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Communications of the ACM

Table of Contents

The Rise and Fall of Industrial Research Labs

The news flashed last September that Microsoft Research closed down its Silicon Valley Lab.  While the specifics may have been surprising, these actions are entirely consistent with the historical pattern of the rise and …

A Long Way to Have Come and Still to Go

Oral interaction with computers is increasingly common. Pretty much anywhere you use a keyboard, Google's applications now allow you to speak. This leads me to wonder whether it is possible to write significant programs by …
DEPARTMENT: Letters to the Editor

Toward a Map Interface Not Inherently Related to Geography

"Reading News with Maps by Exploiting Spatial Synonyms" (Oct. 2014) was an impressive and informative description of how a map-query interface should work. I am not sure if the authors intend to broaden their scope to include …

ACM's FY14 Annual Report

This is an extraordinary time to be part of the world's largest educational and scientific society in computing. Membership is at a record high, ACM continues to expand its global reach, and ACM's position at the forefront of …

A Valuable Lesson, and Whither Hadoop?

Valerie Barr considers outcomes from the Grace Hopper Celebration, while Michael Stonebraker ponders the past, present, and possible future of the "Hadoop stack."

In Search of Bayesian Inference

Long relegated to the statistical backburner, Bayesian Inference is undergoing a renaissance.

Smart Transportation Networks Drive Gains

Transportation engineers and city planners are looking to information technology to redefine traffic management in urban areas. With the opportunity, however, comes risks.

Data Brokers Are Watching You

You would be surprised by how much they know about you, and what they are doing with your information.

Google Boosts ACM's Turing Award Prize to $1 Million

The increase reflects the escalating impact of computing on daily life, through the innovations and technologies it enables.
COLUMN: Technology strategy and management

How Traditional Firms Must Compete in the Sharing Economy

Considering the evolving relationship between established companies and their sharing-economy counterparts.
COLUMN: Law and technology

A Right to Be Forgotten?

Searching for an answer to the question of how much responsibility search engine operators should bear for privacy-related issues connected to search engine results.
COLUMN: The business of software

A Little Queue Theory

When more work means less done.
COLUMN: Historical reflections

The Tears of Donald Knuth

Has the history of computing taken a tragic turn?
COLUMN: Viewpoint

Wearables: Has the Age of Smartwatches Finally Arrived?

Time will tell if smartwatches will find their niche.

Does the Internet Make Us Stupid?

Yes, but this may not be as bad as it sounds…

What It Means to Receive the Turing Award

The Turing Award gives us a unique opportunity to become ambassadors of our wonderful field. It increases our outside visibility and enables us to build bridges to other disciplines.
SECTION: Practice

Disambiguating Databases

Use the database built for your access model.

Internal Access Controls

Trust, but verify.

Scalability Techniques For Practical Synchronization Primitives

Designing locking primitives with performance in mind.
SECTION: Contributed articles

Analyzing Worldwide Research in Hardware Architecture, 1997-2011

Results showed more published papers, collaboration with U.S. colleagues, preference for English, and uneven research impact.

Interactive Intent Modeling: Information Discovery Beyond Search

The system should let users incrementally direct their search toward relevant, though not initially obvious, information.
SECTION: Review articles

Distributed Information Processing in Biological and Computational Systems

Exploring the similarities and differences between distributed computations in biological and computational systems.
SECTION: Research highlights

Technical Perspective: Big Data Needs Approximate Computing

"Neural Acceleration for General-Purpose Approximate Programs" demonstrates the significant advantages in cost, power, and latency through approximate computing.

Neural Acceleration For General-Purpose Approximate Programs

This paper describes a new approach that uses machine learning-based transformations to accelerate approximation-tolerant programs.
COLUMN: Last byte


Human life is filled with illusions, so virtual worlds are not especially unreal.