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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.

June 2009


From ACM TechNews

Study Shows Pervasive Bias Linking Males More Than Females With Science

Study Shows Pervasive Bias Linking Males More Than Females With Science

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that implicit stereotypes, thoughts that people are unwilling to express or not even know they have, can have a significant impact on gender…


From ACM News

Sensors for Tracking Home Water Use

When a cell phone or credit-card bill arrives, each call or purchase is itemized, making it possible to track trends in calling or spending. Within the next few years, household utilities could be itemized as well, allowing residents…


From ACM TechNews

ICANN Hires Former Cybersecurity Chief as New CEO

ICANN Hires Former Cybersecurity Chief as New CEO

Rod Beckstrom, the former director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's National Cybersecurity Center, has been chosen to replace Paul Twomey as the CEO of ICANN. Beckstrom, who resigned from the center in March due…


From ICT Results

Human-Like Vision Lets Robots Navigate Naturally

Human-Like Vision Lets Robots Navigate Naturally

A robotic vision system that mimics key visual functions of the human brain promises to let robots maneuver quickly and safely through cluttered environments, and to help guide the visually impaired. It's something any toddler…


From ACM News

Radar Will Improve Agents' Tunnel Vision

Radar Will Improve Agents' Tunnel Vision

Of every tunnel ever discovered by U.S. border patrol agents,  "all of them have been found by accident or human intelligence," said Ed Turner, a project manager with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and…


From ACM News

The Bottom Line on Solid State Drives

The Bottom Line on Solid State Drives

The majority of an organization's stored data sits untouched. Andrew Leung, a computer science researcher at the University of California, was part of a team that found that, in a three-month period, no one accessed 90 percent…


From ACM TechNews

Graduate Science Enrollment Rises, Bringing More Diversity

Graduate Science Enrollment Rises, Bringing More Diversity

Enrollment in graduate science and engineering (S&E) programs has risen to new levels, including greater percentages of non-White ethnic groups and women, according to a new National Science Foundation (NSF) report. The report…


From ACM TechNews

Metrorail Crash May Exemplify Automation Paradox

The fatal collision of two trains on Washington, D.C., Metro's Red Line may come to symbolize the core problem of automation, which is the relationship between humans and their automated control systems. "The better you make…


From ACM TechNews

Less Fuss, More Muscle in Quantum Data Transfer

Less Fuss, More Muscle in Quantum Data Transfer

Australian National University (ANU) researchers have discovered a more efficient way to use light to convey information. The approach to generating quantum entanglement, or coding information in the physical relationship between…


From ACM TechNews

IBM Aims for a Battery Breakthrough

IBM has announced a multiyear effort to increase the performance of rechargeable batteries 10-fold, with the goal of designing batteries that enable electric vehicles to travel 300 to 500 miles on a single charge. Currently,…


From ACM TechNews

CIFellows Status Report

The Computing Innovation Fellows (CIFellows) Project has received 526 applications for CIFellowships from 145 distinct colleges and universities. The applications reveal a total of 949 different applicant-mentor pairs, with…


From ACM TechNews

Report Calls for Grassroots But Comprehensive Changes

A $1.5 million study from the Carnegie Corp. of New York focuses on weaknesses in U.S. math and science education. The report calls for more comprehensive math and science content, higher standards and evaluation, improved training…


From ACM TechNews

Using Computer Models to Predict War

Using Computer Models to Predict War

New York University professor Bruce Bueno de Mesquita has developed a computer model that can forecast the outcomes of international conflicts, and the U.S. Defense Department has found the model very useful. De Mesquita says…


From ICT Results

Nanotubes Weigh the Atom

Nanotubes Weigh the Atom

How can you weigh a single atom? European researchers have built an exquisite new device that can do just that. It may ultimately allow scientists to study the progress of chemical reactions, molecule by molecule.The EU-funded…


From ACM TechNews

Computer Failures Are Probed in Jet Crash

Computer Failures Are Probed in Jet Crash

Aviation investigators looking for a cause of the crash of Air France Flight 447 believe that a rapid chain of computer and equipment failures may have stripped the flight crew of the airplane's automation technology, which pilots…


From ACM News

Underwater Robots Identify Potential Threats in Murky Waters

Underwater Robots Identify Potential Threats in Murky Waters

Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University has received $2 million from the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research, to continue its cutting-edge research and development in the area of…


From ACM News

RFID Examined as Shoplifting Prevention Technology

RFID Examined as Shoplifting Prevention Technology

Shoplifting in retail outlets is an increasing problem that creates an estimated annual retail deficit of more than $30 billion, but RFID technology can help to track the in-store whereabouts of productions and reduce shoplifting…


From ACM News

Reading the Brain without Poking It

Reading the Brain without Poking It

Experimental devices that read brain signals have helped paralyzed people use computers and may let amputees control bionic limbs. But existing devices use tiny electrodes that poke into the brain. Now, a University of Utah study…


From ACM News

Toyota Develops Technology for Brain Waves to Steer Wheelchair

Toyota Motor Corp. says it has developed a way of steering a wheelchair by just detecting brain waves, without the person having to move a muscle or shout a command. Toyota's system, developed in a collaboration with researchers…


From ACM News

Winning Teams Join to Qualify for $1 Million Netflix Prize

Winning Teams Join to Qualify for $1 Million Netflix Prize

The Netflix Prize, a computing challenge that's been compared to scaling Mount Everest and flummoxed programmers for more than three years, has been summited. Two front runners in the contest, Team Pragmatic Theory and Team Bellkor…


From ACM TechNews

Scars, Marks, and Tattoos: A Soft Biometric for Identifying Suspects and Victims

Scars, Marks, and Tattoos: A Soft Biometric for Identifying Suspects and Victims

 Tattoo patterns are regularly cataloged by law enforcement agencies when booking suspects. Unfortunately, matching tattoos is a time-consuming, subjective process, and the simple class descriptions do not include all the semantic…


From ACM TechNews

Researchers Mull STEM Gender Gap

Researchers Mull STEM Gender Gap

Studies indicate that although U.S. women have achieved parity or near-parity with men on science and math achievement tests, the top levels of many such fields still boast more men than women. A number of studies over the past…


From ACM TechNews

IBM Claims Privacy Breakthrough for Cloud, Data

A lattice approach could be used to develop fully homomorphic encryption solutions, says IBM researcher Craig Gentry, a Stanford University Ph.D. candidate. Gentry's research, which was recently published in the Proceedings…


From ACM TechNews

Iranian Protesters Avoid Censorship With Navy Technology

Iranian Protesters Avoid Censorship With Navy Technology

Some Iranian protestors dissatisfied with their government's response to the disputed election are using The Onion Router (TOR), an Internet encryption program originally developed by the U.S. Navy, to bypass Iran's censorship…


From ACM News

Intel's Mukherjee Wins ACM Computer Architecture Award

The ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Architecture (SIGARCH) presented its 2009 Maurice Wilkes Award to Shubu Mukherjee of Intel Corp. for his contributions to the reliability of microprocessors and other silicon chips…


From ACM TechNews

Community Colleges Mobilize to Train Cybersecurity Workers

Community Colleges Mobilize to Train Cybersecurity Workers

Some experts project that the Obama administration's cybersecurity push will expand two-year colleges' role in supplying cybersecurity workers to government agencies, but among the challenges they must overcome is the struggle…


From ACM News

Nanotechnology Conference is Full of Big Ideas

From solar panels to electric circuitry, the next big thing may be really tiny. Global leaders in nanotechnology — the science of the very, very small — spent two days at the University of Denver June 22–23 at the second annual…


From ACM News

UK Looks to Young Geeks to Secure Cyberspace

Britain is hiring former computer hackers to join a new security unit aimed at protecting cyberspace from foreign spies, thieves and terrorists, the country's terrorism minister said. Alan West said the technology-savvy staff…


From ICT Results

One-Stop Shop for Grid Computing

One-Stop Shop for Grid Computing

From searching for cures for disease to monitoring the Earth's atmosphere, grid computing has become essential to data-intensive research. But accessing limited grid resources is not always a simple task. European researchers…


From ACM TechNews

New 'Emotional' Robot Unveiled in Japan

New 'Emotional' Robot Unveiled in Japan

Scientists at Tokyo's Waseda University recently demonstrated KOBIAN, a robot that is able to express emotion with its entire face and body. KOBIAN can use its arms and legs, open and close its eyes, and move its lips and eyebrows…

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