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Communications of the ACM

Opinion Archive


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The opinion archive provides access to past opinion stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.

June 2012


From ACM News

Google's New Brain Could Have a Big Impact

Google's New Brain Could Have a Big Impact

A store of information dubbed the "Knowledge Graph" now adds useful context and detail to the list of links that Google serves up.


From ACM Opinion

Linus Torvalds: Linux Succeeded Thanks to Selfishness and Trust

Linus Torvalds: Linux Succeeded Thanks to Selfishness and Trust

Linux creator Linus Torvalds has won the Millennium Technology Prize and an accompanying cheque for 600,000 euros ($756,000; £486,000) from the Technology Academy of Finland. He was nominated for the award in recognition of the…


From ACM Opinion

Desktop Computers Look More and More Like Smartphones

Desktop Computers Look More and More Like Smartphones

If you're an experienced computer user, you probably remember explaining to newbies how a desktop computer worked: Your photos should go in this folder; your documents in that one. You will need to use this application to open…


From ACM Opinion

Apple's Strategy of Built-In Obsolescence

Ross Miller made a good point about Apple's new flagship laptop, in his review for the Verge. Once you take into account that it has a solid-state drive, it's actually not nearly as expensive as you might think.


From ACM News

What Facebook Knows

What Facebook Knows

If Facebook were a country, a conceit that founder Mark Zuckerberg has entertained in public, its 900 million members would make it the third largest in the world.


From ACM TechNews

Researcher: Interdependencies Could Lead to Cloud 'meltdowns'

Researcher: Interdependencies Could Lead to Cloud 'meltdowns'

As cloud computing becomes increasingly common, serious operational "meltdowns" could take place as end users and vendors mix, match, and bundle services for various means, warns Yale University professor Bryan Ford.


From ACM Opinion

World's Largest Organization For Computer Professionals Comes Out Against Cispa

World's Largest Organization For Computer Professionals Comes Out Against Cispa

The U.S. Public Policy Council of the Association of Computing Machinery, representing ACM, came out against CISPA, the cybersecurity legislation recently passed by the U.S. House.


From ACM Opinion

Economist Paul Krugman Is a Hard-Core Science Fiction Fan

Economist Paul Krugman Is a Hard-Core Science Fiction Fan

If you follow the news at all, you've probably seen Paul Krugman—Princeton professor, New York Times columnist, Nobel Prize-winning economist—championing the idea that government spending can lift us out of the economic crisis…


From ACM TechNews

Analyzing the Cybersecurity Threat Posed By Hackers

Analyzing the Cybersecurity Threat Posed By Hackers

In an interview, Northeastern University professor Themis Papa­george discusses the cybersecurity threat presented by rogue hacker groups such as Anonymous, and how the U.S. government can shield itself against future cyber sieges…


From ACM News

Google Fights Back in China

Google Fights Back in China

Two giants on the world stage are battling over the future of information.


From ACM News

Apple's Stash of Credit Card Numbers Is Its Secret Weapon

Apple's Stash of Credit Card Numbers Is Its Secret Weapon

That little iPhone in your pocket is perfectly positioned to become a clone of the credit cards in your wallet or purse.


From ACM Opinion

Is Flame Virus Fallout a Chinese, Russian Plot to Control the Internet?

Is Flame Virus Fallout a Chinese, Russian Plot to Control the Internet?

Has the U.S. government been caught with its virtual hands in the world's cookie jar? And might it lose control of the Internet as a consequence?


From ACM News

Back to Stuxnet: The Missing Link

Two weeks ago, when we announced the discovery of the Flame malware we said that we saw no strong similarity between its code and programming style with that of the Tilded platform which Stuxnet and Duqu are based on.


From ACM Opinion

How To Fix the Gender Gap in Technology

How To Fix the Gender Gap in Technology

The United States has produced viable female presidential candidates, women athletes who command millions of dollars in endorsements, and the first female Nobel economist.


From ACM Opinion

Zoran Popovi?: Recruiting Gamers to Fight Disease

Zoran Popovi?: Recruiting Gamers to Fight Disease

Proteins are the workhorses of our cells: They turn food into energy and determine our health. Each one is a chain of molecules—sometimes thousands of links long—that folds in a distinctive way.


From ACM Opinion

Drones, Computer Viruses, and Blowback

Another day, another senior al-Qaeda leader killed by a drone strike. (I can't be the first to point out that being al-Qaeda's No. 2 is like being the drummer for Spinal Tap.)


From ACM Opinion

Berners-Lee: World Finally Realizes Web Belongs To No One

Berners-Lee: World Finally Realizes Web Belongs To No One

Sir Tim Berners-Lee is the reason you're reading this story in a web browser, complete with hypertext like this and an internet address that looks like this: http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/06/sir-tim-berners-lee/.


From ACM Opinion

Cyberweapons: Bold Steps in a Digital Darkness?

In 1945, the United States organized a committee to investigate whether nuclear weapons should become a central military technology, or whether to abjure the weapons and, through self-restraint, avoid a costly and potentially…


From ACM Opinion

How Google and Microsoft Taught Search to 'understand' the Web

How Google and Microsoft Taught Search to 'understand' the Web

Despite the massive amounts of computing power dedicated by search engine companies to crawling and indexing trillions of documents on the Internet, search engines still can't do what nearly any human can: tell the difference…


From ACM News

Bionic Brains and Beyond

Bionic Brains and Beyond

The National Spelling Bee of 2023 started out like any other, but controversy enveloped the contest when Suzy Hamilton, an 8-year-old from Tulsa, emerged as the new champion.


From ACM Opinion

Are We Living in Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451?

Are We Living in Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451?

Science-fiction author Ray Bradbury, one of the world's leading writers of the genre for more than 60 years, died on Wednesday at the age of 91. Although he wrote many books and short stories that were well-received—and in many…


From ACM Opinion

Is It Possible to Wage a Just Cyberwar?

Is It Possible to Wage a Just Cyberwar?

In the last week or so, cyberwarfare has made front-page news: the United States may have been behind the Stuxnet cyberattack on Iran; Iran may have suffered another digital attack with theFlame virus; and our military and industrial…


From ACM Opinion

Why Attack When We Can't Defend?

Why Attack When We Can't Defend?

In December 2010, after we had reverse engineered the Stuxnet virus, I argued that the attackers must have known they would open Pandora's box. Others suggested it would be opened anyway, so it better be us.


From ACM Opinion

Stuxnet Expert Calls ­.s. the 'good Guys' in Cyber-Warfare

Stuxnet Expert Calls ­.s. the 'good Guys' in Cyber-Warfare

Sitting in the front row for the first full day of the International Conference on Cyber Conflict was one of the industry’s foremost "rock star" researchers, Ralph Langner.


From ACM Opinion

Nations Must Talk to Halt 'cyber Terrorism': Kaspersky

Nations Must Talk to Halt 'cyber Terrorism': Kaspersky

Eugene Kaspersky, whose lab discovered the Flame virus that has attacked computers in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East, said on Wednesday only a global effort could stop a new era of "cyber terrorism."


From ACM Opinion

Where Speech Recognition Is Going

Where Speech Recognition Is Going

Until recently, the idea of holding a conversation with a computer seemed pure science fiction. If you asked a computer to "open the pod bay doors"—well, that was only in movies.


From ACM Opinion

Can America Ever Have Another 'sputnik Moment'?

Can America Ever Have Another 'sputnik Moment'?

In his 2011 State of the Union Address, President Obama declared, "This is our generation's Sputnik moment." Sputnik was the satellite that the Soviets had launched into orbit 54 years earlier, setting off not only a space race…


From ACM Opinion

Why Antivirus Companies Like Mine Failed to Catch Flame and Stuxnet

Why Antivirus Companies Like Mine Failed to Catch Flame and Stuxnet

A couple of days ago, I received an e-mail from Iran. It was sent by an analyst from the Iranian Computer Emergency Response Team, and it was informing me about a piece of malware their team had found infecting a variety of Iranian…


From Communications of the ACM

The Myth of the Elevator Pitch

The Myth of the Elevator Pitch

Instead of pitching, listen and offer.


From Communications of the ACM

Why Computer Scientists Should Care About Cyber Conflict and U­.S. National Security Policy

Why Computer Scientists Should Care About Cyber Conflict and U­.S. National Security Policy

Cybersecurity and policy issues for computer scientists.

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