The opinion archive provides access to past opinion stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.
Last year, while cleaning out the basement of my childhood home, I discovered a plastic storage bin marked "Calcusoft." Inside were piles of notebooks filled with sketches, storyboards, and lines of code, and buried beneath it…
My annual report for the 2012-13 academic year stares at me from an undisturbed corner of my desk.
As he closed the door, leaving me alone at the controls of a 41,000-pound bulldozer with list price of nearly $432,000, a Komatsu Ltd. executive shouted, "No worries!"
The year was 1988. George Michael's "Faith" was top of the pops. "Roseanne" was the number-one show on TV. Bruce Willis, starring in "Die Hard," still had hair.
Sometimes you have to give up a little privacy in order to find out how much—or how little—privacy you really have.
The New York World's Fair of 1964 is dedicated to "Peace Through Understanding."
Last Sunday, David Miranda was detained while changing planes at London Heathrow Airport by British authorities for nine hours under a controversial British law—the maximum time allowable without making an arrest.
Images of tech entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs are continually thrown at us by politicians, economists and the media.
I am not a tech industry maven, so I am busy coming up to speed on the implications of the Ballmer resignation.
A generation ago, when the stock market crashed on Oct. 19, 1987, the Nasdaq stock market appeared to have done much better than the New York Stock Exchange.
As an old reporter who has from time to time outed classified information, I have watched the cases of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden with professional interest.
In the gleaming Silicon Valley branch office of speech-recognition firm Nuance Communications, a small room has been made to look like a homey den.
In 1982, polls showed that 44 percent of Americans believed God had created human beings in their present form. Thirty years later, the fraction of the population who are creationists is 46 percent.
It's not evident from the way his hair flops casually down and across, nor from his equally relaxed demeanor, but John Hanke is one of Google's most important idea men.
After weathering a round of negative publicity, Udacity CEO Sebastian Thrun believes vindication is at hand.
Today's report in The Wall Street Journal reveals that the National Security Agency's spying tools extend deep into the domestic U.S. telecommunications infrastructure, giving the agency a surveillance structure with the ability…
Imagine that you want to tell someone a secret.
By the time you read these words, much of what has appeared on the screen of whatever device you are using has been dictated by a series of conditional instructions laid down in lines of code, whose weightings and outputs are…
Smartphone screens across the globe are embracing clean design in an effort to feature content on high-end pixel real estate.
Mark Cerny's soft voice and youthful looks belie the position of power he holds in the video-game industry.
For almost all its 23-year existence, Photoshop has dominated the digital retouching and design world.
In the past few years, programming has gone mainstream, as celebrities from Chris Bosh to President Obama jump on the "everyone should learn to code" bandwagon.
The idea that nothing can exceed the speed of light limits our interstellar ambitions. How do we get round this?
Coming on the heels of our announcement that we had shut down our Silent Mail service, we received a comment about securing email communications.
Say you, like me, went to bed a little early last night.
Consider David. The shepherd lad steps up to face in single combat the Philistine giant Goliath.
The New York Times is still reeling from a massive Web outage that took down its homepage, its corporate Web site, and everything in between.
Lavabit, an encrypted email service believed to have been used by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, has abruptly shut down.
James Bond-like spies have been eclipsed by a new generation of operatives who don't travel the world (not physically, anyway) …
Finding errors is not the same strategy as making sure that a product works.
Early on in the study of quantum computers, computer scientists …
Getting robots to do things isn't easy: Usually, scientists have …
A storm of tiny dust particles has engulfed much of …