Personal tools
You are here: Home Press Room Current Year News Releases 2013 CACM Reports: Mobilizing Robot Teams for Urban Search Missions
Document Actions

CACM Reports: Mobilizing Robot Teams for Urban Search Missions

March Issue Reports on Consequences of Boycotting Scholarly Publishers, Decoding Dementia, What If Guns Were Digital, and the True Costs of Cybercrime

The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession

Contact: Virginia Gold

pdf logo Printable PDF file

NEW YORK – February 27, 2013 – In the March cover story of Communications of the ACM, a team of researchers from the University of Michigan recount their success in winning a Grand Challenge robot competition by addressing the specific obstacles facing urban search and rescue missions. Using an autonomous team of robots to explore and map a complex area, they overcame the critical map-building and object perception issues using a standard probabilistic formulation. They also discovered that human operators can help a robot team be more efficient and recover from errors. Also in this issue, Editor-in-Chief Moshe Y. Vardi reviews the moral and practical consequences of boycotting scholarly publishers over the issue of Open Access. Citing his belief that science should be separate from politics, he argues instead for out-publishing the for-profit publishers by attracting the bulk of computing articles and pressuring them to reform their business practices.

In his column, ACM President Vint Cerf recounts his recent travels in India to attend several ACM-sponsored events and meet colleagues as well as rising political leaders and Internet users.  He detects a tide in Indian affairs drawing the research, academic, private, public and community sectors toward a decidedly digital future, in which ACM has a serious role to play.

Communications, the flagship publication of ACM, offers readers access to this generation's most significant leaders and innovators in computing and information technology, and is available online in digital format.

Other Communications highlights:

  • Computer scientists Fedor Fomin and Petteri Kaski celebrate the power of computation to surprise as they examine three cases of computational problems that have proven intractable.  They cite advanced techniques involving exact exponential algorithms that have shown significantly faster solutions, and describe the "beautiful surprises" they found. 
  • Technology writer Neil Savage surveys the use of computer models to study communications in the brain and how they relate to dementia. Citing ongoing research, he finds that computer models may help neurologists unlock the secrets of brain disorders from Alzheimer's to cancer. 
  • What if guns were digital? With the exception a high-tech military weapons, guns are still stuck in the analog, physical world, notes consultant Jeff Johnson of ACM SIGCHI's U.S. Public Policy Committee. He challenges creative minds in the computer and digital products industry to apply their technical expertise to help reduce gun violence by posing ten ideas to stimulate thinking on this issue. 
  • Software engineering expert Kate Matsudaira examines the interfaces used by software components to communicate with each other (known as APIs) to overcome inherent limitations of mobile devices.  She focuses on what can be done from an API or back-end service approach to make the mobile web faster.  
  • Cynics have charged that cybercrime statistics are artificially inflated to scare more people into buying security software.  Science and Technology writer Paul Hyman identifies four hurdles to accurate reporting that account for wide discrepancies in the amount of damage done by cybercrime.  
  • Blog @CACM blogger Jason Hong wonders how anyone can follow the mounting complexity of password rules, and Daniel Reed ponders the attractions of computing. 

For more information on Communications of the ACM, click on

About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.