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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.

November 2011


From ACM News

The Revolution in Photography

When a set of online teasers for a new camera called the Lytro appeared earlier this year, you could have been forgiven for seeing the invention as just another gimmick. The camera’s attention-grabbing feature is a kind of after…


From ACM News

DARPA Looks to Protect Drones from Hack Attacks

DARPA Looks to Protect Drones from Hack Attacks

Cybersecurity, as interpreted by the Pentagon’s premiere researcher, isn’t just about protecting data networks. It’s about making the military’s killer drones, subs, and trucks hacker-proof as well, Darpa revealed this week…


From ACM TechNews

Closing the Girl Gap in Science

Closing the Girl Gap in Science

Southern Illinois University is one of the few U.S. schools where males outnumber female students, as women make up just 44 percent of undergraduates. 


From ACM TechNews

First-Ever Leadership in Science Policy Institute Kicks Off

First-Ever Leadership in Science Policy Institute Kicks Off

The Computing Community Consortium recently held its inaugural Leadership in Science Policy Institute workshop in Washington, D.C., which gave 35 computing researchers an opportunity to participate in an event intended to educate…


From ACM TechNews

Nsf Renews Grant For Scientists Who Study How the Brain Acquires Visual Expertise

Nsf Renews Grant For Scientists Who Study How the Brain Acquires Visual Expertise

Researchers studying how the brain acquires visual expertise will receive an additional $4 million in funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation. 


From ACM TechNews

DARPA Boosts Cybersecurity Research Spending 50 Percent

DARPA Boosts Cybersecurity Research Spending 50 Percent

DARPA plans to increase spending on cybersecurity research by 50 percent over the next five years. 


From ACM News

Russians Fight to Save Mars Probe After Mishap

Russians Fight to Save Mars Probe After Mishap

Russian space engineers scrambled Wednesday to salvage an ambitious science mission to Mars after the unmanned spacecraft became stranded in Earth orbit. If they are not successful, the probe, which is loaded with toxic fuel…


From ACM News

Gamers Create Scientific 'recipes'

Gamers Create Scientific 'recipes'

Researchers say that players of a protein-folding game called Foldit are coming up with molecular "recipes" that rival their own complex algorithms. One of the recipes—a computerized tool called "Blue Fuse," which checks whether…


From ACM News

Gestural Interfaces Go Mainstream

Starting with the handheld controllers introduced by the Nintendo Wii console in 2006, gamers have been able to control computers by making gestures in the air rather than with joysticks, game pads, or keyboards. Microsoft…


From ACM TechNews

The Future of Human Computer Interfaces

The Future of Human Computer Interfaces

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers are developing novel and more natural ways for people to interact with computers and access and store information. 


From ACM TechNews

In Love With Android: Q&a With Matias Duarte

In Love With Android: Q&a With Matias Duarte

Google Android user experience director Matias Duarte notes that games influenced the new design for Android version 4.0, which includes new features such as Face Unlock, a facial-recognition system that opens the phone. 


From ACM TechNews

Artificial Intelligence Joins the Fossil Hunt

Artificial Intelligence Joins the Fossil Hunt

Researchers at Western Michigan University and Washington University in St. Louis have developed a predictive model that uses computer learning systems to identify potential fossil sites from satellite data.


From ACM TechNews

Generation Jobless: Students Pick Easier Majors Despite Less Pay

Generation Jobless: Students Pick Easier Majors Despite Less Pay

Although the number of college graduates increased about 29 percent from 2001 to 2009, the number graduating with engineering degrees increased just 19 percent and the number with computer and information sciences degrees decreased…


From ACM TechNews

Bell Labs Builds Telepresence 'robots'

Bell Labs Builds Telepresence 'robots'

Bell Labs researchers are developing Nethead, a videoconferencing robot that could give remote workers a physical presence in office meetings. 


From ACM News

Minister: Iran Should Be Ready to Counter Any Possible Cyber Attack

Iranian Energy Minister Majid Namjou has said that the enemies are making every effort to create disruption in software and hardware systems of Iranian governmental centers.


From ACM News

Flash: Crippled But Alive... For Now

Flash: Crippled But Alive... For Now

Today, Adobe confirmed that it's extinguishing the Flash Player plug-in for mobile devices.


From ACM Opinion

Irobot Ceo: Enough with the Gimmick 'bots

Irobot Ceo: Enough with the Gimmick 'bots

It's no surprise that uber-geek and iRobot CEO Colin Angle is a Star Wars fan.


From ACM News

Supreme Court Sees Shades of 1984 in Unchecked Gps Tracking

A number of Supreme Court justices invoked the specter of Big Brother while hearing arguments Tuesday over whether the police may secretly attach GPS devices on Americans’ cars without getting a probable-cause warrant.


From ACM News

Nasa Captures New Images of Large Asteroid Passing Earth

Nasa Captures New Images of Large Asteroid Passing Earth

NASA's Deep Space Network antenna in Goldstone, Calif. has captured new radar images of Asteroid 2005 YU55 passing close to Earth.


From ACM TechNews

Insights From Spinning Samples

Insights From Spinning Samples

University of Texas Center for Analytical Ultracentrifugation of Macromolecular Assemblies director Borries Demeler has developed UltraScan, software for use with the UltraScan LIMS portal, which enables researchers to analyze…


From ACM TechNews

Supercomputers Accelerate Development of Advanced Materials

Supercomputers Accelerate Development of Advanced Materials

Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and MIT have launched the Materials Project, which aims to accelerate the process for finding new materials to be used in a clean energy technology.


From ACM TechNews

Yahoo! Mixes 'Cocktails' Web Development Frameworks

Yahoo! Mixes 'Cocktails' Web Development Frameworks

Yahoo! recently introduced Cocktails, a set of Web development frameworks for simplifying the creation and deployment of Web applications. 


From ACM TechNews

Computer Science Professor Finds Yelp Leak

Computer Science Professor Finds Yelp Leak

A security leak in the mobile version of Yelp gave Web site visitors access to reviewers' personal information, according to social networking and Internet economics researchers. 


From ACM News

Justices Weigh Privacy vs. Gps Bugs

In a case that questions the Constitution's meaning in light of modern surveillance technology, the Supreme Court will consider Tuesday whether police need a warrant before secretly attaching a GPS tracking device to a suspect's…


From ACM News

Why Can't Americans Vote Online?

Why Can't Americans Vote Online?

Tuesday is Election Day in the United States, and although the mostly state and local races won't stir the same passions as next year's presidential contest, millions of people will cast ballots.


From ACM News

It Started Digital Wheels Turning

It Started Digital Wheels Turning

Researchers in Britain are about to embark on a 10-year, multimillion-dollar project to build a computer—but their goal is neither dazzling analytical power nor lightning speed.


From ACM News

Researchers High On Cloud Robotics

Researchers High On Cloud Robotics

The goal of cloud robotics is to enable robots to perform data-intensive functions, like image processing and voice recognition, by offloading the vast amounts of data the tasks require to remote servers.


From ACM News

Poor Penmanship Spells Job Security For Post Office's Scribble Specialists

Poor Penmanship Spells Job Security For Post Office's Scribble Specialists

A man in Emden, Mo., recently mailed a letter that he had addressed, in a scribble, to somebody in "Shelhjreille, Mo." That's the way his handwriting made it look, anyhow.


From ACM News

Google Changes Search Algorithm, Trying to Make Results More Timely

Many Google search results will be more timely after Google made a significant change to its search algorithm last week that it said would affect about 35% of searches.


From ACM News

Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales on the Internet's Future

Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales on the Internet's Future

Censorship is the biggest threat to the development of the Internet, according to Wikipedia's founder Jimmy Wales.