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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

11 Most Startling Revelations in 'steve Jobs'

11 Most Startling Revelations in 'steve Jobs'

Full disclosure: Steve Jobs was my white whale, the interview I wanted more than any other and the day he died I fashioned a black band across the Apple logo on my MacBook. But after reading "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson…


From ACM News

Precision-Controlled Microbots Show They Could Take On Industrial-Scale Jobs

Precision-Controlled Microbots Show They Could Take On Industrial-Scale Jobs

A pioneering research institute that introduced the computer world to the mouse, hypertext, and networks is now setting its sights a bit lower.


From ACM News

Tiny Stamps for Tiny Sensors

Tiny Stamps for Tiny Sensors

Advances in microchip technology may someday enable clinicians to perform tests for hundreds of diseases—sifting out specific molecules, such as early stage cancer cells—from just one drop of blood. But fabricating such "lab…


From ACM TechNews

Virginia Tech Cybersecurity Breakthrough Keeps Sensitive Data Confined in Physical Space, Engineering Team Says

Virginia Tech Cybersecurity Breakthrough Keeps Sensitive Data Confined in Physical Space, Engineering Team Says

Virginia Tech researchers have developed new security features that can remotely place smartphones under lockdown. 


From ACM TechNews

Kurzweil Responds: Don't ­nderestimate the Singularity

Kurzweil Responds: Don't ­nderestimate the Singularity

Paul Allen and a colleague recently challenged inventor and author Ray Kurzweil's prediction that computers will soon surpass human intelligence, an event known as the Singularity.


From ACM TechNews

Carnegie Mellon Develops Touchscreen Technology That Distinguishes Taps By Different Parts of Finger

Carnegie Mellon Develops Touchscreen Technology That Distinguishes Taps By Different Parts of Finger

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have developed TapSense, a system that combines a microphone with a touchscreen to distinguish the difference between the tap of a fingertip, the pad of the finger, a fingernail, and a knuckle…


From ACM News

A Picture of Democracy

A Picture of Democracy

How digital cameras and smartphones might reduce corruption in Afghanistan and elsewhere.


From ACM TechNews

High Demand For Science Graduates Enables Them to Pick Their Jobs, Report Says

High Demand For Science Graduates Enables Them to Pick Their Jobs, Report Says

Science and engineering graduates are in high demand in a wide variety of fields, and many English-speaking science graduates are taking jobs in nonscience fields, which is leading to a labor shortfall, according to a recent…


From ACM TechNews

New Project to Tackle Data Deluge: Eudat--Towards a Pan-European Collaborative Data Infrastructure

The recently launched EUDAT project aims to provide Europe's scientific and research communities with a sustainable European-wide infrastructure for improved access to scientific data. 


From ACM News

Hyperlinking Doesn't Constitute Defamation, Supreme Court of Canada Rules

Hyperlinking Doesn't Constitute Defamation, Supreme Court of Canada Rules

The Supreme Court of Canada has erected a shield to protect those who post Internet links to defamatory sites.


From ACM News

Faq on Son of Stuxnet

What is Duqu? Duqu (pronounced dyu kyu) is primarily a remote-access Trojan targeted at a limited number of organizations in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to gather intelligence that can help plan a future attack.


From ACM News

Jobs Tried Exotic Treatments to Combat Cancer, Book Says

Jobs Tried Exotic Treatments to Combat Cancer, Book Says

In his last years, Steven P. Jobs veered from exotic diets to cutting-edge treatments as he fought the cancer that ultimately took his life, according to a new biography to be published on Monday.


From ACM News

How Google's Self-Driving Car Works

How Google's Self-Driving Car Works

Once a secret project, Google's autonomous vehicles are now out in the open, quite literally, with the company test-driving them on public roads and, on one occasion, even inviting people to ride inside one of the robot cars…


From ACM TechNews

Stanford Engineering's New Online Classes: Hugely Popular and Bursting With Activity

Stanford Engineering's New Online Classes: Hugely Popular and Bursting With Activity

About 300,000 students have registered for Stanford University's first set of comprehensive, free online computer science courses, which include courses in databases, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. 


From ACM TechNews

­niversity Studies Crowdsourcing For Intelligence

­niversity Studies Crowdsourcing For Intelligence

The U.S. intelligence community is studying how to tap the power of crowdsourcing through a multi-university effort. 


From ACM TechNews

Microsoft PocketTouch Lets You ­se Your Phone Through Fabric

Microsoft PocketTouch Lets You ­se Your Phone Through Fabric

A prototype device from Microsoft potentially could enable people to interact with a touchscreen smartphone without removing it from its case, a pocket, or bag. 


From ACM TechNews

Magnifying Research: Scientists Team Together to Upgrade K-State's Supercomputer, Benefiting Other Colleges, Too

Kansas State University researchers are using a $700,000 U.S. National Science Foundation grant to upgrade its Beocat supercomputer, a cluster of servers that provides computational support for four colleges and 12 to 15 departments…


From ACM News

Two Top Suitors Are Emerging for New Graduate School of Engineering

Two Top Suitors Are Emerging for New Graduate School of Engineering

With less than two weeks left to apply in the competition for $400 million in land and subsidies to build a science and engineering graduate school in New York City, some of the world’s great universities continue to change…


From ACM News

Georgia Tech Turns Iphone Into Spiphone

Georgia Tech Turns Iphone Into Spiphone

It's a pattern that no doubt repeats itself daily in hundreds of millions of offices around the world: People sit down, turn on their computers, set their mobile phones on their desks and begin to work. What if a hacker could…


From ACM News

PingPong-Playing Robots Debut

PingPong-Playing Robots Debut

Robots are already taking away jobs at factories. Now, it appears, they're ready to rule the table tennis court, too. Two pingpong-playing humanoid robots named Wu and Kong debuted earlier this month at Zhejiang University…


From ACM News

DARPA Wants to Master the Science of Propaganda

DARPA Wants to Master the Science of Propaganda

Mark Twain once tried to distinguish between the storyteller’s art and tales that a machine could generate. He observed that stringing "incongruities and absurdities together in a wandering and sometimes purposeless way, and…


From ACM News

Control a Wheelchair By Biting and Blinking

Imagine: You're paralyzed from the neck down, a full-on quadriplegic with what doctors refer to as a "high level spinal cord injury." How do you get around?


From ACM News

Robot Wars 'Still a Long Way Off'

"I'll be back" said Arnold Schwarzenegger as cyborg-assassin the Terminator, back from the year 2029 to carry out a murder in 1984. But it seems that, when it comes to science fact rather than science fiction, it is unlikely…


From ACM News

New Malicious Program by Creators of Stuxnet Is Suspected

The designers of Stuxnet, the computer worm that was used to vandalize an Iranian nuclear site, may have struck again, security researchers say.


From ACM TechNews

Wearable Depth-Sensing Projection System Makes Any Surface Capable of Multitouch Interaction

Wearable Depth-Sensing Projection System Makes Any Surface Capable of Multitouch Interaction

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Microsoft have developed OmniTouch, a wearable projection system that enables users to turn any object into a graphical, interactive surface. 


From ACM TechNews

'son of Stuxnet' Virus Could Be Used to Attack Critical Computers Worldwide

Symantec researchers have discovered a new virus, Duqu, that they say is very similar to the Stuxnet virus that was used to attack Iran's nuclear program. 


From ACM TechNews

Scientists Create Computing Building Blocks From Bacteria and Dna

Scientists Create Computing Building Blocks From Bacteria and Dna

Imperial College London researchers say they have developed a method for building logic gates out of bacteria and DNA, which makes them the most advanced biological logic gates ever created. 


From ACM TechNews

Secure Android Kernel Could Make For 'classified' Smart Phones

Secure Android Kernel Could Make For 'classified' Smart Phones

Researchers at George Mason University, the U.S. National Security Agency, and Google have developed a hardened kernel for the Android 3.0 operating system that could make smartphones available for military operations and emergency…


From ACM TechNews

Could a Computer One Day Rewire Itself?

Could a Computer One Day Rewire Itself?

Northwestern University researchers have developed a nanomaterial that can guide electrical currents, which could lead to a computer that can redesign its internal wiring to become an entirely new device based on changing needs…


From ACM News

Proton-Based Transistor Breakthrough

Proton-Based Transistor Breakthrough

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a proton-based transistor that might eventually enable machines to communicate with living things.