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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 2014


From ACM News

Undersea Robot Explores Life Below Arctic Ice

Undersea Robot Explores Life Below Arctic Ice

While 2014 has not been kind to rockets, it has been a banner year for robots of all stripes.


From ACM News

Innovators of Intelligence Look to Past

Innovators of Intelligence Look to Past

Inside the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, known as AI2, everything is a gleaming architectural white.


From ACM News

New Way to Turn Genes On

New Way to Turn Genes On

Using a gene-editing system originally developed to delete specific genes, MIT researchers have now shown that they can reliably turn on any gene of their choosing in living cells.


From ACM News

NASA Voyager: 'Tsunami Wave' Still Flies Through Interstellar Space

NASA Voyager: 'Tsunami Wave' Still Flies Through Interstellar Space

The Voyager 1 spacecraft has experienced three shock waves. The most recent shock wave, first observed in February 2014, still appears to be going on. One wave, previously reported, helped researchers determine that Voyager 1…


From ACM News

Robobrain: The World's First Knowledge Engine For Robots

Robobrain: The World's First Knowledge Engine For Robots

One of the most exciting changes influencing modern life is the ability to search and interact with information on a scale that has never been possible before.


From ACM News

4 Seconds of Body Cam Video Can Reveal a Biometric Fingerprint, Study Says

4 Seconds of Body Cam Video Can Reveal a Biometric Fingerprint, Study Says

Researchers say they can have computers examine body camera video footage and accurately identify a person wearing a body-mounted device in about four seconds, according to a recently released paper.


From ACM TechNews

Microsoft's Skype Translator Provides On-the-Fly Translations

Microsoft's Skype Translator Provides On-the-Fly Translations

Microsoft has launched a preview of its Skype Translator technology as a Windows 8.1 Skype Translator app, which enables the translation of typed and spoken messages in close to real time.


From ACM TechNews

DARPA Offers Free Watson-Like Artificial Intelligence

DARPA Offers Free Watson-Like Artificial Intelligence

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has unveiled an open source version of IBM's Watson named DeepDive. The system's performance was ahead of or equal to humans performing identical tasks, researchers say.


From ACM TechNews

Grant to Accelerate Development of Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Video Game

Grant to Accelerate Development of Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Video Game

Ohio State University researchers are using a National Multiple Sclerosis Society grant to develop and test a rehabilitation therapy video game that targets upper extremity motor impairment and could help stroke and multiple…


From ACM News

2 Futures Can Explain Time's Mysterious Past

2 Futures Can Explain Time's Mysterious Past

Physicists have a problem with time.


From ACM News

Material Question

Material Question

 Until Andre Geim, a physics professor at the University of Manchester, discovered an unusual new material called graphene, he was best known for an experiment in which he used electromagnets to levitate a frog.


From ACM News

Signs of Ancient Mars Lakes and Quakes Seen in New Map

Signs of Ancient Mars Lakes and Quakes Seen in New Map

Long ago, in the largest canyon system in our solar system, vibrations from "marsquakes" shook soft sediments that had accumulated in Martian lakes.


From ACM TechNews

Watson Wannabes: 4 Open Source Projects For Machine Intelligence

Watson Wannabes: 4 Open Source Projects For Machine Intelligence

Four groups have been developing IBM Watson-like systems based on open source work.


From ACM TechNews

Optical Illusions Fool Computers Into Seeing Things

Optical Illusions Fool Computers Into Seeing Things

University of Wyoming researchers are studying algorithms working together that may resulting in a program that could generate creative pictures by itself.


From ACM TechNews

Ccc Brain Workshop: Research Interfaces Between Brain Science and Computer Science

Ccc Brain Workshop: Research Interfaces Between Brain Science and Computer Science

A recent workshop on the interfaces between brain research and computer science brought together neuroscientists and computer scientists over speeches and panel discussions on topics including brain imaging and mapping, computing…


From ACM TechNews

Artificial Intelligence Isn't a Threat – Yet

Artificial Intelligence Isn't a Threat – Yet

New York University professor Gary Marcus says "superintelligent" machines are unlikely to arrive soon, but we already place a great deal of power in the hands of automated systems and need to be certain those systems can handle…


From ACM TechNews

Aiming For 1 Million 'girls Who Code'

Aiming For 1 Million 'girls Who Code'

Women are the majority in the workforce, in college, and as income earners, but they are being left out of innovating, says Reshma Saujani, who wants to introduce coding to more than 1 million girls over the next decade.


From ACM TechNews

Using Robots to Get More Food From Raw Materials

Using Robots to Get More Food From Raw Materials

SINTEF researchers are developing Gribbot, a fully functional robot designed to automate the process of extracting breast fillets from chickens, a task normally performed by humans.


From ACM Opinion

Dumbing It Down in the Cockpit

Dumbing It Down in the Cockpit

Long gone are the leather jackets, goggles, and silk scarves flung over the shoulders of aviators who wrestled with flight controls, furiously scanned instruments, and navigated using paper charts.


From ACM News

The Surprising Uses of Games Controllers

The Surprising Uses of Games Controllers

Games controllers can end up in the strangest places.


From ACM Opinion

Boston Researcher Cynthia Breazeal Is Ready to Bring Robots Into the Home. Are You?

Boston Researcher Cynthia Breazeal Is Ready to Bring Robots Into the Home. Are You?

The MIT Media Lab's Personal Robots Group flanks the soaring atrium on the fourth floor of the Wiesner Building, a wall of metal panels along the southern edge of Cambridge, Mass.


From ACM News

Opals: Light Beams Let Data Rates Soar

Opals: Light Beams Let Data Rates Soar

You may know opals as fiery gemstones, but something special called OPALS is floating above us in space. On the International Space Station, the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) is demonstrating how laser communications…


From ACM News

Data From Our Wearables Is Now Courtroom Fodder

Data From Our Wearables Is Now Courtroom Fodder

Courtrooms typically lag in technological innovation.


From ACM TechNews

Two Robots, One Challenge, Endless Possibility

Two Robots, One Challenge, Endless Possibility

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is developing robots that can enter dangerous places. 


From ACM TechNews

Jesse Jackson Gets Silicon Valley to Talk Diversity

Jesse Jackson Gets Silicon Valley to Talk Diversity

Technology industry representatives attended a summit on diversity in the tech workforce organized by Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition and hosted by Intel. 


From ACM TechNews

Web Inventor Berners-Lee: The Hidden Cost of Mass Surveillance

Web Inventor Berners-Lee: The Hidden Cost of Mass Surveillance

Sir Tim Berners-Lee this week discussed the need for governments to end mass online surveillance.


From ACM TechNews

More-Flexible Digital Communication

More-Flexible Digital Communication

Researchers say they have begun to describe theoretical limits on the degree of imprecision that communicating computers can tolerate. 


From ACM TechNews

Media Portrayals of Women in Tech: Google Joins Nonprofits to Drive Change

Media Portrayals of Women in Tech: Google Joins Nonprofits to Drive Change

Google has joined with two nonprofits to create a new award for the best media portrayal of women in technology. 


From ACM News

Food: The Rarely Seen Robots That Package What We Eat

Food: The Rarely Seen Robots That Package What We Eat

Last July, while touring a jelly bean factory, I came upon a startling sight.


From ACM News

An Interface For Tracking Botnets That's Fit For a Sci-Fi Starship

An Interface For Tracking Botnets That's Fit For a Sci-Fi Starship

What do you get when you ask a bunch of digital artists to dream up a state-of-the-art tool for fighting cybercrime?