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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.

August 2011


From ACM News

China's Supercomputing Goal: From 'zero To Hero'

China's Supercomputing Goal: From 'zero To Hero'

China basked in a moment of technological glory last November when it nudged out the U.S. as home of the world's fastest supercomputer. The achievement was short-lived—after just six months, a Japanese supercomputer three…


From ACM News

Your Face

Imagine being able to sit down in a bar, snap a few photos of people, and quickly learn who they are, who their friends are, where they live, what kind of music they like... even predict their Social Security number.


From ACM TechNews

European Security Group Issues Warning on HTML5

European Security Group Issues Warning on HTML5

New standards under development as part of HTML5 neglect important security issues, according to a European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) report.

ENISA examined 13 specifications within HTML5 and found…


From ACM TechNews

Web Search Is Ready For a Shakeup, Says ­w Computer Scientist

Web Search Is Ready For a Shakeup, Says ­w Computer Scientist

University of Washington (UW) professor Oren Etzioni recently called on the international academic community and engineers to be more ambitious in designing how users find information online.

The main obstacle to progress…


From ACM TechNews

Georgia Tech Proposes Internet Consumer Nutrition Label

Georgia Tech Proposes Internet Consumer Nutrition Label

A recent Georgia Tech University study of Internet service providers (ISPs) concluded that ISPs should provide easy-to-understand information about service-limiting factors to provide users with better ways of measuring their…


From ACM News

Costly Drone Is Poised to Replace ­-2 Spy Plane

Costly Drone Is Poised to Replace ­-2 Spy Plane

Tucked away here in the Mojave Desert, the assembly plant for the high-flying Global Hawk jet resembles a giant hobby shop. Work tables surround a handful of fuselages, and an unusually long wing—needed to slip through the…


From ACM News

Diy Spy Drone Sniffs Wi-Fi, Intercepts Phone Calls

Diy Spy Drone Sniffs Wi-Fi, Intercepts Phone Calls

What do you do when the target you’re spying on slips behind his home-security gates and beyond your reach? Launch your personal, specially equipped WASP drone—short for Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform—to fly overhead…


From ACM News

Can Video Kill the Credit-Card Form?

Can Video Kill the Credit-Card Form?

The days of tediously having to punch in credit-card details whenever you make an online purchase may be numbered, thanks to a new payment system that turns any webcam into a credit-card reader.


From ACM News

Beyond Cell Phone Wallets, Biometrics Promise Truly Wallet-Free Future

Beyond Cell Phone Wallets, Biometrics Promise Truly Wallet-Free Future

Ever since Google announced that its Android phones would be equipped with a "digital wallet" that allows users to pay for things simply by touching their phone to a pad, interest in our wallet-free future has taken off. Long…


From ACM News

Shady Rat Hacking Is Not About China

Jeffrey Carr, author of O'Reilly Media's Inside Cyber Warfare, argues that McAfee's supposed revelations about large-scale Chinese hacking attacks are a smokescreen.


From ACM News

Operation Shady RAT May Be the Biggest Hack in History but Is No Surprise

Anybody involved in the IT and cybersecurity industry knows that every major industry and government agency around the world is under threat of intrusion through Advanced Persistent Threats. Security company McAfee is reporting…


From ACM TechNews

Crime's Digital Past

Crime's Digital Past

Eight interdisciplinary groups of digital humanists recently met to discuss the results of research on London's Old Bailey courthouse's digitized archive. The researchers, including philosophers, historians, and computer …


From ACM News

Hard-Coded Password and Other Security Holes Found in Siemens Control Systems

Hard-Coded Password and Other Security Holes Found in Siemens Control Systems

A security researcher has uncovered a slew of vulnerabilities in Siemens industrial control systems, including a hard-coded password, that would let attackers reprogram the systems with malicious commands to sabotage critical…


From ACM News

Mapping the Most Complex Object in the Known ­niverse

Mapping the Most Complex Object in the Known ­niverse

It's paint-by-numbers for neuroscientists. At the Max-Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany, researchers have devised a faster way of computing the neural connections that make up the brain.


From ACM News

China Aims to Renew Status As Scientific Superpower

China Aims to Renew Status As Scientific Superpower

China was probably the world's earliest technological superpower, inventing the plow, the compass, gunpowder, and block printing. Then, science in the Middle Kingdom languished for centuries.


From ACM News

Why Are China's Universities Losing Their Star Students?

Why Are China's Universities Losing Their Star Students?

It happens every summer. In the weeks after the annual National College Entrance Examination, new high school graduates wait for the list. For years, who gets into China's most prestigious universities has been a matter of…


From ACM News

Major Breakthrough Claimed in Wireless Technology

Major Breakthrough Claimed in Wireless Technology

Dropped calls, unsent texts, painfully slow Internet connections and overcrowded Wi-Fi hot spots have become a bane of modern life. But veteran valley entrepreneur Steve Perlman may have a solution to those problems.


From ACM News

Marvell Tapped By China to Develop Mobile Phone Standard

Chipmaker Marvell, whose top management is based in Santa Clara, has been tapped to help China achieve the goal of creating its own mobile technology standards.


From ACM News

Pentagon Seeks a Few Good Social Networkers

The Pentagon is developing plans to use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter as both a resource and a weapon in future conflicts. Its research and development agency is offering $42 million in funding to anyone…


From ACM News

Meet Dark Tangent, the Hacker Behind Black Hat and Def Con

Meet Dark Tangent, the Hacker Behind Black Hat and Def Con

The word "hacker" evokes all kinds of scary images. But Jeff Moss says hackers are exactly what the world needs more of, because they can make the Internet safer for the rest of us.


From ACM News

David Ferrucci, Lead Researcher of Ibm's Watson Project

David Ferrucci, Lead Researcher of Ibm's Watson Project

How do you improve on a computer that beat the world's best Jeopardy! players? Have Watson team up with humanity.


From ACM News

A New Planning Tool Helps Direct Traffic on Aircraft Carriers

A New Planning Tool Helps Direct Traffic on Aircraft Carriers

On the deck of an aircraft carrier, where up to 60 aircraft are crammed into 4.5 acres (1.8 hectares), real estate is at a premium. While aircraft directors wave fighter jets out of the landing strip, maintenance crews work…


From ACM News

Why Math Works

Why Math Works

Most of us take it for granted that math works—that scientists can devise formulas to describe subatomic events or that engineers can calculate paths for space­craft. We accept the view, initially espoused by Galileo, that…


From ACM News

Can Microsoft Make You 'bing'?

Can Microsoft Make You 'bing'?

Mike Nichols has a poster on his office wall. It shows the young Muhammad Ali glaring down at a fallen Sonny Liston, the bruising heavyweight who had seemed invincible — until Ali beat him, in 1964, in one of the biggest upsets…


From ACM News

Researchers Expose Cunning Online Tracking Service That Can

Researchers Expose Cunning Online Tracking Service That Can

Researchers at U.C. Berkeley have discovered that some of the net's most popular sites are using a tracking service that can't be evaded—even when users block cookies, turn off storage in Flash, or use browsers' "incognito"…


From ACM News

Here's How U.s. Spies Will Find You Through Your Pics

Here's How U.s. Spies Will Find You Through Your Pics

Iarpa, the intelligence community’s way-out research shop, wants to know where you took that vacation picture over the Fourth of July. It wants to know where you took that snapshot with your friends when you were at that New…


From ACM TechNews

Experts Complacent About Communication Network Attacks

Industry experts could be underestimating the vulnerability of the Internet due to physical attacks to telecommunications infrastructure, according to a recent Lancaster University survey. Just 9% of respondents thought physical…


From ACM News

­s. And Them.

Someone types a command into a laptop, and Actroid-DER jerks upright with a shudder and a wheeze. Compressed air flows beneath silicone skin, triggering actuators that raise her arms and lift the corners of her mouth into…


From ACM News

Someday Your Brain Could Brake For You

Someday Your Brain Could Brake For You

Many high-end cars today come equipped with brake assist systems, which help a driver use the brakes correctly depending on particular conditions in an emergency. But what if the car could apply the brakes before the driver…


From ACM News

Document: Fbi Surveillance Geeks Fear, Love New Gadgets

Can't wait for 4G to become the ubiquitous standard for mobile communication? On the edge of your seat for the unveiling of Microsoft's secret Menlo Project and Greenfield application?