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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.

October 2011


From ACM Opinion

Dennis Ritchie: The Shoulders Steve Jobs Stood On

The tributes to Dennis Ritchie won’t match the river of praise that spilled out over the web after the death of Steve Jobs. But they should.


From ACM Opinion

The Singularity Isn't Near

 Futurists like Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil have argued that the world is rapidly approaching a tipping point, where the accelerating pace of smarter and smarter machines will soon outrun all human capabilities. They call this…


From ACM News

What Did Steve Jobs Do For Computer Science?

What Did Steve Jobs Do For Computer Science?

Beyond a mind-bending array of business, societal, and technological accomplishments, there’s an often-overlooked side to Steve Jobs and Apple. The company’s contributions to computer science are sparse, particularly in recent…


From ACM TechNews

High-Skill Visa Reform Needs Action By Congress, Obama Says

High-Skill Visa Reform Needs Action By Congress, Obama Says

Congressional action is needed to overhaul high-skill immigration policy, President Obama said during a meeting of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. 


From ACM TechNews

Bridging the It Skills Gap

Bridging the It Skills Gap

More than 550,000 new entrants over the next five years are required to fill information technology (IT) and telecoms professional job openings in Britain, according to a recent Technology Insights 2011 report. 


From ACM TechNews

Pr2 Can Now Fetch You a Sandwich From Subway

Pr2 Can Now Fetch You a Sandwich From Subway

Researchers from the University of Tokyo and Technische Universitat Munchen have given a robot common sense. 


From ACM TechNews

Progress in Quantum Computing, Qubit by Qubit

Progress in Quantum Computing, Qubit by Qubit

 Harvard University researchers have developed a method for capturing light in tiny diamond pillars embedded in silver, releasing a stream of single photons at a controllable rate, technology that could lead to the development…


From ACM News

Air Force Insists: Drone Cockpit Virus Just a 'nuisance'

Air Force Insists: Drone Cockpit Virus Just a 'nuisance'

The U.S. Air Force revealed new details Wednesday about the virus that’s been infecting the remote cockpits of its drone fleet—and insisted, despite reports from their own personnel, that the infection was properly and easily…


From ACM News

Mouthpieces Gather Impact Data from Football Players

Mouthpieces Gather Impact Data from Football Players

Stanford researchers think the wireless mouth guards will be better than specialized helmets at measuring head injuries.


From ACM News

Popular Websites Share ­ser Information, Email Addresses, Stanford Study Finds

By signing onto many of the most popular sites on the Web, you may be unknowingly sharing your email address or name with other websites and data collection companies that help target online advertising, according to a study…


From ACM News

Dennis Ritchie, C Creator and ­nix Developer, Has Passed Away

Dennis Ritchie, C Creator and ­nix Developer, Has Passed Away

Dennis Ritchie, creator of the C programming language and developer of UNIX, has passed away at the age of 70.


From ACM News

Design Spotlight Is Thrown on Ive

Design Spotlight Is Thrown on Ive

Without Steve Jobs, Apple Inc. investors and customers are asking a big question: Can it continue to turn out innovative products without its co-founder and design visionary?


From ACM News

Will Robots Steal Your Job as a Scientist?

Can robots work as scientists? At first, this seems like a silly question. Computers are pervasive in science, and if you walk into a large university lab today, there's a good chance you'll find a fully fledged robot working…


From ACM TechNews

New Computer Programme Promises to Save the Whales

New Computer Programme Promises to Save the Whales

University of Montreal researchers have developed software that helps regulators to evaluate the ecological and economic implications of marine mammal conservation, whale watching, and marine transportation activities in the…


From ACM TechNews

An Oracle for Object-Oriented Programmers

An Oracle for Object-Oriented Programmers

MIT researchers have developed Matchmaker, a system that automatically determines how objects in a large software project interact so it can inform new objects which functions they will need to perform. 


From ACM TechNews

People as 'sensors': Twitter Messages Reveal Nfl's Big Plays and Fans' Excitement

People as 'sensors': Twitter Messages Reveal Nfl's Big Plays and Fans' Excitement

Researchers at Rice University and Motorola Mobility have developed SportSense, software that monitors Twitter posts of National Football League fans to determine to their level of excitement and keep track of the big plays. 


From ACM TechNews

Smartphones ­sed to Engage with Learners

Smartphones ­sed to Engage with Learners

The mCommunity project is a new multi-institution partnership that will help educators deal with long-term and general unemployment using state-of-the-art telecommunications technology.


From ACM TechNews

Physicists to Develop New Way of Electronic Computing

Physicists to Develop New Way of Electronic Computing

University of California, Riverside researchers are developing a new way of computing designed to accelerate applications that process large amounts of data, such as Internet searching, data compression, and image recognition…


From ACM News

Video Documents Three-Year Trek on Mars by NASA Rover

Video Documents Three-Year Trek on Mars by NASA Rover

While NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity was traveling from Victoria crater to Endeavour crater, between September 2008 and August 2011, the rover team took an end-of-drive image on each Martian day that included a…


From ACM News

Government Aims to Build a 'Data Eye in the Sky'

More than 60 years ago, in his "Foundation" series, the science fiction novelist Isaac Asimov invented a new science—psychohistory—that combined mathematics and psychology to predict the future.


From ACM News

Paralyzed Man Uses Brain-Powered Robot Arm to Touch

Paralyzed Man Uses Brain-Powered Robot Arm to Touch

Giving a high-five. Rubbing his girlfriend's hand. Such ordinary acts—but a milestone for a paralyzed man. True, a robotic arm parked next to his wheelchair did the touching, painstakingly, palm to palm.


From ACM News

Giving Prosthetics a Sense of Touch

Giving Prosthetics a Sense of Touch

Brain-machine interfaces have made it possible for monkeys and some humans to control robotic limbs using just their thoughts. But ideally, a person using an artificial limb or other device would not only be able to control…


From ACM News

Gadgets the Pentagon Made

The cool voice assistant that runs on the iPhone 4S? Years ago, someone thought what Apple calls Siri would be a valuable tool for the military. Come to think of it, most of the technology we use—whether to cook our food,…


From ACM News

In Supercomputing, a Turn to Energy-Saving Graphics Chips

In computing, as in so many fields, the best path to progress is often not a straight line.


From ACM News

Ibm Projects It Will Have World

Ibm Projects It Will Have World

IBM isn't resting on its laurels as the newly crowned second-most valuable technology company in the world.


From ACM News

IBM Bets on Data-Centric Computing

IBM Bets on Data-Centric Computing

Jai Menon, chief technology officer and vice-president for technical strategy for IBM's Systems and Technology Group, holds 52 patents and is arguably most famous for his contribution to the Raid storage technology.


From ACM TechNews

Take Control of Your Phone's Sensors

Take Control of Your Phone's Sensors

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab have developed Funf, a phone-based data collection system for self-tracking applications. 


From ACM TechNews

Rice Physicists Move 1 Step Closer to Quantum Computer

Rice Physicists Move 1 Step Closer to Quantum Computer

Rice University researchers have developed an electron superhighway that could be used to build a quantum computer. 


From ACM TechNews

U.s., Russia Slowly Improve Cybersecurity Cooperation

U.s., Russia Slowly Improve Cybersecurity Cooperation

Cooperation between the United States and Russia on cybersecurity issues is gradually improving, as indicated by increasing interaction between experts at events such as the EastWest Institute's Eighth Worldwide Security Conference…


From ACM TechNews

Ieee Conference Keynoters Lay Out Path to Exascale Computing

Ieee Conference Keynoters Lay Out Path to Exascale Computing

Three keynote speakers addressed the challenges of exascale computing at the recent IEEE Cluster 2011 conference, and described the obstacles and opportunities involved in building systems 1,000 times more powerful than today's…