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Communications of the ACM

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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.


Is Beaming Down in Star Trek a Death Sentence?
From ACM Opinion

Is Beaming Down in Star Trek a Death Sentence?

In the 2009 movie Star Trek, Captain Kirk and Sulu plummeted down toward the planet Vulcan without a parachute. "Beam us up, beam us up!" Kirk shouted in desperation...

Facebook's New 'AI Camera' Team Wants to Add a Layer to the World
From ACM Careers

Facebook's New 'AI Camera' Team Wants to Add a Layer to the World

Take a video of a birthday cake's candles sparkling in an Instagram story, then tap the sticker button. Near the top of the list you'll see a slice of birthday...

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...

Some of the Best Parts of Autonomous Vehicles Are Already Here
From ACM News

Some of the Best Parts of Autonomous Vehicles Are Already Here

Fully automated cars are still many years away. Amid the government activity and potential for social benefits, it's important not to lose sight of smaller improvements...

These Robots Can Merge and Split Their Brains to Form New Modular Bots
From ACM News

These Robots Can Merge and Split Their Brains to Form New Modular Bots

We cover all kinds of modular robotics around here, and when we do, we're almost always talking about one overall robotic system made up of many different modules...

Infrared Signals in Surveillance Cameras Let Malware Jump Network Air Gaps
From ACM News

Infrared Signals in Surveillance Cameras Let Malware Jump Network Air Gaps

Researchers have devised malware that can jump airgaps by using the infrared capabilities of an infected network's surveillance cameras to transmit data to and...

Wind, Warm Water Revved Up Melting Antarctic Glaciers
From ACM News

Wind, Warm Water Revved Up Melting Antarctic Glaciers

A NASA study has located the Antarctic glaciers that accelerated the fastest between 2008 and 2014 and finds that the most likely cause of their speedup is an observed...

Researchers Unite in Quest for 'Standard Model' of the Brain
From ACM News

Researchers Unite in Quest for 'Standard Model' of the Brain

Leading neuroscientists are joining forces to study the brain—in much the same way that physicists team up in mega-projects to hunt for new particles.

Chips Off the Old Block: Computers Are Taking Design Cues From Human Brains
From ACM News

Chips Off the Old Block: Computers Are Taking Design Cues From Human Brains

We expect a lot from our computers these days. They should talk to us, recognize everything from faces to flowers, and maybe soon do the driving.

Back to Saturn? Five Missions Proposed to Follow Cassini
From ACM News

Back to Saturn? Five Missions Proposed to Follow Cassini

For 13 years, NASA's Cassini spacecraft sent back captivating observations of Saturn, and its rings and moons, solving some mysteries but raising plenty of new...

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.

Robot Made from a DNA Strand Could Deliver Cargo in Your Blood
From ACM News

Robot Made from a DNA Strand Could Deliver Cargo in Your Blood

You won't read about a smaller robot than this one any time soon. It consists of just a single strand of DNA, and moves by taking tiny 6-nanometre steps—around...

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.   ...

Treating Cancer, Stopping Violence . . .  How AI Protects Us
From ACM News

Treating Cancer, Stopping Violence . . . How AI Protects Us

For some, the spread of artificial intelligence and robotics poses a threat to our privacy, our jobs – even our safety, as more and more tasks are handed over to...

Cassini Crashes Into Saturn but Could Still Deliver Big Discoveries
From ACM News

Cassini Crashes Into Saturn but Could Still Deliver Big Discoveries

At 4:55 a.m. California time on 15 September, hundreds of scientists watched their life's work go up in flames.

Global Fingerprints of Sea-Level Rise Revealed by Satellites
From ACM News

Global Fingerprints of Sea-Level Rise Revealed by Satellites

As an ice sheet melts, it leaves a unique signature behind. Complex geological processes distribute the meltwater in a distinct pattern, or 'fingerprint', thatthese...

How Apple Is Bringing Us Into the Age of Facial Recognition Whether We're Ready or Not
From ACM News

How Apple Is Bringing Us Into the Age of Facial Recognition Whether We're Ready or Not

A whiff of dystopian creepiness has long wafted in the air whenever facial recognition has come up. Books, movies and television shows have portrayed the technology...

Why Google's AI Can Write Beautiful Songs but Still Can't Tell a Joke
From ACM Opinion

Why Google's AI Can Write Beautiful Songs but Still Can't Tell a Joke

Creating noodling piano tunes and endless configurations of cat drawings with AI may not sound like an obvious project for Google, but it makes a lot of sense to...

In the Future, Warehouse Robots Will Learn on Their Own
From ACM News

In the Future, Warehouse Robots Will Learn on Their Own

The robot was perched over a bin filled with random objects, from a box of instant oatmeal to a small toy shark.

Geneticists Pan Paper that Claims to Predict a Person's Face from Their DNA
From ACM News

Geneticists Pan Paper that Claims to Predict a Person's Face from Their DNA

A storm of criticism has rained down on a paper by genome-sequencing pioneer Craig Venter that claims to predict people's physical traits from their DNA.
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