

Tid-bit: delicacy, dainty, snack, nibble, appetizer, hors d’oeuvre, goody, dipper, finger food Adam Engst is the publisher of the site TidBITS. This is a site dedicated to technical insights about all aspects of Apple machines…


From Schneier on Security

Can Consumers' Online Data Be Protected?

Can Consumers' Online Data Be Protected?

Everything online is hackable. This is true for Equifax's data and the federal Office of Personal Management's data, which was hacked in 2015. If information is on a computer connected to the Internet, it is vulnerable. But just…


From Writing

How we built a distributed, self-funded, family-friendly, profitable startup

How we built a distributed, self-funded, family-friendly, profitable startup

We started Gruntwork in 2016 with two goals: (1) make it 10x easier to understand, build, and deploy software and (2) build a company where we can work on interesting projects, with interesting people, while leading interesting…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Decentralized Identity with Blockchains

Decentralized Identity with Blockchains

Intriguing application proposal. More at the link below, including a number of initial participants and goals.

Microsoft will use a Blockchain to Decentralize Data for better control    By Kevin Parrish   @exfileme


'The Pillars…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Voice Design, Voice Enablement

Voice Design, Voice Enablement

Good thoughts, have been thinking much about voice design of late and how it best integrates with other channels.   Very useful in a new world of voice-enabled assistants. 

The fundamentals of voice design by way of voice enabling…


From Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information From Alfred Thompson

Quotes About Programming and Computer Science

Quotes About Programming and Computer Science

While looking for a quote that was mostly remembered except for who to credit with it I found a couple of fun sites with quote collections in them. Some of these I already share with students. I think I may print out some more…


From The Eponymous Pickle

The Odds of Strategy

The Odds of Strategy

Have not read this book, but the premise is interesting.  But is strategy in context usually too broad to pin good odds on?

Strategy to beat the odds  By Chris Bradley, Martin Hirt, and Sven Smit  ...  in McKinsey Quarterly 

If…


From insideHPC

Take our AI & HPC Survey to Win an Amazon Echo Show Device

Take our AI & HPC Survey to Win an Amazon Echo Show Device

AI and Machine Learning have been called the Next Big Thing in High Performance Computing, but what kinds of results are your peers already getting right now? There is one way to find out--by taking our HPC & AI Survey. "We invite…


From The Computing Community Consortium Blog

A Primer on the Meltdown & Spectre Hardware Security Design Flaws and their Important Implications

A Primer on the Meltdown & Spectre Hardware Security Design Flaws and their Important Implications

The following blog was written by CCC Vice Chair Mark D. Hill from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As previously reported in the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) Blog, two major hardware security design flaws—dubbed…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Anxiety about AI Agency

Anxiety about AI Agency

How do we start dealing with faster technological changes that will put people out of work.  Will it augment enough people to create 'AI workers' to do things better, faster and cheaper?  And then how many jobs will be left over…


From insideHPC

State-Of-The-Art Machine Learning Algorithms and Near-Term Technology Trends

State-Of-The-Art Machine Learning Algorithms and Near-Term Technology Trends

Rob Farber from TechEnablement gave this talk at the HPC Knowledge Portal 2017 meeting. "This talk will merge two state-of-the-art briefings: Massive scale and state-of-the art algorithm mappings for both machine learning and…


From insideHPC

Gen-Z Consortium Announces the Public Release of Its Core Specification 1.0

Gen-Z Consortium Announces the Public Release of Its Core Specification 1.0

Today the Gen-Z Consortium released the Gen-Z Core Specification 1.0 on its website. As an open systems interconnect, Gen-Z is designed to provide memory semantic access to data and devices via direct-attached, switched or fabric…


From insideHPC

EasyBuild: Past, Present & Future

EasyBuild: Past, Present & Future

Kenneth Hoste from Ghent University this talk at the EasyBuild User Meeting in Amsterdam. "EasyBuild is a software build and installation framework that allows you to manage (scientific) software on HPC systems in an efficient…


From insideHPC

HPC System Management: Scheduling to Optimize Infrastructure

HPC System Management: Scheduling to Optimize Infrastructure

hpc system managementWhether the application is floating-point intensive, integer based, uses a lot of memory, has significant I/O requirements, or its widespread use is limited by purchased licenses, a system that assigns the right job to the right…


From Schneier on Security

Jumping Air Gaps

Jumping Air Gaps

Nice profile of Mordechai Guri, who researches a variety of clever ways to steal data over air-gapped computers. Guri and his fellow Ben-Gurion researchers have shown, for instance, that it's possible to trick a fully offline…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Robots Cooperate to open a Door

Robots Cooperate to open a Door

Video released today.  Two Boston Dynamics SpotMini robots cooperate to open a fairly standard door:



An impressive and somewhat creepy demonstration of the advance of robotics within normal human contexts.  Closer to a robot apocalypse…


From The Computing Community Consortium Blog

Call for Proposals: Creating Visions for Computing Research

Call for Proposals: Creating Visions for Computing Research

The mission of Computing Research Association’s (CRA) Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community and enable the pursuit of innovative, high-impact research. CCC conducts activities that…


From Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information From Alfred Thompson

Teaching Diversity in Computing

Teaching Diversity in Computing

One of the important topics in computing these days is diversity. Why? Well there are things like concern about equal opportunity. (Why Can’t Silicon Valley Solve Its Diversity Problem?) and that is part of it. It’s often hard…