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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 2013


From ACM News

Litterbugs Beware: Turning Found Dna Into Portraits

Litterbugs Beware: Turning Found Dna Into Portraits

Heather Dewey-Hagborg was sitting in a therapy session a while ago and noticed a painting on the wall. The glass on the frame was cracked, and lodged in the crack was a single hair. She couldn't take her eyes off it.


From ACM News

Landlords Double as Energy Brokers

Landlords Double as Energy Brokers

The trophy high-rises on Madison, Park, and Fifth Avenues in Manhattan have long commanded the top prices in the country for commercial real estate, with yearly leases approaching $150 a square foot.


From ACM News

­nique School For Coders: Tuition-Free – ­ntil You're Hired

­nique School For Coders: Tuition-Free – ­ntil You're Hired

A new school for programmers stands behind the ability of its students to find jobs — if you can't find one within a year, tuition is free.


From ACM News

The Evolution of the Web, in a Blink

The Evolution of the Web, in a Blink

The Web browser you're probably using to read this article is a small marvel of engineering.


From ACM News

Neuroprosthetics: Once More, With Feeling

Neuroprosthetics: Once More, With Feeling

Sitting motionless in her wheelchair, paralysed from the neck down by a stroke, Cathy Hutchinson seems to take no notice of the cable rising from the top of her head through her curly dark hair.


From ACM TechNews

Child Care and STEM Fields Are Called Barriers to Women at 2-Year Colleges

Child Care and STEM Fields Are Called Barriers to Women at 2-Year Colleges

Gender stereotypes that discourage women from pursuing STEM careers are among the most formidable barriers holding them back in community colleges.


From ACM TechNews

App Helps Blind Photographers Take the Perfect Snap

App Helps Blind Photographers Take the Perfect Snap

Researchers are developing a smartphone application that helps visually impaired users take pictures. 


From ACM TechNews

Why Even Google Will Embrace Cellphone Chips in the Data Center

Why Even Google Will Embrace Cellphone Chips in the Data Center

A recent research paper suggests Google can achieve significant cost savings by using specific processors for particular software tasks. 


From ACM TechNews

Amherst Prof Devises First Head-to-Head Speed Test With Conventional Computing, and the Quantum Computer Wins

Amherst Prof Devises First Head-to-Head Speed Test With Conventional Computing, and the Quantum Computer Wins

An Amherst College researcher recently tested the speed of a quantum computing system against conventional computing methods. 


From ACM TechNews

Intelligent Robots Will Overtake Humans By 2100, Experts Say

Intelligent Robots Will Overtake Humans By 2100, Experts Say

Some computer scientists believe the singularity at which artificial intelligence can match and overtake human intelligence could take place in only 16 years. 


From ACM News

A Hack-Proof Internet Exists, Thanks to Quantum Physics

A Hack-Proof Internet Exists, Thanks to Quantum Physics

Leave it to the quantum physicists at Los Alamos National Labs to have run for the past two years something that sounded like science fiction: a quantum Internet that promises perfectly secure online communications.


From ACM TechNews

Linux Leads in Open Source Quality, but Risky Defects Lurk

Linux Leads in Open Source Quality, but Risky Defects Lurk

Linux topped open source software in quality in a study of the defects that occur in the software development process. 


From ACM TechNews

Networks in 2020: More Traffic, Less Energy

Networks in 2020: More Traffic, Less Energy

New technologies will enable networks to use much less energy by 2020, even though they will be carrying much more traffic.


From ACM Careers

Inside the Drone Economy

Inside the Drone Economy

Last month the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the unmanned systems industry's largest trade organization, released its first economic study detailing just how an expected $82 billion in economic impacts…


From ACM News

Better Origami ­sing Nature and Maths

Better Origami ­sing Nature and Maths

Paper folding isn’t just an art, it can help fit everything on spacecraft from solar panels to telescope mirrors.


From ACM News

Researchers at Parc Give ­S a Glimpse of the Future

Researchers at Parc Give ­S a Glimpse of the Future

It was a high-tech speed-dating session, Silicon Valley-style: I would sit in the storied memorabilia-laden Room 2306 in the bowels of PARC, the former Xerox research and development center in Palo Alto that gave us the "ball''…


From ACM News

What to Expect When Elevators and Toys Start Phoning Home

What to Expect When Elevators and Toys Start Phoning Home

Your next elevator pitch might actually come from data derived from your elevator.


From ACM News

U.s. Cyberwar Strategy Stokes Fear of Blowback

U.s. Cyberwar Strategy Stokes Fear of Blowback

Even as the U.S. government confronts rival powers over widespread Internet espionage, it has become the biggest buyer in a burgeoning gray market where hackers and security firms sell tools for breaking into computers.


From ACM Opinion

Syrian Electronic Army Hacks Israel's Main Infrastructure Control System

Syrian Electronic Army Hacks Israel's Main Infrastructure Control System

The Syrian Electronic Army launched a successful cyberattack on the main infrastructure system of Haifa, one of the most important ports in Israel, disrupting the operation of the servers in charge of urban management systems…


From ACM News

A Quantum Computer Aces Its Test

A Quantum Computer Aces Its Test

The long-sought quantum computer, a machine potentially far ahead of today's best supercomputers, is almost as hard to define as it is to build.


From ACM News

Big Data from Cheap Phones

Big Data from Cheap Phones

At a computer in her office at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, epidemiologist Caroline Buckee points to a dot on a map of Kenya's western highlands, representing one of the nation's thousands of cell-phone towers…


From ACM News

China's Cyberspies Outwit Model For Bond's Q

China's Cyberspies Outwit Model For Bond's Q

Among defense contractors, QinetiQ North America is known for spy-world connections and an eye-popping product line.


From ACM TechNews

U.K. Eyes Apprenticeships to Grow IT Talent

U.K. Eyes Apprenticeships to Grow IT Talent

The U.K. information technology sector is trying out apprenticeships as a means of training more young people for jobs in the industry. 


From ACM TechNews

Building a Digital Life Form: Openworm, Open Source

Building a Digital Life Form: Openworm, Open Source

The OpenWorm Project is working to create the first computer model of the Caenorhabditis elegans nematode worm. 


From ACM TechNews

Reading, Writing and Computer Coding--the Basics of the Future

Reading, Writing and Computer Coding--the Basics of the Future

To get more students interested in writing software code, advocates are working to eliminate the idea that computer science is too hard. 


From ACM TechNews

In Vivo Flexible Large Scale Integrated Circuits

In Vivo Flexible Large Scale Integrated Circuits

Researchers say they have developed in vivo silicon-based flexible large-scale integrated (LSI) circuits for biomedical wireless communications. 


From ACM Opinion

Apple: An End to Skeuomorphic Design?

Apple: An End to Skeuomorphic Design?

Why do most smartphones make a clicking noise, like a camera shutter closing, when you take a picture with them? Why do the virtual pages of a book on a tablet appear to turn as you swipe across the screen?


From ACM Careers

Netflix, Reed Hastings Survive Missteps to Join Silicon Valley's Elite

Netflix, Reed Hastings Survive Missteps to Join Silicon Valley's Elite

On a normal weeknight, Netflix accounts for almost a third of all Internet traffic entering North American homes. That's more than YouTube, Hulu, Amazon.com, HBO Go, iTunes, and BitTorrent combined.


From ACM Opinion

Stephen Wolfram on Personal Analytics

Stephen Wolfram on Personal Analytics

Don't be surprised if Stephen Wolfram, the renowned complexity theorist, software company CEO, and night owl, wants to schedule a work call with you at 9 p.m. In fact, after a decade of logging every phone call he makes, Wolfram…


From ACM News

Gaze-Based Inattention Management

Gaze-Based Inattention Management

How do you reduce distractions to office workers, while satisfying their need to stay current?