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


It Takes Just $1,000 to Track Someone's Location with Mobile Ads
From ACM News

It Takes Just $1,000 to Track Someone's Location with Mobile Ads

When you consider the nagging privacy risks of online advertising, you may find comfort in the thought of a vast, abstract company like Pepsi or Nike viewing you...

The Race to Secure Voting Tech Gets an ­rgent Jumpstart
From ACM TechNews

The Race to Secure Voting Tech Gets an ­rgent Jumpstart

There is an urgent need to secure U.S. voting systems ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, according to a report by the Atlantic Council think tank and hacking...

Phone-Powered AI Spots Sick Plants With Remarkable Accuracy
From ACM TechNews

Phone-Powered AI Spots Sick Plants With Remarkable Accuracy

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University say they have designed a smartphone-based neural-network program that can automatically identify diseases in the cassava...

Intel's New Chip Design Takes Pointers from Your Brain
From ACM News

Intel's New Chip Design Takes Pointers from Your Brain

If you're asked to guess the emotion of someone in a video clip, neurons in your brain will exchange information in a flurry of electronic spikes.

Nasa Designed This Low-Tech Rover to Survive Venus
From ACM News

Nasa Designed This Low-Tech Rover to Survive Venus

Venus is not pleasant. Its surface, approximately 850 degrees Fahrenheit, is hot enough for paper to spontaneously combust. Its atmosphere, an oppressive mix of...

Wanna Stop Distracted Driving? Make Cars That Watch Their Humans
From ACM News

Wanna Stop Distracted Driving? Make Cars That Watch Their Humans

Everyone knows that distracted driving is a problem, but it tends to fall in the "other people/not me" category of personal risk assessment among drivers.

Brain-Machine Interface Isn't Sci-Fi Anymore
From ACM News

Brain-Machine Interface Isn't Sci-Fi Anymore

Thomas Reardon puts a terrycloth stretch band with microchips and electrodes woven into the fabric—a steampunk version of jewelry—on each of his forearms.   ...

The Astonishing Engineering Behind America's Latest, Greatest Supercomputer
From ACM News

The Astonishing Engineering Behind America's Latest, Greatest Supercomputer

When the Summit supercomputer opens for business next year, it will be the United States' most powerful supercomputer, and perhaps the most powerful in the world...

For Superpowers, Artificial Intelligence Fuels New Global Arms Race
From ACM News

For Superpowers, Artificial Intelligence Fuels New Global Arms Race

For many Russian students, the academic year started last Friday with tips on planetary domination from President Vladimir Putin.

How Apple Finally Made Siri Sound More Human
From ACM News

How Apple Finally Made Siri Sound More Human

The first time Alex Acero saw Her, he watched it like a normal person.

Why John Deere Just Spent $305 Million on a Lettuce-Farming Robot
From ACM News

Why John Deere Just Spent $305 Million on a Lettuce-Farming Robot

Tractor giant John Deere just spent $305 million to acquire Blue River Technology, a startup that makes robots capable of identifying unwanted plants and shooting...

Google's New Street View Cameras Will Help Algorithms Index the Real World
From ACM News

Google's New Street View Cameras Will Help Algorithms Index the Real World

Steve Silverman helped build cameras for two NASA rovers that went to Mars.

What James Damore Got Wrong About Gender Bias in Computer Science
From ACM TechNews

What James Damore Got Wrong About Gender Bias in Computer Science

Several experts rebut a former Google employee's conceit that innate biological differences underlie female software engineers' underrepresentation in the tech...

The Quest to Perfect the ­niversal Language of Science
From ACM News

The Quest to Perfect the ­niversal Language of Science

For millennia, humans have turned to the sky to tell time.

Even Artificial Neural Networks Can Have Exploitable 'backdoors'
From ACM News

Even Artificial Neural Networks Can Have Exploitable 'backdoors'

Early in August, NYU professor Siddharth Garg checked for traffic, and put a yellow Post-it onto a stop sign outside the Brooklyn building in which he works.

Watch Hackers Hijack Three Robots For Spying and Espionage
From ACM News

Watch Hackers Hijack Three Robots For Spying and Espionage

The entire corpus of science fiction has trained humanity to fear the day when helpful household and industrial robots turn against it, in a Skynet-style uprising...

Google's New AI Learns By Baking Tasty Machine Learning Cookies
From ACM TechNews

Google's New AI Learns By Baking Tasty Machine Learning Cookies

Google Vizier is an artificial intelligence system that automatically tunes other artificial intelligence programs.

Quantum Internet Is 13 Years Away. Wait, What's Quantum Internet?
From ACM TechNews

Quantum Internet Is 13 Years Away. Wait, What's Quantum Internet?

Although some scientists expect a "quantum Internet" to exist in 13 years, its exact function remains vague due to the nascent stage of the technology. 

Biohackers Encoded Malware in a Strand of Dna
From ACM News

Biohackers Encoded Malware in a Strand of Dna

When biologists synthesize DNA, they take pains not to create or spread a dangerous stretch of genetic code that could be used to create a toxin or, worse, an infectious...

To Fix Voting Machines, Hackers Tear Them Apart
From ACM News

To Fix Voting Machines, Hackers Tear Them Apart

The toughest thing to convey to newcomers at the DefCon Voting Village in Las Vegas this weekend? Just how far they could go with hacking voting machines set up...
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