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Communications of the ACM

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

June 2018


From ACM News

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

Why a 40-Year-Old SCOTUS 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.


From ACM News

Pain Is Weird. Making Bionic Arms Feel Pain Is Even Weirder

Pain Is Weird. Making Bionic Arms Feel Pain Is Even Weirder

Pain is an indispensable tool for survival.


From ACM TechNews

'E-Dermis' Brings Sense of Touch, Pain to Prosthetic Hands

'E-Dermis' Brings Sense of Touch, Pain to Prosthetic Hands

A team of engineers has created an electronic skin that, when layered on top of prosthetic hands, provides a real sense of touch through the fingertips.


From ACM TechNews

Flying DRAGON Robot Transforms Itself to Squeeze Through Gaps

Flying DRAGON Robot Transforms Itself to Squeeze Through Gaps

A new modular flying robot powered by ducted fans can change shape while in flight.


From ACM TechNews

Realistic Avatars for the Virtual Zoo

Realistic Avatars for the Virtual Zoo

An international team created an algorithm for generating lifelike three-dimensional avatars of four-legged animals solely from photos.


From ACM TechNews

MIT Engineers Build Smart Power Outlet

MIT Engineers Build Smart Power Outlet

A new smart power outlet can analyze electrical current usage from single or multiple outlets.


From ACM TechNews

DNA Barcodes That Reliably Work: A Game-Changer for Biomedical Research

DNA Barcodes That Reliably Work: A Game-Changer for Biomedical Research

A new method invented by University of Texas at Austin researchers can correct the errors that creep into DNA barcodes.


From ACM News

Finally, a Problem That Only Quantum Computers Will Ever Be Able to Solve

Finally, a Problem That Only Quantum Computers Will Ever Be Able to Solve

Early on in the study of quantum computers, computer scientists posed a question whose answer, they knew, would reveal something deep about the power of these futuristic machines.


From ACM News

How to Control Robots with Brainwaves and Hand Gestures

How to Control Robots with Brainwaves and Hand Gestures

Getting robots to do things isn't easy: Usually, scientists have to either explicitly program them or get them to understand how humans communicate via language.


From ACM News

Martian Dust Storm Grows Global; Curiosity Captures Photos of Thickening Haze

Martian Dust Storm Grows Global; Curiosity Captures Photos of Thickening Haze

A storm of tiny dust particles has engulfed much of Mars over the last two weeks and prompted NASA's Opportunity rover to suspend science operations.


From ACM News

Smart Thermometers Improve Flu Forecasting

 Smart Thermometers Improve Flu Forecasting

Connecting electronic thermometers to smartphones permits the capture of instant, anonymized fever readings as leading indicators of influenza outbreaks.


From ACM TechNews

Microsoft Opens Access to Sensor Data on the HoloLens With 'Research Mode' Update

Microsoft Opens Access to Sensor Data on the HoloLens With 'Research Mode' Update

Microsoft has added a research mode to its HoloLens mixed-reality smartglasses so researchers and developers can access a broader spectrum of sensor-captured data.


From ACM TechNews

SDSC Comet and Machine Learning Simulates H2O With 'Unprecedented Accuracy'

SDSC Comet and Machine Learning Simulates H2O With 'Unprecedented Accuracy'

Researchers used machine learning techniques and a supercomputer to develop the most accurate models to date for simulations of water.


From ACM TechNews

Game-Changing Finding Pushes 3D Printing to the Molecular Limit

Game-Changing Finding Pushes 3D Printing to the Molecular Limit

Research at the University of Nottingham in the U.K. validates the ability to three-dimensionally print advanced materials with molecules that can switch states.


From ACM TechNews

Everything Big Data Claims to Know About You Could Be Wrong

Everything Big Data Claims to Know About You Could Be Wrong

A new study suggests big-data analysis may yield inaccurate representations about people.


From ACM News

The Science Behind the World Cup Ball

The Science Behind the World Cup Ball

Each World Cup, the sportswear giant Adidas designs an official ball to be used in the tournament.


From ACM TechNews

AgBOT That Slaps Watermelons to Determine Ripeness Wins Top Prize

AgBOT That Slaps Watermelons to Determine Ripeness Wins Top Prize

A team from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University received first prize in the third annual 2018 agBOT Challenge in Indiana.


From ACM TechNews

Deepfake Videos Are Getting Impossibly Good

Deepfake Videos Are Getting Impossibly Good

Researchers have developed an artificial intelligence-based system that uses input video to create photorealistic reanimations of portrait videos.


From ACM TechNews

Digital Skills Gap Opens Up in English Schools

Digital Skills Gap Opens Up in English Schools

Fewer children in the U.K. are developing the digital skills that employers and government say are vital.


From ACM TechNews

Inside Portland's Plan to Battle Traffic Deaths by Hanging 'Smartphones' on Street Lights

Inside Portland's Plan to Battle Traffic Deaths by Hanging 'Smartphones' on Street Lights

The city of Portland, OR, hopes to reduce traffic-related fatalities by equipping streetlights with sensors programmed to constantly detect speed and motion data.


From ACM TechNews

A Robot Has Performed Eye Surgery on Humans for the First Time

A Robot Has Performed Eye Surgery on Humans for the First Time

Researchers used a robot developed to can perform eye surgery on humans to help six patients who needed a membrane removed from their retina to improve their vision.


From ACM TechNews

Chip Upgrade Helps Miniature Drones Navigate

Chip Upgrade Helps Miniature Drones Navigate

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers reduced the size and power consumption of a computer chip they designed in 2017 to help honeybee-sized drones navigate.


From ACM News

New Human Gene Tally Reignites Debate

New Human Gene Tally Reignites Debate

One of the earliest attempts to estimate the number of genes in the human genome involved tipsy geneticists, a bar in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, and pure guesswork.


From ACM News

The Unexpected Fallout of Iran's Telegram Ban

The Unexpected Fallout of Iran's Telegram Ban

Seven weeks after Iran's conservative-led judiciary banned the secure communications app Telegram inside the country, Iranians are still reeling from the change.


From ACM TechNews

Iowa Dedicates $1 Million to Train Computer Science Teachers

Iowa Dedicates $1 Million to Train Computer Science Teachers

The Iowa Board of Education has adopted suggested computer science standards, which set new learning goals for students.


From ACM TechNews

Underwater Robot Finds Second World War Bomber Plane on Seabed

Underwater Robot Finds Second World War Bomber Plane on Seabed

Harvey Mudd College researchers have developed a novel autonomous underwater vehicle that can explore the sea floor looking for signs of wrecked ships.


From ACM TechNews

This Algorithm Can Tell Which Number Sequences a Human Will Find Interesting

This Algorithm Can Tell Which Number Sequences a Human Will Find Interesting

A new machine learning algorithm can spot specific patterns in mathematical structures and apply them to extract interesting sequences from randomly generated ones.


From ACM News

Are Your Plants Misbehaving? Call a Robotanist

Are Your Plants Misbehaving? Call a Robotanist

Robotic management can help ensure that plants and trees in public spaces grow in desired shapes and sizes.


From ACM News

New AI System Can Imagine What It Hasn't Seen

New AI System Can Imagine What It Hasn't Seen

"Before we work on artificial intelligence, why don't we do something about natural stupidity?" computer scientist Steve Polyak once joked.


From ACM News

Astronomers See Distant Eruption as Black Hole Destroys Star

Astronomers See Distant Eruption as Black Hole Destroys Star

For the first time, astronomers have directly imaged the formation and expansion of a fast-moving jet of material ejected when the powerful gravity of a supermassive black hole ripped apart a star that wandered too close to the…

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