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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 2015


From ACM News

Nasa's Fermi Satellite Kicks Off a Blazar-Detecting Bonanza

Nasa's Fermi Satellite Kicks Off a Blazar-Detecting Bonanza

A long time ago in a galaxy half the universe away, a flood of high-energy gamma rays began its journey to Earth.


From ACM News

Visualization Streams For ­ltimate Scalability

Visualization Streams For ­ltimate Scalability

In this era of big data, the world needs tools that can visualize the most important aspects of data without having to hold it all in memory.


From ACM News

What Can—or Should—internet Companies Do to Fight Terrorism?

What Can—or Should—internet Companies Do to Fight Terrorism?

After the recent attacks in Paris and in San Bernardino, Calif., social media platforms are under pressure from politicians to do more to take down messages and videos intended to promote terrorist groups and recruit members.


From ACM TechNews

­c Davis Scientists Demonstrate Dna-Based Electromechanical Switch

­c Davis Scientists Demonstrate Dna-Based Electromechanical Switch

Researchers have demonstrated a method of modulating the conductance of DNA by controlling its structure. 


From ACM TechNews

Scientists Discover New Computerized Linguistic Approach to Detect Alzheimer's Disease

Scientists Discover New Computerized Linguistic Approach to Detect Alzheimer's Disease

University Health Network researchers have discovered how to diagnose Alzheimer's disease with more than 82% accuracy.


From ACM TechNews

Yahoo's Engineers Move to Coding Without a Net

Yahoo's Engineers Move to Coding Without a Net

Software engineering at Yahoo has undergone a transformation resulting in fewer errors and a much faster development cycle. 


From ACM News

Fact-Checking the Debate on Encryption

Fact-Checking the Debate on Encryption

As politicians and counter-terrorism officials search for lessons from the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, senior officials have called for limits on technology that sends encrypted messages.


From ACM Opinion

How the Science in 'star Wars’ Is Actually Real

How the Science in 'star Wars’ Is Actually Real

For a story that takes place "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" a great deal of the technology in the "Star Wars" series actually has parallels today on planet Earth.


From ACM News

How Thermal Imaging Tech Is About to Become Hot Stuff

How Thermal Imaging Tech Is About to Become Hot Stuff

Although it's already been used by industry, the military and some emergency services, it was expensive and therefore had a limited market.


From ACM TechNews

Online Degree Hits Learning Curve

Online Degree Hits Learning Curve

The Georgia Institute of Technology's launch of an inexpensive online computer science master's degree program two years ago has had mixed results.


From ACM TechNews

Computing With Time Travel

Computing With Time Travel

National University of Singapore researchers have shown a quantum computer can solve insoluble problems even if it is traveling along "open time-like curves." 


From ACM TechNews

New Lie-Detecting Software From ­-M ­ses Real Court Case Data

New Lie-Detecting Software From ­-M ­ses Real Court Case Data

Researchers from the University of Michigan are using machine-learning techniques to develop new lie-detecting software. 


From ACM TechNews

Stanford-Led Skyscraper-Style Chip Design Boosts Electronic Performance By Factor of a Thousand

Stanford-Led Skyscraper-Style Chip Design Boosts Electronic Performance By Factor of a Thousand

Stanford University engineers are leading a multi-institution effort to develop a revolutionary high-rise architecture for computing. 


From ACM News

Silicon Valley Faces Showdown as Lawmakers Fume Over Encryption

Silicon Valley Faces Showdown as Lawmakers Fume Over Encryption

A number of lawmakers on Thursday expressed a growing frustration with technology companies and signaled Congress would consider either curbing encrypted communications or allowing law enforcement to gain new access to records…


From ACM News

Artificial-Intelligence Research Center Is Founded By Silicon Valley Investors

Artificial-Intelligence Research Center Is Founded By Silicon Valley Investors

A group of prominent Silicon Valley investors and technology companies said on Friday that they would establish an artificial-intelligence research center to develop "digital intelligence" that will benefit humanity.


From ACM News

Seymour Cray and the Development of Supercomputers

Seymour Cray and the Development of Supercomputers

Join us in the Linux Voice time machine once more as we go back to the 1970s and the early Cray supercomputers.


From ACM News

Paradox at the Heart of Mathematics Makes Physics Problem ­nanswerable

Paradox at the Heart of Mathematics Makes Physics Problem ­nanswerable

A logical paradox at the heart of mathematics and computer science turns out to have implications for the real world, making a basic question about matter fundamentally unanswerable.


From ACM News

Nasa Mars Rover Curiosity Reaches Sand Dunes

Nasa Mars Rover Curiosity Reaches Sand Dunes

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has begun an up-close investigation of dark sand dunes up to two stories tall. The dunes are on the rover's trek up the lower portion of a layered Martian mountain.


From ACM TechNews

Growth in Computer Science Driven By Student Interest, Societal Need

Growth in Computer Science Driven By Student Interest, Societal Need

In response to growing enrollment and increasing interest from other disciplines, Princeton University is expanding its computer science faculty by more than 30%.


From ACM TechNews

In Belgium, an Encryption Powerhouse Rises

In Belgium, an Encryption Powerhouse Rises

Belgium's University of Leuven has become a stage where privacy and surveillance advocates are fighting over digital encryption.


From ACM TechNews

Tiny Chip That Powers Itself From Radio Waves

Tiny Chip That Powers Itself From Radio Waves

Eindhoven University of Technology researchers have developed a tiny sensor powered by the radio waves it uses to communicate information.


From ACM TechNews

This Is How You Count All the Trees on Earth

This Is How You Count All the Trees on Earth

Researchers have proposed a tree-counting project that combines better algorithms with less costly and faster data processing.


From ACM TechNews

Tech Breakthroughs Are Giving Animals the Power to Speak

Tech Breakthroughs Are Giving Animals the Power to Speak

Scientists are developing new technologies to enhance human-animal communication and interaction. 


From ACM Careers

Backslash: Anti-Surveillance Gadgets For Protesters

Backslash: Anti-Surveillance Gadgets For Protesters

When riot police descended on protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, last year sporting assault rifles and armored vehicles, the images sparked an awareness of the military technologies and tactics authorities have adopted over the…


From ACM News

For Google, Quantum Computing Is Like Learning to Fly

For Google, Quantum Computing Is Like Learning to Fly

At a NASA lab in Silicon Valley, Google is testing a quantum computer—a machine based on the seemingly magical principles of quantum mechanics, the physics of things like atoms and electrons and photons.


From ACM News

A Learning Advance in Artificial Intelligence Rivals Human Abilities

A Learning Advance in Artificial Intelligence Rivals Human Abilities

Taking inspiration from the way humans seem to learn, scientists have created AI software capable of picking up new knowledge in a far more efficient and sophisticated way.


From ACM News

The Most Likely Spots for Life in the Milky Way

The Most Likely Spots for Life in the Milky Way

Our home galaxy isn't as hospitable to life as you might think.


From ACM News

Americans Attracted to Isis Find an 'echo Chamber' on Social Media

Americans Attracted to Isis Find an 'echo Chamber' on Social Media

When a lonely Virginia teenager named Ali Amin got curious about the Islamic State last year and went online to learn more, he found a virtual community awaiting.


From ACM TechNews

These 3 Guys May Have Figured Out How to Predict Awesome Sunsets

These 3 Guys May Have Figured Out How to Predict Awesome Sunsets

Three young weather enthusiasts in Pennsylvania have developed a new computer model that can predict visually striking sunsets. 


From ACM TechNews

Improved Tools For Structured Matrix Computations

Improved Tools For Structured Matrix Computations

A researcher has built stratification graphs to provide deeper understanding of how characteristics of an underlying physical system can change from small perturbations.