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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.

June 2018


From ACM TechNews

Digital Skills Gap Opens Up in English Schools

Digital Skills Gap Opens Up in English Schools

Fewer children in the U.K. are developing the digital skills that employers and government say are vital.


From ACM TechNews

Inside Portland's Plan to Battle Traffic Deaths by Hanging 'Smartphones' on Street Lights

Inside Portland's Plan to Battle Traffic Deaths by Hanging 'Smartphones' on Street Lights

The city of Portland, OR, hopes to reduce traffic-related fatalities by equipping streetlights with sensors programmed to constantly detect speed and motion data.


From ACM TechNews

A Robot Has Performed Eye Surgery on Humans for the First Time

A Robot Has Performed Eye Surgery on Humans for the First Time

Researchers used a robot developed to can perform eye surgery on humans to help six patients who needed a membrane removed from their retina to improve their vision.


From ACM TechNews

Chip ­pgrade Helps Miniature Drones Navigate

Chip ­pgrade Helps Miniature Drones Navigate

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers reduced the size and power consumption of a computer chip they designed in 2017 to help honeybee-sized drones navigate.


From ACM News

New Human Gene Tally Reignites Debate

New Human Gene Tally Reignites Debate

One of the earliest attempts to estimate the number of genes in the human genome involved tipsy geneticists, a bar in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, and pure guesswork.


From ACM News

The Unexpected Fallout of Iran's Telegram Ban

The Unexpected Fallout of Iran's Telegram Ban

Seven weeks after Iran's conservative-led judiciary banned the secure communications app Telegram inside the country, Iranians are still reeling from the change.


From ACM TechNews

Iowa Dedicates $1 Million to Train Computer Science Teachers

Iowa Dedicates $1 Million to Train Computer Science Teachers

The Iowa Board of Education has adopted suggested computer science standards, which set new learning goals for students.


From ACM TechNews

Underwater Robot Finds Second World War Bomber Plane on Seabed

Underwater Robot Finds Second World War Bomber Plane on Seabed

Harvey Mudd College researchers have developed a novel autonomous underwater vehicle that can explore the sea floor looking for signs of wrecked ships.


From ACM TechNews

This Algorithm Can Tell Which Number Sequences a Human Will Find Interesting

This Algorithm Can Tell Which Number Sequences a Human Will Find Interesting

A new machine learning algorithm can spot specific patterns in mathematical structures and apply them to extract interesting sequences from randomly generated ones.


From ACM News

Are Your Plants Misbehaving? Call a Robotanist

Are Your Plants Misbehaving? Call a Robotanist

Robotic management can help ensure that plants and trees in public spaces grow in desired shapes and sizes.


From ACM News

New AI System Can Imagine What It Hasn't Seen

New AI System Can Imagine What It Hasn't Seen

"Before we work on artificial intelligence, why don't we do something about natural stupidity?" computer scientist Steve Polyak once joked.


From ACM News

Astronomers See Distant Eruption as Black Hole Destroys Star

Astronomers See Distant Eruption as Black Hole Destroys Star

For the first time, astronomers have directly imaged the formation and expansion of a fast-moving jet of material ejected when the powerful gravity of a supermassive black hole ripped apart a star that wandered too close to the…


From ACM TechNews

Researchers Investigate Potential Threat to Speech Privacy via Smartphone Motion Sensors

Researchers Investigate Potential Threat to Speech Privacy via Smartphone Motion Sensors

Researchers have determined that smartphone motion sensors could be exploited to compromise speech privacy, albeit in limited situations.


From ACM TechNews

AI Drone Learns to Detect Brawls

AI Drone Learns to Detect Brawls

Researchers used deep learning to develop a drone surveillance system that automatically detects small groups of people fighting each other.


From ACM TechNews

Computer Algorithms Can Test the Dodginess of Published Results

Computer Algorithms Can Test the Dodginess of Published Results

Researchers have developed a method for algorithmically gauging manipulation of published scientific results.


From ACM TechNews

GoFly Prize ­nveils 10 Winning Designs in $2M Contest for Personal Air Vehicles

GoFly Prize ­nveils 10 Winning Designs in $2M Contest for Personal Air Vehicles

The first phase of the GoFly Prize competition for one-person air vehicles has yielded 10 diverse concepts.


From ACM TechNews

­A Encourages Visually Impaired Teens in STEM

­A Encourages Visually Impaired Teens in STEM

The University of Arizona is running a project designed to introduce visually impaired middle and high school students to career possibilities in STEM.


From ACM TechNews

Forgotten Corner of Europe Brought Back to Life, Thanks to AI

Forgotten Corner of Europe Brought Back to Life, Thanks to AI

Researchers used artificial intelligence methods to learn of previously unknown political and cultural events which took place in a forgotten corner of the Austrian Empire.


From ACM News

Spotlight Falls on Russian Threat to ­ndersea Cables

Spotlight Falls on Russian Threat to ­ndersea Cables

The Trump administration's new sanctions on Russia are casting light on the threat posed to the undersea cables that carry the world's electronic communications between continents.


From ACM News

If You're A Facebook ­ser, You're Also a Research Subject

If You're A Facebook ­ser, You're Also a Research Subject

The professor was incredulous.


From ACM News

Seafloor Fiber Optic Cables Can Work Like Seismometers

Seafloor Fiber Optic Cables Can Work Like Seismometers

There are enough seismometers around these days to detect and locate nearly all earthquakes on land, except the most minuscule ones.


From ACM TechNews

Intelligent Awareness System to Improve Safety on Passenger Ferry

Intelligent Awareness System to Improve Safety on Passenger Ferry

The marine division of Rolls-Royce has introduced a situational awareness and intelligence system to reduce the risk of ferry collisions and night-time groundings.


From ACM TechNews

Anti-Swearing AI Takes the Edge Off Abuse on Reddit and Twitter

Anti-Swearing AI Takes the Edge Off Abuse on Reddit and Twitter

IBM researchers have developed a system that translates offensive comments on social media into more polite language, while keeping the content intact.


From ACM TechNews

MIT Engineers Configure RFID Tags to Work as Sensors

MIT Engineers Configure RFID Tags to Work as Sensors

Researchers have developed an ultra-high-frequency radio-frequency identification tag-sensor configuration that senses spikes in glucose and wirelessly transmits that information.


From ACM TechNews

Participation in AP Computer Science Principles Grows Again

Participation in AP Computer Science Principles Grows Again

Between last year and this year, the number of students taking the Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles exam increased by about 50%.


From ACM TechNews

Computer Program Looks Five Minutes Into the Future

Computer Program Looks Five Minutes Into the Future

Self-learning software can predict actions five minutes into the future by first learning typical sequences of events from video footage, and then predicting actions to follow in new situations.


From ACM News

Drone Swarms Are the New Fireworks Lighting Up China's Skies

Drone Swarms Are the New Fireworks Lighting Up China's Skies

Since China banned fireworks across more than 400 cities to reduce pollution, a new entertainment has emerged to fill the skies: drone swarms.


From ACM News

Ramp-­p in Antarctic Ice Loss Speeds Sea Level Rise

Ramp-­p in Antarctic Ice Loss Speeds Sea Level Rise

Ice losses from Antarctica have tripled since 2012, increasing global sea levels by 0.12 inch (3 millimeters) in that timeframe alone, according to a major new international climate assessment funded by NASA and the European …


From ACM News

Colliding Wormholes May Be Causing Gravitational Waves

Colliding Wormholes May Be Causing Gravitational Waves

One of the most significant scientific developments of recent times has been the five separate observations of the elusive ripples in space-time known as gravitational waves.


From ACM News

3D Printing for the ­.S. Navy

3D Printing for the ­.S. Navy

 The world's largest navy explores the use of additive manufacturing for spare parts, with an eye toward eventually building ships that way.