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Communications of the ACM

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

October 2015


From ACM Opinion

David DiVincenzo on his Tenure at IBM and the Future of Quantum Computing

David DiVincenzo on his Tenure at IBM and the Future of Quantum Computing

Theoretical physicist David DiVincenzo is widely viewed as one of the pioneers of quantum computing. He authored a 1996 paper (PDF) outlining five criteria he predicted would make quantum computing a reality; it has become a…


From ACM Opinion

Apple's Deep Learning Curve

Apple's Deep Learning Curve

In the world of artificial intelligence, one of the year's biggest coming-out parties is the Neural Information Processing Systems conference.


From ACM Opinion

A Radical Proposal: Replace Hard Disks with DRAM

A Radical Proposal: Replace Hard Disks with DRAM

When it comes to computer storage, the magnetic disk has been top dog for almost half a century.


From ACM News

Cassini Seeks Insights to Life in Plumes of Enceladus, Saturn’s Icy Moon

Cassini Seeks Insights to Life in Plumes of Enceladus, Saturn’s Icy Moon

Where there is water, is there life?


From ACM Opinion

Why Fully Autonomous Robot Cars Hail from the 20th Century

Why Fully Autonomous Robot Cars Hail from the 20th Century

A vision of fully autonomous, self-driving cars allowing human owners to nap or read in the car seems to come from the future.


From ACM Opinion

What Is Life?

What Is Life?

"Why would NASA want to study a lake in Canada?"


From ACM Opinion

How the Internet Has Changed Bullying

How the Internet Has Changed Bullying

This summer, American Psychologist, the official journal of the American Psychological Association, released a special issue on the topic of bullying and victimization.


From ACM Opinion

These 5 Facts Explain the Rise of the Drone

These 5 Facts Explain the Rise of the Drone

The October 15 release of the so-called Drone Papers, leaked reports that appear to document the U.S. use of drone aircraft for military purposes, has given the world its closest look yet at the inner workings of modern drone…


From ACM Opinion

The Myth of Basic Science

The Myth of Basic Science

Innovation is a mysteriously difficult thing to dictate. Technology seems to change by a sort of inexorable, evolutionary progress, which we probably cannot stop—or speed up much either.


From ACM Opinion

We Don't Need Humans on Mars

We Don't Need Humans on Mars

The two mobile robots Spirit and Opportunity were launched from Earth in 2003 and arrived on opposite sides of Mars in 2004. A suite of cameras, instruments, and tools allows them to traverse the landscape for several kilometers…


From Communications of the ACM

Programming in K-12 Science Classrooms

Programming in K-12 Science Classrooms

Introducing students to visual programming as a pathway to text-based programming.


From ACM Opinion

Max Schrems, Who Torpedoed Safe Harbor 1, Sees No Safe Harbor 2

Max Schrems, Who Torpedoed Safe Harbor 1, Sees No Safe Harbor 2

He's just helped bring down a longstanding trans-Atlantic data-transfer pact used by thousands of businesses and Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems is already pouring cold water on the framework's impending replacement now…


From ACM TechNews

'Our Time to Lead': An Interview With Telle Whitney at Grace Hopper 2015

'Our Time to Lead': An Interview With Telle Whitney at Grace Hopper 2015

Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology CEO Telle Whitney said 2015 is "our time to lead." 


From ACM Opinion

Fight ISIS by Thinking Inside the Bot

Fight ISIS by Thinking Inside the Bot

What if we told you that fighting ISIS could be done cheaply, relatively easily, in a manner that would not escalate or put any in harm’s way?


From ACM Opinion

Hackers Make Cars Safer. Don't Ban Them From Tinkering

Hackers Make Cars Safer. Don't Ban Them From Tinkering

Virtually every new car sold today has some sort of network connection.


From ACM Opinion

How the Scariest Video Games Use Our Own Minds to Terrify Us

How the Scariest Video Games Use Our Own Minds to Terrify Us

I think he’s gone—Oh! He's not gone he’s not gone no no no he’s not gone oh Jesus Christ look at his face


From ACM Opinion

Guys, Lots of Signals from Space Seem Like Aliens

Guys, Lots of Signals from Space Seem Like Aliens

Last week, astronomers—amateur and pro—got excited about some strange results from the Kepler Space Telescope, the NASA observatory tasked with searching for Earth-like planets.


From ACM Opinion

What Machines Can Learn from People and We Can Learn from Them

What Machines Can Learn from People and We Can Learn from Them

Guruduth Banavar is an executive at IBM leading the team developing a new generation of cognitive systems—don't call it artificial intelligence—known as Watson.


From ACM Opinion

Scores of Scores: How Companies Are Reducing Consumers to Single Numbers

Scores of Scores: How Companies Are Reducing Consumers to Single Numbers

In his novel Super Sad True Love Story, Gary Shteyngart imagined ubiquitous poles installed on sidewalks that display people’s credit scores as they walked by.


From ACM Opinion

China's Xiaomi's Is Changing the U.S. Too

China's Xiaomi's Is Changing the U.S. Too

Xiaomi is the most important phone manufacturer you've never heard of.


From ACM Opinion

Apple Is Learning an Expensive Lesson About Universities

Apple Is Learning an Expensive Lesson About Universities

You may have heard that Apple's on the hook for $862 million in potential penalties after a jury ruled that it infringed on a patent owned by the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


From ACM Opinion

If You're Not Paranoid, You're Crazy

If You're Not Paranoid, You're Crazy

I knew we'd bought walnuts at the store that week, and I wanted to add some to my oatmeal.


From ACM Opinion

What Celebrities Can Teach Companies About Social Media

What Celebrities Can Teach Companies About Social Media

Let's face it: Corporate America's social presence could use a celebrity makeover.


From ACM Opinion

What Science-Fiction Gadget Would Be Most Valuable in Real Life?

What Science-Fiction Gadget Would Be Most Valuable in Real Life?

Nicole Perlman, screenwriter, Guardians of the Galaxy: As someone who’s both accident-prone and constantly putting her foot in her mouth, my first thought is the Omega 13 from Galaxy Quest.


From ACM Opinion

European Ruling Is Merely a Symbolic Victory for Privacy

European Ruling Is Merely a Symbolic Victory for Privacy

A decision on Tuesday by the European Union’s highest court, striking down an agreement between the E.U. and the United States that allows companies like Facebook and Google to store the personal data of European users on servers…


From ACM Opinion

Why Companies Won't Learn From the T-Mobile/Experian Hack

Why Companies Won't Learn From the T-Mobile/Experian Hack

Last Thursday, John Legere, the C.E.O. of T-Mobile, joined the ranks of the dozens of chief executives who, in the past few years, have had to inform their customers that their personal information has been stolen.


From ACM Opinion

Review: LittleBits Makes Robot Building Easier for Junior Engineers

Review: LittleBits Makes Robot Building Easier for Junior Engineers

In the recent surge of electronic building toys, my early favorite was LittleBits. The individual pieces each have a specific job, and they magnetically interlock to create little linear machines.


From ACM Careers

What's Our Obsession with Steve Jobs All About?

What's Our Obsession with Steve Jobs All About?

The new movie "Steve Jobs" provides yet another take on the well known business celebrity. Thomas Streeter, professor of sociology at the University of Vermont, explores why in a new paper published in the International Journal…


From ACM Opinion

Our Universe: It's the 'Simplest' Thing We Know

Our Universe: It's the 'Simplest' Thing We Know

Our universe is actually really simple, it's just our cosmological theories that are getting needlessly complex, argues one of the world's leading theoretical physicists.


From ACM Opinion

Human Missions to Mars Will Look Completely Different from The Martian

Human Missions to Mars Will Look Completely Different from The Martian

Landing in U.S. theaters last week, Ridley Scott's The Martian is being acclaimed as one of the most realistic portrayals of human space exploration ever filmed.

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