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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.


Why a 40-Year-Old SCOTUS Ruling Against Software Patents Still Matters Today
From ACM News

Why a 40-Year-Old SCOTUS Ruling Against Software Patents Still Matters Today

Forty years ago this week, in the case of Parker v. Flook, the US Supreme Court came close to banning software patents.

Pain Is Weird. Making Bionic Arms Feel Pain Is Even Weirder
From ACM News

Pain Is Weird. Making Bionic Arms Feel Pain Is Even Weirder

Pain is an indispensable tool for survival.

MIT Engineers Build Smart Power Outlet
From ACM TechNews

MIT Engineers Build Smart Power Outlet

A new smart power outlet can analyze electrical current usage from single or multiple outlets.

'E-Dermis' Brings Sense of Touch, Pain to Prosthetic Hands
From ACM TechNews

'E-Dermis' Brings Sense of Touch, Pain to Prosthetic Hands

A team of engineers has created an electronic skin that, when layered on top of prosthetic hands, provides a real sense of touch through the fingertips.

DNA Barcodes That Reliably Work: A Game-Changer for Biomedical Research
From ACM TechNews

DNA Barcodes That Reliably Work: A Game-Changer for Biomedical Research

A new method invented by University of Texas at Austin researchers can correct the errors that creep into DNA barcodes.

Realistic Avatars for the Virtual Zoo
From ACM TechNews

Realistic Avatars for the Virtual Zoo

An international team created an algorithm for generating lifelike three-dimensional avatars of four-legged animals solely from photos.

Flying DRAGON Robot Transforms Itself to Squeeze Through Gaps
From ACM TechNews

Flying DRAGON Robot Transforms Itself to Squeeze Through Gaps

A new modular flying robot powered by ducted fans can change shape while in flight.

Finally, a Problem That Only Quantum Computers Will Ever Be Able to Solve
From ACM News

Finally, a Problem That Only Quantum Computers Will Ever Be Able to Solve

Early on in the study of quantum computers, computer scientists posed a question whose answer, they knew, would reveal something deep about the power of these futuristic...

How to Control Robots with Brainwaves and Hand Gestures
From ACM News

How to Control Robots with Brainwaves and Hand Gestures

Getting robots to do things isn't easy: Usually, scientists have to either explicitly program them or get them to understand how humans communicate via language...

Martian Dust Storm Grows Global; Curiosity Captures Photos of Thickening Haze
From ACM News

Martian Dust Storm Grows Global; Curiosity Captures Photos of Thickening Haze

A storm of tiny dust particles has engulfed much of Mars over the last two weeks and prompted NASA's Opportunity rover to suspend science operations.

SDSC Comet and Machine Learning Simulates H2O With 'Unprecedented Accuracy'
From ACM TechNews

SDSC Comet and Machine Learning Simulates H2O With 'Unprecedented Accuracy'

Researchers used machine learning techniques and a supercomputer to develop the most accurate models to date for simulations of water.

Game-Changing Finding Pushes 3D Printing to the Molecular Limit
From ACM TechNews

Game-Changing Finding Pushes 3D Printing to the Molecular Limit

Research at the University of Nottingham in the U.K. validates the ability to three-dimensionally print advanced materials with molecules that can switch states...

Everything Big Data Claims to Know About You Could Be Wrong
From ACM TechNews

Everything Big Data Claims to Know About You Could Be Wrong

A new study suggests big-data analysis may yield inaccurate representations about people.

Microsoft Opens Access to Sensor Data on the HoloLens With 'Research Mode' Update
From ACM TechNews

Microsoft Opens Access to Sensor Data on the HoloLens With 'Research Mode' Update

Microsoft has added a research mode to its HoloLens mixed-reality smartglasses so researchers and developers can access a broader spectrum of sensor-captured data...

 Smart Thermometers Improve Flu Forecasting
From ACM News

Smart Thermometers Improve Flu Forecasting

Connecting electronic thermometers to smartphones permits the capture of instant, anonymized fever readings as leading indicators of influenza outbreaks.

Chip Upgrade Helps Miniature Drones Navigate
From ACM TechNews

Chip Upgrade Helps Miniature Drones Navigate

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers reduced the size and power consumption of a computer chip they designed in 2017 to help honeybee-sized drones...

The Science Behind the World Cup Ball
From ACM News

The Science Behind the World Cup Ball

Each World Cup, the sportswear giant Adidas designs an official ball to be used in the tournament.

Inside Portland's Plan to Battle Traffic Deaths by Hanging 'Smartphones' on Street Lights
From ACM TechNews

Inside Portland's Plan to Battle Traffic Deaths by Hanging 'Smartphones' on Street Lights

The city of Portland, OR, hopes to reduce traffic-related fatalities by equipping streetlights with sensors programmed to constantly detect speed and motion data...

Digital Skills Gap Opens Up in English Schools
From ACM TechNews

Digital Skills Gap Opens Up in English Schools

Fewer children in the U.K. are developing the digital skills that employers and government say are vital.

AgBOT That Slaps Watermelons to Determine Ripeness Wins Top Prize
From ACM TechNews

AgBOT That Slaps Watermelons to Determine Ripeness Wins Top Prize

A team from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University received first prize in the third annual 2018 agBOT Challenge in Indiana.
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