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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 2012


From ACM News

Mind-Controlled Robot Arms Show Promise

Mind-Controlled Robot Arms Show Promise

 Two people who are unable to move their limbs have been able to guide a robot arm to reach and grasp objects using only their brain activity, a paper in Nature reported yesterday.


From ACM News

Why Flipping Through Paper-Like Pages Endures in the Digital World

Why Flipping Through Paper-Like Pages Endures in the Digital World

When Instapaper developer Marco Arment updated his popular offline reading app for the iPad, something was different. Instapaper's normal pagination action—rendering single pages of text in place of scrolling—could be swapped…


From ACM TechNews

Floating Robots Use Gps-Enabled Smartphones to Track Water Flow

Floating Robots Use Gps-Enabled Smartphones to Track Water Flow

University of California, Berkeley researchers have developed the Floating Sensor Network project, which offers a network of mobile sensors that can be rapidly deployed to provide real-time, high-resolution data in hard-to-map…


From ACM News

Nasa Survey Counts Potentially Hazardous Asteroids

Nasa Survey Counts Potentially Hazardous Asteroids

Observations from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) have led to the best assessment yet of our solar system's population of potentially hazardous asteroids.


From ACM TechNews

Smart Phones Are Changing Real World Privacy Settings

Smart Phones Are Changing Real World Privacy Settings

Tel Aviv University researchers have found that smartphones are challenging traditional concepts of privacy, especially in the public arena.  


From ACM TechNews

Cloud Services Satisfy a Higher Calling

Cloud Services Satisfy a Higher Calling

The Internet2 NET+ project recently announced the addition of 16 cloud services to its NET+ program, which is aimed at reducing the barriers to research.  


From ACM News

Here Comes the Sunstorm

Here Comes the Sunstorm

With a peak in the cycle of solar flares approaching, U.S. electricity regulators are weighing their options for protecting the nation's grid from the sun's eruptions—including new equipment standards and retrofits—while keeping…


From ACM News

Scientists Read a Galaxy's Entrails

Scientists Read a Galaxy's Entrails

Astronomers are taking a long, deep look at one of the best-known galaxies beyond our own Milky Way, to learn more about what happened when it gobbled up another agglomeration of stars that got too close.


From ACM News

Facebook's Prospects May Rest on Trove of Data

Facebook's Prospects May Rest on Trove of Data

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief, has managed to amass more information about more people than anyone else in history. Now what?


From ACM TechNews

Font for Digits Lets Numbers Punch Their Weight

Font for Digits Lets Numbers Punch Their Weight

Researchers at the St. Andrews and Calgary universities have developed FatFonts, a font that offers a way to write numbers so that their areas equal their numerical value.


From ACM TechNews

Researchers Propose Solution to 'Bufferbloat'

Researchers Propose Solution to 'Bufferbloat'

Xerox PARC's Van Jacobson and Pollere's Kathleen Nichols have developed Controlled Delay, a queue management mechanism designed to solve the "bufferbloat" problem, which happens when packet buffering causes high latency and jitter…


From ACM TechNews

The Elusive Capacity of Networks

The Elusive Capacity of Networks

Researchers at MIT, the California Institute of Technology, and the University of Technology in Munich have shown that in a wired network, network coding and error-correcting coding can be handled separately without causing a…


From ACM News

Court ­pholds Google-Nsa Relationship Secrecy

Court ­pholds Google-Nsa Relationship Secrecy

A federal appeals court last Friday upheld the National Security Agency's decision to withhold from the public documents confirming or denying any relationship it has with Google concerning encryption and cybersecurity.


From ACM News

Free, Browser-Based 'wolfenstein 3d' Released By Bethesda

Free, Browser-Based 'wolfenstein 3d' Released By Bethesda

Bethesda Softworks has released a free, browser-based version of the iconic first-person shooter, Wolfenstein 3D.


From ACM News

Implanted User Interfaces: I've Got You Under My Skin

Implanted User Interfaces: I've Got You Under My Skin

The human body is regularly augmented with technology, from pacemakers and hearing aids to magnets people embed under their skin to give them a new sense. However, these implants typically don't provide any means to directly…


From ACM TechNews

Deaf IBM Researcher Scoffs at Not Talking on the Phone

Deaf IBM Researcher Scoffs at Not Talking on the Phone

IBM researcher Dimitri Kanevsky was recently honored at the White House to celebrate his achievements in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math for people with disabilities.  


From ACM TechNews

US Sets $1.4m to Get Unique Metaphor-Recognizing Software System Humming

US Sets $1.4m to Get Unique Metaphor-Recognizing Software System Humming

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory has awarded a $1.4 million contract to a team that plans to develop software that can automatically recognize metaphorical speech in five languages.  


From ACM TechNews

Robots Learn to Pick ­p Oddly Shaped Objects

Robots Learn to Pick ­p Oddly Shaped Objects

Cornell University researchers have developed a algorithm that enables a robot to learn grasping skills from experience and apply them to new situations.


From ACM News

The Education of Mark Zuckerberg

The Education of Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg is ready for his close-up.


From ACM News

­niversity of Florida Endangers CS Department

­niversity of Florida Endangers CS Department

Four weeks into the academic tussle between computer science students and the administration of the University of Florida, the controversy surrounding a drastic restructuring of the school's CS department remains unresolved.


From ACM Opinion

Intel Futurist on Why We Should Not Fear the Future

Intel Futurist on Why We Should Not Fear the Future

Much of Intel's success as a microprocessor manufacturer over the past four decades has come from the company's ability to understand and anticipate the future of technology.


From ACM News

Iran Slams Google for Leaving Persian Gulf Nameless

Iran Slams Google for Leaving Persian Gulf Nameless

Iran on Saturday criticized Google for leaving the body of water separating it from the Arabian peninsula nameless on its online map service, saying it would hurt the Internet giant's credibility and creditability.


From ACM Careers

Coolest Jobs in Tech: From the Pits of Le Mans to the Dugouts of Fenway Park

Coolest Jobs in Tech: From the Pits of Le Mans to the Dugouts of Fenway Park

When race cars whiz around a track at 200 miles per hour, driving ability isn't the only factor that determines who wins the race.


From ACM News

Cyber Briefings 'scare The Bejeezus' Out Of Ceos

Cyber Briefings 'scare The Bejeezus' Out Of Ceos

For the CEOs of companies such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard, talk of cyberweapons and cyberwar could have been abstract. But at a classified security briefing in spring 2010, it suddenly became quite real.


From ACM TechNews

Best Websites Balance Self-Expression and Functionality

Best Websites Balance Self-Expression and Functionality

Penn State University researchers have found that providing users with a certain amount of freedom to express themselves could help designers develop more interactive Web portals and online communities.  


From ACM TechNews

AI Branding Automates the Brainstorm

AI Branding Automates the Brainstorm

Bruno Kessler Foundation researchers Carlo Strapparava and Gozde Ozbal have developed artificial intelligence-based branding software that can mimic the process of naming companies with effective brand names.  


From ACM TechNews

Smart Shoes Step ­p the Wearable-Computing Pace

Smart Shoes Step ­p the Wearable-Computing Pace

Researchers at the universities of Munich and Toronto have developed ShoeSense, a type of wearable computing system for smartphones.  


From ACM News

A Computer Interface that Takes a Load Off Your Mind

A Computer Interface that Takes a Load Off Your Mind

Conversations between people include a lot more than just words. All sorts of visual and aural cues indicate each party's state of mind and make for a productive interaction.


From ACM News

Next Xbox Could Have a Biometric Controller

Next Xbox Could Have a Biometric Controller

The controller for the next Xbox might be able to take biometric readings of your hand, according to a recent Microsoft patent.


From ACM News

A Revamping of Bing in the Battle For Search Engine Supremacy

A Revamping of Bing in the Battle For Search Engine Supremacy

When Facebook goes public in the coming weeks, there will be a lot of winners. Among them is one of the stalwarts of the tech industry, Microsoft, which has a small stake in the company.