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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.

November 2010


From ACM News

Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt

Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt

There you are, peacefully reading an article or watching a video on the Internet. You finish, find it thought-provoking, and scroll down to the comments section to see what other people thought. And there, lurking among dozens…


From ACM Opinion

New 'Story of Stuff' Video Reminds Us to Think Twice Before Buying New Gadgets

New 'Story of Stuff' Video Reminds Us to Think Twice Before Buying New Gadgets

In the opening moments of the new Web video "The Story of Electronics," I found myself nodding in recognition as host Annie Leonard held up a tangled mess of electronic gadget chargers. Lurking in my basement at home is a…


From ACM Opinion

The Lessons of 10 Years of Talking Tech

It’s a special week in America. All over the country, families are gathering in warmly lighted homes. They’re sitting down to fancy feasts at decorated tables. They smile, they pour libations, they raise their glasses.


From ACM News

The Birth of a U.K. Tech Giant

The Birth of a U.K. Tech Giant

British chip designer ARM will soon be 20 years old. Bill Thompson was there at the start.


From ACM Opinion

Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality

The Web is critical not merely to the digital revolution but to our continued prosperity—and even our liberty. Like democracy itself, it needs defending.


From ACM Opinion

Beverly Harrison's Supersmart Computers

Beverly Harrison's Supersmart Computers

The Intel researcher is designing computers that can recognize gestures and objects to better bridge the virtual and real worlds.


From ACM Opinion

A Business Creator Sees Big Returns From Social Media

A Business Creator Sees Big Returns From Social Media

Asked to name the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, few people would think of Eric Lefkofsky, who is 40 and keeps a deliberately low profile in his hometown of Chicago. But Lefkofsky has an impressive entrepreneurial track…


From ACM Opinion

Why America Must Win the Supercomputing Race

Four decades ago, NASA put a man on the moon using a computer system less powerful than the electronics in many modern-day toasters. With that audacious act of technological faith, the U.S. took a giant step toward global…


From ACM Opinion

In the Grip of the New Monopolists

In the Grip of the New Monopolists

Do away with Google? Break up Facebook? We can't imagine life without them—and that's the problem.


From ACM Opinion

On Tech Issues, Obama Falls Short of High Expectations

Barack Obama was the embodiment of the modern, high-tech president when he took office. However, halfway through his first term, he has yet to deliver on much of his sweeping tech agenda, tempering the high expectations many…


From ACM TechNews

A Conversation With Ed Catmull

A Conversation With Ed Catmull

Pixar Animation Studios president Ed Catmull says he once used realistic computer-generated animation as a goal because "doing it is so hard that it would help drive us forward."


From ACM Opinion

Atari Co-Founder Nolan Bushnell on the Future of Software

Atari Co-Founder Nolan Bushnell on the Future of Software

Whether you know him by name, you almost certainly have firsthand experience with some of Nolan Bushnell's work. He's known by many as the father of video games, since he created Pong and co-founded Atari. And he may have…


From ACM Opinion

Web

Web

The origins of our Webified age were hardly auspicious. Two decades ago, Tim Berners-Lee, a British software programmer at the CERN physics-research laboratory outside Geneva, was sketching out a global system for sharing…


From ACM Opinion

What You Should Include in an Agreement with a Cloud Provider

Cloud computing is a lot like the weather: Everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it. Just 9.3% of companies say they'll be using platform or infrastructure as a service (P/IaaS) offerings by the end of the…


From ACM Opinion

I'm Not a Real Scientist, and That's Okay

What kind of discipline is computer science? I thought it was a science when I received my bachelor's degree. I believed its subdiscipline software engineering was engineering when I received my Ph.D. I’d heard, and would…


From ACM Opinion

Could Terrorists Launch America's Nuclear Missiles?

Could Terrorists Launch America's Nuclear Missiles?

The Air Force calls the situation "Launch Facilities Down." On Oct. 23, a Wyoming-based squadron of 50 nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)—enough firepower to kill some 20 million people—lost computer…


From ACM Opinion

Why China's New Supercomputer Isn't Actually the World's Fastest

Why China's New Supercomputer Isn't Actually the World's Fastest

Peak performance doesn't equal sustained performance, and the NVIDIA GPUs in the Tianhe 1A are especially bad at the latter.


From ACM News

The Speed Camera that Doesn't Just Check Your Speed

The Speed Camera that Doesn't Just Check Your Speed

Everyone knows that speed cameras work. They create the discipline of a lissom lady in leather and make sure everyone understands just what the rules are. In fact, some people are so in awe of speed cameras' discipline that…


From ACM Opinion

The Day the Internet Threw a Righteous Hissyfit About Copyright And Pie

The Day the Internet Threw a Righteous Hissyfit About Copyright And Pie

So you might have heard a story yesterday about a little magazine called Cooks Source. Up until then, you might never have heard of Cooks Source. But maybe you've heard of "the Internet." Cooks Source now undoubtedly wishes…


From ACM News

Intel's Andy Grove on Manufacturing in America

Intel's Andy Grove on Manufacturing in America

Among the scores of fabless chip companies and product design houses in Silicon Valley, Intel is a standout. It's an American high-tech company that not only creates but builds some of the most sophisticated tech products…


From ACM Opinion

Will Netflix Destroy the Internet?

Will Netflix Destroy the Internet?

American broadband capacity might not be able to keep up with everyone who wants to stream movies.


From ACM Opinion

Complexity of IT Systems Will Be Our Undoing

Complexity of IT Systems Will Be Our Undoing

CTO says $2 million project has less than 50% chance of success.


From ACM News

Catching Up with Multitouch Pioneer Jeff Han

Catching Up with Multitouch Pioneer Jeff Han

When it comes to the future of technology, Jeff Han literally has his finger on the pulse.


From ACM News

NCSA Director: GPU Is Future of Supercomputing

NCSA Director: GPU Is Future of Supercomputing

The director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications has seen the future of supercomputing and it can be summed up in three letters: GPU.


From ACM Opinion

Is China a Supercomputer Threat? (Q&A)

Is China a Supercomputer Threat? (Q&A)

With China expected to officially take the supercomputer performance crown next month, I asked an expert about the state of supercomputing in the U.S. and whether China poses a long-term threat to the United States' current…


From ACM Opinion

Google Is Polluting the Internet

Google Is Polluting the Internet

The danger of allowing an advertising company to control the index of human knowledge is too obvious to ignore.


From Communications of the ACM

The Divergent Online News Preferences of Journalists and Readers

The Divergent Online News Preferences of Journalists and Readers

Reading between the lines of the thematic gap between the supply and demand of online news.


From Communications of the ACM

In Support of Computer Science Teachers and the CSTA

If we want more computer science students, and if we want computer scientists to be understood for what we are, we must clarify the message about computer science that all students will receive as part of their K–12 education…


From Communications of the ACM

Why Isn't Cyberspace More Secure?

Why Isn't Cyberspace More Secure?

Evaluating governmental actions—and inactions—toward improving cyber security and addressing future challenges.


From Communications of the ACM

Sensor Networks for the Sciences

Sensor Networks for the Sciences

Lessons from the field derived from developing wireless sensor networks for monitoring active and hazardous volcanoes.

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