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Communications of the ACM

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

May 2011


From ACM Opinion

Sohaib Athar on Twitter Fame After Bin Laden Raid (q&a)

Sohaib Athar on Twitter Fame After Bin Laden Raid (q&a)

As U.S. special forces assaulted Osama bin Laden's walled compound in Pakistan, a Twitter user was already recording a rough outline of the events to come.  Sohaib Athar, who describes himself as a 33-year-old programmer and …


From ACM News

Wall Street's Cult Calculator Turns 30

Wall Street's Cult Calculator Turns 30

Matthew Rothman bought an HP 12c financial calculator for his first job out of college in 1989. Years later, he still has the same calculator. And he still uses it constantly, just like thousands of other 12c enthusiasts.


From ACM News

Data Analysis Is Creating New Business Opportunities

Sitting in the left-field upper deck to watch the San Francisco Giants play baseball on May 11 would cost you eight bucks if you'd bought the ticket in late April. If you wanted the same ticket for the May 21 game, though,…


From ACM News

How Satellites Helped Get Bin Laden

How Satellites Helped Get Bin Laden

The climax of the Osama drama took place on the ground in Pakistan, but the gutsy military operation would have been impossible to pull off without a web of orbiting satellites.


From ACM TechNews

Robots Learn to Share, Validating Hamilton's Rule

Robots Learn to Share, Validating Hamilton's Rule

French researchers are developing robots with altruistic traits based on Hamilton's rule, which states that an organism is more likely to express altruism with others who possess many genetic similarities.


From ACM TechNews

Wall Street Traders Mine Tweets to Gain a Trading Edge

Wall Street Traders Mine Tweets to Gain a Trading Edge

Wall Street traders are using social networking sites and computer algorithms to decipher the mood of the public to predict market fluctuations.


From ACM News

Helmet Camera Technology Enables Live Front-Line Video

Helmet-mounted cameras mean live video can be sent direct from the front line back to headquarters. This technology enabled military and intelligence chiefs to closely monitor the developing situation as U.S. Navy Seals raided…


From ACM Opinion

Online 24/7: "life Logging" Pioneer Clarifies the Future of Cloud Computing

Online 24/7: "life Logging" Pioneer Clarifies the Future of Cloud Computing

Microsoft researcher Gordon Bell, paperless for more than a decade, envisions data centers saturated with information and services readily available via the Internet.


From ACM TechNews

Europe Leads in Pushing For Privacy of User Data

Europe Leads in Pushing For Privacy of User Data

Europe is preparing to the lead the way in establishing new regulations for user data privacy, with plans to propose extending EU-wide rules about privacy breaches to online banking, video games, shopping, and social media.


From ACM News

Army Wants Its Computers Acting Like Human Brains

The brain is our body’s natural multi-system parallel processing organ. Its job, on a continuous basis, is to compute a huge onslaught of incoming data and spit out energy-intensive outputs—keen color vision, a range of auditory…


From ACM News

Sony Brings In High-Tech Sleuths

Sony Brings In High-Tech Sleuths

New details emerged about Sony Corp.'s investigation into one of the biggest data breaches in history, as the company attempts to piece together who stole personal information from more than 100 million accounts on its online…


From ACM News

Failure Cascading Through the Cloud

Failure Cascading Through the Cloud

Two major cloud computing services, Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud and Sony's PlayStation Network, recently suffered extended outages. Though the circumstances of each were different, details that the companies have released…


From ACM News

Autonomous Computers to Recognize and Thwart Cyberthreats

Autonomous Computers to Recognize and Thwart Cyberthreats

Bruce McConnell, senior counselor for cybersecurity at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, suggests that computers should be involved in protecting themselves against malicious cyberattacks.


From ACM News

What to Expect from Bin Laden's Hard Drives

The Navy SEALs who raided Osama bin Laden's hideout Sunday tapped into the "mother lode of intelligence," according to a U.S. official speaking to Politico. It took only seconds to kill bin Laden. Afterwards, the spec-ops…


From ACM TechNews

Congress to Examine Icann Plan

Congress to Examine Icann Plan

The U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet is scheduled to hold a hearing on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' plan to support new generic domains.


From ACM TechNews

Herding Swarms of Microrobots

Herding Swarms of Microrobots

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and Duke University demonstrated that they were able to control a group of microrobots to create complex patterns.


From ACM TechNews

Facebook Helps Tornado Victims Find Lost Items

Facebook Helps Tornado Victims Find Lost Items

People who have found items in the aftermath of the tornadoes that recently ripped through the southeastern United States are using Facebook to find the items' rightful owners.


From ACM News

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Rails Against Facebook, Says It's a Spy Tool For ­.s. Government

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Rails Against Facebook, Says It's a Spy Tool For ­.s. Government

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange called Facebook "the most appalling spying machine ever invented" in an interview with Russia Today, pointing to the popular social networking site as one of the top tools for the U.S. to spy…


From ACM News

Data Privacy, Put to the Test

Data Privacy, Put to the Test

To the catalog of corporate "bigs" that worry a lot of us little people, add this: Big Data.


From ACM News

Pacific Biosciences' $600 Million Decoder Ring

Pacific Biosciences' $600 Million Decoder Ring

On Apr. 28, in a factory in Menlo Park, Calif., a few black and white machines were being assembled and prepped to go into shipping crates. The machines looked like fancier-than-usual copier equipment.


From ACM News

Csi Bin Laden: Commandos Use Thumb, Eye Scans to Track Terrorists

Csi Bin Laden: Commandos Use Thumb, Eye Scans to Track Terrorists

The U.S. forces that killed Osama bin Laden in his Abbottabad compound were more than expert marksmen. Some of them were forensics experts as well, using sophisticated tools to ensure that they got the right man.


From ACM News

How Do They Know He Was Bin Laden?

How Do They Know He Was Bin Laden?

Details about the daring U.S. raid on the fortified compound that led to the death of Osama bin Laden are still scarce. But it's already clear the mission was quick and effective. How, though, could the U.S. be so sure it…


From ACM TechNews

Information Sharing at the Quantum Limit

Information Sharing at the Quantum Limit

Led by Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics director Gerhard Rempe, researchers have successfully transferred quantum information encoded in a single photon onto a single rubidium atom for storage and later retrieval.


From ACM News

Bin Laden's Villa Lacked Internet, Phone Service

Bin Laden's Villa Lacked Internet, Phone Service

The absence of Internet and telephone service at Osama bin Laden's $1 million hiding place helped tip off intelligence experts that the Al Qaeda leader was indeed there. The compound in the outskirts of Abbottabad sits near…


From ACM TechNews

The Science of Science

The Science of Science

Researchers at Princeton and Carnegie Mellon universities are working to harness the explosion of Web data by developing a model that enables computers to group information on the Internet by topic.


From ACM TechNews

Video Content Search Gets a Boost

Video Content Search Gets a Boost

Fuji Xerox Palo Alto Laboratory  researchers have developed TalkMiner, an online video search tool designed to make it easier to search the content of video lectures by automatically transcribing words used in the lecturer's…


From ACM TechNews

Computer Algorithm May Speed Drug Discovery

Computer Algorithm May Speed Drug Discovery

University of California, San Diego  researchers have developed a computer algorithm that has the potential to accelerate drug discovery.


From ACM Opinion

Conspiracies Say Bin Laden Lives

The decision to drop terror chieftain Osama bin Laden’s corpse into the Arabian Sea was the final meticulous step in a raid whose details were calculated to exert deadly force but also to achieve maximum effect in the propaganda…


From ACM News

Sohaib Athar

Sohaib Athar

According to his Twitter stream @reallyvirtual, Sohaib Athar moved from Lahore, Pakistan to the resort town of Abbottabad to take a break from the rat race. It seems he didn’t move far enough.


From Communications of the ACM

Data Optimization in Developing Nations

Data Optimization in Developing Nations

Artificial intelligence and machine learning could expand access to health care, improve the quality of education, and respond effectively to natural disasters in the developing world.