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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.

May 2011


From ACM News

Divorce Lawyers' New Friend: Social Networks

Discretion and privacy have become antiquated notions on social networks, and the generous revelation of secrets make some people cringe—though not divorce lawyers searching for evidence of misbehavior by their clients' spouses…


From ACM News

Crazy Military Tracking Tech, From Super Scents to Quantum Dots

Crazy Military Tracking Tech, From Super Scents to Quantum Dots

Scents that make you trackable, indoors and out. Nanocrystals that stick to your body, and light up on night-vision goggles. Miniradar that maps your location on Google Earth.


From ACM TechNews

The Search Serpent: The Next Wave in Robotics

The Search Serpent: The Next Wave in Robotics

Carnegie Mellon University researcher Howie Choset worked with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Annette Hossoi to develop a snake-like robot that can chart its own path through any type of terrain and has many degrees…


From ACM News

Siemens Scada Hacking Talk Pulled Over Security Concerns

A planned presentation on security vulnerabilities in Siemens industrial control systems was pulled Wednesday over worries that the information in the talk was too dangerous to be released.


From ACM TechNews

Iphone App Uses Crowd Sourcing to Help the Blind

Iphone App Uses Crowd Sourcing to Help the Blind

Researchers from several universities have collaborated on a crowdsourcing project to develop VizWiz, a system that enables a blind user to take photos of an object, ask a question about something in the picture, and receive…


From ACM News

Eric Schmidt: Anti-Piracy Laws Would Be Disaster For Free Speech

Eric Schmidt: Anti-Piracy Laws Would Be Disaster For Free Speech

Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, warned on Wednesday that government plans to block access to illicit filesharing websites could set a "disastrous precedent" for freedom of speech.


From ACM News

Spy Planes Played Indispensable Role in Mission

The raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan represents probably the biggest success so far of a revolution in military technology: the ability to relay vast amounts of digital imagery through the unblinking eye of robotic…


From ACM News

Bin Laden Compound Now a Virtual Training Ground for Commandos

Bin Laden Compound Now a Virtual Training Ground for Commandos

To passers-by, T.J., a fit 20-something, is running around a red felt carpet about half the size of a basketball court inside a convention center. In his mind, he's wearing a full set of body armor, his face obscured by a…


From ACM News

For Buyers of Web Start-­ps, Quest to Corral Young Talent

For Buyers of Web Start-­ps, Quest to Corral Young Talent

Sam Lessin sold his Web start-up to Facebook for millions last year, and Facebook promptly shut it down. All Facebook wanted was Mr. Lessin.


From ACM News

Irobot Contemplates the Next Big Leap For Robotics, Google's Along For the Ride

Irobot Contemplates the Next Big Leap For Robotics, Google's Along For the Ride

When I saw iRobot's Ava at CES this January, I was pretty insanely excited. Just a month or so prior I had been prodding iRobot CEO Colin Angle about building a "real" robot, something that was multipurpose (not a vacuum cleaner)…


From ACM News

Free-Floating Planets May Be More Common Than Stars

Free-Floating Planets May Be More Common Than Stars

Astronomers, including a NASA-funded team member, have discovered a new class of Jupiter-sized planets floating alone in the dark of space, away from the light of a star.


From ACM News

Sony Ceo Warns of 'bad New World'

Sony Ceo Warns of 'bad New World'

After spending weeks to resolve a massive Internet security breach, Sony Corp. Chief Executive Howard Stringer said he can't guarantee the security of the company's videogame network or any other Web system in the "bad new…


From ACM News

It Employment Passes 4 Million Again, Regains Recession Losses

In November 2008, two months after Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and Hewlett-Packard announced plans to lay off some 25,000 workers, IT employment reached 4 million for the first time. From that point on, the economy…


From ACM TechNews

Successful First Test Drive of "sighted" Wheelchair

Successful First Test Drive of "sighted" Wheelchair

Lulea University of Technology researchers have developed an electric wheelchair that can detect the surrounding environment and transmit the information to a visually impaired user.


From ACM TechNews

The Next Computer: Your Genes

The Next Computer: Your Genes

Nanyang Technical University researchers are developing a new form of computing, based on DNA strands, which could be used to solve complex problems, such as strategic assignment problems, massive parallel problems, and artificial…


From ACM TechNews

Obama Administration Outlines International Strategy For Cyberspace

Obama Administration Outlines International Strategy For Cyberspace

President Obama has released an international strategy for cyberspace security that focuses on developing rules for responsible state behavior with the goal of promoting a secure, open Internet and other important computer networks…


From ACM TechNews

Which Technologies Get Better Faster?

Which Technologies Get Better Faster?

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed a mathematical model to predict which technologies are the most likely to rapidly advance and be worth more investment in research and resources.


From ACM News

Why Bayes Rules: The History of a Formula That Drives Modern Life

Why Bayes Rules: The History of a Formula That Drives Modern Life

Google has a small fleet of robotic cars that since autumn have driven themselves for thousands of miles on the streets of Northern California without once striking a pedestrian, running a stoplight or having to ask directions…


From ACM News

Netflix Biggest Driver of U.s. Internet Traffic, Puts Spotlight on Broadband Pricing

Netflix streaming videos drove nearly 30% of all North American broadband Internet traffic during peak hours, with consumers continuing their voracious appetite for real-time entertainment on the Web, according to broadband…


From ACM News

Why You Can't Really Anonymize Your Data

One of the joys of the last few years has been the flood of real-world data sets being released by all sorts of organizations. These usually involve some record of individuals' activities, so to assuage privacy fears, the…


From ACM News

Memristors' Current Carves Protected Channels

Memristors' Current Carves Protected Channels

A circuit component touted as the "missing link" of electronics is starting to give up the secrets of how it works.


From ACM News

Intel Ceo: Big Shift to Mobile

Intel Ceo: Big Shift to Mobile

CEO Paul Otellini said today that Intel is embarking on a big shift in focus, moving its center of gravity to the most power-efficient devices.


From ACM News

Considering the Chromebook

Considering the Chromebook

Is Google's new Web-based laptop a game-changing computer or a warmed-over netbook?


From ACM News

Andy Rubin: Why Android Is Only Quasi-Open

Andy Rubin: Why Android Is Only Quasi-Open

Android is open-source software, but it doesn't come with much of an open-source community, and the Google leader of the project explained why.


From ACM News

Why Gadget Makers Wield a 'Kill Switch'

Why Gadget Makers Wield a 'Kill Switch'

When you buy a video game from Best Buy, you don't give the retailer the right to barge into your house whenever it wants. So why do we give that permission to software companies?


From ACM News

Sec Is Pressed on Firms' Disclosures of Cyberattacks

A group of U.S. lawmakers wants the Securities and Exchange Commission to push companies to disclose when they have fallen victim to cyberattacks.


From ACM TechNews

System Enables Hands-Free Control of Electric Wheelchairs

People suffering from severe disabilities would be able to use a new recognition system to control an electric-powered wheelchair developed by a team at Essex University.


From ACM TechNews

Kermit Helps Households Monitor and Manage Their Internet Speed

Kermit Helps Households Monitor and Manage Their Internet Speed

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have developed Kermit, an application that enables home users to monitor and manage their Internet connection speed.


From ACM TechNews

Software Reveals Critical Crop Growth Stages

Software Reveals Critical Crop Growth Stages

The U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher Greg McMaster has developed the Phenology Modular Modeling System, software that can predict the growth stages of plants and help farmers and ranchers with time-management tasks.


From ACM News

How Computers Got US Into Space

How Computers Got US Into Space

When you look back at the past 50 years of human spaceflight, don't forget the computer scientists who helped make it possible.