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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 2010


From ACM Opinion

Wikileaks Fails "Due Diligence" Review

In the past week, both the Washington Post and the New York Times have referred to WikiLeaks.org, the web site that publishes confidential records, as a "whistleblower" site. This conforms to WikiLeaks' own instructions to journalists…


From ACM Opinion

Now Can We Have Instant Replay?

Now Can We Have Instant Replay?

Two horrendous calls at the World Cup show the need for technology—but don't tell the 'slippery slopers'


From ACM TechNews

John Shalf Talks Parallel Programming Languages

The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center's John Shalf describes parallel programming languages as tools designed to program systems with multiple processors and thus multiple concurrent instruction threads. 


From ACM TechNews

Uncovering Results in the Magellan Testbed

Uncovering Results in the Magellan Testbed

The Magellan cloud computing testbed funded by the U.S. Department of Energy is dedicated to studying the advantages and disadvantages of the cloud computing model as it applies to scientists working on government-funded initiatives…


From ACM Opinion

Are Cells the New Cigarettes?

The great cosmic joke would be to find out definitively that the advances we thought were blessings--from the hormones women pump into their bodies all their lives to the fancy phones people wait in line for all night--are really…


From ACM TechNews

The A-Z of Programming Languages: Objective-C

Brad Cox, creator of the Objective-C programming language, says he co-developed the language with partner Tom Love as a reaction to the C language and its limitations for constructing reusable elements. 


From ACM TechNews

Stanford's Top Engineer From Chips to ABCs

Stanford's Top Engineer From Chips to ABCs

James Plummer, dean of Stanford University's school of engineering, envisions an expansion of the electronics industry's purview from information technology to energy and biotechnology.


From ACM Opinion

Why Minority Report Was Spot On

Why Minority Report Was Spot On

The launch of Microsoft's new Kinect games system, which allows players to run, jump, punch and shoot without having to wear strange clothing or hold any kind of controller, has got technology and cinema buffs alike thinking…


From ACM Opinion

How to Silence the Obnoxious and Deafening Vuvuzela

Do you hear that? The hideous, piercing dirge of a B-flat drone that is the unfortunate backdrop to every single World Cup match? It’s the vuvuzela, a stupid plastic trumpet that has infested the temple of the beautiful game …


From ACM Opinion

Glob-ish

Glob-ish

Powered by the Internet and the global media, English has evolved into the world’s language.


From ACM Opinion

Buzz on Lie Detectors Is All a Lie, NSA Video Says

The National Security Agency wants job applicants to know that its polygraph test is nothing to sweat. The eavesdropping and code-breaking organization has produced a 10-minute video designed to soothe applicants' anxiety over…


From ACM Opinion

Software Studies, Rethinking Computing for Development in Africa

Software Studies, Rethinking Computing for Development in Africa

The field of computer science builds on Western industry, military and government interests. Modern day computing has almost wholly emerged out of a western context. Only by recognizing the historical roots of the computing…


From ACM Opinion

In Defense of Computers and the Internet for Learning

In Defense of Computers and the Internet for Learning

If you’re reading this blog post on a computer, mobile phone or e-reader, please stop what you’re doing immediately. You could be making yourself stupid. And whatever you do, don’t click on the links in this post. They could…


From ACM TechNews

Virtual Privacy

Virtual Privacy

Northeastern University professor Alan Mislove, whose research focuses on how people interact in the virtual world, says that many patterns of human interaction in the offline world are mirrored on social networking sites such…


From ACM TechNews

The Grill: Fred Brooks

The Grill: Fred Brooks

Fred Brooks, who was project manager for the IBM System/360 and the lead designer of its operating system, says that software developers should plan on continuously iterating on their design. 


From ACM Opinion

Does the Internet Make You Dumber?

Does the Internet Make You Dumber?

The cognitive effects are measurable: We're turning into shallow thinkers, says Nicholas Carr.


From ACM Opinion

Does the Internet Make You Smarter or Dumber?

Does the Internet Make You Smarter or Dumber?

Amid the silly videos and spam are the roots of a new reading and writing culture, says Clay Shirky.


From ACM TechNews

Scaling the Exa

Scaling the Exa

The University of Tennessee's Jack Dongarra says the transition to exascale computing is going to be more dramatic than earlier transitions, and this will result in a great deal of strain at the software point. 


From ACM TechNews

Vint Cerf on What the Net Needs Now

Vint Cerf on What the Net Needs Now

Google's Vint Cerf says the Internet needs better security across all of its levels, and says that common ground must be found concerning what constitutes Internet abuse.


From ACM TechNews

The Cybersecurity Changes We Need

The Obama administration's progress toward the goal of making the U.S. digital infrastructure "secure, trustworthy, and resilient" has been sluggish due to the general perception of cybersecurity as a drag on short-term economic…


From ACM Opinion

Against Instant Replay

Against Instant Replay

Extraordinary cases make bad law. In a sense, Armando Galarraga’s non-perfect perfect game, spoiled by an umpire’s call on what should have been the 27th out, offers the strongest possible exhibit for expanding instant replay’s…


From Communications of the ACM

Privacy By Design: Moving From Art to Practice

Privacy By Design: Moving From Art to Practice

Designing privacy into systems at the beginning of the development process necessitates the effective translation of privacy principles, models, and mechanisms into system requirements.


From Communications of the ACM

Institutional Review Boards and Your Research

Institutional Review Boards and Your Research

Researchers in computer science departments throughout the U.S. are violating federal law and their own organization's regulations regarding human subjects research—and in…


From Communications of the ACM

An Interview with Ed Feigenbaum

An Interview with Ed Feigenbaum

ACM Fellow and A.M. Turing Award recipient Edward A. Feigenbaum, a pioneer in the field of expert systems, reflects on his career.


From Communications of the ACM

The Resurgence of Parallelism

The Resurgence of Parallelism

Parallel computation is making a comeback after a quarter century of neglect. Past research can be put to quick use today.


From Communications of the ACM

Plotting Away

Plotting Away

Dear KV, I've been working with some code that generates massive data sets, and . . . I'm finding that more and more often I have to explain my data to people who are either…


From Communications of the ACM

Intel's Rebates: Above Board or Below the Belt?

Intel's Rebates: Above Board or Below the Belt?

Over several years, Intel paid billions of dollars to its customers. Was it to force them to boycott products developed by its rival AMD or so they could sell its microprocessors at lower prices?


From Communications of the ACM

Myths and Fallacies of 'Personally Identifiable Information'

Myths and Fallacies of 'Personally Identifiable Information'

Developing effective privacy protection technologies is a critical challenge for security and privacy research as the amount and variety of data collected about individuals increase exponentially.

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How Much CS Ed Will $1.3B Buy You? Not Enough to Reach Every U.S. School, nor Every Child
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