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subjectTheory
authorArs Technica

An edited collection of advanced computing news from Communications of the ACM, ACM TechNews, other ACM resources, and news sites around the Web.


Ethiopian Air Pilots Turned Off 737 MAX Anti-Stall System. Then It Turned On Again
From ACM News

Ethiopian Air Pilots Turned Off 737 MAX Anti-Stall System. Then It Turned On Again

The pilots of Ethiopia Airlines Flight 302 apparently followed the proper steps to shut down an errant flight control system as they struggled to regain control...

­ber Escapes Criminal Charges for 2018 Self-Driving Death in Arizona
From ACM News

­ber Escapes Criminal Charges for 2018 Self-Driving Death in Arizona

A prosecutor in Arizona has decided not to press charges against Uber in the March 2018 death of Elaine Herzberg. One of Uber's self-driving cars crashed into Herzberg...

String of Ions May Out-Compute Best Quantum Computers
From ACM News

String of Ions May Out-Compute Best Quantum Computers

Usually, I reflexively delete press releases. This one was no different, but as the message vanished, the subject line registered—"IonQ… quantum computing."

Researchers, Scared by Their Own Work, Hold Back 'Deepfakes for Text' AI
From ACM News

Researchers, Scared by Their Own Work, Hold Back 'Deepfakes for Text' AI

OpenAI, a non-profit research company investigating "the path to safe artificial intelligence," has developed a machine learning system called Generative Pre-trained...

Imaging Ever Closer to the Event Horizon
From ACM News

Imaging Ever Closer to the Event Horizon

While black holes themselves swallow any light beyond their event horizon, the area outside the event horizon tends to emit lots of light.

Machine Learning Can Offer New Tools, Fresh Insights for the Humanities
From ACM News

Machine Learning Can Offer New Tools, Fresh Insights for the Humanities

Truly revolutionary political transformations are naturally of great interest to historians, and the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century is widely...

Milky Way to Face a One-Two Punch of Galaxy Collisions
From ACM News

Milky Way to Face a One-Two Punch of Galaxy Collisions

If our knowledge of galaxy structures was limited to the Milky Way, we'd get a lot of things wrong. The Milky Way, it turns out, is unusual.

How Computers Got Shockingly Good at Recognizing Images
From ACM News

How Computers Got Shockingly Good at Recognizing Images

Right now, I can open up Google Photos, type "beach," and see my photos from various beaches I've visited over the last decade.

NASA's Next Mars Rover Will ­se AI to Be a Better Science Partner
From ACM News

NASA's Next Mars Rover Will ­se AI to Be a Better Science Partner

NASA can't yet put a scientist on Mars. But in its next rover mission to the Red Planet, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is hoping to use artificial intelligence...

More Than an Auto-Pilot, AI Charts Its Course in Aviation
From ACM News

More Than an Auto-Pilot, AI Charts Its Course in Aviation

Ask anyone what they think of when the words "artificial intelligence" and aviation are combined, and it's likely the first things they'll mention are drones.

Nailing Down the Nature of 'Oumuamua; It's Probably a Comet, but . . .
From ACM Opinion

Nailing Down the Nature of 'Oumuamua; It's Probably a Comet, but . . .

Shortly before Halloween, the chairman of Harvard's astronomy department openly declared that an interstellar object hurtling through our Solar System might just...

Rough-and-Ready Quantum Memory May Link Disparate Quantum Systems
From ACM News

Rough-and-Ready Quantum Memory May Link Disparate Quantum Systems

I'm a simple person. To me, a computer consists of three parts: data that goes in and out, operations that modify the data, and storage that holds the data.

Turbulence, the Oldest ­nsolved Problem in Physics
From ACM News

Turbulence, the Oldest ­nsolved Problem in Physics

Werner Heisenberg won the 1932 Nobel Prize for helping to found the field of quantum mechanics and developing foundational ideas like the Copenhagen interpretation...

This Nifty Flying Robot Can Hover, Bank, and Turn as Deftly as a Fruit Fly
From ACM News

This Nifty Flying Robot Can Hover, Bank, and Turn as Deftly as a Fruit Fly

Flying insects like bees, dragonflies, and fruit flies can perform impressive aerodynamic feats, particularly when seeking to evade predators or the swatting motion...

Engineering Tour de Force Births Programmable Optical Quantum Computer
From ACM News

Engineering Tour de Force Births Programmable Optical Quantum Computer

There comes a moment in every physicist's life when they think the unthinkable: I wish I were an engineer. I suspect this thought crossed the minds of the 14-odd...

Researchers Find Way to Spy on Remote Screens, through the Webcam Mic
From ACM News

Researchers Find Way to Spy on Remote Screens, through the Webcam Mic

Ever wonder what the people on the other end of a Hangouts session are really looking at on their screens?

This Military Tech Could Finally Help Self-Driving Cars Master Snow
From ACM News

This Military Tech Could Finally Help Self-Driving Cars Master Snow

The research conducted at the country's National Laboratories is usually highly classified and specifically aimed at solving national security problems. But sometimes...

Neural Network Implemented with Light Instead of Electrons
From ACM News

Neural Network Implemented with Light Instead of Electrons

Neural networks have a reputation for being computationally expensive. But only the training portion of things really stresses most computer hardware, since it...

Why a 40-Year-Old SCOT­S Ruling Against Software Patents Still Matters Today
From ACM News

Why a 40-Year-Old SCOT­S Ruling Against Software Patents Still Matters Today

Forty years ago this week, in the case of Parker v. Flook, the US Supreme Court came close to banning software patents.

Seafloor Fiber Optic Cables Can Work Like Seismometers
From ACM News

Seafloor Fiber Optic Cables Can Work Like Seismometers

There are enough seismometers around these days to detect and locate nearly all earthquakes on land, except the most minuscule ones.
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