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Communications of the ACM

Opinion Archive


Archives

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

September 2009


From ACM Opinion

Should Airlines Let Passengers Make Calls Via Wi-Fi?

Should Airlines Let Passengers Make Calls Via Wi-Fi?

Roger Flessing was on an American Airlines flight to Seattle recently when he began speaking with his son on his iPhone. He wasn't making a conventional cellphone call. He was using Truphone, which allows smartphones to use wireless…


From ACM TechNews

Is Wikipedia a Victim of Its Own Success?

Is Wikipedia a Victim of Its Own Success?

The exponential growth of Wikipedia has flattened out since 2007, a development that may signal the limits of crowdsourcing. One explanation is that Wikipedia has reached the threshold of knowledge expansion, and most of the…


From ACM TechNews

Inducing Innovation With Prizes

Inducing Innovation With Prizes

The successful completion of the Netflix Prize competition demonstrates that prizes are a viable mechanism for encouraging research in the computing fields, writes Harvey Mudd College professor Ran Libeskind-Hadas. 


From ACM Opinion

The Duct Tape Programmer

Jamie Zawinski is what I would call a duct-tape programmer.

I say that with a great deal of respect. He is the kind of programmer who is hard at work building the future, making useful things so that people can do stuff. He…


From ACM Opinion

Should Operating Systems Be Intuitive?

Should computers be intuitive, requiring little to no learning or thinking? Is it even possible for them to be so?

Nothing is intuitive,” said Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack to LinuxInsider. Think about it: We have to be taught…


From ACM TechNews

Wolfram's Search Goal: Compute All

Wolfram's Search Goal: Compute All

Stephen Wolfram has set the ambitious goal of converting the global corpus of knowledge into a computable format through WolframAlpha.com, a computational knowledge engine rather than a search engine. WolframAlpha.com computes…


From ACM Opinion

How Indian IT Became a Respected Global Brand

How Indian IT Became a Respected Global Brand

The so-called "Internet Age" we live in imposes what is being called "Internet speed." This accelerated lifestyle is exemplified in an extreme form by the saying attributed to media guru Marshall McLuhan: "If it works, it's obsolete…


From ACM TechNews

The A-Z of Programming Languages: Groovy

The A-Z of Programming Languages: Groovy

Groovy project manager Guillaume Laforge says the Groovy programming language was designed to make life simpler for developers through its seamless integration with the underlying Java platform. "There's really no impedance…


From ACM Opinion

Is It Too Much To Expect Judges In Tech Related Cases To Understand Tech?

Is It Too Much To Expect Judges In Tech Related Cases To Understand Tech?

In another case where basic technology illiteracy leads a judge to make very questionable statements, a judge declared that because a specific phrase ("spoiled brats") was not found in the metatags of a Web site, someone who…


From ACM CareerNews

Government Should Help Widen Cyber Knowledge

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security should be doing more to recruit top cyber security talent and develop a highly skilled workforce of cyber security workers who are at the front lines of protecting federal computer networks…


From ACM Opinion

Aligning Computer Science with Mathematics by Felleisen and Krishnamurthi

The July 2009 Communications of the ACM has an interesting article by Matthias Felleisen and Shriram Krishnamurthi "Why Computer Science Doesn't Matter" with the great subtitle, "Aligning computer science with high school mathematics…


From ACM Opinion

The Case Against Literary (and Software) Patents

The Case Against Literary (and Software) Patents

Imagine the outcry if the courts were to legalize patents on English prose. Suddenly, you could get a "literary patent" on novels employing a particular kind of plot twist, on news stories using a particular interview technique…


From ACM Opinion

World War 3.0: 10 Critical Trends for Cybersecurity

World War 3.0: 10 Critical Trends for Cybersecurity

"Cybersecurity is the soft underbelly of this country," outgoing U.S. National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell declared in a valedictory address to reporters in mid-January. McConnell is concerned that hackers or spies will…


From ACM Opinion

Actually, Obama Doesn't Want to Take Over The Internet

Actually, Obama Doesn't Want to Take Over The Internet

A number of people are up in arms about a new bill going through the U.S. Senate that allows President Obama to "take over private networks." Oh no! That would be really stupid. But actually, the Senate bill in question does…


From ACM Opinion

Game Over for Sony

Game Over for Sony

I've never really liked the company Sony. On the computer side, it's hardly been a friend of GNU/Linux. The one glimmer of hope for the company was the PS3. Sony's decision to allow other operating systems — like GNU/Linux —…


From ACM TechNews

DHS Cybersecurity Chiefs Speak Out

DHS Cybersecurity Chiefs Speak Out

As federal agencies continue to brainstorm ways to effectively oversee cybersecurity, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is increasing its foothold as one of a handful of key players in securing government computer…


From Communications of the ACM

Keeping Track of Telecommunications Surveillance

Keeping Track of Telecommunications Surveillance

The creation of a statistical index of U.S. telecommunications surveillance activities and their results will benefit both civil liberties and law enforcement.


From Communications of the ACM

Computing: The Fourth Great Domain of Science

Computing: The Fourth Great Domain of Science

Computing is as fundamental as the physical, life, and social sciences.


From Communications of the ACM

How ICT Advances Might Help Developing Nations

How ICT Advances Might Help Developing Nations

Some predictions for technology developments, deployments, and the associated societal implications.


From Communications of the ACM

The Long Road to Computer Science Education Reform

The Long Road to Computer Science Education Reform

Viewing the factors impeding improvements to CS education from kindergarten through grade 12 from a policy perspective.


From Communications of the ACM

Face the Inevitable, Embrace Parallelism

Face the Inevitable, Embrace Parallelism

Hardware, software, and applications must all evolve in anticipation of the proliferation of parallelism.


From Communications of the ACM

An Interview with Maurice Wilkes

An Interview with Maurice Wilkes

Maurice Wilkes, the designer and builder of the EDSAC, passed away on Nov. 29 at age 97. He reflects on his career in this 2009 interview.

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