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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.

December 2013


From ACM TechNews

Ten Times More Throughput on Optic Fibers

Ten Times More Throughput on Optic Fibers

Researchers say they can dramatically increased the capacity of optical fibers by reducing the space required between pulses of light that transport data. 


From ACM TechNews

Explained: Matrices

Explained: Matrices

Researchers say they have built one of the first chips to implement the new high-efficiency video-coding standard for ultrahigh-definition TVs. 


From ACM Opinion

Falling in Love with AI Virtual Assistants: A Creepy Love Affair Nearer Than You Think

Falling in Love with AI Virtual Assistants: A Creepy Love Affair Nearer Than You Think

"I've never loved anyone the way I've loved you," swoons Joaquin Phoenix, in the movie Her.


From ACM News

Nasa Curiosity: First Mars Age Measurement and Human Exploration Help

Nasa Curiosity: First Mars Age Measurement and Human Exploration Help

NASA's Curiosity rover is providing vital insight about Mars' past and current environments that will aid plans for future robotic and human missions.


From ACM News

Body of Knowledge

Body of Knowledge

Electronic textiles and smart clothing promise to weave new, improved computing capabilities into the fabric of our lives.


From ACM News

Could Atomically Thin Tin Transform Electronics?

Could Atomically Thin Tin Transform Electronics?

Scientists have been trying to develop room-temperature superconductors—materials that conduct electrons with zero resistance, and do so without cumbersome, energy-sucking supercooling—for more than three decades.


From ACM News

The Global Classroom

The Global Classroom

Vint Cerf goes inside the online revolution in education


From ACM News

Supreme Court to Decide on Patent Protections For Software

Supreme Court to Decide on Patent Protections For Software

The Supreme Court agreed last Friday to rule on the divisive issue of what kinds of software are eligible for patent protection in a case being closely watched by the technology industry.


From ACM News

World of Spycraft: Nsa and CIA Spied in Online Games

World of Spycraft: Nsa and CIA Spied in Online Games

Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games playedclassified…


From ACM News

Laser Instrument on Nasa Mars Rover Tops 100,000 Zaps

Laser Instrument on Nasa Mars Rover Tops 100,000 Zaps

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has passed the milestone of 100,000 shots fired by its laser. It uses the laser as one way to check which chemical elements are in rocks and soils.


From ACM TechNews

Database Tracks Toxic Side Effects of Pharmaceuticals

Database Tracks Toxic Side Effects of Pharmaceuticals

Updates to an extensive toxicology database should make it easier to track information about the unintentional toxic effects of therapeutic drugs. 


From ACM TechNews

How to ­se Mind-Controlled Robots in Manufacturing, Medicine

How to ­se Mind-Controlled Robots in Manufacturing, Medicine

Researchers are developing brain-computer interfaces that will allow them to control robots with their minds. 


From ACM TechNews

Tech Giants Issue Call For Limits on Government Surveillance of Users

Tech Giants Issue Call For Limits on Government Surveillance of Users

Eight major technology companies on Monday called on the Obama administration and Congress to set limits on government surveillance activities. 


From ACM TechNews

Coding Kids

Coding Kids

As the importance of programming as a life skill grows, parents are beginning to seek coding education for their children. 


From ACM TechNews

Love Connection

Love Connection

Researchers have developed an algorithm for dating sites that uses a person's contact history to recommend compatible partners. 


From ACM TechNews

Students Can Create Animations of Garfield the Cat With New Version of Carnegie Mellon's Alice Software

Students Can Create Animations of Garfield the Cat With New Version of Carnegie Mellon's Alice Software

A new version has been released of the Alice Project, free educational programming software that enables beginners to create animations. 


From ACM News

Old School vs. New School As Academic Publishers Brawl Over Web

Old School vs. New School As Academic Publishers Brawl Over Web

The competition for prominence in academic publishing heated up this week as a traditional company, Elsevier, tangled with a Digital Era rival, Academia.edu.


From ACM News

Identifying Signs of Chronic Brain Injury in Living Football Players

Identifying Signs of Chronic Brain Injury in Living Football Players

Eight former pro football players learned this year that they have signs of a degenerative brain disorder called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition linked to depression, dementia, and memory loss.


From ACM Opinion

Moore's Law Isn't Making Chips Cheaper Anymore

Moore's Law Isn't Making Chips Cheaper Anymore

At a wine bar in San Francisco on Wednesday, Broadcom Chairman and CTO Henry Samueli delivered some sobering news: Moore's Law isn't making chips cheaper anymore.


From ACM News

Someone's Been Siphoning Data Through a Huge Security Hole in the Internet

Someone's Been Siphoning Data Through a Huge Security Hole in the Internet

In 2008, two security researchers at the DefCon hacker conference demonstrated a massive security vulnerability in the worldwide internet traffic-routing system—a vulnerability so severe that it could allow intelligence agencies…


From ACM TechNews

Data Mining Reveals the Secret to Getting Good Answers

Data Mining Reveals the Secret to Getting Good Answers

A new algorithm can rank the questions and answers on question and answer websites, while weeding out off-topic and irrelevant entries.


From ACM TechNews

Can You Read My Mind? Uc Researchers Engineer the Framework For Helpful Robots With Human Intuition

Can You Read My Mind? Uc Researchers Engineer the Framework For Helpful Robots With Human Intuition

Robots are expected to play an increasingly large role in daily life over the next 50 years.


From ACM TechNews

Experimental Malware ­ses Inaudible Sound to Defeat Network Air Gaps

Experimental Malware ­ses Inaudible Sound to Defeat Network Air Gaps

Researchers have tested the feasibility of creating a covert acoustical mesh network between multiple laptops to exchange data using near-ultrasonic frequencies. 


From ACM TechNews

Students ­pdate Classic Animation Technique

Students ­pdate Classic Animation Technique

Much of the repetitive manual work involved in the classic squash and stretch animation technique has been automated in a new software program. 


From ACM TechNews

Google's C Alternative Gets an Update, but Will Developers Bite?

Google's C Alternative Gets an Update, but Will Developers Bite?

Google this week released version 1.2 of its Go open source programming language, designed to improve on certain aspects of languages similar to C. 


From ACM News

An Artificial Hand with Real Feelings

An Artificial Hand with Real Feelings

There have been remarkable mechanical advances in prosthetic limbs in recent years, including rewiring nerve fibers to control sophisticated mechanical arms (see "A Lifelike Prosthetic Arm"), and brain interfaces that allow for…


From ACM News

3-D Images, With Only One Photon Per Pixel

3-D Images, With Only One Photon Per Pixel

Lidar rangefinders, which are common tools in surveying and in autonomous-vehicle control, among other applications, gauge depth by emitting short bursts of laser light and measuring the time it takes for reflected photons to…


From ACM News

China Bars Banks from Bitcoin Transactions

China Bars Banks from Bitcoin Transactions

China's government banned financial institutions from trading in bitcoin on Thursday, in what analysts said was a restrained first step towards regulating the digital currency that has exploded in popularity in China and soared…


From ACM TechNews

Self-Replicating Usbs Spread Software Faster Than an Internet Connection

Self-Replicating Usbs Spread Software Faster Than an Internet Connection

An easy, inexpensive way to transmit large software packages rapidly without using the Internet utilizes a self-replicating bootable USB stick. 


From ACM TechNews

Enhancing the Efficiency of Complex Computations

Enhancing the Efficiency of Complex Computations

The science and industry sectors are showing considerable interest in the Karlsruhe High Quality Partitioner.