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Communications of the ACM

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An edited collection of advanced computing news from Communications of the ACM, ACM TechNews, other ACM resources, and news sites around the Web.


These Perfectly Imperfect Diamonds Are Built for Quantum Physics
From ACM News

These Perfectly Imperfect Diamonds Are Built for Quantum Physics

In the mid-2000S, diamonds were the hot new thing in physics. It wasn't because of their size, color, or sparkle, though.

Inside the Two Years that Shook Facebook, and the World
From ACM News

Inside the Two Years that Shook Facebook, and the World

One day in late February of 2016, Mark Zuckerberg sent a memo to all of Facebook's employees to address some troubling behavior in the ranks.

Mind the Gap: This Researcher Steals Data With Noise, Light, and Magnets
From ACM News

Mind the Gap: This Researcher Steals Data With Noise, Light, and Magnets

The field of cybersecurity is obsessed with preventing and detecting breaches, finding every possible strategy to keep hackers from infiltrating your digital inner...

AI Just Learned How to Boost the Brain's Memory
From ACM News

AI Just Learned How to Boost the Brain's Memory

When it comes to black boxes, there is none more black than the human brain. Our gray matter is so complex, scientists lament, that it can't quite understand itself...

Inside Amazon's Artificial Intelligence Flywheel
From ACM Careers

Inside Amazon's Artificial Intelligence Flywheel

In early 2014, Srikanth Thirumalai met with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Your Sloppy Bitcoin Drug Deals Will Haunt You For Years
From ACM News

Your Sloppy Bitcoin Drug Deals Will Haunt You For Years

Perhaps you bought some illegal narcotics on the Silk Road half a decade ago, back when that digital black market for every contraband imaginable was still online...

DARPA Wants to Build an Image Search Engine Out of Dna
From ACM News

DARPA Wants to Build an Image Search Engine Out of Dna

Most people use Google's search-by-image feature to either look for copyright infringement, or for shopping.

Meet Antifa's Secret Weapon Against Far-Right Extremists
From ACM TechNews

Meet Antifa's Secret Weapon Against Far-Right Extremists

Computer science professor Megan Squire  has created an array of programs that monitor approximately 400,000 accounts of white nationalists on Facebook and elsewhere...

Thank the Planet's Shifty Magnetic Poles For Runway Renaming
From ACM News

Thank the Planet's Shifty Magnetic Poles For Runway Renaming

For decades, pilots heading into or out of Wichita Eisenhower National Airport in southeast Kansas have had three runways to choose from: 1L/19R, 1R/19L, and 14...

A New Way to Track Down Bugs Could Help Save Iot
From ACM News

A New Way to Track Down Bugs Could Help Save Iot

On a clear day this summer, security researcher Ang Cui boarded a boat headed to a government biosafety facility off the northeastern tip of Long Island.

Nasa Just Proved It Can Navigate Space Using Pulsars. Where to Now?
From ACM News

Nasa Just Proved It Can Navigate Space Using Pulsars. Where to Now?

Half a century ago, astronomers observed their first pulsar: a dead, distant, ludicrously dense star that emitted pulses of radiation with remarkable regularity...

When Wi-Fi Won't Work, Let Sound Carry Your Data
From ACM News

When Wi-Fi Won't Work, Let Sound Carry Your Data

If you've ever struggled to pair your phone with a Bluetooth speaker or set up a wireless printer, you know that it's often easier to connect to a server halfway...

Triple Meltdown: How So Many Researchers Found a 20-Year-Old Chip Flaw At the Same Time
From ACM News

Triple Meltdown: How So Many Researchers Found a 20-Year-Old Chip Flaw At the Same Time

Four groups of researchers independently found the vulnerabilities behind the devastating Meltdown and Spectre attacks within months of each other.

A Dead-Simple Algorithm Reveals the True Toll of Voter Id Laws
From ACM TechNews

A Dead-Simple Algorithm Reveals the True Toll of Voter Id Laws

Researchers have demonstrated it is possible to match individuals across government databases with nearly 100% accuracy by using a few basic identifiers.

A Critical Intel Flaw Breaks Basic Security For Most Computers
From ACM News

A Critical Intel Flaw Breaks Basic Security For Most Computers

One of the most basic premises of computer security is isolation: If you run somebody else's sketchy code as an untrusted process on your machine, you should restrict...

Physics Found Gravitational Waves. Now Come the Existential Questions
From ACM News

Physics Found Gravitational Waves. Now Come the Existential Questions

On September 14, 2015, at 3:50 AM Central time, a tiny vibration shuddered down the 2.5-mile-long arms of a massive machine in Livingston, Louisiana.

An Early Flu Season Thwarts Cdc's Forecasting Challenge
From ACM TechNews

An Early Flu Season Thwarts Cdc's Forecasting Challenge

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has hosted a flu forecasting challenge for the last five years in which academic and industry participants organize...

Researchers Fooled a Google AI Into Thinking a Rifle Was a Helicopter
From ACM News

Researchers Fooled a Google AI Into Thinking a Rifle Was a Helicopter

Tech giants love to tout how good their computers are at identifying what's depicted in a photograph.

'oumuamua Probably Isn't a Spaceship, But It Could Have Passengers
From ACM News

'oumuamua Probably Isn't a Spaceship, But It Could Have Passengers

Last Wednesday, at 3:45 pm, scientists from the Breakthrough Listen project trained the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia on 'Oumuamua—the mysterious, oblong...

The Hard Math Behind Bitcoin's Global Warming Problem
From ACM TechNews

The Hard Math Behind Bitcoin's Global Warming Problem

A recent report calculated that the global electricity consumption of bitcoin mining would exceed that of the U.S. by July 2019, and of the entire world by November...
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