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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.


Have Aliens Found Us? A Harvard Astronomer on the Mysterious Interstellar Object 'Oumuamua
From ACM Opinion

Have Aliens Found Us? A Harvard Astronomer on the Mysterious Interstellar Object 'Oumuamua

On October 19, 2017, astronomers at the University of Hawaii spotted a strange object travelling through our solar system, which they later described as "a red...

Imaging Ever Closer to the Event Horizon
From ACM News

Imaging Ever Closer to the Event Horizon

While black holes themselves swallow any light beyond their event horizon, the area outside the event horizon tends to emit lots of light.

The Super-Secure Quantum Cable Hiding in the Holland Tunnel
From ACM News

The Super-Secure Quantum Cable Hiding in the Holland Tunnel

Commuters inching through rush-hour traffic in the Holland Tunnel between Lower Manhattan and New Jersey don't know it, but a technology likely to be the future...

A Neural Network Can Learn to Organize the World It Sees Into Concepts, Just Like We Do
From ACM News

A Neural Network Can Learn to Organize the World It Sees Into Concepts, Just Like We Do

GANs, or generative adversarial networks, are the social-media starlet of AI algorithms. They are responsible for creating the first AI painting ever sold at an ...

The Race to Develop the World's Best Quantum Tech
From ACM News

The Race to Develop the World's Best Quantum Tech

A few days before Christmas, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a bill into law that devotes more than US $1.2 billion to a national effort dedicated to quantum...

Machine Learning Can Offer New Tools, Fresh Insights for the Humanities
From ACM News

Machine Learning Can Offer New Tools, Fresh Insights for the Humanities

Truly revolutionary political transformations are naturally of great interest to historians, and the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century is widely...

Countering Russian Disinformation the Baltic Nations' Way
From ACM News

Countering Russian Disinformation the Baltic Nations' Way

As the new Congress begins, it will soon discuss the comprehensive reports to the U.S. Senate on the disinformation campaign of half-truths, outright fabrications...

Another Day, Another Exoplanet: NASA's TESS Keeps Counting More
From ACM News

Another Day, Another Exoplanet: NASA's TESS Keeps Counting More

NASA's new planet-hunting machine, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, is racking up scores of alien worlds.

Machine Learning Leads Mathematicians to Unsolvable Problem
From ACM News

Machine Learning Leads Mathematicians to Unsolvable Problem

A simple artificial intelligence problem puts researchers up against a logical paradox discovered by famed mathematician Kurt Gödel.

Milky Way to Face a One-Two Punch of Galaxy Collisions
From ACM News

Milky Way to Face a One-Two Punch of Galaxy Collisions

If our knowledge of galaxy structures was limited to the Milky Way, we'd get a lot of things wrong. The Milky Way, it turns out, is unusual.

The US and China Are in a Quantum Arms Race that Will Transform Warfare
From ACM News

The US and China Are in a Quantum Arms Race that Will Transform Warfare

In the 1970s, at the height of the Cold War, American military planners began to worry about the threat to US warplanes posed by new, radar-guided missile defenses...

Curbs on A.I. Exports? Silicon Valley Fears Losing Its Edge
From ACM News

Curbs on A.I. Exports? Silicon Valley Fears Losing Its Edge

A common belief among tech industry insiders is that Silicon Valley has dominated the internet because much of the worldwide network was designed and built by Americans...

Wireless 'Pacemaker for the Brain' Could Be New Standard Treatment for Neurological Disorders
From ACM News

Wireless 'Pacemaker for the Brain' Could Be New Standard Treatment for Neurological Disorders

A new neurostimulator developed by engineers at UC Berkeley can listen to and stimulate electric current in the brain at the same time, potentially delivering fine...

How the Artificial-Intelligence Program AlphaZero Mastered Its Games
From ACM News

How the Artificial-Intelligence Program AlphaZero Mastered Its Games

A few weeks ago, a group of researchers from Google's artificial-intelligence subsidiary, DeepMind, published a paper in the journal Science that described an A...

Pluto Explorer Ushering in New Year at More Distant World
From ACM News

Pluto Explorer Ushering in New Year at More Distant World

The spacecraft team that brought us close-ups of Pluto will ring in the new year by exploring an even more distant and mysterious world.

One Giant Step for a Chess-Playing Machine
From ACM News

One Giant Step for a Chess-Playing Machine

In early December, researchers at DeepMind, the artificial-intelligence company owned by Google's parent corporation, Alphabet Inc., filed a dispatch from the frontiers...

These Incredibly Realistic Fake Faces Show How Algorithms Can Now Mess with Us
From ACM News

These Incredibly Realistic Fake Faces Show How Algorithms Can Now Mess with Us

These faces don't seem particularly remarkable. They could easily be taken from, say, Facebook or LinkedIn. In reality, they were dreamed up by a new kind of AI...

NASA's InSight Places First Instrument on Mars
From ACM News

NASA's InSight Places First Instrument on Mars

NASA's InSight lander has deployed its first instrument onto the surface of Mars, completing a major mission milestone. New images from the lander show the seismometer...

How Computers Got Shockingly Good at Recognizing Images
From ACM News

How Computers Got Shockingly Good at Recognizing Images

Right now, I can open up Google Photos, type "beach," and see my photos from various beaches I've visited over the last decade.

China's Tech Giants Want to Go Global. Just One Thing Might Stand in Their Way.
From ACM News

China's Tech Giants Want to Go Global. Just One Thing Might Stand in Their Way.

In the early 1980s, a cluster of fledging computer companies opened up shop in a chaotic corner of northwest Beijing, near the campuses of Peking and Tsinghua Universities...
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