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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.

August 2011


From ACM News

MI5 Joins Social Messaging Trawl for Riot Organisers

MI5 Joins Social Messaging Trawl for Riot Organisers

Intelligence agency asked to crack encrypted messages—especially on BlackBerry Messenger—to help police.


From ACM News

Researchers Find Tipping Point to Sway Public Opinion

Researchers Find Tipping Point to Sway Public Opinion

If 10% of a social network is strongly committed to an opinion, that’s enough to rapidly convert the uncommitted 90% to adopt their point of view, according to a team of researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


From ACM News

Is It Cyberwar?

Vote on which scenarios you think qualify as acts of war.


From ACM News

Millions of Web Pages Are Hacker Landmines

Some eight million web pages, published mostly by smaller merchants and professional firms, have been hijacked this summer and set up to usurp control of the PCs of unsuspecting site visitors.


From ACM News

The Death of Booting ­p

Remember "booting up"? It was the first thing you did every morning—you waited two minutes, three minutes, sometimes even longer while your computer ran through a series of self-tests, loading screens, and an error prompt…


From ACM News

How Ibm's 5150 Pc Shaped the Computer Industry

How Ibm's 5150 Pc Shaped the Computer Industry

Most people in the Western world walk around with a powerful computer in their pocket or purse, otherwise known as a smartphone. It's not unusual to see someone clutching a legal pad-size gadget on airplane flights, such as…


From ACM News

Stick-On Tattoos Go Electric

Stick-On Tattoos Go Electric

Through a combination of careful theoretical modeling and precise micro-manufacturing, a team of engineers and scientists has developed a new type of ultra-thin, self-adhesive electronics device that can effectively measure…


From ACM TechNews

Nsf's Seidel: 'software Is the Modern Language of Science'

Nsf's Seidel: 'software Is the Modern Language of Science'

Software is the core technology behind a dramatic acceleration in all areas of science, and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the science community are faced with the challenge of building a cyberinfrastructure…


From ACM TechNews

Administration Issues Far-Reaching Plan For Building Cyber Workforce

Administration Issues Far-Reaching Plan For Building Cyber Workforce

The Obama administration has unveiled the first-ever roadmap for building a U.S. cybersecurity workforce and assessing federal success in raising public awareness of computer threats. 


From ACM TechNews

Industry Tries to Streamline Privacy Policies For Mobile ­sers

Industry Tries to Streamline Privacy Policies For Mobile ­sers

As concerns grow over data collection, including proposed legislation to more closely protect consumers, mobile applications developers are building basic privacy policies into their programs. 


From ACM TechNews

New Anti-Censorship Scheme Could Make It Impossible to Block Individual Sites

New Anti-Censorship Scheme Could Make It Impossible to Block Individual Sites

Researchers at the universities of Michigan and Waterloo are developing Telex, an approach to combating Internet censorship that turns the entire Web into a proxy server, making it nearly impossible for a censoring government…


From ACM TechNews

Research in Game Theory Tackles It Complexity

Institute of Science and Technology Austria professor Krishnendu Chatterjee recently was awarded grants from the European Research Council and Microsoft to support his efforts to develop more complex but efficient IT systems. …


From ACM TechNews

SDSC Readying 'Gordon' Supercomputer for Pre-Production Trials This Month

SDSC Readying 'Gordon' Supercomputer for Pre-Production Trials This Month

The  San Diego Supercomputer Center this month will launch the pre-production phase of Gordon, the first supercomputer equipped with large amounts of flash-based solid state memory. Gordon will be available to U.S. researchers…


From ACM News

Intel Hopes Sci-Fi Will Help Future Products

For decades, measuring progress in semiconductors was easy. Every year the chips got faster and the industry moved forward. Speed matters far less these days.


From ACM TechNews

Researcher Teaches Computers to Detect Spam More Accurately

Researcher Teaches Computers to Detect Spam More Accurately

Georgia Tech researcher Nina Balcan recently received a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship for her work in developing machine learning methods that can be used to create personalized automatic programs for deciding whether…


From ACM TechNews

London Riots: Britain Weighs Personal Freedoms Against Need to Keep Order

London Riots: Britain Weighs Personal Freedoms Against Need to Keep Order

The British government is taking aim at social media amid the recent riots, claiming that it is undermining the country's democracy. British and Scottish authorities have taken into custody more than a dozen youths on suspicion…


From ACM News

10 Award-Winning Scientific Simulation Videos

Thanks to increasingly cheap, fast, efficient computing power, scientific simulations are now a crucial tool for researchers who want to ask once impractical scientific questions or generate data that laboratory experiments…


From ACM News

When Social Media Mining Gets It Wrong

A complex picture of your personal life can now be pieced together using a variety of public data sources, and increasingly sophisticated data-mining techniques. But just how accurate is that picture?


From ACM News

Researchers Face Budget Bind

Researchers Face Budget Bind

Federally funded researchers are facing months of uncertainty due to the budget-cutting battle that's unfolding in Washington. But policy experts say one outcome seems virtually certain: The long-term prospects for research…


From ACM TechNews

Computer Scientist Predicts Your Next Facebook Friends

Computer Scientist Predicts Your Next Facebook Friends

Stanford University professor Jure Leskovec is studying the traces human activity leaves on the Internet and how that data can be used to analyze human behavior on the Web.


From ACM TechNews

Human Body Vulnerable to Cyberattack

Human Body Vulnerable to Cyberattack

Security researcher Jay Radcliffe has demonstrated how a hacker could remotely attack medical devices used to treat diabetes. 


From ACM TechNews

Open Source Effort Will Deliver Low-Cost Wi-Fi For All

Open Source Effort Will Deliver Low-Cost Wi-Fi For All

The nonprofit Manna Energy Foundation's Geeks Without Frontiers initiative recently announced the final development of an inexpensive, open source Wi-Fi software solution. 


From ACM TechNews

Cloud, Exascale Challenges Converge

Cloud, Exascale Challenges Converge

Ioan Raicu, director of the Illinois Institute of Technology's Data-Intensive Distributed Systems Laboratory, studies cloud computing, exascale computing, and the programming and efficiency challenges of multicore processors. …


From ACM News

David Cameron Considers Banning Suspected Rioters from Social Media

David Cameron Considers Banning Suspected Rioters from Social Media

David Cameron has told parliament that in the wake of this week's riots the government is looking at banning people from using social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, if they are thought to be plotting criminal…


From ACM News

Why Rioters Won't Be Protected by BlackBerry Messaging System

Those involved in the recent rioting and looting in Britain are unlikely to have their identities protected by the BlackBerry Messenger service, contrary to reports that such data is "untraceable."


From ACM News

Self-Assembling Minirobots Swim and Manipulate Objects

Tiny, self-assembling robots can swim and clamp onto particles and then release them when subjected to the right magnetic fields.


From ACM News

Futurist Ray Kurzweil Says He Can Bring His Dead Father Back to Life Through a Computer Avatar

Futurist Ray Kurzweil Says He Can Bring His Dead Father Back to Life Through a Computer Avatar

Ray Kurzweil, a prominent inventor and "futurist" who has long predicted that mind and machine will one day merge, has been making arrangements to talk to his dead father through the help of a computer.


From ACM News

Future of War: Private Robot Armies Fight It Out

Future of War: Private Robot Armies Fight It Out

If robots are simply computers with wings (and missiles), then expect to see future wars fought by the descendants of flash-trading algorithms, with humans as anxious bystanders, one scholar says.


From ACM News

Mobile Computing Giants in Patent Free-For-All

The mobile computing boom has turned into a courthouse war of the titans, as big tech companies are increasingly engaged in high-dollar legal disputes over lucrative patents for the software that makes smartphones and tablets…


From ACM News

NASA Mars Rover Arrives at New Site on Martian Surface

NASA Mars Rover Arrives at New Site on Martian Surface

After a journey of almost three years, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has reached the Red Planet’s Endeavour crater to study rocks never seen before.