The opinion archive provides access to past opinion stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.
Earlier this month Vint Cerf, co-creator of the TCP/IP protocol and current Google vice president, openly asked professional programmers for feedback regarding the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), a professional organization…
Genome scientist and entrepreneur J. Craig Venter is best known for being the first person to sequence his own genome, back in 2001.
Keith Alexander, the recently retired director of the National Security Agency, left many in Washington slack-jawed when it was reported that he might charge companies up to $1 million a month to help them protect their computer…
Sockpuppetry—using false identities for deception—is centuries old, but the advent of the web has made creating sockpuppets, and falling for their tricks, easier than ever before.
Time Out, the weekly listings magazine, recently ranked the 100 best sci-fi movies of all time.
Video gaming differentiates itself from the older forms of escapism—literature, theatre, film, television—with interactivity.
On April 8, 2013, I received an envelope in the mail from a nonexistent return address in Toledo, Ohio.
Non-human employees are filling positions in all sorts of workplaces, and they are proving themselves to be fast, accurate, and reliable—more so than their human counterparts.
On Sept. 7, 2000, in the waning days of the Clinton administration, a U.S. Predator drone flew over Afghanistan for the first time.
There's a box on a shelf in my closet stuffed with smart smoke detectors, old smartphones, chargers, battery cases, fitness trackers, a Kindle that I sat on and broke and various sensors that have long ceased to detect anything…
Bombs are relatively simple, when you boil everything down.
Invoke the word autocorrect and most people will think immediately of its hiccups—the sort of hysterical, impossible errors one finds collected on sites like Damn You Autocorrect.
The bad news is that only people who were actually at Dallas' QuakeCon last night were able to see the world-premiere gameplay footage from the next Doom game, which somehow hasn't been leaked online yet.
Twenty five years ago, the historic World War II codebreaking center Bletchley Park faced demolition.
Each time I make a house call, I stay much longer than I should.
Soon after Maryanne Wolf published "Proust and the Squid," a history of the science and the development of the reading brain from antiquity to the twenty-first century, she began to receive letters from readers. Hundreds of them…
As an academic, Cynthia Breazeal pioneered research into social interaction between humans and robots, developing Kismet, a robot that used facial expressions in a meaningful way.
The robots are coming, and they're getting smarter.
In his celebrated journey around the world on the HMS Beagle from 1831 to 1836, Charles Darwin collected a plethora of information on the geology, animals, plants and people he encountered—observations that later helped him to…
"A grass roots effort is under way to stop the project... 'Mediocre science, terrible science policy,' begins the spirited letter…"
Space fans were startled—and perhaps a little skeptical—in May when the Russians announced that they intend to build a manned moon base.
A year after Edward Snowden's digital heist, the NSA's chief technology officer says steps have been taken to stop future incidents. But he says there's no way for the NSA to be entirely secure.
The fields of data communication, fabrication, and ultrasound imaging share a common challenge when it comes to improving speed and efficiency: light's diffraction limit. Nicholas Fang thinks his group at MIT might have found…
Are we ever going to figure out how the brain works?
Building a brain sounds like a worthy goal, one that makes it seem as though the future is within reach.
On March 17, a panel of four astrophysicists held a press conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., to announce that they had discovered features in the cosmic microwave background (CMB)…
I can hear the alien breathing.
When a chatbot called Eugene Goostman passed Alan Turing's famous measure of machine intelligence in June by posing as a Ukrainian teenager with questionable language skills, the world went nuts for about an hour before realizing…
When I travel these days, I tend to look like a walking Radio Shack—cords bursting out of my pockets, bag overflowing with chargers and accessories.
Who is Camille Noûs, who has contributed to hundreds of papers on Google Scholar?
By 2019, I generally thought there wasn't much that could surprise me about organizing meetups. Then Covid-19 hit. I was …
Napier's multiplication and division rods, deriving from the basic multiplication table, simplify calculations considerably.