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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.

May 2009


From ACM News

Robots Take To The Stairs

Robots Take To The Stairs

Robots can climb stairs, and they are doing it everywhere you look. Built on  painstakingly accumulated knowledge, several examples are demonstrated in YouTube videos.


From ACM TechNews

Faa's Air-Traffic Networks Breached By Hackers

The U.S. Transportation Department's inspector general released a report on May 6 that said the U.S.'s civilian air-traffic computer networks had been breached a number of times during the last several years. One of those breaches…


From ACM TechNews

Control System Has What It Takes to Guide Experimental Aircraft

Control System Has What It Takes to Guide Experimental Aircraft

Ohio State University (OSU) engineers have developed control system software capable of piloting aircraft that travel faster than the speed of sound by adapting to changing conditions during a flight. OSU doctoral student in…


From ACM TechNews

Microsoft: Space Is the New Frontier in Computing

Microsoft: Space Is the New Frontier in Computing

Microsoft Research Cambridge managing director Andrew Herbert says we are moving into a client-cloud era in which space is the new frontier. He says computing reinvents itself every 10 to 15 years, with the PC, the Internet,…


From ACM News

Nist Requests Comments on Automated Computer Security Spec

Nist Requests Comments on Automated Computer Security Spec

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has issued for public comment a draft publication describing a new method to automate the task of verifying computer security…


From ACM TechNews

How Hackers Can Steal Secrets From Reflections

How Hackers Can Steal Secrets From Reflections

Even the best electronic security may not be enough to protect sensitive data from dogged hackers, and researchers have been able to extract information from the flashes of light-emitting diodes on network switches or the reflection…


From ACM TechNews

Computer Model Gives Clues to Dealing With Flu Pandemics

Computer Model Gives Clues to Dealing With Flu Pandemics

Researchers from The University of Western Australia (UWA) say their computer simulation of the spread of H5N1 avian influenza could be applied to the current swine flu (H1N1) outbreak. UWA researchers used statistical data…


From ACM TechNews

If the Face Fits . . .

Twelve law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom are using a forensic facial composite software tool that does not require witnesses to provide detailed descriptions of suspects they can barely remember. Instead, the EFIT…


From ACM TechNews

­nmasking Social-Network ­sers

­nmasking Social-Network ­sers

University of Texas at Austin researchers have found that, combined with readily available data from other online sources, social network data can reveal sensitive information about users. Using the photo-sharing site Flickr…


From ACM TechNews

When Really Big Numbers Aren't Nearly Enough

Unallocated Internet Protocol (IP) addresses are expected to be depleted by some time in 2012, according to IPv6 Forum fellow Tony Hain. He and others advocate a switch to the IPv6 addressing protocol, which will dramatically…


From ACM News

Asia's Fastest Supercomputer Keys 3D Animation

Asia's Fastest Supercomputer Keys 3D Animation

Eka, the fastest supercomputer in Asia today, is a firm pillar of the 3D animation scene in Pune, India. With peak powers of 172 TeraFlops, Eka was used in the rendering of the film "Roadside Rodeo," the first international quality…


From ACM TechNews

46th Dac Announces Technical Program

46th Dac Announces Technical Program

The technical program for ACM's 46th Design Automation Conference (DAC) will offer 54 research paper sessions, featuring 156 talks selected from 733 submissions from around the globe. "The overwhelming number of submissions…


From ICT Results

Project Turns Netizens Into Social Change Agents

One European project wants to make average technoids the writers, directors and stars of their own community-conscious show, online and on an IPTV screen near you. Cheaper, easier to use digital technology makes it easier for…


From ACM TechNews

Cyber-Command May Help Protect Civilian Networks

The U.S. Pentagon is considering establishing a new cyber-command to oversee government efforts to protect military computer networks and to assist in protecting civilian government networks, says National Security Agency (NSA)…


From ACM News

Amazon to Launch Kindle For Textbooks

Amazon.com Inc. on Wednesday (May 6) plans to unveil a new version of its Kindle e-book reader with a larger screen and other features designed to appeal to periodical and academic textbook publishers, according to people familiar…


From ACM TechNews

Eu ­rges Icann Independence

Eu ­rges Icann Independence

ICANN should become completely independent of the U.S. government, says EU Information Society commissioner Viviane Reding. In a statement regarding the Oct. 1 expiration of ICANN's contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce…


From ACM TechNews

Sequoia: The Next Generation of Supercomputer

The Sequoia project, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), aims to build the world's first 20 petaflop computer. Sequoia would be 20 times more powerful than the Roadrunner…


From ACM TechNews

Students Make Atari Games Look Like Atari Again

Students Make Atari Games Look Like Atari Again

Georgia Institute of Technology students have developed a system that recreates the original picture and experience of Atari video games. Old video game displays were based on the phosphorescent glow of an electron beam as it…


From ACM News

Simple Technology Links Students With Peers Overseas

A growing number of East Carolina University undergraduates are having international experiences without ever leaving the Greenville, N.C., campus. The university's Global Understanding program uses relatively unsophisticated…


From ACM TechNews

Canada on Verge of It Student Shortage

Canada on Verge of It Student Shortage

Declining enrollment in computer science programs, along with an increased demand for computer science workers, could lead to a critical workforce shortage in Canada, says Information and Communications Technology Council president…


From ACM TechNews

U.S. Simulation Superiority Slips

U.S. Simulation Superiority Slips

Today's  supercomputers require programming skills that too few U.S. researchers have to produce advanced computer simulations, and affordable computers and committed national programs outside the United States are whittling…


From ACM TechNews

Web Tool 'as Important as Google'

Web Tool 'as Important as Google'

Physicist Stephen Wolfram says the goal of his free Wolfram Alpha program, which will be available to the public starting in the middle of May, is to "make expert knowledge accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime." Wolfram's…


From ACM TechNews

Quantum Cryptography: Hackers' R.i.p.?

Quantum Cryptography: Hackers' R.i.p.?

Researchers from Toshiba and Cambridge University's Cavendish Laboratory say secure quantum communication is possible with practical components for high-speed photon detection. In their paper, "Practical Gigahertz: Quantum Key…


From ACM TechNews

Sending Cell Phones Into the Cloud

Intel Research Berkeley scientists Byung-Gon Chun and Petros Maniatis have developed CloneCloud, a cloud computing-based clone of smartphones that can handle large computational processing tasks. CloneCloud uses a smartphone's…


From ICT Results

Tough Times For Complex Systems: A Modernization Story

A European project has just released a prototype of a software engineering platform that could help companies save time, money and energy as they scramble to upgrade complex IT systems. "If you are going to modernize, of course…


From ACM TechNews

Robot With Skin to Improve Human Communication

Computer scientists at the University of Hertfordshire are covering a child-sized humanoid robot with artificial skin in an effort to help autistic children improve the way they interact with the robot, Kaspar, and other people…


From ACM TechNews

Could the Net Become Self-Aware?

Could the Net Become Self-Aware?

The Internet is similar to the human brain in that it has a complex network of nodes for holding, processing, recalling, and transmitting information. The Web may also exhibit a level of consciousness. Francis Heylighen, an…


From ACM News

Low Cost, Dexterous Robotic Hand Operated By Compressed Air

Low Cost, Dexterous Robotic Hand Operated By Compressed Air

The Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa) of the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech has developed a unique robotic hand that can firmly hold objects as heavy as a can of food or as delicate as a raw egg, while dexterous…


From ACM News

Rfid Wristband Becomes a Theme Park Essential

Rfid Wristband Becomes a Theme Park Essential

In a nondescript manufacturing plant on a quiet cul-de-sac in San Fernando, Calif., a khaki-green machine the size of a buffet table sucks in bright pink ribbon and spits out one of the hottest features in theme parks. Precision…


From ACM News

Here Comes the Smart Grid

Here Comes the Smart Grid

A new data model developed by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, at other universities, and in the private sector will help facilities and buildings save power through automated demand response (ADR) technology…