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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.

February 2011


From ACM News

How We Know

How We Know

James Gleick's first chapter has the title "Drums That Talk." It explains the concept of information by looking at a simple example.


From ACM News

Moonlighting Within Microsoft, in Pursuit of New Apps

Moonlighting Within Microsoft, in Pursuit of New Apps

If you have a smartphone, you probably have apps on it to check the news, play games, help with shopping or further a hobby like travel or bird-watching. But chances are that you don’t yet have Bubblegum—a new app that lets…


From ACM News

Follow the Money: Tiny Transistors Track Cash

Follow the Money: Tiny Transistors Track Cash

Banks have long considered placing silicon transistors on currency for security purposes, but the technology was too chunky and intensive for paper bills. Now, tiny low-power organic transistors developed by German scientists…


From ACM News

Russia Requested Unloading of Bushehr Reactor Fuel

Tehran’s ambassador to Moscow has said the decision to unload fuel from the reactor of the Bushehr nuclear power plant is based on a request by Russia and has nothing to do with the Stuxnet computer virus.


From ACM News

Darpa

Darpa

Perhaps you thought the four-legged BigDog robot wasn’t eerily lifelike enough. That'll change soon. BigDog's makers are working on a new quadruped that moves faster than any human and is agile enough to "chase and evade."


From ACM TechNews

Argon, the Augmented Reality Web Browser, Available Now on iPhone

Argon, the Augmented Reality Web Browser, Available Now on iPhone

Georgia Tech researchers working on the KHARMA project are developing Argon, a mobile Web browser that features augmented reality technology designed to bring the Web into the real world.


From ACM TechNews

Microsoft's Kinect: The New Mouse?

Microsoft's Kinect: The New Mouse?

Could the Kinect technology, which recognizes gestures and voice commands, be the beginning of a new way of communicating with computers?


From ACM News

Goal-Line Technologists Fail Fifa Test

Goal-Line Technologists Fail Fifa Test

Fifa's plans to introduce goal-line technology have suffered a setback after every one of the 10 companies which took part in trials last week failed to meet the criteria set by the world game's governing body.


From ACM News

Google Unofficially Declares War on Content Farms

Search behemoth Google says it's taking a stab at raising the bar on search results by penalizing Websites that offer copycat content and sites that are clearly trying to game the company's search algorithm.


From ACM News

U.S. Sets 21st-Century Goal: Building a Better Patent Office

U.S. Sets 21st-Century Goal: Building a Better Patent Office

President Obama, who emphasizes American innovation, says modernizing the federal Patent and Trademark Office is crucial to "winning the future." So at a time when a quarter of patent applications come from California, and…


From ACM News

Augmented Reality iPhone Helps Police Track Suspects

Augmented Reality iPhone Helps Police Track Suspects

Picture the scene: armed police officers are warned on their radios that a suspected male terrorist has been tracked to a crowded football stadium.


From ACM TechNews

New Technology Pinpoints Genetic Differences Between Cancer, Non-Cancer Patients

New Technology Pinpoints Genetic Differences Between Cancer, Non-Cancer Patients

Virginia Tech scientists have developed technology that can find genetic differences between breast cancer patients and healthy individuals.


From ACM TechNews

NASA's Robot May Get Japanese Space Companion

NASA's Robot May Get Japanese Space Companion

The next launch of the U.S. space shuttle Discovery will carry a humanoid robot to the International Space Station. Dubbed Robonaut 2 (R2), the robot has a helmeted head, a torso, two arms and two hands, and will use tools within…


From ACM TechNews

A Semantic Sommelier: Wine Application Highlights the Power of Web 3.0

A Semantic Sommelier: Wine Application Highlights the Power of Web 3.0

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor Deborah McGuinness has developed a group of applications designed to enhance wine knowledge and appreciation. The applications are based on the Web Ontology Language (OWL), which uses…


From ACM News

World's Smallest Computer Watches You

World's Smallest Computer Watches You

Researchers recently unveiled the first complete millimeter-scale computing system that is about the size of the letter "N" on the back of a penny (or about the same size as the letter in this sentence).


From ACM News

Calling All Cars: Cell Phone Networks and the Future of Traffic

Calling All Cars: Cell Phone Networks and the Future of Traffic

Ask someone what they think the future of driving is, and the most likely response involves self-driving cars.


From ACM News

Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter

Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter

Like any aspiring filmmaker, Michael McDonald, a high school senior, used a blog to show off his videos. But discouraged by how few people bothered to visit, he instead started posting his clips on Facebook, where his friends…


From ACM TechNews

Google, Yahoo! Babel Fish Use Math Principles to Translate Documents Online

Online translation has improved significantly in recent years due to a shift away from translation based on linguistic models and toward one based on statistics and probability theory.


From ACM TechNews

Cerf: 2011 Will Be Proving Point for 'InterPlanetary Internet'

Cerf: 2011 Will Be Proving Point for 'InterPlanetary Internet'

The InterPlanetary Internet initiative to extend the Internet into outer space is using a Bundle Protocol that was developed as part of a general notion for a delay-and-disruption-tolerant network, says Vint Cerf.


From ACM TechNews

Female Topics Encourage Girls to Study Science

Female Topics Encourage Girls to Study Science

Science should be presented in a female friendly way to get girls more interested in the subject, says the University of Luxembourg's Sylvie Kerger, who studies boys and girls' interest in gender-specific classes.


From ACM TechNews

UA Project Creating a Robotic Customs Officer

UA Project Creating a Robotic Customs Officer

University of Arizona researchers are developing an artificial intelligence-based customs security system that would ask travelers questions and analyze their answers to determine their threat level.


From ACM TechNews

Researchers Store Data in Flash Memory Under Low Voltage Conditions

Researchers Store Data in Flash Memory Under Low Voltage Conditions

University of Massachusetts Amherst and Texas A&M University researchers have developed a method for writing information to flash memory under low-voltage conditions, which could lead to a new generation of low-power storage…


From ACM News

New Hacking Tools Pose Bigger Threats to Wi-Fi Users

New Hacking Tools Pose Bigger Threats to Wi-Fi Users

You may think the only people capable of snooping on your Internet activity are government intelligence agents or possibly a talented teenage hacker holed up in his parents' basement. But some simple software lets just about…


From ACM News

IBM's Watson Becomes Big Man on Campus With Jeopardy Win

IBM's Watson Becomes Big Man on Campus With Jeopardy Win

Jeopardy champion Watson is making IBM as sexy to work for as Apple, Google or Facebook.


From ACM News

It's a Bird! It's a Spy! It's Both

It's a Bird! It's a Spy! It's Both

A pocket-size drone dubbed the Nano Hummingbird for the way it flaps its tiny robotic wings has been developed for the Pentagon by a Monrovia company as a mini-spy plane capable of maneuvering on the battlefield and in urban…


From ACM News

An HTML for Numbers

An HTML for Numbers

The Age of Data is just around the corner, right where it has been for years. As someone who spends a lot his time creating visualizations, I've been hoping for this day to come for a very long time.


From ACM News

A World Wide Web that Talks

A World Wide Web that Talks

Some 10,000 people worldwide use a version of the Web like no other: it is operated by voice over the telephone. Called the "Spoken Web," it is the result of an IBM research project attempting to re-create the features and…


From ACM TechNews

Running on a Faster Track

Running on a Faster Track

Tel Aviv University researchers have developed a scheduling tool that will shorten the travel time for passengers who use commuter trains.


From ACM TechNews

Algorithms Can't Solve CS Gender Gap

The percentage of women in computer science (CS) is one of the lowest of all science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines across the U.S., and Brown University and other schools have taken steps to reverse this trend…


From ACM News

Google Is 'Very Proud' of Ghonim, CEO Says

Google Is 'Very Proud' of Ghonim, CEO Says

Google Inc. Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said the company was "very proud" of employee Wael Ghonim, a leader in the antigovernment protests that toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak last week.

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