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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.

February 2010


From ACM News

Pcs Around the World Unite To Map the Milky Way

Pcs Around the World Unite To Map the Milky Way

Tens of thousands of volunteers from Africa to Australia are donating the computing power of their home computers to help computer scientists and astronomers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute map the shape of the Milky Way…


From ACM News

Scientists Decode the Secrets of Olympic Skeleton Sliding

Scientists Decode the Secrets of Olympic Skeleton Sliding

Using state-of-the-art flow measurements, engineering professor Timothy Wei and students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., are employing science and technology to help the U.S. skeleton team trim track times…


From ACM News

Feds Push For Tracking Cell Phones

Two years ago, when the FBI was stymied by a band of armed robbers known as the "Scarecrow Bandits" that had robbed more than 20 Texas banks, it came up with a novel method of locating the thieves.

FBI agents obtained logs from…


From ACM News

Ibm's Jeopardy-Playing Machine Now Beats Human Contestants

IBM's Jeopardy-playing supercomputer is now capable of beating human Jeopardy contestants on a regular basis, but has a ways to go before it takes on the likes of 74-time champion Ken Jennings.

IBM announced plans to build a…


From ACM News

Google Set to Showcase Fast Internet

Google Set to Showcase Fast Internet

Google said Wednesday that it would offer ultrahigh-speed Internet access in some communities in a test that could showcase the kinds of things that would be possible if the United States had faster broadband networks.

In Google’s…


From ACM News

Wipro to Offer 100 Percent Recyclable, Toxin-Free Computers

Wipro to Offer 100 Percent Recyclable, Toxin-Free Computers

Information technology services corporation Wipro Infotech has claimed to be the first Indian company to build a 100 percent recyclable and toxin-free computer, completely free from harmful chemicals such as polyvinyl chloride…


From ACM TechNews

Location Technology Homes in on Where Stuff, People Are

Location Technology Homes in on Where Stuff, People Are

Technology that provides location data is exploding, leading to the rollout of location-aware services. University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Jignesh Patel says the emergence of technologies that can sense location and continuously…


From ACM TechNews

Organic Crystals Promise Low-Power Green Computing

Researchers at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology have discovered ferroelectric behavior in crystalline croconic acid, which contains just carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. This crystal could…


From ACM News

Wi-Fi at the Speed of Light

Wi-Fi at the Speed of Light

A wireless network that uses reflected infrared light instead of radio waves has transmitted data through the air at a speed of one gigabit per second—six to 14 times faster than the fastest Wi-Fi network.

Such optical networks…


From ACM News

Hacker 'mudge' Gets DARPA Job

Hacker 'mudge' Gets DARPA Job

Peiter Zatko--a respected hacker known as "Mudge"--has been tapped to be a program manager at DARPA, where he will be in charge of funding research designed to help give the U.S. government tools needed to protect against cyberattacks…


From ACM News

A 50-Watt Cellular Network

A 50-Watt Cellular Network

An Indian telecom company is deploying simple cell phone base stations that need as little as 50 watts of solar-provided power. It will soon announce plans to sell the equipment in Africa, expanding cell phone access to new ranks…


From ACM News

Building a Brain-Machine Interface

Building a Brain-Machine Interface

Researchers are tapping the brain signals of "locked-in" patients to help them control computers and communicate directly with the outside world.


From ACM News

Old-Style Computers Get New Life in Developing Countries

Old-Style Computers Get New Life in Developing Countries

Hanuman, a divine being in Hindu mythology, is well on his way to becoming a video game hero. It's all part of a project called PlayPower, co-founded by Carnegie Mellon University graduate student Derek Lomas, designed to create…


From ACM TechNews

The Power of 'random'

The Power of 'random'

Communications networks' efficiency could be upgraded with a new network coding approach co-developed by researchers at MIT in which a router mathematically combines data packets into new, hybrid packets.


From ACM TechNews

Can Your Computer Make You Happy?

Can Your Computer Make You Happy?

Computers that can recognize users' emotional states are under development in the hope that the machines can be made capable of improving the human-computer interface.  


From ACM TechNews

Dash to the Next Gen of Robots: Small, Cheap, and Feral

Dash to the Next Gen of Robots: Small, Cheap, and Feral

The University of California, Berkeley's Biomimetic Millisystems Lab has developed the Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod (DASH), a small, inexpensive, and highly durable robot that can go almost anywhere. View a video of the…


From ACM TechNews

And the Academy Award Goes to . . . a Computer Scientist

And the Academy Award Goes to . . . a Computer Scientist

University of Southern California (USC) computer scientist Paul E. Debevec has earned an Academy Award in science and engineering for his pioneering work on digital facial-rendering technology, which was used in the special effects…


From ACM TechNews

Princeton Scientists Makes a Leap in Quantum Computing

Princeton Scientists Makes a Leap in Quantum Computing

Princeton University professor Jason Petta has developed a technique that can control the properties of a lone electron, a feat that is essential to the development of quantum computers with near-limitless capabilities. 


From ACM News

India's International Patent Filing Dips By 29 Percent

The economic slowdown has had an impact on India's international patent filings under World Intellectual Property Organisation's (WIPO) Patent Cooperation Treaty. Provisional data released by WIPO indicates India's patent application…


From ACM News

An Engineer's Quest to Caption the Web

An Engineer's Quest to Caption the Web

The Internet used to be a place where Ken Harrenstien could do anything.

The Google engineer, who has been deaf since childhood, loved the Web because he could e-mail and chat without the aid of a sign language translator. 


From ACM News

Cisco Predicts Wireless Data Explosion

Cisco Predicts Wireless Data Explosion

If wireless operators thought they'd faced a deluge of data traffic from the iPhone, they haven't seen anything yet, according to a survey from network equipment giant Cisco Systems.

Cisco, which makes the routers and switches…


From ACM TechNews

Security Chip That Does Encryption in Pcs Hacked

Security Chip That Does Encryption in Pcs Hacked

Security consultant Christopher Tarnovsky recently discovered a way to break chips that carry a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) designation by essentially spying on them like a phone conversation. 


From ACM News

New Magnetic Tuning Method Enhances Data Storage

New Magnetic Tuning Method Enhances Data Storage

Researchers in Chicago and London have developed a method for controlling the properties of magnets that could be used to improve the storage capacity of next-generation computer hard drives.


From ACM News

Smart Dust Could Give Early Warning of Space Storms

Smart Dust Could Give Early Warning of Space Storms

A SWARM of "smart dust" spacecraft, positioned at a sweet spot between the Earth and the sun, could alert us to the approach of dangerous space storms well before a conventional craft can. The first prototypes are due for launch…


From ACM News

Getting a Grip on Online Buzz

Getting a Grip on Online Buzz

Big-name companies increasingly recognize the importance of discussions about their products on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. But keeping track of so many conversations in real-time is a daunting challenge.


From ACM News

Searching For Disease Clues in Genetic Diversity

Searching For Disease Clues in Genetic Diversity

Over the last few years, scientists have discovered hundreds of genetic variants linked to disease. But the vast majority of that research has focused on people of European, Asian, and African descent. A new effort to catalog…


From ACM TechNews

Chinese, Russian Universities Claim Top Spots in Acm Programming Competition

Chinese, Russian Universities Claim Top Spots in Acm Programming Competition

Three Chinese teams and four Russian teams dominated the top ten rankings of the 2010 ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC). Shanghai Jiaotong University took first place followed by Moscow State University…


From ACM News

Unplugged: Goodbye Cables, Hello Energy Beams

Unplugged: Goodbye Cables, Hello Energy Beams

LET'S face it: power cables are unsightly dust-traps. PCs, TVs and music players are becoming slicker every year, but the nest of vipers in the corner of every room remains an ugly impediment to true minimalism.

Then there is…


From ACM News

Google

Google

Google engineers are working on a translator for Google Android smartphones to convert one language into another quickly enough to allow speakers without a common language to communicate with one another in near real time.


From ACM TechNews

White House Seeks Public Input on Innovation Goals

The White House has issued a request for public input on new technologies the U.S. government might pursue with research and development funds. The White House wants to offer a variety of "grand challenges" for inventors and…