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The news archive provides access to past news stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.

December 2014


From ACM News

Dawn Spacecraft Begins Approach to Dwarf Planet Ceres

Dawn Spacecraft Begins Approach to Dwarf Planet Ceres

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has entered an approach phase in which it will continue to close in on Ceres, a Texas-sized dwarf planet never before visited by a spacecraft. Dawn launched in 2007 and is scheduled to enter Ceres orbit…


From ACM News

Our Brains Are Being 'Continuously Reshaped' by Smartphone Use

Our Brains Are Being 'Continuously Reshaped' by Smartphone Use

Extensive use of smartphone touchscreens is changing the sensory relationship between our brains and our thumbs, a study published in Current Biology has revealed.


From ACM News

The Scoreboards Where You Can't See Your Score

The Scoreboards Where You Can't See Your Score

The characters in Gary Shteyngart's novel "Super Sad True Love Story" inhabit a continuously surveilled and scored society.


From ACM News

Mars Rover Opportunity Suffers Worrying Bouts of 'Amnesia'

Mars Rover Opportunity Suffers Worrying Bouts of 'Amnesia'

Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been exploring the Martian surface for over a decade, an amazing 10 years longer than the 3-month primary mission it began in January 2004.


From ACM News

2014 in Computing: Breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence

2014 in Computing: Breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence

The holy grail of artificial intelligence—creating software that comes close to mimicking human intelligence—remains far off. But 2014 saw major strides in machine learning software that can gain abilities from experience.


From ACM News

This Year's 8 Smartest UI Design Ideas

This Year's 8 Smartest UI Design Ideas

When your family gathered for the holidays this year, did you take note of the technology everyone was using?


From ACM News

The Search for ET: How Close Are We?

The Search for ET: How Close Are We?

In 1950, Nobel prizewinning physicist Enrico Fermi posed his famous paradox: if extraterrestrial intelligence exists, why haven't we found it?


From ACM TechNews

One Day, Robots May Work in Zones Too Dangerous for Humans

One Day, Robots May Work in Zones Too Dangerous for Humans

Teams of roboticists from around the world will be competing in the DARPA Robotics Challenge next year, seeking a $2 million prize for advancements that one day could yield robots capable of carrying out rescue and recovery activities…


From ACM TechNews

Stanford Computer Scientists Extend Web Browsers to Make the Internet Safer

Stanford Computer Scientists Extend Web Browsers to Make the Internet Safer

Stanford University researchers have added a security system called COWL to Firefox and Chrome to manage how data is shared, which prevents malicious computer code from leaking sensitive information.


From ACM TechNews

Santa (Well, Santa Tracker) Helps Google Test Its Dev Tools

Santa (Well, Santa Tracker) Helps Google Test Its Dev Tools

Google again this year enabled kids of all ages to use its Santa Tracker website and app to follow St. Nick and his elves as they deliver presents around the world. Google also uses the software to test other development tools…


From ACM TechNews

Spider's Web Weaves Way to Advanced Networks and Displays

Spider's Web Weaves Way to Advanced Networks and Displays

The structures of spider webs and leaves could serve as a design model for next-generation light-manipulating networks, according to researchers at Boston College and South China Normal University.


From ACM TechNews

Big Data May Be Fashion Industry's Next Must-Have Accessory

Big Data May Be Fashion Industry's Next Must-Have Accessory

Pennsylvania State University researchers have used data analytics to identify a network of influence among major fashion designers and track how style trends move through the industry.


From ACM News

A Common Logic to Seeing Cats and Cosmos

A Common Logic to Seeing Cats and Cosmos

When in 2012 a computer learned to recognize cats in YouTube videos and just last month another correctly captioned a photo of "a group of young people playing a game of Frisbee," artificial intelligence researchers hailed yet…


From ACM Opinion

A Q&A With the Hackers Who Say They Helped Break Into Sony's Network

A Q&A With the Hackers Who Say They Helped Break Into Sony's Network

Lizard Squad. That's the hacker group whose name is suddenly on everyone's lips after it took credit for ruining Christmas for PlayStation and Xbox gamers everywhere.


From ACM News

Google Lunar XPrize: Astrobotic's Rover Rakes in $750,000

Google Lunar XPrize: Astrobotic's Rover Rakes in $750,000

It's been a little while since we checked in with Team Astrobotic.It's been a little while since we checked in with Team Astrobotic.


From ACM News

How To Change Your Past

How To Change Your Past

"Too late" might be the two most tragic words in English, but what if you could rewind the clock?


From ACM Opinion

Are These the Five Craziest Space Missions?

Are These the Five Craziest Space Missions?

The landing of the Philae Lander—on a comet travelling at 135,000km/h (84,000mph)—has been hailed as the start of a new chapter in space exploration.


From ACM TechNews

New Discovery Opens Door For Radical Reduction in Energy Consumed by Digital Devices

New Discovery Opens Door For Radical Reduction in Energy Consumed by Digital Devices

University of California, Berkeley researchers say they have made the first direct observation of a phenomenon known as "negative capacitance." 


From ACM TechNews

6 Technologies that Will Change PCs in 2015

6 Technologies that Will Change PCs in 2015

Six disruptive technologies could change the face of computing in 2015. 


From ACM TechNews

Bots Now Outnumber Humans on the Web

Bots Now Outnumber Humans on the Web

Automated code or bots currently account for 56 percent of all of website visits, and a recent analysis of 20,000 websites found bot traffic can run as high as 80 percent. 


From ACM News

Downing North Korea's Internet Not Much of a Scalp

Downing North Korea's Internet Not Much of a Scalp

If someone did just knock North Korea off the Internet for half a day, it wouldn't have taken much.


From ACM News

Sun Sizzles in High-Energy X-Rays

Sun Sizzles in High-Energy X-Rays

For the first time, a mission designed to set its eyes on black holes and other objects far from our solar system has turned its gaze back closer to home, capturing images of our sun.


From ACM News

The 12 Missions of Christmas

The 12 Missions of Christmas

In July 1965, Mariner 4 became the first space probe to send back pictures of another world from space. Fifty years on, not only do several spacecraft orbit the same red planet, but there are also two active rovers on the Martian…


From ACM TechNews

6 Aging Protocols That Could Cripple the Internet

6 Aging Protocols That Could Cripple the Internet

The biggest threat to the Internet is that it evolved over time with various protocols, very few of which were designed with security in mind. 


From ACM TechNews

Switching to Spintronics

Switching to Spintronics

Researchers have successfully used an electric field to reverse the magnetization direction in a multiferroic spintronic device at room temperature.


From ACM TechNews

First Steps for Hector the Robot Stick Insect

First Steps for Hector the Robot Stick Insect

Bielefeld University researchers have developed Hector, a robot based on a stick insect that has passive elastic joints and an ultralight exoskeleton. 


From ACM TechNews

In One Aspect of Vision, Computers Catch Up to Primate Brain

In One Aspect of Vision, Computers Catch Up to Primate Brain

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have found the most recent version of deep neural networks match the primate brain. 


From ACM TechNews

Google Seeks Partners for Self-Driving Car

Google Seeks Partners for Self-Driving Car

Google is seeking auto industry partners in its efforts to produce a fully autonomous car.


From ACM News

What Does a Cyber Counterattack Look Like?

What Does a Cyber Counterattack Look Like?

President Barack Obama promised at his year-end news conference Friday that the U.S. will respond "proportionally" to North Korea's cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, but the conventional options available to him…


From ACM Careers

The Anti-Plagiarism Machine

The Anti-Plagiarism Machine

Every day, researchers add hundreds of new papers to ArXiv, the massive public database of scientific writing and research.

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