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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 2018


From ACM News

How the Artificial-Intelligence Program AlphaZero Mastered Its Games

How the Artificial-Intelligence Program AlphaZero Mastered Its Games

A few weeks ago, a group of researchers from Google's artificial-intelligence subsidiary, DeepMind, published a paper in the journal Science that described an A.I. for playing games.


From ACM TechNews

AI Can Easily Break Text CAPTCHA

AI Can Easily Break Text CAPTCHA

A new machine learning algorithm can crack most text-based CAPTCHAs within 0.05 seconds.


From ACM TechNews

Rail Passengers to Benefit From New GPS Technology as Early as Next Month

Rail Passengers to Benefit From New GPS Technology as Early as Next Month

New global positioning system technology will be deployed on rail systems in the U.K. starting in January.


From ACM TechNews

Wake-­p Timer Saves Power for IoT Sensors

Wake-­p Timer Saves Power for IoT Sensors

A new "battery-less" wake-up timer substantially lowers the power consumption of silicon chips for Internet of Things sensor nodes.


From ACM TechNews

Toyota Wants to Put a Robot Friend in Every Home

Toyota Wants to Put a Robot Friend in Every Home

Toyota envisions robots becoming commonplace in homes as companions to senior citizens.


From ACM TechNews

Julia Language Co-Creators Win James H. Wilkinson Prize for Numerical Software

Julia Language Co-Creators Win James H. Wilkinson Prize for Numerical Software

The three scientists who co-created the Julia programming language will be awarded the 2019 James H. Wilkinson Prize for Numerical Software.


From ACM News

Pluto Explorer ­shering in New Year at More Distant World

Pluto Explorer ­shering in New Year at More Distant World

The spacecraft team that brought us close-ups of Pluto will ring in the new year by exploring an even more distant and mysterious world.


From ACM News

The German Sub Sank 76 Years Ago. Now Its Story Is Being Revealed in Eerie Fluorescent Detail.

The German Sub Sank 76 Years Ago. Now Its Story Is Being Revealed in Eerie Fluorescent Detail.

The U-boat seems to loom out of the blackness, careening to starboard, as if to avoid a collision.


From ACM News

As Air Taxis Arrive, Software Issues Arise

As Air Taxis Arrive, Software Issues Arise

Urban 'flying car' technology is almost here, but with proponents haunted by a 1977 helicopter crash, getting safety right is the top priority.


From ACM TechNews

RFID Tag Arrays Can Be ­sed to Track a Person's Movement

RFID Tag Arrays Can Be ­sed to Track a Person's Movement

Radio-frequency identification tags may be used to track movement.


From ACM TechNews

Advancement of AI Opens Health Data Privacy to Attack

Advancement of AI Opens Health Data Privacy to Attack

Artificial intelligence innovations have created new threats to health data privacy against which current laws and regulations cannot adequately safeguard.


From ACM TechNews

Growing Bio-Inspired Shapes With Hundreds of Tiny Robots

Growing Bio-Inspired Shapes With Hundreds of Tiny Robots

Researchers have found that hundreds of small robots can work in a team to create biology-inspired shapes without an underlying master plan.


From ACM TechNews

Hardware-Software Co-Design Approach Could Make Neural Networks Less Power Hungry

Hardware-Software Co-Design Approach Could Make Neural Networks Less Power Hungry

A neuro-inspired hardware-software co-design approach could make neural network training more energy-efficient and faster.


From ACM News

One Giant Step for a Chess-Playing Machine

One Giant Step for a Chess-Playing Machine

In early December, researchers at DeepMind, the artificial-intelligence company owned by Google's parent corporation, Alphabet Inc., filed a dispatch from the frontiers of chess.


From ACM News

­.S. Passes Bill to Inject $1.2 Billion Into the Quantum Tech Race

­.S. Passes Bill to Inject $1.2 Billion Into the Quantum Tech Race

The new law, called the National Quantum Initiative Act, allocates up to $1.2 billion in funding to keep American quantum information science competitive on the global scale.


From ACM TechNews

How AI Spotted Every Solar Panel in the ­.S.

How AI Spotted Every Solar Panel in the ­.S.

Stanford University engineers have developed a method for locating every solar panel in the contiguous U.S.


From ACM TechNews

An Amoeba Just Found an Entirely New Way to Solve a Classic Computing Problem

An Amoeba Just Found an Entirely New Way to Solve a Classic Computing Problem

Researchers gave the Traveling Salesman Problem to a "true slime mold" amoeba.


From ACM TechNews

Machine Vision Can Create Harry Potter-Style Photos for Muggles

Machine Vision Can Create Harry Potter-Style Photos for Muggles

New software can animate the central character in a photograph while leaving the rest of the image untouched.


From ACM TechNews

Brazilian Museum Destroyed by Fire Lives on Through Google

Brazilian Museum Destroyed by Fire Lives on Through Google

Google is helping preserve Brazil's National Museum via a virtual exhibition, three months after the institution's destruction by fire.


From ACM TechNews

A Robotic Hand Plays the Piano With a More Human Touch

A Robotic Hand Plays the Piano With a More Human Touch

Researchers have developed a robotic hand that can play the piano.


From ACM News

These Incredibly Realistic Fake Faces Show How Algorithms Can Now Mess with ­s

These Incredibly Realistic Fake Faces Show How Algorithms Can Now Mess with ­s

These faces don't seem particularly remarkable. They could easily be taken from, say, Facebook or LinkedIn. In reality, they were dreamed up by a new kind of AI algorithm.


From ACM News

NASA's InSight Places First Instrument on Mars

NASA's InSight Places First Instrument on Mars

NASA's InSight lander has deployed its first instrument onto the surface of Mars, completing a major mission milestone. New images from the lander show the seismometer on the ground, its copper-colored covering faintly illuminated…


From ACM TechNews

Computer Hardware for 3D Games Could Hold the Key to Replicating the Brain

Computer Hardware for 3D Games Could Hold the Key to Replicating the Brain

Researchers have developed what they describe as the fastest, most energy-efficient simulation of part of a rat brain, using off-the-shelf computer hardware.


From ACM TechNews

A Toaster on Wheels to Deliver Groceries? Self-Driving Tech Tests Practical ­ses

A Toaster on Wheels to Deliver Groceries? Self-Driving Tech Tests Practical ­ses

Slow uptake of driverless passenger services is spurring the autonomous industry to experiment with offerings like food deliveries from small, self-driving vehicles.


From ACM TechNews

Meet 'Millie' the Avatar. She'd Like to Sell You a Pair of Sunglasses

Meet 'Millie' the Avatar. She'd Like to Sell You a Pair of Sunglasses

A Canadian startup has created a life-size digital avatar to help retail brands looking for ways to boost falling in-store sales in the face of growing competition from e-commerce.


From ACM TechNews

Then One Foggy Christmas Eve, Reindeers Got Connected

Then One Foggy Christmas Eve, Reindeers Got Connected

Reindeer herders in Finland are fitting their animals with Internet-connected collars to keep track of their whereabouts in the wilderness, using a mobile app.


From ACM TechNews

Network Orchestration: SL­ Researcher ­ses Music to Manage Networks

Network Orchestration: SL­ Researcher ­ses Music to Manage Networks

Saint Louis University researchers have proposed a sound-based traffic-management solution for network orchestration.


From ACM News

How Computers Got Shockingly Good at Recognizing Images

How Computers Got Shockingly Good at Recognizing Images

Right now, I can open up Google Photos, type "beach," and see my photos from various beaches I've visited over the last decade.


From ACM News

Robot Hand That Plays Jingle Bells Could Help Make Better Limbs

Robot Hand That Plays Jingle Bells Could Help Make Better Limbs

It's not the best version of Jingle Bells you'll ever hear—it's being played by a rubber robot hand. But the hand could point the way to better designs for robot limbs.


From ACM News

China's Tech Giants Want to Go Global. Just One Thing Might Stand in Their Way.

China's Tech Giants Want to Go Global. Just One Thing Might Stand in Their Way.

In the early 1980s, a cluster of fledging computer companies opened up shop in a chaotic corner of northwest Beijing, near the campuses of Peking and Tsinghua Universities.

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