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The news archive provides access to past news stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.

December 2011


From ACM TechNews

Usenix: Dartmouth Updating Diff, Grep Unix Tools

Usenix: Dartmouth Updating Diff, Grep Unix Tools

Dartmouth University researchers are updating the grep and diff Unix command line-based text analysis tools available in all Linux and Unix distributions to handle more complex types of data. 


From ACM News

Iranian Armed Forces to Simulate U.s. Rq-170 Drone

A senior parliamentarian underlined Tehran's advanced technological capabilities and possibilities, and said the Iranian Armed Forces intend to simulate the design and reproduce the U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft they…


From ACM News

Pro-Grade (3D Printer-Made?) ATM Skimmer

Pro-Grade (3D Printer-Made?) ATM Skimmer

In July 2011, a customer at a Chase Bank branch in West Hills, Calif., noticed something odd about the ATM he was using and reported it to police.


From ACM News

Cyber-Intruder Sparks Massive Federal Response

The first sign of trouble was a mysterious signal emanating from deep within the U.S. military’s classified computer network.


From ACM TechNews

Initiative Aims For 100,000 New STEM Teachers

Initiative Aims For 100,000 New STEM Teachers

The 100Kin10 initiative — aims to increase the supply of math and science teachers by preparing 100,000 new ones over the next 10 years. It is based on President Obama's 2011 State of the Union speech, in which he called for…


From ACM News

Look, ­p in the Sky! It's a Drone, Looking at You

Look, ­p in the Sky! It's a Drone, Looking at You

Unmanned aircraft—or drones—are playing a large role in U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, but they're starting to show up the the skies above the U.S. as well.


From ACM News

NASA Presents Software of the Year Award

NASA Presents Software of the Year Award

Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science (AEGIS), novel autonomy software that has been operating on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity since December 2009, is NASA's 2011 Software of the Year recipient.


From ACM News

Silicon Valley Fighting Proposed Law Pushed By Hollywood

Silicon Valley is making one of its biggest lobbying pushes ever, as it fights a proposed law championed by Hollywood called the Stop Online Piracy Act. But whether the tech outcry will be enough to derail the law is far from…


From ACM TechNews

Help Is at Hand For Teachers Struggling With Technology

Help Is at Hand For Teachers Struggling With Technology

Teachers will be able to design and develop lesson plans using digital technologies as a result of a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. 


From ACM TechNews

Onr Helps Undersea Robots Get the Big Picture

Onr Helps Undersea Robots Get the Big Picture

New software will give undersea gliders a greater ability to make decisions on their own when surveying large swaths of the oceans. 


From ACM TechNews

New System Secures Cellphones For Web Transactions

New System Secures Cellphones For Web Transactions

Password less authentication is an experimental two-factor authentication method designed to ensure the security of online transactions made via cell phones.


From ACM TechNews

Quantum Computing Promises New Insights, Not Just Supermachines

Quantum Computing Promises New Insights, Not Just Supermachines

Today's quantum computer researchers have a solid blueprint for a new type of computer that could solve certain problems in seconds that would probably take millennia for conventional computers to solve, writes Massachusetts…


From ACM News

A New Secret Weapon For Electronics Shoppers

A New Secret Weapon For Electronics Shoppers

There was a time not so long ago that buying a car was one of the worst shopping experiences. As you drove off the dealer's lot, you couldn't escape the feeling that you hadn't gotten the best deal.


From ACM News

Voice Control, the End of the Tv Remote?

Before he died on Oct. 5, Steve Jobs left clues that he was working on a new product that would revolutionize how we interact with our TVs. "It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine," he said to biographer…


From ACM News

Does Apple's Siri Threaten Google's Search Monopoly?

Does Apple's Siri Threaten Google's Search Monopoly?

The future of search may look a little like Kirsten Goldenberg, a 14-year-old high-school student in Los Angeles. When she needs help with a homework problem, she no longer turns on her laptop to bring up Google's search box…


From ACM News

IBM's 3 Big Chip Breakthroughs Explained

IBM has made three breakthroughs that could help chips continue following Moore's Law.


From ACM TechNews

Software Could Help Optimize Energy Consumption of Cities

Software Could Help Optimize Energy Consumption of Cities

Technical University of Madrid researchers have developed software that estimates the amount of solar radiation reaching streets and buildings, which could help optimize cities' energy consumption. 


From ACM TechNews

Software That Listens for Lies

Software That Listens for Lies

Several linguists, engineers, and computer scientists are developing computer systems that can recognize signs of emotional speech, such as deception, anger, friendliness, and flirtation. The technology is advancing quicklyView…


From ACM TechNews

­.s. Intelligence Group Seeks Machine Learning Breakthroughs

­.s. Intelligence Group Seeks Machine Learning Breakthroughs

The U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity announced that it is looking for new ideas that may become the basis of cutting-edge machine-learning projects. 


From ACM TechNews

Nsf Joins in Targeting Educators to Celebrate Computer Science Education Week 2011

Nsf Joins in Targeting Educators to Celebrate Computer Science Education Week 2011

The U.S. National Science Foundation recently began publishing CS Bits & Bytes, a one-page newsletter highlighting innovative computer science research, in recognition of Computer Science Education Week 2011. 


From ACM TechNews

Robotics: Androids Close the Gap With People

Robotics: Androids Close the Gap With People

Osaka University professor Hiroshi Ishiguro recently led ATR in developing Elfoid P1, a prototype portable tele-operated android that is designed to convey the human presence that is missing from a phone conversation. 


From ACM News

Drone Crash in Iran Reveals Secret ­.s. Surveillance Effort

Drone Crash in Iran Reveals Secret ­.s. Surveillance Effort

The stealth C.I.A. drone that crashed deep inside Iranian territory last week was part of a stepped-up surveillance program that has frequently sent the United States’ most hard-to-detect drone into the country to map suspected…


From ACM News

Pentagon Fast-Tracks Hacker Research

The Pentagon has long had a love-hate relationship with computer hackers: On the outside, they can infiltrate vulnerable defense networks. On the inside, they can help stave off dangerous attacks.


From ACM News

Body-Sharing Robot Lets You Experience Another Place

Ever wished you could be in two places at once? Now you can share your body with a telepresence robot created by Dzmitry Tsetserukou of Toyohashi University of Technology in Japan and his team while receiving information about…


From ACM News

Will the Kinect 2 Be Able to Read Your Lips?

How will users hack this one? The Kinect is a device that inherently grows and expands: Microsoft itself has come around to acknowledging that the oft-hacked device really belongs to the world. But just because users are building…


From ACM News

Studying Human-Robot Interactions

A few months ago, scientists at Willow Garage, a robotics company in Menlo Park, Calif., invited a few ordinary people into their labs and gave them an assignment: they were to teach a robot called PR2 how to map out a room…


From ACM TechNews

Computer Scientists May Have What It Takes to Help Cure Cancer

Computer Scientists May Have What It Takes to Help Cure Cancer

Computer scientists should be signing up in droves to fight cancer because they may have the best skills to help cure the disease, writes University of California, Berkeley professor David Patterson.


From ACM TechNews

IBM Makes Revolutionary Racetrack Memory Using Existing Tools

IBM Makes Revolutionary Racetrack Memory Using Existing Tools

IBM researchers have developed the first prototype of racetrack computer memory, which combines on one chip all of the components needed to read, store, and write data. 


From ACM TechNews

Real, Artificial Brains Make Magical Music

Real, Artificial Brains Make Magical Music

College of Charleston researchers have developed Monterey Mirror, an interactive music performance system. When a musician plays a piece of music, Monterey Mirror captures the style and plays something similar back. 


From ACM TechNews

Health Care Innovation Challenge

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently launched its Health Care Innovation Challenge, with as much as $1 billion in grant funding being offered.