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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.

December 2015


From ACM News

How the U.S. Requests User Data from Google

How the U.S. Requests User Data from Google

The United States again topped the list of nations that request user data from Google, according to last week's Google Transparency Report.


From ACM News

How the Internet of Things Got Hacked

How the Internet of Things Got Hacked

There was once a time when people distinguished between cyberspace, the digital world of computers and hackers, and the flesh-and-blood reality known as meatspace.


From ACM News

What's He Building in There? The Stealth Attempt to Defeat Aging at Google's Calico.

What's He Building in There? The Stealth Attempt to Defeat Aging at Google's Calico.

Talk about a headline that sings. "Google vs. Death." The Time magazine cover story from September 2013 heralded the creation of California Life Company, or Calico, a new firm incubated by Google with the audacious aim to extend…


From ACM News

The A.I. Anxiety

The A.I. Anxiety

The world’s spookiest philosopher is Nick Bostrom, a thin, soft-spoken Swede.


From ACM News

Machines, Lost in Translation: The Dream of Universal Understanding

Machines, Lost in Translation: The Dream of Universal Understanding

It was early 1954 when computer scientists, for the first time, publicly revealed a machine that could translate between human languages. It became known as the Georgetown-IBM experiment: an "electronic brain" that translated…


From ACM News

NASA and the U.S. Air Force Test a New Ground-Based GPS

NASA and the U.S. Air Force Test a New Ground-Based GPS

Anyone who has struggled to pinpoint his or her location in a mall, airport or urban canyon amid skyscrapers has experienced a GPS gap firsthand.


From ACM News

Four Important Things to Expect in Virtual Reality in 2016

Four Important Things to Expect in Virtual Reality in 2016

Virtual reality has grown immensely over the past few years, but 2016 looks like the most important year yet: it will be the first time that consumers can get their hands on a number of powerful headsets for viewing alternate…


From ACM News

Feuding Physicists Turn to Philosophy for Help

Feuding Physicists Turn to Philosophy for Help

Is string theory science?


From ACM News

NASA Suspends 2016 Launch of InSight Mission to Mars

NASA Suspends 2016 Launch of InSight Mission to Mars

After thorough examination, NASA managers have decided to suspend the planned March 2016 launch of the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission.


From ACM News

Nobody Knew How Big a Deal the Cloud Would Be—They Do Now

Nobody Knew How Big a Deal the Cloud Would Be—They Do Now

Ten years ago, Amazon unleashed a technology that we now call, for better or for worse, cloud computing.


From ACM TechNews

How Twitter Bots Turn Tweeters into Activists

How Twitter Bots Turn Tweeters into Activists

A recent Microsoft study details the use of Twitter bots to engage Twitter users with political activism. 


From ACM TechNews

China Set for Quantum Leaps in Spook-Proof Communications

China Set for Quantum Leaps in Spook-Proof Communications

China is on schedule to launch the world's biggest spook-proof quantum communications system in the next six months. 


From ACM TechNews

Legacy Voting Machines Ripe for Tampering, Breakdowns

Legacy Voting Machines Ripe for Tampering, Breakdowns

Nearly every U.S. state is using electronic touchscreen and optical-scan voting systems that are at least a decade old.


From ACM TechNews

Graphene Proves a Perfect Fit for Wearable Devices

Graphene Proves a Perfect Fit for Wearable Devices

Researchers have developed a method for printing inexpensive, flexible, wireless graphene communication devices directly into clothing and skin.


From ACM TechNews

A Fish May Hold the Key to More Efficient Wireless Networks

A Fish May Hold the Key to More Efficient Wireless Networks

Researchers at the University of Georgia think the eigenmannia, a small South American fish, could hold the solution to radio frequency interference.


From ACM News

Lowdown on Ceres: Images From Dawn's Closest Orbit

Lowdown on Ceres: Images From Dawn's Closest Orbit

NASA's Dawn spacecraft, cruising in its lowest and final orbit at dwarf planet Ceres, has delivered the first images from its best-ever viewpoint.


From ACM News

How Anyone Can Explore Mars Through Virtual Reality

How Anyone Can Explore Mars Through Virtual Reality

Fusion, MIT, and NASA are collaborating on a VR experience that will place users on Mars long before real astronauts reach the Red Planet in the 2030s.


From ACM News

What You Need to Know about Artificial Intelligence, and the Imminent Robot Future

What You Need to Know about Artificial Intelligence, and the Imminent Robot Future

Do androids dream of electric sheep? That's unclear, but I know for sure that every kid dreams of intelligent, thinking robots—certainly every kid who goes on to work at CNET, in any case.


From ACM TechNews

Laser Printing a Nanoscale Mona Lisa Could Revolutionize Reproduction Technology

Laser Printing a Nanoscale Mona Lisa Could Revolutionize Reproduction Technology

Plasmonics technology has the potential to revolutionize laser printing, according to researchers at the Technical University of Denmark.


From ACM TechNews

Nanodevices at One-Hundredth the Cost

Nanodevices at One-Hundredth the Cost

In a recent paper, researchers described a method of inexpensively producing a type of microelectromechanical system with desktop fabrication system. 


From ACM TechNews

Stanford Scientists Train Computer Models to Accurately Simulate Nature's Variability

Stanford Scientists Train Computer Models to Accurately Simulate Nature's Variability

Researchers have developed a way of generating "training images" that can be used to refine models of uncertainty about subterranean physical processes and structures. 


From ACM News

Apple Seeks to Dethrone Cash, the King of Payments

Apple Seeks to Dethrone Cash, the King of Payments

Apple is getting ready to stake its claim in the rapidly growing person-to-person payments market.


From ACM News

Tech Companies Are Slamming a Proposed UK Terrorism Law. Here's Why.

Tech Companies Are Slamming a Proposed UK Terrorism Law. Here's Why.

The world's biggest tech firms—including Apple, Microsoft, and Yahoo—are pressing for changes to a proposed British law aimed at expanding the government's electronic surveillance powers.


From ACM News

Cassini Completes Final Close Enceladus Flyby

Cassini Completes Final Close Enceladus Flyby

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has begun transmitting data and images from the mission's final close flyby of Saturn's active moon Enceladus. Cassini passed Enceladus at a distance of 3,106 miles (4,999 kilometers) on Saturday, Dec…


From ACM News

The Urban, Infrastructural Geography of 'the Cloud'

The Urban, Infrastructural Geography of 'the Cloud'

The relationship between data to space extends beyond the network equipment, services, and mobile devices that transmit and present information to a user.


From ACM News

A Master Algorithm Lets Robots Teach Themselves to Perform Complex Tasks

A Master Algorithm Lets Robots Teach Themselves to Perform Complex Tasks

For all the talk of machines becoming intelligent, getting a sophisticated robot to do anything complex, like grabbing a heavy object and moving it from one place to another, still requires many hours of careful, patient programming…


From ACM TechNews

Roadmap to Safer Cyberspace

Roadmap to Safer Cyberspace

Researchers have outlined a strategy for next-generation experimental cybersecurity research in a report commissioned by the U.S. National Science Foundation. 


From ACM TechNews

'Plucking' Light Particles From Laser Beams Could Advance Quantum Computing

'Plucking' Light Particles From Laser Beams Could Advance Quantum Computing

Researchers at Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science have devised a method of reliably "plucking" an individual particle of light out of a laser pulse. 


From ACM TechNews

'Robot Locust' Can Traverse Rocky Terrain and Assist in Search and Rescue

'Robot Locust' Can Traverse Rocky Terrain and Assist in Search and Rescue

Tel Aviv University researchers have developed TAUB, a locust-inspired robot that can jump twice as high as existing similar robots. 


From ACM TechNews

An App to Digitally Detox From Smartphone Addiction: Lock n' LOL

An App to Digitally Detox From Smartphone Addiction: Lock n' LOL

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology researchers have developed an app to help people rein in their impulse to use smartphones. 

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