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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.

October 2011


From ACM News

Are Drones Creating a New Global Arms Race?

Are Drones Creating a New Global Arms Race?

Plastic tanks and miniature models of fighter jets are on display in Steven Zaloga's home office, and his bookshelves are overflowing with volumes about the history of war.


From ACM News

Screen Time Higher Than Ever for Children

Screen Time Higher Than Ever for Children

Jaden Lender, 3, sings along softly with the "Five Little Monkeys" app on the family iPad, and waggles his index finger along with the monkey doctor at the warning, "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"


From ACM TechNews

Patents Emerge as Significant Tech Strategy

Patents Emerge as Significant Tech Strategy

Technology companies' patent practices have shifted from using them to defend their own inventions to deploying them as an important part of competitive strategies in the mobile market. 


From ACM TechNews

Smarter Cameras Help You Take Slicker Snaps

Smarter Cameras Help You Take Slicker Snaps

University of Glasgow researcher Stephen Brewster is developing a camera interface designed to make it easier for photographers to get pictures right on the first take. 


From ACM TechNews

Ramcloud: When Disks and Flash Memory Are Just Too Slow

Ramcloud: When Disks and Flash Memory Are Just Too Slow

Stanford University researchers have developed RAMCloud, a scalable, high performance storage approach that can store data in dynamic random access memory and aggregate the memory resources of an entire data center. 


From ACM TechNews

How an Extinct Zebra Could Upend the Networking Market

How an Extinct Zebra Could Upend the Networking Market

The Internet Systems Consortium has created a project to stabilize the code base for Quagga, an open source networking program, and offer commercial support to vendors using the code. 


From ACM TechNews

Cloud Computing: Gaps in the 'cloud'

Cloud Computing: Gaps in the 'cloud'

Ruhr-University Bochum researchers discovered a massive security gap at Amazon Cloud Services and presented their findings at the recent ACM Cloud Computing Security Workshop in Chicago. 


From ACM News

Transparent, Super-Stretchy Skin-Like Sensor

Transparent, Super-Stretchy Skin-Like Sensor

Using carbon nanotubes bent to act as springs, Stanford researchers have developed a stretchable, transparent skin-like sensor that can be stretched to more than twice its original length and bounce back perfectly to its original…


From ACM News

A Silicon Valley School That Doesn't Compute

A Silicon Valley School That Doesn't Compute

The chief technology officer of eBay sends his children to a nine-classroom school here. So do employees of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo, and Hewlett-Packard.


From ACM News

John Rogers's Bendable Microprocessors

John Rogers's Bendable Microprocessors

John Rogers was in his lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign six years ago, testing new ways to make electronic circuits, when one of his team members made a mistake.


From ACM News

Future Computers Could Rewire Themselves

Future Computers Could Rewire Themselves

Future microchips may have only one type of component, capable of rewiring itself to do different jobs. Researchers from Northwestern University in the U.S. have developed a material that can radically change its electronic…


From ACM News

Revealed

Revealed

As protests against financial power sweep the world, science may have confirmed the protesters' worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of…


From ACM TechNews

Top 'innovators' Rank Low in R&d Spending

Top 'innovators' Rank Low in R&d Spending

Many companies are devoted to innovation but they tend to have little to show for their spending on research and development, according to a new Booz & Co. report. 


From ACM TechNews

New Generation of Superlattice Cameras Add More

Northwestern University researchers have developed a camera that can see more than one color in the dark using a semiconducting material known as type-II superlattices, which can be tuned to simultaneously absorb a wide range…


From ACM TechNews

Wired Textiles For a Phone as Useful as the Shirt on Your Back

Wired Textiles For a Phone as Useful as the Shirt on Your Back

Researchers at Ohio State University's ElectroScience Laboratory want to eliminate the need for cell phone hardware, such as Bluetooth earpieces, by developing communication devices out of clothing. 


From ACM News

AI Pioneer John Mccarthy, 1927-2011

AI Pioneer John Mccarthy, 1927-2011

Artificial intelligence pioneer and Lisp creator John McCarthy, who received the A.M. Turing Award in 1971, passed away on October 23. He was 84.


From ACM News

Two Low-Cost Tablets For India's Schools

Two Low-Cost Tablets For India's Schools

Many of the classrooms in India are short of teachers and devoid of electricity. But what researchers hope they will have are low-cost computer tablets specifically designed for the needs of the country's students.


From ACM Opinion

Did Android Copy Ios? We Asked Google's Product Manager...

Did Android Copy Ios? We Asked Google's Product Manager...

Has Android copied elements from Apple's iOS? It's not a matter that Google's senior managers for the Android operating system want to get involved in.


From ACM News

How Revolutionary Tools Cracked a 1700s Code

How Revolutionary Tools Cracked a 1700s Code

It has been more than six decades since Warren Weaver, a pioneer in automated language translation, suggested applying code-breaking techniques to the challenge of interpreting a foreign language.


From ACM News

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

When IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer won its famous chess rematch with then world champion Garry Kasparov in May 1997, the victory was hailed far and wide as a triumph of artificial intelligence. But John McCarthy—the man who…


From ACM TechNews

Microsoft's Roslyn: Reinventing the Compiler as We Know It

Microsoft's Roslyn: Reinventing the Compiler as We Know It

Microsoft recently launched Project Roslyn, a compiler-as-a-service technology that aims to bring powerful new features to C#, Visual Basic, and Visual Studio. 


From ACM TechNews

­.s. Tops China in Programming, but Lags in Math, Logic

­.s. Tops China in Programming, but Lags in Math, Logic

Gild has issued a plea to improve the way math and computer programming is taught in U.S. schools after the results from its new study found that Chinese developers outscored U.S. developers on math and logic by 20 percent. 


From ACM Opinion

The Shocking Strangeness of Our 25-Year-Old Digital Privacy Law

The Shocking Strangeness of Our 25-Year-Old Digital Privacy Law

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) was signed into law on October 21, 1986. Although it was forward-looking at the time, ECPA's privacy protections have remained stuck in the past while technology has raced…


From ACM TechNews

Visas Could Aid Graduates

U.S. lawmakers are working toward bipartisan legislation that would offer expedited visas to foreign graduates with advanced technical degrees, amid complaints from companies that the United States is training highly skilled…


From ACM TechNews

Holodesk Prototype Puts Life in Computers

Holodesk Prototype Puts Life in Computers

Microsoft Research Cambridge has developed Holodesk, a prototype virtual display that enables users to interact with virtual objects using their hands.


From ACM TechNews

National Science Foundation Reports Low Minority Representation on STEM Faculties

National Science Foundation Reports Low Minority Representation on STEM Faculties

A recent National Science Foundation study found that minority doctoral holders are still poorly represented as faculty members at U.S. institutions, even as the number of minority students has climbed over the last 20 years. …


From ACM News

Robotic Venus Flytrap Snags Prey

Robotic Venus Flytrap Snags Prey

Carnivorous plants have long fascinated humans with their blood-sucking capabilities. The Venus flytrap is even smart enough to pause before snapping shut, ensuring that whatever falls in isn't a fluke.


From ACM News

Meet Arm's Cortex A15: The Future of the Ipad, and Possibly the Macbook Air

Meet Arm's Cortex A15: The Future of the Ipad, and Possibly the Macbook Air

In addition to unveiling its Cortex A7 processor last Wednesday, the press event was also a sort of second debut for the Cortex A15. The A15 will go into ARM tablets and some high-end smartphones during the second half of…


From ACM News

Intel Faces Colossal Clash

Written off by some critics as a doomed dinosaur, stuck in the tar pit of a stalling personal computer market, Intel is headed for a colossal clash as it scrambles after many failures to get its chips into the fast growing…


From ACM News

Why Computer Voices Are Mostly Female

Why Computer Voices Are Mostly Female

To most owners of the new iPhone, the voice-activated feature called Siri is more than a virtual "assistant" who can help schedule appointments, find a good nearby pizza, or tell you if it's going to rain. She's also a she…