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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.

December 2013


From ACM TechNews

Judge: Nsa’s Collecting of Phone Records Is Probably Unconstitutional

Judge: Nsa’s Collecting of Phone Records Is Probably Unconstitutional

A district court judge has ruled the U.S. National Security Agency's daily collection of virtually all Americans' phone records is almost certainly unconstitutional. 


From ACM TechNews

Low-Power Tunneling Transistor For High-Performance Devices at Low Voltage

Low-Power Tunneling Transistor For High-Performance Devices at Low Voltage

A new type of transistor could make possible fast and low-power computing devices for energy-constrained applications. 


From ACM TechNews

That Thing Attached to Your Hand? It Might Be Doomed

That Thing Attached to Your Hand? It Might Be Doomed

Harvard University professor Woodward Yang says the personal technology market will experience business disruptions due to constant innovation. 


From ACM TechNews

Keeping the Lights On

Keeping the Lights On

The Koopman Mode Analysis is an algorithm that could predict future instabilities in the power grid and make power outages a thing of the past. 


From ACM TechNews

Welcome to the Super Bowl For Robots

Welcome to the Super Bowl For Robots

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's robotics competition is aimed at developing a robot that can function in disaster zones. 


From ACM News

Google Glass Update Lets Users Wink and Take Photos

Google Glass Update Lets Users Wink and Take Photos

Google has introduced a new feature to its Google Glass, which allows users to take a photo with a "wink of the eye."


From ACM TechNews

Meteor Aims to Make Javascript Programming Fun Again

Meteor Aims to Make Javascript Programming Fun Again

The Meteor open source JavaScript platform is moving toward its 1.0 release in early 2014.


From ACM News

4 Reasons Why Apple's Ibeacon Is About to Disrupt Interaction Design

4 Reasons Why Apple's Ibeacon Is About to Disrupt Interaction Design

You step inside Walmart and your shopping list is transformed into a personalized map, showing you the deals that'll appeal to you most.


From ACM News

Are We in the Matrix? Science Looks For Signs We're Not Real

Are We in the Matrix? Science Looks For Signs We're Not Real

Over the years, some science fiction has popularized the notion that our world might not be what it seems—that we might all be living in the Matrix (to use perhaps the most well-known version of the concept).


From ACM TechNews

Drone Gets Its Smarts From a Smartphone

Drone Gets Its Smarts From a Smartphone

Smartphones could be the key to building low-cost, autonomous drones. 


From ACM TechNews

Microsoft Joins Group Seeking to Replace Passwords

Microsoft Joins Group Seeking to Replace Passwords

Microsoft has joined the Fast IDentity Online Alliance, which seeks to develop standards to curb corporate reliance on passwords.


From ACM TechNews

Adding MUSCLE to Multiscale Simulations

Adding MUSCLE to Multiscale Simulations

The Multiscale Coupling Library and Environment 2 project is aimed at implementing and executing multiscale models with feedback loops.


From ACM News

Eye-Tracker Lets You Drag and Drop Files With a Glance

Eye-Tracker Lets You Drag and Drop Files With a Glance

Bored of using a mouse?


From ACM News

Judge's Word on Nsa Program Won't Be the Last

Judge's Word on Nsa Program Won't Be the Last

A federal judge made headlines Monday by declaring that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records is likely unconstitutional.


From ACM News

Thinking in Silicon

Thinking in Silicon

Picture a person reading these words on a laptop in a coffee shop.


From ACM News

The Startling Beauty of the Microscopic

The Startling Beauty of the Microscopic

When Robert Hooke first looked at a piece of cork under a microscope in 1665, he was looking for scientific reasons–but that didn’t keep him from seeing the intrinsic beauty in the slides.


From ACM News

Officials Say ­.s. May Never Know Extent of Snowden's Leaks

Officials Say ­.s. May Never Know Extent of Snowden's Leaks

American intelligence and law enforcement investigators have concluded that they may never know the entirety of what the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden extracted from classified government computers…


From ACM TechNews

Hi-Tech Sensors Aim to Help Prevent Obesity

Hi-Tech Sensors Aim to Help Prevent Obesity

The European Union is funding a project that intends to use high-tech sensors to get young people to adopt healthy lifestyles. 


From ACM TechNews

Programming Smart Molecules

Programming Smart Molecules

Researchers have shown that an important class of artificial intelligence algorithms could be implemented using chemical reactions. 


From ACM TechNews

By Cracking Cellphone Code, Nsa Has Capacity For Decoding Private Conversations

By Cracking Cellphone Code, Nsa Has Capacity For Decoding Private Conversations

The U.S. National Security Agency is able to crack the A5/1 encryption technology used on most cellphones worldwide. 


From ACM TechNews

New Wave Display Technology Rises at Uc San Diego

New Wave Display Technology Rises at Uc San Diego

The nw Wide-Angle Virtual Environment (WAVE) display is a curved wall array of 35 55-inch LG commercial liquid crystal display monitors. 


From ACM TechNews

Physical Keys Could Take Away the Pain of Passwords

Physical Keys Could Take Away the Pain of Passwords

Technology companies are experimenting with physical keys to take the place of passwords. 


From ACM TechNews

New System Allows For High-Accuracy, Through-Wall, 3D Motion Tracking

New System Allows For High-Accuracy, Through-Wall, 3D Motion Tracking

WiTrack is a new a three-dimensional (3D) motion-tracking technology that uses radio signals to track a person through walls and other obstacles. 


From ACM TechNews

Arms Deal Sets Limits on Cyber Technologies

Arms Deal Sets Limits on Cyber Technologies

Additions to the Wassenaar Arrangement will require technology companies to get permission from governments to sell a range of security and surveillance software.


From ACM News

Google Adds to Its Menagerie of Robots

Google Adds to Its Menagerie of Robots

BigDog, Cheetah, WildCat, and Atlas have joined Google's growing robot menagerie.


From ACM News

Show ­S a Better Way Than Collecting Metadata, Nsa Director Says to Critics

Show ­S a Better Way Than Collecting Metadata, Nsa Director Says to Critics

Critics of the U.S. National Security Agency's bulk collection of U.S. residents' telephone records should offer a better way to track terrorists and protect the country against attacks, the agency's director said Wednesday.


From ACM Opinion

Nasa's Chief Scientist on Mars, Moons, and Money

Nasa's Chief Scientist on Mars, Moons, and Money

Planetary geologist Ellen Stofan joined NASA in August as the agency's chief scientist, an overarching role in which she advises on the science of all NASA programmes.


From ACM News

New Results Send Mars Rover on a Quest For Ancient Life

New Results Send Mars Rover on a Quest For Ancient Life

When the Curiosity rover landed in Gale crater 16 months ago, its goal was to find a place on Mars that was habitable 4 billion years ago.


From ACM TechNews

Home Appliance Makers Connect with Open Source 'internet of Things' Project

Home Appliance Makers Connect with Open Source 'internet of Things' Project

The AllSeen Alliance has developed an open source framework to enable systems to discover, connect, and interact with each other, regardless of manufacturer or OS. 


From ACM TechNews

Hipster, Surfer or Biker? Computers May Soon Be Able to Tell the Difference

Hipster, Surfer or Biker? Computers May Soon Be Able to Tell the Difference

Researchers are developing an algorithm that uses group pictures to determine what urban tribe a specific person belongs to, with up to 48-percent accuracy.