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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 2016


From ACM TechNews

Design Your Own Custom Drone

Design Your Own Custom Drone

Researchers have developed a way for consumers to design and develop drones to meet their unique specifications.


From ACM TechNews

Lazy Coders Are Training Artificial Intelligences to Be Sexist

Lazy Coders Are Training Artificial Intelligences to Be Sexist

Artificial intelligence systems can form flawed and stereotypical word associations by learning from biased data samples.


From ACM TechNews

Mit's Modular Robotic Chain Is Whatever You Want It to Be

Mit's Modular Robotic Chain Is Whatever You Want It to Be

Researchers have developed an improved version of last year's LineFORM multifunctional snake robot that introduces modularity to the system.


From ACM TechNews

­CLA Professors Stride Forward in Robotic Technology Research

­CLA Professors Stride Forward in Robotic Technology Research

University of California, Los Angeles computer scientists say recent artificial intelligence innovations are pushing robotic technology forward.


From ACM News

A Year After San Bernardino and Apple-Fbi, Where Are We on Encryption?

A Year After San Bernardino and Apple-Fbi, Where Are We on Encryption?

The debate over encryption and government access to secured communications dates decades back.


From ACM News

Spinoff 2017: Nasa Tech Makes a Difference on Earth

Spinoff 2017: Nasa Tech Makes a Difference on Earth

NASA has released its Spinoff 2017 publication, which takes a close look at 50 different companies that are using NASA technology—innovations developed by NASA, including JPL; with NASA funding; or under a contract with the agency—in…


From ACM News

CRISPR Heavyweights Battle in US Patent Court

CRISPR Heavyweights Battle in US Patent Court

It was a tough day in US patent court for the University of California, Berkeley.


From ACM TechNews

A Handful of Photos Yields a Mouthful of (digital) Teeth

A Handful of Photos Yields a Mouthful of (digital) Teeth

Disney researchers have developed a model-based method of realistically reconstructing teeth for digital actors and for medical applications.


From ACM TechNews

Safer, Less Vulnerable Software Is the Goal of New Nist Computer Publication

Safer, Less Vulnerable Software Is the Goal of New Nist Computer Publication

The strategies compiled in a new U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) publication can lead to software with 100 times fewer vulnerabilities, according to computer scientists at the agency. 


From ACM TechNews

When an Interface Becomes the Face

When an Interface Becomes the Face

Social roboticist Glenda Hannibal at the University of Vienna in Austria considers how a future society supported by robots will transform human-digital interaction. 


From ACM TechNews

­.s. Lead in Quantum Computing 'under Siege,' Says White House Cyber Adviser

­.s. Lead in Quantum Computing 'under Siege,' Says White House Cyber Adviser

The United States needs to invest more in quantum computing, according to Tim Polk, assistant director of cybersecurity within the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy.


From ACM TechNews

The Origin of Silicon Valley's Gender Problem

The Origin of Silicon Valley's Gender Problem

About 25 percent of boys and 24 percent of girls expect to be working in a science-related occupation in their 30s, according to the OECD Program for International Student Assessment test. However, more boys expect to be engineers…


From ACM TechNews

White House Boosts Csforall Commitments For Computer Science Education Week

White House Boosts Csforall Commitments For Computer Science Education Week

The White House has announced new commitments involving implementing computer science and computational thinking in K-12 education that build on President Barack Obama's Computer Science for All initiative. 


From ACM News

Pizzagate: From Rumor, to Hashtag, to Gunfire in D.c.

Pizzagate: From Rumor, to Hashtag, to Gunfire in D.c.

What was finally real was Edgar Welch, driving from North Carolina to Washington to rescue sexually abused children he believed were hidden in mysterious tunnels beneath a neighborhood pizza joint.


From ACM News

Google, Democracy and the Truth About Internet Search

Google, Democracy and the Truth About Internet Search

Here's what you don’t want to do late on a Sunday night. You do not want to type seven letters into Google. That's all I did.


From ACM News

Coding Comics

Coding Comics

Macarthur Fellow Gene Luen Yang's graphic novels introduce kids to computer programming.


From ACM TechNews

Making Airport Precheck Free Could Save Tsa Millions: Report

Making Airport Precheck Free Could Save Tsa Millions: Report

A University of Illinois study found if the U.S. Transportation Security Administration paid for the expedited airport screening program PreCheck for frequent fliers, it would save the agency $34 million a year, enhance airport…


From ACM TechNews

Geo Faces Algorithm Seeks to Determine Where You're From

Geo Faces Algorithm Seeks to Determine Where You're From

Southern Connecticut State University professor Mohammad Tarik Islam has developed Geo Faces, an algorithm and dataset that can determine where people are from based on photographs of them.


From ACM TechNews

Researchers Tackle Communicating With Test Flights ­sing Weaker Frequencies

Researchers Tackle Communicating With Test Flights ­sing Weaker Frequencies

University of Kansas researchers have received a $2.5-million contract to develop new communication technologies for airborne vehicles on U.S. test ranges. The research will help remake test-flight communications following an…


From ACM News

Security Experts Warn Congress That the Internet of Things Could Kill People

Security Experts Warn Congress That the Internet of Things Could Kill People

A growing mass of poorly secured devices on the Internet of things represents a serious risk to life and property, and the government must intervene to mitigate it.


From ACM News

Cassini Makes First Ring-Grazing Plunge

Cassini Makes First Ring-Grazing Plunge

NASA's Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft has made its first close dive past the outer edges of Saturn's rings since beginning its penultimate mission phase on Nov. 30.


From ACM News

AI Learns to Predict the Future By Watching 2 Million Videos 

AI Learns to Predict the Future By Watching 2 Million Videos 

An artificial intelligence system can predict how a scene will unfold and dream up a vision of the immediate future.


From ACM TechNews

Team Finds New Method to Improve Predictions

Team Finds New Method to Improve Predictions

Researchers at Princeton, Columbia, and Harvard universities have developed a new method to analyze big data that better predicts outcomes in healthcare, politics, and other fields. 


From ACM TechNews

Designing Agile Human-Machine Teams

Designing Agile Human-Machine Teams

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) recently announced Agile Teams (A-Teams) program is designed to discover, test, and illustrate predictive and generalizable mathematical techniques for enabling optimized…


From ACM TechNews

100 Million Students Worldwide Will Learn to Code This Week For Hour of Code

100 Million Students Worldwide Will Learn to Code This Week For Hour of Code

Computer Science Education Week begins today (December 5), and more than 100 million students worldwide will participate in Hour of Code, a 60-minute introduction to computer programming. 


From ACM TechNews

Google Deepmind Makes AI Training Platform Publicly Available

Google Deepmind Makes AI Training Platform Publicly Available

Alphabet's Google DeepMind is making its game platform available to the general public on GitHub. DeepMind is open sourcing the entire source code for its training environment, which has been renamed DeepMind Lab, so anyone can…


From ACM TechNews

Augmented Reality Helps Patients With Chronic Phantom Limb Pain

Augmented Reality Helps Patients With Chronic Phantom Limb Pain

A new treatment developed by Max Ortiz Catalan at the U.K.'s Chalmers University of Technology can help alleviate amputees' phantom limb pain. The approach relies on machine learning and augmented reality.


From ACM TechNews

Security Experts Warn Congress That the Internet of Things Could Kill People

Security Experts Warn Congress That the Internet of Things Could Kill People

Prominent computer security experts in November warned the U.S. Congress that a poorly secured Internet of Things could seriously threaten life and property. 


From ACM Careers

Silicon Valley's Culture, Not Its Companies, Dominates in China

Silicon Valley's Culture, Not Its Companies, Dominates in China

The majesty of the Golden Gate, the windy chill of Alcatraz, the tourist hubbub of Pier 39—Zhao Haoyu’s itinerary for San Francisco had it all.


From ACM News

With Wireless Optogenetic Tools, Neuroscientists Steer Mice Around Their Cages 

With Wireless Optogenetic Tools, Neuroscientists Steer Mice Around Their Cages 

Scientists typically control the behavior of a lab mouse by enticing it with food or repelling it with puffs of air.