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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 2012


From ACM News

Two-Tonne Witch Computer Gets a Reboot

Two-Tonne Witch Computer Gets a Reboot

The world's oldest original working digital computer is going on display at The National Museum of Computing in Buckinghamshire.


From ACM News

An Amazon Engineer Had a Little Idea That Turned Into a Billion-Dollar Business

An Amazon Engineer Had a Little Idea That Turned Into a Billion-Dollar Business

Once upon a time, Amazon was a dot-com-era technology company best known for selling books.


From ACM News

What Goes Down Must Come Back Up

What Goes Down Must Come Back Up

For most of the past two decades, the NASA and European Topex/Poseidon, Jason-1 and Jason-2 satellites have tracked the gradual rise of the world's ocean in response to global warming.


From ACM Careers

Microsoft Hires Jeannette Wing to Head Microsoft Research International

Microsoft Hires Jeannette Wing to Head Microsoft Research International

Jeannette Wing, a leading figure in computer science research, will join Microsoft Research in January 2013 as vice president, head of Microsoft Research International.


From ACM TechNews

Toyota Testing Smart Cars That Talk to Each Other and to the Road

Toyota Testing Smart Cars That Talk to Each Other and to the Road

Toyota is testing smart cars that talk to each other and to the roads on the 700 MHz band with the goal of reducing traffic accidents.


From ACM TechNews

How Metadata Brought Down CIA Boss David Petraeus

How Metadata Brought Down CIA Boss David Petraeus

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency director David Petraeus was brought down by metadata, which is not covered by the Stored Communications Act.


From ACM TechNews

Enhancing Breast Cancer Detection

Enhancing Breast Cancer Detection

Federal Fluminense University's Tiago Borchartt and colleagues have developed software to improve imaging with an infrared, thermal camera for the early detection of breast cancer.


From ACM News

Feel the Disruption

Feel the Disruption

Apple has been a leader in digital revolution disruption, and its iPhones and iPads aren't finished marginalizing PCs or making today's household and industrial control systems obsolete.


From ACM News

Blue Waters Opts Out of Top500

Blue Waters Opts Out of Top500

The NCSA Blue Waters system is one of the fastest supercomputers in the world, but it won't appear on the TOP500 list—nor will it be taking part in the HPC Challenge awards.


From ACM News

The Hackers of Damascus

The Hackers of Damascus

Taymour Karim didn't crack under interrogation.


From ACM TechNews

Bug Repellent For Supercomputers Proves Effective

Bug Repellent For Supercomputers Proves Effective

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have developed a highly scalable, lightweight tool that has been used to debug a program running more than one million MPI processors on the IBM Blue Gene/Q-based Sequoia supercomputer…


From ACM TechNews

The Once-Hyped Semantic Web Still Bubbles Along

The Once-Hyped Semantic Web Still Bubbles Along

The semantic Web has not reached blockbuster status, but it still has champions in the Apache Software Foundation and the World Wide Web Consortium. W3C recently announced that 11 semantic Web specifications had moved closer…


From ACM News

Say Hello, or 你好, to China’s Siri

You might not have heard of iFlyTek. The company is hardly a household name in its domestic market of China, either.


From ACM TechNews

A World Without Limits

A World Without Limits

New technologies are blurring the boundaries between the real and virtual world, but it remains uncertain as to whether they can improve peoples' lives.


From ACM TechNews

Computers Identify What Makes Abstract Art Move US

Computers Identify What Makes Abstract Art Move US

University of Trento researchers have developed a machine-vision system that can measure how color and shapes are distributed in abstract art. The system also used data to determine the emotional impact of the artistic elements…


From ACM TechNews

A Leap Forward in Brain-Controlled Computer Cursors

A Leap Forward in Brain-Controlled Computer Cursors

Stanford University researchers have developed an algorithm that improves the speed and accuracy of neural prosthetics that control computer cursors. Their work could lead to greatly improved brain-controlled prosthetic systems…


From ACM TechNews

Do We Need Cyber Cops For Cars?

Do We Need Cyber Cops For Cars?

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has yet to devise standard safety guidelines for automobile electronics systems, though industry guidelines were presented to the administration last year by the U.S. Department…


From ACM Opinion

Otellini's Legacy of Intel Profit Marred By Arm Competition

Otellini's Legacy of Intel Profit Marred By Arm Competition

When Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini retires in May, he'll leave a mixed record.


From ACM News

NASA Observatories Find Most Distant Galaxy Candidate

NASA Observatories Find Most Distant Galaxy Candidate

By combining the power of NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes and one of nature's own natural "zoom lenses" in space, astronomers have set a new record for finding the most distant galaxy seen in the universe.


From ACM Careers

As Boom Lures App Creators, Tough Part Is Making a Living

As Boom Lures App Creators, Tough Part Is Making a Living

Shawn and Stephanie Grimes spent much of the last two years pursuing their dream of doing research and development for Apple, the world’s most successful corporation.


From ACM Opinion

Bluebrain: Noah Hutton's 10-Year Documentary About the Mission to Reverse Engineer the Human Brain

Bluebrain: Noah Hutton's 10-Year Documentary About the Mission to Reverse Engineer the Human Brain

"Nothing quite like it exists yet, but we have begun building it," Henry Markram wrote in the June 2012 issue of Scientific American. He was referring to a "fantastic new scientific instrument"—a biologically realistic and detailed…


From ACM News

Almost Being There: Why the Future of Space Exploration Is Not What You Think

Almost Being There: Why the Future of Space Exploration Is Not What You Think

Mocup is a tiny, adorable remote-controlled robot built from a Lego Mindstorms set with an off-the-shelf Beagleboard computer for a brain and a webcam for an eye.


From ACM News

Will We Ever ­nderstand How Our Brains Work?

Will We Ever ­nderstand How Our Brains Work?

When it comes to the human brain, many scientists believe that we are incapable of understanding how it works because we lack the tools and intelligence to measure its mind-blowing complexity. Others are starting to question…


From ACM News

How to Steal Data from Your Neighbor in the Cloud

How to Steal Data from Your Neighbor in the Cloud

Cloud computing teaches people not to worry about physical equipment for hosting data and running software.


From ACM News

5 Big Tech Issues Await Obama in Second Term

5 Big Tech Issues Await Obama in Second Term

Technology policy didn't get much air time in the 2012 presidential election, but the Obama administration will face serious issues over the next four years.


From ACM TechNews

The True State of Artificial Intelligence

The True State of Artificial Intelligence

Monash University researcher Kevin Korb recently discussed what stage artificial intelligence research has reached.  


From ACM TechNews

Cray Bumps IBM From Top500 Supercomputer Top Spot

Cray Bumps IBM From Top500 Supercomputer Top Spot

Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Titan supercomputer system, a Cray XK7, was named the world's fastest supercomputer in the latest edition of the Top500 list.  


From ACM TechNews

Agency Programs Show Outlines of Future Cyber Ecosystem

Agency Programs Show Outlines of Future Cyber Ecosystem

Although the creation of autonomous, self-defending, and self-healing online ecosystems remains years away, several U.S. government programs are already laying the groundwork for their development.


From ACM TechNews

­S Gov Galvanises Aust Cyber-Security Experts

­S Gov Galvanises Aust Cyber-Security Experts

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency recently awarded an $18 million contract to a consortium of research groups, including National ICT Australia , to develop software to protect critical systems from cyberattacks…


From ACM TechNews

High-Performance Computing Turns to Apps to Cut Cost and Frustration

High-Performance Computing Turns to Apps to Cut Cost and Frustration

The concept of apps could enable more companies to take advantage of high-performance computing (HPC), considering the cost of HPC hardware and software makes adoption a challenge for all but the largest manufacturers.