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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.

November 2015


From ACM News

Strange Star Likely Swarmed by Comets

Strange Star Likely Swarmed by Comets

A star called KIC 8462852 has been in the news recently for unexplained and bizarre behavior.


From ACM News

Genome Editing: 7 Facts About a Revolutionary Technology

Genome Editing: 7 Facts About a Revolutionary Technology

The ethics of human-genome editing is in the spotlight again as a large international meeting on the topic is poised to kick off in Washington DC.


From ACM News

Blood Gushes from Virtual Leg Injury to Help Train Combat Medics

Blood Gushes from Virtual Leg Injury to Help Train Combat Medics

If you're very squeamish, look away now.


From ACM TechNews

Strategy Based on Human Reflexes May Keep Legged Robots, Prosthetic Legs From Tripping

Strategy Based on Human Reflexes May Keep Legged Robots, Prosthetic Legs From Tripping

A new robotic leg prosthesis could help users recover their balance by using techniques based on the way human legs are controlled. 


From ACM TechNews

Seeking Data Wisdom

Seeking Data Wisdom

Data wisdom is needed to make discoveries and assure the significance of the results of data-intensive research, says a statistician and data scientist. 


From ACM TechNews

Email Security Improving, but Far From Perfect

Email Security Improving, but Far From Perfect

A new report observes that email security has improved significantly in the past two years, although widespread issues remain.


From ACM News

‘Outsiders’ Crack 50-Year-Old Math Problem

‘Outsiders’ Crack 50-Year-Old Math Problem

Three computer scientists have solved a problem central to a dozen far-flung mathematical fields.


From ACM TechNews

Why Ball Tracking Works for Tennis and Cricket but Not Soccer or Basketball

Why Ball Tracking Works for Tennis and Cricket but Not Soccer or Basketball

Tracking balls in some sports--such as basketball, volleyball, and soccer--is significantly harder for machine-vision algorithms than it is in other sports. 


From ACM TechNews

No Lens? No Problem for FlatCam

No Lens? No Problem for FlatCam

Rice University researchers have developed FlatCam, a thin sensor chip with a mask that replaces lenses in a traditional camera.


From ACM TechNews

Smile, Frown, Grimace, and Grin--Your Facial Expression Is the Next Frontier in Big Data

Smile, Frown, Grimace, and Grin--Your Facial Expression Is the Next Frontier in Big Data

Affectiva co-founder Rana el Kaliouby sees the use of computers to interpret human facial expressions as the next logical step in computer-user interaction.


From ACM News

NSA to Shut Down Bulk Phone Surveillance Program by Sunday

NSA to Shut Down Bulk Phone Surveillance Program by Sunday

The U.S. National Security Agency will end its daily vacuuming of millions of Americans' phone records by Sunday and replace the practice with more tightly targeted surveillance methods, the Obama administration said on Friday…


From ACM News

A Century Ago, Einstein's Theory of Relativity Changed Everything

A Century Ago, Einstein's Theory of Relativity Changed Everything

By the fall of 1915, Albert Einstein was a bit grumpy.


From ACM News

Google Says It Reviewed 1.2 Million Web Pages for 'Right to Be Forgotten'

Google Says It Reviewed 1.2 Million Web Pages for 'Right to Be Forgotten'

Alphabet Inc.'s Google on Wednesday said it has evaluated more than 1.2 million Web pages for compliance with Europe's "Right to Be Forgotten" ruling, and removed 42% of them from its search results. Facebook Inc.'s was the top…


From ACM TechNews

New Access to the Interior of Electronic Components

New Access to the Interior of Electronic Components

Ruhr-University Bochum researchers can access the interior of transistors by manipulating the electron gas within them via application of resonators to produce rhythmic oscillation in the terahertz range inside. 


From ACM TechNews

Computers Can Perceive Image Curves Like Artists

Computers Can Perceive Image Curves Like Artists

Researchers at Umeå University in Sweden have developed a breakthrough concept in the field of computer vision using curves and lines to represent image shapes and recognize objects.


From ACM TechNews

Cyborg Rose Has Electric Circuits Running Through Polymer Veins

Cyborg Rose Has Electric Circuits Running Through Polymer Veins

Swedish researchers built a working electronic circuit from an ordinary garden rose by filling its veins with conductive polymer. This is the first step toward developing electronics that can interact directly with plants.


From ACM TechNews

Quantum Simulation: A Better Understanding of Magnetism

Quantum Simulation: A Better Understanding of Magnetism

Heidelberg University physicists have devised a new way to study magnetism via quantum simulation, using four ultracold atoms at near absolute zero to build a model simulating the behavior of electrons in a solid.  


From ACM TechNews

How Well Is Hillary Clinton Tweeting? Syracuse Takes a Closer Look

How Well Is Hillary Clinton Tweeting? Syracuse Takes a Closer Look

Syracuse University researchers are planning to compile and analyze every tweet and Facebook post for every U.S. presidential candidate through the end of the 2016 election to assess what those posts augur for the campaign.  


From ACM News

The Sounds of Brushing

The Sounds of Brushing

A new study suggests using smartphones to capture the sounds of brushing one's teeth, to determine if you are doing it right.


From ACM News

Medical Devices That Are Vulnerable to Life-Threatening Hacks

Medical Devices That Are Vulnerable to Life-Threatening Hacks

When you think about the Internet of Things, you probably think of smart refrigerators and smart electric meters, not smart pacemakers, insulin pumps, and x-ray machines.


From ACM News

The Doomsday Invention

The Doomsday Invention

Last year, a curious nonfiction book became a Times best-seller: a dense meditation on artificial intelligence by the philosopher Nick Bostrom, who holds an appointment at Oxford.


From ACM News

Martian Moon Set to Form Ring Around Red Planet

Martian Moon Set to Form Ring Around Red Planet

One day, Mars may have rings like Saturn does.


From ACM TechNews

Biomedical Imaging at One-Thousandth the Cost

Biomedical Imaging at One-Thousandth the Cost

A biomedical imaging system developed by MIT researchers could ultimately replace a $100,000 microscope with components that cost only hundreds of dollars. The system employs fluorescence lifetime imaging.  


From ACM TechNews

Silicon 2.0 Promises Superpowered Chips and Solar Cells

Silicon 2.0 Promises Superpowered Chips and Solar Cells

Silicon's limited electrical conductivity holds back computer processing speeds and the efficiency of solar panels. Ordinary silicon enhanced with certain abilities could be an effective replacement, if it can be coaxed to form…


From ACM TechNews

NASA Takes Flight With BYU Student's Work

NASA Takes Flight With BYU Student's Work

Brigham Young University computer science undergraduate Andrew Wallace is assisting efforts to build simulations to help improve the efficiency of air traffic controllers in increasingly crowded airspace.


From ACM News

The Computer That Knows What You're Thinking

The Computer That Knows What You're Thinking

We have all done it; put a rictus grin on our faces while inside we are burning with anger.


From ACM News

Agriculture Linked to DNA Changes in Ancient Europe

Agriculture Linked to DNA Changes in Ancient Europe

The agricultural revolution was one of the most profound events in human history, leading to the rise of modern civilization.


From ACM News

Apple's Swift iOS Programming Language Could Soon Be in Data Centers

Apple's Swift iOS Programming Language Could Soon Be in Data Centers

Apple created the new Swift programming language as a better way of building apps for the iPhone, and it was a welcomed thing.


From ACM TechNews

Researchers Study Motivations of Open Source Programmers

Researchers Study Motivations of Open Source Programmers

A new study from a group of researchers in Austria shows programmers who participate in open source projects are motivated by a different set of values than money.  


From ACM TechNews

Clothes Smarter Than You Are: Welcome to the Future

Clothes Smarter Than You Are: Welcome to the Future

MIT Media Lab researcher Marcelo Coelho concentrates on developing wearable devices whose intelligence may exceed that of their wearer.  

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