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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.


A Prehistoric Puzzle in the Kuiper Belt
From ACM News

A Prehistoric Puzzle in the Kuiper Belt

The farthest object ever explored is slowly revealing its secrets, as scientists piece together the puzzles of Ultima Thule—the Kuiper Belt object NASA's New Horizons...

Russia Wants to Cut Itself Off from the Global Internet. Here's What that Really Means.
From ACM News

Russia Wants to Cut Itself Off from the Global Internet. Here's What that Really Means.

In the next two weeks, Russia is planning to attempt something no other country has tried before. It's going to test whether it can disconnect from the rest of...

Automated Order Takers May Reshape Future of Drive-Through Restaurants
From ACM TechNews

Automated Order Takers May Reshape Future of Drive-Through Restaurants

Artificial intelligence companies are developing voice assistants to improve order-taking at drive-through restaurants.

Robot Precisely Moves Objects It's Never Seen Before
From ACM TechNews

Robot Precisely Moves Objects It's Never Seen Before

Researchers have developed a system that allows robots to do many different pick-and-place tasks, without having ever seen the objects with which they are interacting...

They Didn't Buy the DLC: Feature that Could've Prevented 737 Crashes Was Sold As an Option
From ACM News

They Didn't Buy the DLC: Feature that Could've Prevented 737 Crashes Was Sold As an Option

The crashed Lion Air 737 MAX and the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX aircraft had more in common than aircraft design and the apparently malfunctioning flight system...

Soft Robots Look to New Environments
From Communications of the ACM

Soft Robots Look to New Environments

These non-standard automatons appear best suited for applications under water and in space.

The Future of Data Storage
From Communications of the ACM

The Future of Data Storage

Research into next-generation storage techniques marches forward, yet tape remains the most viable, dependable medium.

The Fine Line Between Coercion and Care
From Communications of the ACM

The Fine Line Between Coercion and Care

Employers monitoring their workforce must balance productivity and security considerations with employee privacy and welfare concerns.

Apple Watch Detects Irregular Heartbeat in Large U.S. Study
From ACM TechNews

Apple Watch Detects Irregular Heartbeat in Large U.S. Study

Researchers found the Apple Watch could detect irregular pulse rates, which might indicate a need for further monitoring to catch atrial fibrillation.

The Computer Scientist Who Wants to Put a Name to Every Face in Civil War Photographs
From ACM TechNews

The Computer Scientist Who Wants to Put a Name to Every Face in Civil War Photographs

A researcher has combined crowdsourcing and facial recognition to produce online software that can help users identify unknown subjects in Civil War-era photos....

U.S. Regulators Want Public's View on Cars with No Steering Wheel, Brake Pedals
From ACM TechNews

U.S. Regulators Want Public's View on Cars with No Steering Wheel, Brake Pedals

A U.S. regulator is asking for public comments on whether autonomous cars lacking steering wheels and brake pedals should be allowed on the nation’s streets.

The Best Image-Recognition AIs are Fooled by Slightly Rotated Images
From ACM TechNews

The Best Image-Recognition AIs are Fooled by Slightly Rotated Images

Artificial intelligence is much worse at identifying objects by sight than many people realize.

A 'Halo Drive' Could Accelerate Interstellar Spacecraft to Close to the Speed of Light
From ACM News

A 'Halo Drive' Could Accelerate Interstellar Spacecraft to Close to the Speed of Light

Back in 2016, the physicist Stephen Hawking and the billionaire Yuri Milner unveiled a plan to travel to the stars. The so-called Breakthrough Starshot project...

NASA Mission Reveals Asteroid Has Big Surprises
From ACM News

NASA Mission Reveals Asteroid Has Big Surprises

A NASA spacecraft that will return a sample of a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu to Earth in 2023 made the first-ever close-up observations of particle plumes erupting...

UNSW, Sydney Uni Join Quantum Powers to Prove Qubit Theory
From ACM TechNews

UNSW, Sydney Uni Join Quantum Powers to Prove Qubit Theory

Researchers in Australia are combining their quantum computing powers, uniting methods designed by researchers at each university to prove their feasibility.

Origami-Inspired Robot Gripper Grasps Objects Up to 120 Times Its Weight
From ACM TechNews

Origami-Inspired Robot Gripper Grasps Objects Up to 120 Times Its Weight

Researchers have designed a robot-mounted gripper that can lift items of various weights, shapes, and sizes.

Welcome the Plants That Move on their Own
From ACM News

Welcome the Plants That Move on their Own

Exploring the potential of plant-robot hybrids that can produce architectural artifacts and living spaces.

Why AI Is Still Terrible at Spotting Violence Online
From ACM News

Why AI Is Still Terrible at Spotting Violence Online

Artificial intelligence can identify people in pictures, find the next TV series you should binge watch on Netflix, and even drive a car.

The Uncanny Valley Nobody's Talking About: Eerie Robot Voices
From ACM Opinion

The Uncanny Valley Nobody's Talking About: Eerie Robot Voices

Call it the Great Convergence of Creepiness. The first bit, the uncanny valley, we're all familiar with by now: If a humanoid robot looks super realistic, but not...

Diversity in Tech: How One VC Firm Is Partnering With Historically Black Colleges to Address the Pipeline Issue
From ACM TechNews

Diversity in Tech: How One VC Firm Is Partnering With Historically Black Colleges to Address the Pipeline Issue

Unusual Ventures this summer will launch a program designed to increase the number of black students working in technical internships.
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