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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.

April 2014


From ACM TechNews

Data Mining Uncovers 19th Century Britain's Fat Habit

Data Mining Uncovers 19th Century Britain's Fat Habit

The Trading Consequences project has produced new insight into how fat became a worldwide commodity. 


From ACM TechNews

'unbreakable' Security Codes Inspired By Nature

'unbreakable' Security Codes Inspired By Nature

A new method of encrypting confidential information was inspired by the time-varying nature of cardio-respiratory coupling functions in humans. 


From ACM TechNews

Stanford Computer Scientists Learn to Predict Which Photos Will Go Viral on Facebook

Stanford Computer Scientists Learn to Predict Which Photos Will Go Viral on Facebook

Stanford University researchers have developed a method for predicting which photos on Facebook will go viral. 


From ACM TechNews

To Create a Pipeline of STEM Workers in Virginia, Program Starts With Littlest Learners

To Create a Pipeline of STEM Workers in Virginia, Program Starts With Littlest Learners

SySTEMic Solutions aims to get young Northern Virginia students to become passionate about STEM in order to boost the region's future economy. 


From ACM News

The Bug that Rocked the Foundations of the Web

The Bug that Rocked the Foundations of the Web

Late on Monday afternoon, the details of one of the most serious security problems to ever affect the modern web were posted online.


From ACM News

Hackers Lurking in Vents and Soda Machines

Hackers Lurking in Vents and Soda Machines

They came in through the Chinese takeout menu.


From ACM Opinion

Steve Matteson: Fonts in the Time of Wearables

Steve Matteson: Fonts in the Time of Wearables

As gadgets get smaller, and mobile manufacturers find new ways to shrink their devices to fit on a user's wrist, people like Steve Matteson are focused on keeping said devices as usable and readable as possible.


From ACM News

Half-Century Milestone For Ibm Mainframes

Half-Century Milestone For Ibm Mainframes

The IBM mainframe is celebrating its 50th anniversary.


From ACM News

High-Tech Items Giving Deaf-Blind Online Access

High-Tech Items Giving Deaf-Blind Online Access

Tanisha Verdejo loves to surf the Internet for shopping deals. She chats on Facebook, learns about new recipes and enjoys sending emails to friends and family.


From ACM News

5 Biometric Alternatives to the Password

5 Biometric Alternatives to the Password

There are many things that make you special: Your sense of humor, your dance moves, your personal style, the shape of your ear.


From ACM TechNews

Bu Prof Earns $450k Grant to Improve Computer Chips

Bu Prof Earns $450k Grant to Improve Computer Chips

Binghamton University professor Timothy Miller focuses on teaching computer chips how to be smarter about themselves. 


From ACM TechNews

Earth and Computer Sciences Collaboration a Success

Earth and Computer Sciences Collaboration a Success

University of Waikato students have developed software that optimizes the manufacture of terrain models created by a three-dimensional printer. 


From ACM TechNews

Overcoming Structural Uncertainty in Computer Models

Overcoming Structural Uncertainty in Computer Models

Researchers have developed a technique for incorporating judgments into a model about structural uncertainty that stems from building an "incorrect" model. 


From ACM News

As Human Laws Grapple with Robots, There Are No Easy Answers

As Human Laws Grapple with Robots, There Are No Easy Answers

There's been a lot of buzz about robots lately.


From ACM Opinion

The Complexonaut

The Complexonaut

When he was in elementary school, Scott Aaronson, like many mathematically precocious kids of his generation, dreamed of making his own video games.


From ACM Opinion

A Veteran Programmer Explains How the Stock Market Became "Rigged"

A Veteran Programmer Explains How the Stock Market Became "Rigged"

A small group of financial firms are using their technological superiority to skim the top off the market, Michael Lewis claims in his new book "Flash Boys."


From ACM News

Explore Angkor Wat with Google Street View

Explore Angkor Wat with Google Street View

Angkor, what remains of the capital of the Khmer Empire, is an incredibly beautiful place, but it's also very remote: tucked in the Cambodian jungle, at the intersection of jumbled ancient roads, its ruins remain off the beaten…


From ACM TechNews

How Your Location Data Is Being Used to Predict the Events You Will Want to Attend

How Your Location Data Is Being Used to Predict the Events You Will Want to Attend

Researchers are tapping data from location-based social media network Foursquare to learn what makes people more likely to attend one event rather than another.


From ACM TechNews

Harnessing the Power of Hashtags to Tackle Climate Change

Harnessing the Power of Hashtags to Tackle Climate Change

The #Climate mobile app is designed to help build momentum for climate change policies by connecting influential persons to nonprofits via a social network model. 


From ACM News

A Fundamental Theory to Model the Mind

A Fundamental Theory to Model the Mind

In 1999, the Danish physicist Per Bak proclaimed to a group of neuroscientists that it had taken him only 10 minutes to determine where the field had gone wrong.


From ACM TechNews

UW Gesture Technology Increases Efficiency of Hands-Free Use

UW Gesture Technology Increases Efficiency of Hands-Free Use

AllSee is a new gesture-recognition system that brings the technology to mobile devices for the first time. 


From ACM TechNews

Wanna Build a Rocket? NASA's About to Give Away a Mountain of Its Code

Wanna Build a Rocket? NASA's About to Give Away a Mountain of Its Code

NASA plans to publish a list of more than 1,000 software projects it has developed, with instructions on how users can acquire the associated software code for free. 


From ACM TechNews

Google Glass Hackathon Spawns Bizarre No-Touch Apps

Google Glass Hackathon Spawns Bizarre No-Touch Apps

At a recent Google Glass hackathon, which developers used a new language called Wearscript to create a wide range of new applications for the wearable technology. 


From ACM Opinion

If You Like Immersion, You'll Love This Reality

If You Like Immersion, You'll Love This Reality

The news that Facebook paid $2 billion for a virtual reality start-up, Oculus VR, might strike you as a bit zany.


From ACM TechNews

Big Data Reaches to the Stratosphere

Big Data Reaches to the Stratosphere

A position paper developed at the recent Big Data and Extreme-scale Computing workshop emphasizes the goals and challenges of big data analytics. 


From ACM TechNews

Inside the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program

Inside the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program

The White House Office of Science and Technology's Jennifer Pahlka discusses the Presidential Innovation Fellows program, which she helps oversee. 


From ACM News

Cheaper Joints and Digits Bring the Robot Revolution Closer

Cheaper Joints and Digits Bring the Robot Revolution Closer

The Atlas humanoid robot, unveiled last year by Boston Dynamics, a company later acquired by Google, is a marvel.


From ACM News

Cerf: Classified Nsa Work Mucked ­p Security For Early Tcp/ip

Cerf: Classified Nsa Work Mucked ­p Security For Early Tcp/ip

Internet pioneer Vint Cerf says that he had access to cutting edge cryptographic technology in the mid 1970s that could have made TCP/IP more secure – too bad the NSA wouldn’t let him!


From ACM News

Orienteering For Robots

Orienteering For Robots

Suppose you're trying to navigate an unfamiliar section of a big city, and you’re using a particular cluster of skyscrapers as a reference point.


From ACM Opinion

The Story of Cortana, Microsoft's Siri Killer

The Story of Cortana, Microsoft's Siri Killer

Technically, Cortana isn't supposed to exist for at least another 500 years, but that's not stopping Microsoft from bringing her to life this week.