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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.

September 2011


From ACM News

Why Wireless Markets Are Concentrated

In its suit to block AT&T’s $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile, the Justice Department leans heavily on the argument that consolidated market power is bad for consumers. More companies in an industry mean more competition and…


From ACM News

Captcha Talks Back

What if CAPTCHA messed with you even more than it already does?


From ACM TechNews

How Microsoft Researchers Might Invent a Holodeck

How Microsoft Researchers Might Invent a Holodeck

Microsoft researcher Scott Saponas is developing Skinput, a bracelet of wearable electrodes that can sense how the user is moving their hand and fingers, transmitting the data wirelessly to a computer where it can manipulate…


From ACM TechNews

World's First University With Indoor Navigation App

World's First University With Indoor Navigation App

Students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology are using a new application that serves as a guide for users both outside and inside buildings. 


From ACM TechNews

Computer Helps Msu Researchers ­nravel Plants' Secrets to Survival

Computer Helps Msu Researchers ­nravel Plants' Secrets to Survival

Michigan State University scientists are using artificial intelligence to gain a better understanding of how plants cope with extreme environments. 


From ACM TechNews

Quantum Computing: Federal Researchers Take One Step Closer

Quantum Computing: Federal Researchers Take One Step Closer

U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology researchers have achieved the lowest error rate to date for quantum information processing in an experiment that involved a single beryllium ion qubit. 


From ACM Careers

Apple's Design Wizard Has Not Left the Building

Apple's Design Wizard Has Not Left the Building

He was the resident wizard at 1 Infinite Loop, the guy sporting minimalist attire, closely cropped hair and a mischievous smile as he pulled one delightful new Apple product after another out of his sleeve. Now he's left the…


From ACM News

Matching Images of Brain Activity with Complex Thought

Can you get a text output of your thoughts? Princeton scientists show that it is possible to generate text about the mental content reflected in brain images.


From ACM News

10 Jobs That Barely Existed on 9/10/01, From Robot Squadmate to Warplane Whisperer

10 Jobs That Barely Existed on 9/10/01, From Robot Squadmate to Warplane Whisperer

The terror attacks on New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001, changed the lives of all Americans—few more so than the millions who have participated in the two major wars that followed the attacks.


From ACM News

Household Robots Move from Science Fiction to Reality

Rosie the Robot could finally be coming to your home. Willow Garage, a startup in Menlo Park, has designed a robot called the PR2 that calls to mind the Jetsons' beloved robotic housekeeper. It's still under development, but…


From ACM TechNews

Online Activity Grows in a Similar Pattern to Those of Real-Life Networks

Online Activity Grows in a Similar Pattern to Those of Real-Life Networks

Accelerating growth patterns appear in the virtual world, according to Lingfei Wu, a researcher at the City University of Hong Kong. 


From ACM TechNews

Flash Memory That'll Keep on Shrinking

Researchers at UCLA and Samsung have developed a type of flash memory that uses graphene and silicon to store information. The researchers say the use of graphene could lead to portable electronics that can store much more data…


From ACM TechNews

Profiler at the Cellular Level

Profiler at the Cellular Level

Researchers at ETH Zurich and MIT have developed a diagnostic biological computer in human cells that can recognize certain cancer cells using logic combinations of five cancer-specific molecular factors. 


From ACM TechNews

Quantum Computer Chips Pass Key Milestones

Quantum Computer Chips Pass Key Milestones

University of California, Santa Barbara researchers have developed a quantum computer design based on superconducting electrical circuits that adds a more sustainable method to completing quantum calculations. 


From ACM TechNews

Robots Learn to Handle Objects, Understand New Places

Robots Learn to Handle Objects, Understand New Places

A team from Cornell University's Personal Robotics Laboratory is teaching a robot to find its way around new environments and manipulate objects, and machine learning is a key part of the project. 


From ACM Opinion

The Calm Before the Storm

The Calm Before the Storm

Revelations of wholesale electronic fraud and massive data heists have become weekly, even daily affairs.


From ACM News

An Open Secret: Drone Warfare In Pakistan

An Open Secret: Drone Warfare In Pakistan

Drone warfare is now one of the most fundamental features of the U.S. battle against its enemies. Just don't ask anyone in the government to talk about it.


From ACM News

How 9/11 Inspired a New Era of Robotics

How 9/11 Inspired a New Era of Robotics

When Robin Murphy saw the World Trade Center towers fall on September 11, she knew of an unexpected group that could help respond: robots.


From ACM News

Science After 9/11: How Research Was Changed By the September 11 Terrorist Attacks

Science After 9/11: How Research Was Changed By the September 11 Terrorist Attacks

New work in forensics, biodefense and cyber security blossomed after the attacks on New York City, Washington, D.C., and in the skies over Pennsylvania, but increased regulations have also stymied international collaboration…


From ACM TechNews

Chatty Robots Go Viral on Youtube

Chatty Robots Go Viral on Youtube

Cornell University students have used a Web-based chatbot called Cleverbot to set up an online chat between two robots, one male and one female.


From ACM TechNews

Flexible Electronics Hold Promise

Flexible Electronics Hold Promise

A team from Wake Forest University, working with interdisciplinary collaborators from Stanford University, Imperial College London, the University of Kentucky, and Appalachian State University, has developed an organic semiconductor…


From ACM TechNews

Need for Speed

Need for Speed

University of Delaware professor Xiaoming Li is working to improve computer optimization, with the main performance issue now being to help a multitude of threads to share resources. 


From ACM TechNews

Nih Research Model Predicts Weight With Varying Diet, Exercise Changes

Nih Research Model Predicts Weight With Varying Diet, Exercise Changes

Researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health have developed a computer simulation of metabolism that enables scientists to better understand how diet and exercise impact metabolism and ultimately lead to changes in weight…


From ACM Careers

For Software Developers, A Bounty Of Opportunity

For Software Developers, A Bounty Of Opportunity

As people across the country suffer from long-term unemployment, the tech industry is experiencing a shortage of qualified workers. Particularly in software development, employers are waging bidding wars over a tightening…


From ACM News

New Supercomputer Benchmarks Overdue?

New Supercomputer Benchmarks Overdue?

The yardstick used to identify the world’s best-performing supercomputers–the Linpack Benchmark–no longer reflects "real-world usage" and ought to be replaced with a new metric, says Allan Snavely.


From ACM News

How Microsoft Researchers Might Invent a Holodeck

How Microsoft Researchers Might Invent a Holodeck

Deep inside Microsoft is the brain of a mad scientist.


From ACM News

Airline Pilots Forgetting How to Fly? Computer Controls Blamed

Are airline pilots forgetting how to fly? As planes become ever more reliant on automation to navigate crowded skies, safety officials worry there will be more deadly accidents traced to pilots who have lost their hands-on…


From ACM News

Mining Electronic Records Yields Connections Between Diseases

Mining Electronic Records Yields Connections Between Diseases

Danish scientists have devised a new way to connect the dots between diseases.


From ACM News

Cryptocurrency

The bitcoin, a virtual medium of exchange, could be a real alternative to government-issued money—but only if it survives hoarding by speculators.


From ACM News

Animated or Real, Both Are Believable

Animated or Real, Both Are Believable

It is still possible to distinguish between a living, breathing character in a movie and an animated one—but it is getting harder.