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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.

November 2011


From ACM Opinion

Misconceptions in Ai: Or Why Watson Can't Talk to Siri

Misconceptions in Ai: Or Why Watson Can't Talk to Siri

On Tuesday night, I was schooled by Watson on playing Jeopardy in an exhibition match at the Computer History Museum. I discovered that despite our fear of the robot overlords, humans are much smarter than we think. Case in…


From ACM TechNews

Exascale Computing Seen in This Decade

Exascale Computing Seen in This Decade

A major focus at the SC11 supercomputing conference was plans to develop an exascale computing system, which would be about 1,000 times more powerful than any existing system. The U.S. Department of Energy wants a functional…


From ACM TechNews

New Computer Interfaces Challenge Touch Screens

New Computer Interfaces Challenge Touch Screens

Researchers at several recent conferences have shown how new interfaces could change the future of human-computer interaction.


From ACM TechNews

Foreign Firms Troll For Tech Grads

Foreign Firms Troll For Tech Grads

Foreign technology companies, many of which are led by foreign-born tech workers who left the U.S. due to visa issues, increasingly are recruiting some of the U.S.'s best students. 


From ACM TechNews

W3c Proposes Do Not Track Privacy Standard

W3c Proposes Do Not Track Privacy Standard

The World Wide Web Consortium released the first draft of its proposed standard for implementing Do Not Track online, which is designed to give consumers the ability to opt out of having their personal information and online…


From ACM TechNews

Beauty Now in the Eye of the Algorithm

Beauty Now in the Eye of the Algorithm

Xerox Research Center Europe computer scientists have developed technology that sorts photographs by their content as well as their aesthetic qualities. The technology could help with tasks such as choosing which of hundreds…


From ACM TechNews

Lightning-Fast, Efficient Data Transmission Developed at Stanford

Lightning-Fast, Efficient Data Transmission Developed at Stanford

Stanford University researchers have developed a light-emitting diode that uses much less power than laser-based systems and can transmit data at 10 billion bits per second, providing a practical source for on-chip data transmission…


From ACM TechNews

German Court Rules Users Can Modify Free Software

German Court Rules Users Can Modify Free Software

Advocates of free software are hailing a decision by a German court to prevent a DSL router vendor from blocking a software maker from altering the device's Linux kernel. 


From ACM TechNews

Authorship Recognition Software From Drexel ­niversity Lab to Be Released December

Authorship Recognition Software From Drexel ­niversity Lab to Be Released December

Drexel University researchers have developed two software tools focused on authorship recognition. 


From ACM TechNews

White House, Congress Work Toward Cybersecurity Plan

White House, Congress Work Toward Cybersecurity Plan

Before the U.S. Congress is a White House proposal and several bills concerning government and private-sector cybersecurity improvement. 


From ACM TechNews

Accelerating Robotic Innovation

Accelerating Robotic Innovation

A holistic system for modeling and simulating the behavior of robots is the focus of a collaboration involving researchers at Rice, Texas A&M, and Halmstad universities. 


From ACM TechNews

Linux Loses its Luster as a Darling Among Developers

Linux Loses its Luster as a Darling Among Developers

Linux as an application development platform has fallen to third place in popularity behind Mac OS and Windows, according to an Evans Data Corp. survey. 


From ACM TechNews

Burns App Could Save Lives at the Touch of a Button

Burns App Could Save Lives at the Touch of a Button

Mersey Burns, an iPhone and iPad app created by University of Manchester student Chris Seaton, has the potential to save the lives of soldiers and prevent severe disfigurement from burns. 


From ACM TechNews

Feds Detail Supercomputing's Future

Feds Detail Supercomputing's Future

The annual SC11 supercomputing conference's agenda will be partly guided by federal agencies and U.S. national labs focusing on cloud computing, exascale computing, power management, and networking. 


From ACM TechNews

Japan's K Computer Retains TOP500 Crown

Japan's K Computer Retains TOP500 Crown

Japan's K Computer retained its title as the world's most powerful supercomputer, ranking first in the most recent edition of the TOP500 List with a speed of 10.51 petaflops a second, which was four times faster than the second…


From ACM TechNews

Georgia Tech Helps to Develop System That Will Detect Insider Threats From Massive Data Sets

Georgia Tech Helps to Develop System That Will Detect Insider Threats From Massive Data Sets

Researchers at DARPA, the Army Research Office, and Georgia Tech are developing new approaches for identifying insider threats before a data breach occurs. 


From ACM News

Barcelona Center Makes Super Bet on Cellphone Chips

Supercomputers, once built from handcrafted circuitry, were transformed when companies started assembling them from inexpensive PC-style microprocessors. Researchers in Barcelona are placing an early bet that the next big leap…


From ACM News

Digital Evidence Becoming Central in Criminal Cases

If you are unfortunate enough to land in court after a serious automobile accident, the star witness against you may not be an eyewitness or even a human being. It could be your car.


From ACM News

China Looms Large in Race of the Supercomputers

Ten years ago, a ranking of the world’s 500 most powerful supercomputers included precisely three entries from China. The most powerful of these—a system used to run credit management software at the Agricultural Bank of China—was…


From ACM TechNews

Cerf Calls Internet Governance Critical Issue in High Tech

Cerf Calls Internet Governance Critical Issue in High Tech

Governance of the Internet is a critical issue for the high-tech world, says Internet pioneer Vint Cerf.


From ACM TechNews

Sound, Digested

Sound, Digested

Backed by funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, Imagine Research has developed MediaMined, an artificial intelligence system for understanding and indexing sound. 


From ACM TechNews

China to Build More Supercomputers With Homegrown Chips

China to Build More Supercomputers With Homegrown Chips

China will rely less on chips made by foreign companies for its supercomputers over the next five years, says the National Supercomputer Center's Pan Jingshan.


From ACM TechNews

Paper ­ncovers Power of Foldit Gamers' Strategies

University of Washington researchers recently completed a study that examined Foldit players' strategies and compared them to the best-known scientist-developed methods for protein folding. 


From ACM News

Study Reveals Resistance to Strong Password Security

Study Reveals Resistance to Strong Password Security

One would think that improving the security of your computer against intruders would be universally acceptable. However, an overwhelming number of users in a new Virginia Tech study resisted changing their passwords — even when…


From ACM TechNews

Stanford Team Trains Computer to Evaluate Breast Cancer

Stanford Team Trains Computer to Evaluate Breast Cancer

Stanford University researchers have developed Computational Pathologist, a machine learning-based method for automatically analyzing images of cancerous tissues and predicting patient survival. 


From ACM TechNews

NIST Signs Agreement to Enhance Cybersecurity Education Programs

NIST Signs Agreement to Enhance Cybersecurity Education Programs

Formal cybersecurity education will be the focus of a new public-private partnership developed by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Education, and the National Cybersecurity Education…


From ACM TechNews

Html5: A Look Behind the Technology Changing the Web

Html5: A Look Behind the Technology Changing the Web

HTML5 is catching on in popularity as the online community embraces it. 


From ACM TechNews

Google's Lab of Wildest Dreams

Google's Lab of Wildest Dreams

Google X is a top-secret lab where Google researchers are focusing on 100 blue-sky concepts, including reportedly the U.S. manufacture of driverless cars, space elevators that collect information, and fleets of robots that could…


From ACM TechNews

In a Smart-System World, Data's 'the New Currency'

In a Smart-System World, Data's 'the New Currency'

Modern smart systems produce billions of streams of real-time data, and analytics science is creating services that have even more value than the smart systems themselves. 


From ACM News

Pursuing a Piracy Claim Against Apple

David Gelernter is known for many things. As a pioneering computer scientist, he first earned renown by connecting computers together into collaborative networks. Then in 1993, he gained the kind of fame no one wants, as a …