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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.

March 2013


From ACM TechNews

New Flash Memory Combines Graphene and Molybdenite

New Flash Memory Combines Graphene and Molybdenite

A flash memory prototype made from a combination of graphene and molybdenite offers promising performance, size, flexibility, and power characteristics. 


From ACM TechNews

Microsoft Raises Mobile Payment Bar With Zero-Effort Payment

Microsoft Raises Mobile Payment Bar With Zero-Effort Payment

An experimental mobile payment system could enable users to pay for goods without having to get out their handsets. 


From ACM TechNews

New Zealand Streamlines E-Health With Robotics Technology

New Zealand Streamlines E-Health With Robotics Technology

Researchers are developing robotics technology to streamline healthcare for home-bound patients and the elderly in remote areas. 


From ACM TechNews

Second Computer Glitch Stalls NASA's Mars Rover

Second Computer Glitch Stalls NASA's Mars Rover

The Mars rover Curiosity recently put itself into safe mode after a software bug caused a command file to fail a size-check. 


From ACM News

Hacking Highlights Dangers to Seoul of North's Cyber-Warriors

Hacking Highlights Dangers to Seoul of North's Cyber-Warriors

A hacking attack that brought down three South Korean broadcasters and two major banks has been identified by most commentators as North Korea flexing its muscles as military tensions on the divided peninsula sky-rocket.


From ACM News

How NASA's Giant New Space Telescope Will Make Life on Earth Better

How NASA's Giant New Space Telescope Will Make Life on Earth Better

NASA is responsible for more Earth-bound technologies than just space ice cream; the organization's research has led to everything from new kinds of artificial limbs to better fire-fighting equipment (and don't forget Tang). 


From ACM News

Princess Leia Hologram Could Become Reality

Princess Leia Hologram Could Become Reality

Scientists have created a glasses-free, 3D display that could mimic the famous hologram projection of Princess Leia in the original 1977 Star Wars film.


From ACM News

Curiosity's Discoveries Hint at Life's Cradle on Mars

Curiosity's Discoveries Hint at Life's Cradle on Mars

NASA's Curiosity rover has found what it was looking for in its very first taste of Martian rock—much to everyone's surprise.


From ACM News

Curiosity Rover Exits 'Safe Mode'

Curiosity Rover Exits 'Safe Mode'

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has returned to active status and is on track to resume science investigations, following two days in a precautionary standby status, "safe mode."


From ACM News

Meet Yeti, the South Pole's Crevasse-Detecting Robot

Meet Yeti, the South Pole's Crevasse-Detecting Robot

Continental glaciers are interesting for all kinds of reasons. Ask the National Science Foundation, and it will likely tell you that drilling into the Greenland ice sheet can tell us a great deal about the Earth's climate 100…


From ACM News

Raspberry Pi Heads for the Open Ocean

Raspberry Pi Heads for the Open Ocean

Confronted with that tiny device, some have seen a way to play old arcade games, as a media server or to monitor their sleeping children. There are some that have used a Pi to control balloons that float to the edge of space.


From ACM TechNews

Big Data Roadblocks Will Slow Driverless Cars Until 2040, Analyst Says

Big Data Roadblocks Will Slow Driverless Cars Until 2040, Analyst Says

Despite aggressive predictions on the time frame for mainstream adoption of driverless cars due to progress in autonomous vehicle technology, some experts say privacy concerns and other issues might delay widespread adoption…


From ACM TechNews

Are You Paying Attention? Computer Says No

Are You Paying Attention? Computer Says No

A computer system developed by scientists at St. Andrews University keeps users focused on their work by replacing the regular screen image with a calm and non-distracting visualization of the screen's activity.


From ACM TechNews

Sequester Cuts University Research Funds

Sequester Cuts University Research Funds

The federal government is reducing support for academic laboratories across the United States to satisfy the sequester mandate to cut spending. The budget sequester is likely to shrink federal funding to universities for R&D…


From ACM TechNews

Web Pioneers Win Inaugural $1.5M Engineering Prize

Web Pioneers Win Inaugural $1.5M Engineering Prize

The inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering will go to Internet and World Wide Web pioneers Robert Kahn, Vinton Cerf, and Marc Andreessen of the United States, Louis Pouzin of France, and Sir Tim Berners-Lee of Britain…


From ACM TechNews

Finally, a Robot Chimp That Turns Into a Tank

Finally, a Robot Chimp That Turns Into a Tank

Some of the contestants in the DARPA Robotics Challenge, launched in April 2012, are starting to reveal aspects of their projects. The Carnegie Mellon University team is developing an ape-like robot with tank treads undergirding…


From ACM TechNews

Bringing a Virtual Brain to Life

Bringing a Virtual Brain to Life

Critics say the Human Brain Project cannot succeed in creating a virtual brain within the 10-year time frame of a recent $1.3-billion European Union grant. 


From ACM News

Cyberwar Manual Lays Down Rules for Online Attacks

Cyberwar Manual Lays Down Rules for Online Attacks

Even cyberwar has rules, and one group of experts is putting out a manual to prove it.


From ACM News

Smartphones Are Reinventing—And Ditching—the Keyboard

Smartphones Are Reinventing—And Ditching—the Keyboard

In the future, your smartphone won't auto-correct your errors. It will correct them before they're even made.


From ACM News

When 'Likes' Can Shed Light

When 'Likes' Can Shed Light

Patterns of "Likes" posted by people on Facebook can unintentionally expose their political and religious views, drug use, divorce, and sexual orientation, researchers said.


From ACM TechNews

Videogame Power Harnessed for Positive Goals

Videogame Power Harnessed for Positive Goals

U.S. researchers are praising video games for their positive effects on health, learning, and other social goals.  


From ACM TechNews

'Metasurfaces' to Usher in New Optical Technologies

'Metasurfaces' to Usher in New Optical Technologies

Purdue University researchers are developing optical technologies that could enable planar photonics devices and optical switches small enough to be integrated into computer chips for information processing and telecommunications…


From ACM News

Mind Plus Machine

Mind Plus Machine

Behind a locked door in a white-walled basement in a research building in Tempe, Ariz., a monkey sits stone-still in a chair, eyes locked on a computer screen.


From ACM News

U.S. Drones Fail to Identify Blind Spots of Iran's Radar Systems

U.S. Drones Fail to Identify Blind Spots of Iran's Radar Systems

A senior Iranian lawmaker lauded the country's Armed Forces for their vigilance and ability in discovering and repelling enemy aggressions, and said the US intended to pinpoint the blind spots of Iran's radar systems through…


From ACM News

Cyberattack on Florida Election Is First Known Case in U.S., Experts Say

Cyberattack on Florida Election Is First Known Case in U.S., Experts Say

An attempt to illegally obtain absentee ballots in Florida last year is the first known case in the U.S. of a cyberattack against an online election system, according to computer scientists and lawyers working to safeguard voting…


From ACM TechNews

Superhero Science: UIC Students Build 'SpiderSense' Suit

Superhero Science: UIC Students Build 'SpiderSense' Suit

University of Illinois at Chicago computer science, communication, and bioengineering students say they have created a suit equipped with sensory receptors that enable a wearer to "feel" their environment, in a manner similar…


From ACM TechNews

Study Shows Just How Fast Censorship Can Occur in Social Media

Study Shows Just How Fast Censorship Can Occur in Social Media

Researchers have found that Sina Weibo, the Twitter-like Chinese social media service, uses a combination of software and human censors to monitor and delete potentially controversial posts on the site in less than five minutes…


From ACM TechNews

New Research Discovers the Emergence of Twitter 'Tribes'

New Research Discovers the Emergence of Twitter 'Tribes'

Users of social network sites such as Twitter are forming tribe-like communities, according to a new project led by scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London, and Princeton University.


From ACM TechNews

The Age of the Sentient Machine Is Upon Us

The Age of the Sentient Machine Is Upon Us

Noting that systems such as Apple's Siri and IBM's Watson supercomputer already can respond to voice recognition and synthesize speech, IBM fellow Grady Booch says that an-made intelligent devices will eventually become sentient…


From ACM TechNews

IBM Eyes 'Big Data' Help for Brain Injury

IBM Eyes 'Big Data' Help for Brain Injury

Aiming to leverage big data technology for the benefit of healthcare, IBM is working with Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center physicians to develop data-analysis technology that will improve traumatic brain injury treatment.