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Communications of the ACM

Table of Contents

Who Begat Computing?

The Turing Centenary is now behind us and we can afford some reflection on what has transpired. There is a risk, however, that in our focus on highlighting Turing's seminal contributions we may have gone from celebration to …
DEPARTMENT: From the president

What's a Robot?

In most formulations, robots have the ability to manipulate and affect the real world. I would like to posit, however, that the notion of robot could usefully be expanded to include programs that perform functions, ingest …
DEPARTMENT: Letters to the Editor

Computer Science Is Not a Science

To the question Vinton G. Cerf addressed in his President's Letter "Where Is the Science in Computer Science?" (Oct. 2012), my first answer would be that there isn't any. A true science like physics or chemistry studies some …

ACM's Annual Report For FY12

FY12 was an outstanding year for ACM. Membership reached an all-time high for the 10th consecutive year. We witnessed our global hubs in Europe, India, and China take root and flourish.

Lost in Translation

Daniel Reed on straddling the intellectual divide between technology experts and policymakers.

Stopping the Leaks

Side channels give out information that can be used to crack secrets, but researchers are identifying the holes and trying to close them.

Beyond Hadoop

The leading open source system for processing big data continues to evolve, but new approaches with added features are on the rise.

Just the Facts

In repackaging other companies' news, some news aggregators are diverting readers and ad dollars, and, critics argue, undercutting the incentive to spend money on original reporting. It is an economic and ethical problem without …
COLUMN: Technology strategy and management

The Apple-Samsung Lawsuits

In search of a middle ground in the intellectual property wars.
COLUMN: The business of software

How We Build Things: . . . and Why Things Are 90% Complete

It seems to be a law of software development that things always take longer than we expect. When a project manager talks to a designer, programmer, or tester and tries to get a sense of how "complete" the assigned task is …
COLUMN: Law and technology

Beyond Location: Data Security in the 21st Century

Viewing evolving data security issues as engineering problems to be solved.
COLUMN: Historical reflections

Five Lessons from Really Good History

Lessons learned from four award-winning books on the history of information technology.
COLUMN: Viewpoint

What College Could Be Like

Imagining an optimized education model.

Conference-Journal Hybrids

Considering how to combine the best elements of conferences and journals.
SECTION: Practice

Condos and Clouds

Constraints in an environment empower the services.

Browser Security: Appearances Can Be Deceiving

A discussion with Jeremiah Grossman, Ben Livshits, Rebecca Bace, and George Neville-Neil

The Web Won't Be Safe or Secure Until We Break It

Unless you have taken very particular precautions, assume every website you visit knows exactly who you are.
SECTION: Contributed articles

Human Mobility Characterization from Cellular Network Data

Anonymous location data from cellular phone networks sheds light on how people move around on a large scale.

Abstractions For Genomics

Large genomic databases with interactive access require new, layered abstractions, including separating "evidence" from "inference."
SECTION: Review articles

Computer Security and the Modern Home

A framework for evaluating security risks associated with technologies used at home.
SECTION: Research highlights

Technical Perspective: Visualization, Understanding, and Design

Photographs capture the moment; paintings convey perception, impression, and feeling; illustrations tell stories. Computer graphics aims to enrich all these artistic practices through technology. The following paper is a watershed …

Illustrating How Mechanical Assemblies Work

How-things-work visualizations use a variety of visual techniques to depict the operation of complex mechanical assemblies. We present an automated approach for generating such visualizations.

Technical Perspective: Finding People in Depth

The following article by Shotton et al. describes a landmark computer vision system that takes a single depth image containing a person and automatically estimates the pose of the person's body in 3D.

Real-Time Human Pose Recognition in Parts from Single Depth Images

We propose a new method to quickly and accurately predict human pose — the 3-D positions of body joints — from a single depth image, without depending on information from preceding frames.
COLUMN: Last byte

Future Tense: Share My Enlightenment

From the intersection of computational science and technological speculation, with boundaries limited only by our ability to imagine what could be. I self-publish, and you get to sail my aether wave for free.