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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.

February 2010


From ACM TechNews

Virtual Museum Guide

Virtual Museum Guide

Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD scientists have developed augmented-reality animation software that can take users on virtual tours through museums.


From ACM TechNews

Battling Zombies, Botnets and Torpig

Battling Zombies, Botnets and Torpig

University of Calgary (UC) researchers are developing a range of technologies to prevent and detect cyberattacks and botnets. "It's an issue of scale," says UC professor John Aycock. "If you control an entire network of tens…


From ACM TechNews

A Virtual System Which Facilitates Access and Adapts Contents to the Student

Researchers at Carlos III University of Madrid are developing Project FLEXO, a virtual platform for different teaching methods that can be customized to specific student profiles. 


From ACM TechNews

­sb Fingerprints Identify 'pod Slurping' Data Thieves

­sb Fingerprints Identify 'pod Slurping' Data Thieves

Intellectual property thieves who engage in so-called pod-slurping attacks leave a "USB fingerprint," according to Vasilios Katos and Theodoros Kavallaris of the Democritus University of Thrace in Greece. 


From ACM News

Searching For Saddam

Searching For Saddam

Traffic had slowed to a crawl in Baghdad's Azamiyah district as drivers stopped to ogle the president. It was April 2003, and Saddam Hussein cheerily greeted his subjects as a few bodyguards tried to keep the crowd at bay. Someone…


From ACM News

What ­tilities Have Learned From Smart-Meter Tests...

What ­tilities Have Learned From Smart-Meter Tests...

Utilities have learned a lot about how smart meters can compel consumers to save electricity. Unfortunately, too often they aren't putting the knowledge to good use.

Smart meters are more precise than traditional meters in that…


From ACM News

Want a Job? Get a Computer Science Degree

Here's a tip for incoming and current college students: If you want to have a high-paying job on graduation day, study computer science.

That's the advice coming out of the top U.S. computer science programs, which are seeing…


From ACM News

Swarm of Micro-Helicopters Could Create a Giant 3-D Display

Swarm of Micro-Helicopters Could Create a Giant 3-D Display

Mechanical fireflies could help create a new kind of 3-D display, say researchers at MIT.

Standing in for the bioluminescent beetles will be LED-fitted, remotely controlled micro-helicopters that can be choreographed electronically…


From ACM News

Robot Provides 3-D Images of Dangerous Locations

Robot Provides 3-D Images of Dangerous Locations

Soldiers and first responders may soon have a better way to evaluate the interior of dangerous structures. Students at Missouri S&T, in a joint project with the University of Missouri-Columbia, have built a remote-controlled…


From ACM News

Apple Claims Top Spot in Annual Computer Reliability Report

Apple Claims Top Spot in Annual Computer Reliability Report

Apple personal computers received the highest reliability score in RESCUECOM's Annual 2010 Computer Reliability Report released Monday (February 22). Manufacturers with the best overall computer reliability scores for 2010 are…


From ACM News

Start-­p Opens Offshoring Alternative in Distressed Michigan

A start-up IT services firm—headed by veteran offshoring executives—as opened up an offshoring alternative in Michigan, a state with a 17.5 percent unemployment rate and a well-educated labor pool. Systems In Motion Inc.  (Fremont…


From ACM News

Computer Waste in India to Grow 500 Percent By 2020

Computer Waste in India to Grow 500 Percent By 2020

Waste from discarded electronics will rise dramatically in the developing world within a decade, with computer waste in India alone to grow by 500 percent from 2007 levels by 2020, according to a U.N. study released on Monday…


From ACM News

Internet Making Our Brains Different, Not Dumb

A decade from now, Google won't make us "stupid," the Internet may make us more literate in a different kind of way, and efforts to protect individual anonymity will be even more difficult to achieve, according to many of the…


From ACM TechNews

How to Make the Internet a Lot Faster

How to Make the Internet a Lot Faster

Google recently announced plans to build an experimental fiber network that would offer gigabit-per-second broadband speeds to up to 500,000 U.S. homes. The speeds proposed by Google are much faster than those offered by commercial…


From ACM TechNews

Google Pagerank-Like Algorithm Dates Back to 1941

Google Pagerank-Like Algorithm Dates Back to 1941

Iterative ranking methods predate Google's PageRank algorithm for ranking the importance of Web pages by nearly 60 years, according to "PageRank: Stand on the shoulders of giants," a new study by University of Udine computer…


From ACM TechNews

Dwarf Helicopters, Smart Subs, and Mining Robots to Automate Australia

Dwarf Helicopters, Smart Subs, and Mining Robots to Automate Australia

Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Systems (CAS)  research director Hugh Durrant-Whyte has led the development of robots for use in a variety of industries, including mining, sea exploration, and…


From ACM TechNews

Parc Works on Content-Centric Networking

Parc Works on Content-Centric Networking

Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) CEO Mark Bernstein says its researchers are currently working on developing content-centric networking technology. The goal is to be able to have content available in the network with a unique…


From ACM TechNews

CM­ Joins Open Cirrus Test Bed For Advancing Cloud Computing Research

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has joined Open Cirrus, an open source testbed established by Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and Yahoo! to advance cloud computing education and research.


From ACM TechNews

Student ­ses Artificial Intelligence to ­nderstand Bee Behavior

Student ­ses Artificial Intelligence to ­nderstand Bee Behavior

A computer model of the foraging behavior of bumblebees could be used to determine future policies on genetically modified crops in the United Kingdom and Europe, says University of Exeter Ph.D. candidate Daniel Chalk. Chalk…


From ACM TechNews

Boring Conversation? Let Your Computer Listen For You

Researchers are developing software that can make conversing with a computer more productive. Existing automatic speech recognition technology is unreliable. 


From ACM News

Cashing in on Internet Censorship

Cashing in on Internet Censorship

A growing number of software companies are capitalizing on an unexpected business opportunity: Internet censorship. 

In countries where governments continue to ramp up Web filtering systems, more people are searching for tools…


From ACM News

Cellphone Traces Reveal You're So Predictable

We may all like to consider ourselves free spirits. But a study of the traces left by 50,000 cellphone users over three months has conclusively proved otherwise.

"We are all in one way or another boring," says Albert-László …


From ACM News

Lego Robot Solves Any Rubik

Lego Robot Solves Any Rubik

Be warned my fellow humans, robots will not be satisfied until they defeat us in even the most trivial of contests. Cube Stormer is the latest creation from Mike Dobson, aka Robotics Solutions, and not only is it made entirely…


From ACM News

Ex-Army Man Cracks Popular Security Chip

Hardware hacker Christopher Tarnovsky just wanted to break Microsoft's grip on peripherals for its Xbox 360 game console. In the process, he cracked one of the most heavily fortified chips ever put into a consumer device.


From ACM News

Sketch-Interpreting Software

Sketch-Interpreting Software

A new system that lets people enter data into a tablet computer simply by drawing diagrams on the screen could lead to interactive whiteboards.


From ACM News

Two Chinese Schools Said to Be Tied to Online Attacks

Two Chinese Schools Said to Be Tied to Online Attacks

A series of online attacks on Google and dozens of other American corporations have been traced to computers at two educational institutions in China, including one with close ties to the Chinese military, say people involved…


From ACM News

Typos May Earn Google $500m a Year

Google may be earning $500 million a year via companies and individuals who register deceptive Web site addresses. The claim centers on a controversial scheme known as "typosquatting," the practice of registering a misspelled…


From ACM News

Turning Patents Into

Turning Patents Into

Nathan Myhrvold wants to shake up the marketplace for ideas. His mission and the activities of the company he heads, Intellectual Ventures, a secretive $5 billion investment firm that has scooped up 30,000 patents, inspire admiration…


From ACM News

Los Alamos, Sandia Plan Cyber Warfare Training

Cyber-security first responders will be put to the test in an upcoming training-and-competition event hosted by Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories. Federal, industry, and New Mexico state computer specialists will meet…


From ACM TechNews

Digging Deep Into Diamonds

Digging Deep Into Diamonds

Harvard University researchers have created diamond-based nanowire devices that offer a bright, stable source of single photons at room temperature, which is an essential element for the development of practical light-based computing…