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

April 2012


From ACM TechNews

Bridging the Gender Gap: Why More Women Aren't Computer Scientists, Engineers

Bridging the Gender Gap: Why More Women Aren't Computer Scientists, Engineers

Harvey Mudd College president Maria Klawe is seeking to close the gender gap in the hard sciences, which she attributes to young women's perception of such fields as uninteresting, beyond their capabilities, and being conducive…


From ACM Opinion

God and Man in Tennessee

God and Man in Tennessee

Earlier this month state senators in Tennessee approved an update to our sex-education law that would ban teachers from discussing hand-holding, which it categorizes as "gateway sexual activity." The bill came fast on the heels…


From ACM News

The World's Five Biggest Cyber Threats

The World's Five Biggest Cyber Threats

Criminals do not stop at stealing someone's personal data.


From ACM Opinion

Welcome to the Microsoft Store

Welcome to the Microsoft Store

Three years ago, shortly after Microsoft announced that it would launch its own retail stores, I offered the company some unsolicited advice: Copy Apple "relentlessly, unabashedly, and completely." At the time, Microsoft was…


From ACM Opinion

ARM's Next Big Opportunity Is in Really Small Devices

ARM's Next Big Opportunity Is in Really Small Devices

ARM's CEO Sir Warren East is casting his eye on the next big opportunity for the chip architecture firm—the Internet of things.


From ACM Opinion

CISPA, 'National Security,' and the NSA's Ability to Read Your Emails

CISPA, 'National Security,' and the NSA's Ability to Read Your Emails

This week the House of Representatives is debating the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, the dangerous "cybersecurity" bill that threatens to decimate Internet users' privacy in the name of security.


From ACM News

Voyagers' Never-Ending Journey

Voyagers' Never-Ending Journey

Exploration is one thing, science another—but they've come together rather nicely in the Voyager mission to the outer planets, outbound for the past 35 years yet still making discoveries.


From ACM News

The Robot Revolution Is Just Beginning

The Robot Revolution Is Just Beginning

When industrial robots were first introduced in the early 1960s initially on automobile assembly lines—computers were still in their infancy, so the robots were designed to perform only the most rigidly predetermined set of repetitive…


From ACM Opinion

The Robo-Help

The Robo-Help

I have two robots that clean the floors in my apartment: the Evolution Robotics Mint and the iRobot Roomba 530. The Mint sweeps and mops. The Roomba vacuums.


From ACM Opinion

Don't Be Evil, but Don't Miss the Train

Don't Be Evil, but Don't Miss the Train

Back in 2004, as Google prepared to go public, Larry Page and Sergey Brin celebrated the maxim that was supposed to define their company: "Don’t be evil."


From ACM Opinion

Nah, Iran Probably Didn't Hack CIA's Stealth Drone

Nah, Iran Probably Didn't Hack CIA's Stealth Drone

Four months after capturing a crashed U.S. stealth drone near the Iran-Afghanistan border, Tehran claims it has hacked into the ‘bot’s classified mission-control system. If true, it could mean Iran is making good on its vow…


From ACM News

Vint Cerf: We Knew What We Were Unleashing on the World

Vint Cerf: We Knew What We Were Unleashing on the World

Vint Cerf invented the protocol that rules them all: TCP/IP.


From ACM Opinion

What Amazon's E-Book Strategy Means

First, I'd like to introduce three keywords that need defining before you can understand Amazon...


From ACM TechNews

A New Breed of Heterogeneous Computing

A New Breed of Heterogeneous Computing

The foundation of high-performance computing is undergoing a revolution with the introduction of add-on accelerators. An emerging variant of the heterogeneous computing approach could replace the current accelerator model in…


From ACM Opinion

How Much Do the Internet Giants Really Know?

How Much Do the Internet Giants Really Know?

To briefly state the obvious, the Internet giants are seriously big: Google is not only the world's largest search engine, it's one of the top three email providers, a social network, and owner of the Blogger platform and the…


From ACM Careers

With New Comforts, Growing Complacent

With New Comforts, Growing Complacent

Google and Facebook, young and successful companies that they are, risk being left behind as technology shifts from PCs and Web browsers to mobile devices.


From ACM Opinion

University of Florida Eliminates Computer Science Department, Increases Athletic Budgets. Hmm.

University of Florida Eliminates Computer Science Department, Increases Athletic Budgets. Hmm.

In the midst of a technology revolution, with a shortage of engineers and computer scientists, The University of Florida announced this past week that it was dropping its computer science department, which will allow it to save…


From ACM TechNews

New Julia Language Seeks to Be the C for Scientists

New Julia Language Seeks to Be the C for Scientists

MIT researchers have developed Julia, a programming language designed for building technical applications. The language has already been used for image analysis and linear algebra research.


From ACM Opinion

How I Traced My Ancestry Back to the Stone Age

How I Traced My Ancestry Back to the Stone Age

I recently had a genetic test to find out more about where my ancestors came from.


From ACM Opinion

Neal Stephenson on Science Fiction, Building Towers 20 Kilometers High ... and Insurance

Neal Stephenson on Science Fiction, Building Towers 20 Kilometers High ... and Insurance

Speaking before a packed lecture theater at MIT earlier this week, Neal Stephenson worried that the gloomy outlook prevalent in modern science fiction may be undermining the genre's ability to inspire engineers and scientists…


From ACM Opinion

The Troll Toll

The Troll Toll

When hospitals come upon a technology with a proven track record of saving lives, you'd expect a flood of investment to expand its use, and a race by manufacturers to bring new products to market.


From ACM Opinion

Rethinking the Social Network

Rethinking the Social Network

At some point later this year, Facebook will connect one in every seven people on the planet. When it passes the billion user mark—and really it is a question of when, not if—it will inevitably be accompanied by the common lament…


From ACM Opinion

How Computers Are Creating a Second Economy Without Workers

How Computers Are Creating a Second Economy Without Workers

When the disappointing jobs numbers were reported last week (employers added 120,000 jobs in March, about half the number reported in the two previous months), analysts tripped over themselves looking for an explanation.


From ACM Opinion

Homeland Security's 'Pre-Crime' Screening Will Never Work

Homeland Security's 'Pre-Crime' Screening Will Never Work

Here is a quiz for you.


From ACM Opinion

Physical Media Is Dead

Physical Media Is Dead

Over the weekend, Hunter Walk (a friend of mine who works for YouTube) tweeted about brands offering apps built on the Spotify platform. Spotify is likely to introduce these branded apps from the likes of Intel, AT&T, Reebok.


From ACM News

Tina Seelig

Tina Seelig

Stanford University’s Technology Ventures leader discusses tools to enhance creativity, how entrepreneurs can create ingenious products more efficiently, and ways that educators unwittingly stifle innovation. 


From ACM Opinion

Seven Questions About Analytics for IBM's Mike Rhodin

Seven Questions About Analytics for IBM's Mike Rhodin

You can't go very far with IBM before you hear the word "analytics."


From ACM Opinion

Web Freedom Faces Geatest Threat Ever, Warns Google's Sergey Brin

Web Freedom Faces Geatest Threat Ever, Warns Google's Sergey Brin

The principles of openness and universal access that underpinned the creation of the Internet three decades ago are under greater threat than ever, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.


From ACM Opinion

From the Birthplace of Big Brother

The George W. Bush team must be consumed with envy. Britain's government is preparing sweeping new legislation that would let the country's domestic intelligence agencies monitor all private telephone, email, text message, social…


From ACM Opinion

Facebook's Telescope on Human Behavior

Facebook's Telescope on Human Behavior

Cameron Marlow, the leader of Facebook's efforts to mine its piles of data, says the effort can help explain why people act as they do.

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