Carnegie Mellon University News https://cmu.edu/news/news.rss News from Carnegie Mellon University CMU Responds to COVID-19 https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/coronavirus-response.html An image of the coronavirus

As the world experiences an unprecedented situation due to coronavirus, the CMU community is responding with innovative approaches to education, impactful research and a commitment to service.

If you are a CMU researcher, student or staff member who has relevant COVID-19 work underway, expertise to contribute, or ideas for addressing the pandemic, related policy, or aftereffects, please email stories@cmu.edu so we can help share your story.

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Fri, 17 Apr 2020 10:20:00 -0400
Happy New Year! https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/auld-lang-syne.html Image of tuba players


For the third year, the talents of the Carnegie Mellon University community are on display in an original arrangement of "Auld Lang Syne," this time by the Tartan Tuba Band. Assistant Teaching Professor Lance LaDuke arranged and directed the ensemble, which was recorded in The Vlahakis Recording Studio at CMU's School of Music.

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Wed, 27 Dec 2017 01:00:00 -0500
Host Families Provide “Comforts of Home” to International Students https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/host-family-program.html Christine Asenjo and Anit Sahu

When Anit Kumar Sahu returns from Winter Break to resume his doctoral studies at Carnegie Mellon University, he will be 10,000 miles from his family in India. But thanks to his host family in Pittsburgh, he will enjoy a few of the “comforts of home” while he is here.  
 
“One of my favorite stress busters is cooking. When my host family invited me to cook some old-school Indian food for them at their place, nothing made me more happy than that,” Sahu said.
 
Sahu’s host family is the family of Christine Asenjo, a CMU staff member who coordinates international programs at the university. Asenjo invites Sahu to her family’s birthday and holiday celebrations and other informal gatherings.
 
“Getting a few hours away from work to spend in a welcoming family environment helps me with the stress levels considerably. I feel my home has moved 10,000 miles closer. I have gotten to know Pittsburgh well through Christine and her family, and for every occasion, I have a family here to share it with,” Sahu said.
 
The Host Family Program for international students is part of a university-wide effort to enhance the CMU student experience by facilitating greater engagement between students and CMU faculty, staff, alumni and local families. The program gives international students the opportunity to explore Pittsburgh with their hosts, engage in meaningful dialogue, practice their English, and generally enjoy a connection to the city they might not otherwise experience.
 
The program was started by Jimmy Hsia, vice provost for International Programs and Strategy, who benefitted from a similar program while he was in the United States working toward his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering 30 years ago.
 
“If you look at our domestic students, before they enroll they have visited campus, and sometimes they already know somebody here. That type of connection for many if not all international students is not there,” said Hsia, a native of China. “Before they enroll, most of them have never even taken the campus tour. So, when they arrive there is a cultural shock. That puts a lot of pressure on these international students.”
 
Hsia said most of the international students in the program are master’s degree students, and “when they come, they jump right into their work. You can imagine many of them need support, need some social circle as a support structure,” Hsia said.
 
Before the Host Family Program, Hsia said students identified and socialized only with students from their home country.
 
“That is what we want to avoid,” Hsia said. “We want them to come here to be part of the community, rather than be siloed with their own countrymen and countrywomen. Now that we have run it for one and a half years, we see there is a benefit for the host families as well.”
 
Singles, couples and families with children are all welcome to apply to be hosts. So far this academic year, Asenjo has matched 131 students with 81 hosts. Richard Kepple and his wife, Gail, typically meet with their students four to five times during the semester. Currently, they are hosting Taruna Vardha (center, photo below).
 
“The students have a hard time tearing themselves away from their studies, so sharing a meal has been a good option. They need to eat anyway!” Kepple said.

The Kepples share a coffee with their international student

The Kepples have found that a simple breakfast together tends to be a mutually enjoyable experience. They also have spent time with their students at local museums and theatrical and dance performances.
 
“It’s wonderful to meet young people from different cultures and learn about their lives,” said Kepple, who is director of advancement research at CMU. “It’s also rewarding to introduce them to Pittsburgh and to provide some insight into at least a small slice of American culture.”
 
Lyn Krynski and her husband, members of CMU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, have hosted a student from China who, like Sahu, enjoyed the opportunity to cook and share authentic cuisine from his home country. They also hosted a student from India after he had returned from a summer internship in California.
 
“It was fascinating to hear about his work experience in a field that is mostly unknown to us,” Krynski said. “Often we invited other friends from our social circle to join us.  It always expanded the conversation, and everyone took something away from the experience.”  
 
Krynski said both students expressed the value of having supportive people to relax with and to ease the rigor of academic life.
 
“To be ‘that person’ for them has been a joy,” Krynski said.

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Fri, 22 Dec 2017 10:24:00 -0500
Machine Learning Will Change Jobs https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/machine-learning-study.html Image of Tom Mitchell

Machine learning computer systems, which get better with experience, are poised to transform the economy much as steam engines and electricity have in the past. They can outperform people in a number of tasks, though they are unlikely to replace people in all jobs.

So say Carnegie Mellon University's Tom Mitchell and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Erik Brynjolfsson in a Policy Forum commentary published in the Dec. 22 edition of the journal Science. Mitchell, who founded the world's first Machine Learning Department at CMU, and Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy in the Sloan School of Management, describe 21 criteria to evaluate whether a task or a job is amenable to machine learning (ML).

"Although the economic effects of ML are relatively limited today, and we are not facing the imminent 'end of work' as is sometimes proclaimed, the implications for the economy and the workforce going forward are profound," they write. The skills people choose to develop and the investments businesses make will determine who thrives and who falters once ML is ingrained in everyday life, they argue.

ML is one element of what is known as artificial intelligence. Rapid advances in ML have yielded recent improvements in facial recognition, natural language understanding and computer vision. It already is widely used for credit card fraud detection, recommendation systems and financial market analysis, with new applications such as medical diagnosis on the horizon.

Predicting how ML will affect a particular job or profession can be difficult because ML tends to automate or semi-automate individual tasks, but jobs often involve multiple tasks, only some of which are amenable to ML approaches.

"We don't know how all of this will play out," acknowledged Mitchell, the E. Fredkin University Professor in CMU's School of Computer Science. Earlier this year, for instance, researchers showed that a ML program could detect skin cancers better than a dermatologist. That doesn't mean ML will replace dermatologists, who do many things other than evaluate lesions.

"I think what's going to happen to dermatologists is they will become better dermatologists and will have more time to spend with patients," Mitchell said. "People whose jobs involve human-to-human interaction are going to be more valuable because they can't be automated."

Tasks that are amenable to ML include those for which a lot of data is available, Mitchell and Brynjolfsson write. To learn how to detect skin cancer, for instance, ML programs were able to study more than 130,000 labeled examples of skin lesions. Likewise, credit card fraud detection programs can be trained with hundreds of millions of examples.

ML can be a game changer for tasks that already are online, such as scheduling. Jobs that don't require dexterity, physical skills or mobility also are more suitable for ML. Tasks that involve making quick decisions based on data are a good fit for ML programs; not so if the decision depends on long chains of reasoning, diverse background knowledge or common sense.

ML is not a good option if the user needs a detailed explanation for how a decision was made, according to the authors. In other words, ML might be better than a physician at detecting skin cancers, but a dermatologist is better at explaining why a lesion is cancerous or not. Work is underway, however, on "explainable" ML systems.

Understanding the precise applicability of ML in the workforce is critical for understanding its likely economic impact, the authors say. Earlier this year, a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine study on information technology and the workforce, co-chaired by Mitchell and Brynjolfsson, noted that information technology advances have contributed to growing wage inequality.

"Although there are many forces contributing to inequality, such as increased globalization, the potential for large and rapid changes due to ML, in many cases within a decade, suggests that the economic effects may be highly disruptive, creating both winners and losers," they write. "This will require considerable attention among policy makers, business leaders, technologists and researchers."

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Thu, 21 Dec 2017 14:00:00 -0500
2017 in Review https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/year-in-review.html Image of fireworks over Pittsburgh



From a record-number of women in the first-year class to groundbreakings for buildings that will be home to future innovative work and learning, the news has been filled with stories about researchers and students enriching the everyday human experience both at Carnegie Mellon University and around the world. Here is a selection of some of the top stories from the past year:

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Thu, 21 Dec 2017 09:00:00 -0500
Learning by Doing Good https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/learning-by-doing-good.html A rural farmer in India looks at an iPad

Carnegie Mellon University students love to create cool new technologies, but as students discovered in a course that debuted this fall, sometimes it can be even more rewarding to apply existing technologies in new ways that can unite communities or perhaps save lives.

In the project course "Computing for Good," several dozen students used satellite imagery to detect illegal mines in the Congo, created apps to coordinate timely pickup of harvested crops in Columbia and designed an augmented reality system to show farmers in Rwanda how investments in irrigation systems would improve their land.

"I believe if something has a meaning, a purpose, it engages students more and they learn more," said Afsaneh Doryab, a systems scientist in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute who taught the course with Anind Dey, the then-HCII director. "In the School of Computer Science, education is about more than just theoretical knowledge; students learn by doing good."

One team of students worked with an NGO in India to help marginal farmers who, burdened by debt, commit suicide at the rate of 16,000 a year. The students designed a profit prediction tool to show farmers the likely yield and profits from more than a dozen crops, including maize, cotton, sugar cane, rice and urad beans.

Xinwen Liu, a sophomore in information systems, explained that the computer program factors in such variables as size of the farm, rainfall, temperatures, the farmer's budget and the farmer's debt to calculate potential profits from a crop.

The program and its user interface were field tested three times by the NGO in Odisha, a state on the eastern coast of India where 50 percent of farmers are considered marginal, to gauge the level of interest in the technology and the usability of the interface.

Another team member and Odisha native, senior interdisciplinary major Svayam Mishra, said farmers there do not tend to change crops much, even when crop yields dip or the marketability of the crops decline. By providing crucial information not otherwise available, the profit-predicting tool could enable farmers to seriously consider switching to more promising crops, he added.

Image of Shen Lu presenting
HCII master’s student Shen Lu presents a mockup of the Homestead smokestack projection scheme that her team developed to support a community walking program.

Closer to home, another team worked with officials in West Homestead to devise a walking app that would encourage borough residents to be more physically active and help increase cohesiveness in a community that includes both older, lifelong residents and millennials seeking cheap housing.

Originally the idea of a borough council member, the "Let's Walk" program envisioned by the students would gamify fitness, giving participants an opportunity to earn points that can be exchanged for goods with local merchants. The program also would provide a smartphone interface that helps connect users with other walkers, encouraging good-natured competition, said Hamza Qureshi, a junior architecture student.

A unique aspect of the program takes advantage of the row of smokestacks from the old Homestead Works, now a signature feature of the Waterfront development in Homestead. Team member Shen Lu, a HCII master's degree student, said a series of projectors would shine participants names and walking achievements on the smokestacks as they walked by.

Cindy Bahn, borough manager, said Waterfront management has already shown support for the projector concept and the borough is seeking funding to make Let's Walk a reality for its 6,000 residents.

"They've been a dream team," Bahn said of the five-member team, noting she hoped many would be able to continue with the program beyond the semester.

Doryab said students would be able to continue their projects as independent study in the spring. Student groups such as Design for America and Tech4Society also might be involved in some of the ongoing work, she added.

"The students have been really enthusiastic about what they are doing," she said. "We want to help them see this through."

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Wed, 20 Dec 2017 12:16:00 -0500
Carnegie Mellon Launches First Behavioral Economics Ph.D. Program https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/behavioral-economics-phd.html Image of students in a classroom

Smartly designed and implemented behavioral interventions change the way people make decisions, alter the way organizations operate and influence how policies are put into place. Now, students looking to do cutting-edge research at the intersection of economics and psychology can get the first and only Ph.D. in behavioral economics at Carnegie Mellon University.

"This new Ph.D. program builds on our world-renowned behavioral economics faculty at the Department of Social and Decision Sciences and economics faculty from the Tepper School of Business," said Linda Babcock, the James M. Walton Professor of Economics and the head of the Social and Decision Sciences Department. "We are thrilled to be able to offer this unique graduate degree program that will focus on basic and applied research and complements our undergraduate degree in behavioral economics, policy, and organizations, also the first-of-its-kind."

Because it is a joint program through the Dietrich College's Department of Social and Decision Sciences and the Tepper School, students will have access to world-renowned experts in decision science, organizational behavior, statistics, marketing and many other areas. Research facilities like the Center for Behavioral and Decision Research and BEDR Policy Lab also will be key resources for students.

"The CMU economics Ph.D. program has a long tradition of rigorous training in economics and econometrics that launches students into economics research," said Chris Sleet, head of Economics. "I am excited that this will now be combined with exposure to psychology and state-of-the-art training in behavioral economics. This new combination will allow students to undertake path breaking research at the intersection of economics and psychology."

The roots of behavioral economics started at CMU, with the late Herbert Simon, a Nobel laureate in economics, and current faculty member George Loewenstein, a co-founder of the field. The Tepper School is distinguished by the nine Nobel laureates in economics who have served on its faculty or studied in its economics Ph.D. program. Nobel laureate Finn Kydland currently holds the Richard P. Simmons Distinguished Professorship at the Tepper School.

Carnegie Mellon's approach to the discipline is unique. CMU researchers use a distinct fusion of psychology and economics to tackle some of the world's most complicated and costly problems. And they design and test multifaceted interventions to change the way we make decisions, alter the way organizations operate and influence how policies are implemented.

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Wed, 20 Dec 2017 10:10:00 -0500
Carnegie Mellon Reveals Inner Workings of Victorious AI https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/ai-inner-workings.html Image of Tuomas Sandholm

Libratus, an artificial intelligence that defeated four top professional poker players in no-limit Texas Hold'em earlier this year, uses a three-pronged approach to master a game with more decision points than atoms in the universe, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University report.

In a paper published online today by the journal Science, Tuomas Sandholm, professor of computer science, and Noam Brown, a Ph.D. student in the Computer Science Department, detail how their AI achieved superhuman performance by breaking the game into computationally manageable parts and, based on its opponents' game play, fix potential weaknesses in its strategy during the competition.

AI programs have defeated top humans in checkers, chess and Go — all challenging games, but ones in which both players know the exact state of the game at all times. Poker players, by contrast, contend with hidden information: what cards their opponents hold and whether an opponent is bluffing.

In a 20-day competition involving 120,000 hands at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh this past January, Libratus became the first AI to defeat top human players at Head's-Up, No-Limit Texas Hold'em — the primary benchmark and longstanding challenge problem for imperfect-information game-solving by AIs.

Libratus beat each of the players individually in the two-player game and collectively amassed more than $1.8 million in chips. Measured in milli-big blinds per hand (mbb/hand), a standard used by imperfect-information game AI researchers, Libratus decisively defeated the humans by 147 mmb/hand. In poker lingo, this is 14.7 big blinds per game.

"The techniques in Libratus do not use expert domain knowledge or human data and are not specific to poker," Sandholm and Brown said in the paper. "Thus, they apply to a host of imperfect-information games." Such hidden information is ubiquitous in real-world strategic interactions, they noted, including business negotiation, cybersecurity, finance, strategic pricing and military applications.

Libratus includes three main modules, the first of which computes an abstraction of the game that is smaller and easier to solve than by considering all 10161 (the number 1 followed by 161 zeroes) possible decision points in the game. It then creates its own detailed strategy for the early rounds of Texas Hold'em and a coarse strategy for the later rounds. This strategy is called the blueprint strategy.

One example of these abstractions in poker is grouping similar hands together and treating them identically.

"Intuitively, there is little difference between a king-high flush and a queen-high flush," Brown said. "Treating those hands as identical reduces the complexity of the game and, thus, makes it computationally easier." In the same vein, similar bet sizes also can be grouped together.

But in the final rounds of the game, a second module constructs a new, finer-grained abstraction based on the state of play. It also computes a strategy for this subgame in real-time that balances strategies across different subgames using the blueprint strategy for guidance — something that needs to be done to achieve safe subgame solving. During the January competition, Libratus performed this computation using the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center's Bridges computer.

When an opponent makes a move that is not in the abstraction, the module computes a solution to this subgame that includes the opponent's move. Sandholm and Brown call this nested subgame solving. DeepStack, an AI created by the University of Alberta to play Heads-Up, No-Limit Texas Hold'em, also includes a similar algorithm, called continual re-solving. DeepStack has yet to be tested against top professional players, however.

The third module is designed to improve the blueprint strategy as competition proceeds. Typically, Sandholm said, AIs use machine learning to find mistakes in the opponent's strategy and exploit them. But that also opens the AI to exploitation if the opponent shifts strategy. Instead, Libratus' self-improver module analyzes opponents' bet sizes to detect potential holes in Libratus' blueprint strategy. Libratus then adds these missing decision branches, computes strategies for them, and adds them to the blueprint.

In addition to beating the human pros, Libratus was evaluated against the best prior poker AIs. These included Baby Tartanian8, a bot developed by Sandholm and Brown that won the 2016 Annual Computer Poker Competition held in conjunction with the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence Annual Conference. Whereas Baby Tartanian8 beat the next two strongest AIs in the competition by 12 (plus/minus 10) mbb/hand and 24 (plus/minus 20) mbb/hand, Libratus bested Baby Tartanian8 by 63 (plus/minus 28) mbb/hand. DeepStack has not been tested against other AIs, the authors noted.

"The techniques that we developed are largely domain independent and can thus be applied to other strategic imperfect-information interactions, including nonrecreational applications," Sandholm and Brown concluded. "Due to the ubiquity of hidden information in real-world strategic interactions, we believe the paradigm introduced in Libratus will be critical to the future growth and widespread application of AI."

The technology has been exclusively licensed to Strategic Machine Inc., a company founded by Sandholm to apply strategic reasoning technologies to many different applications.

A paper by Brown and Sandholm regarding nested subgame solving recently won a Best Paper award at the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS 2017) conference. Libratus received the HPCwire Reader's Choice Award for Best Use of AI at the 2017 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC17).

The National Science Foundation and the Army Research Office supported this research.

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Sun, 17 Dec 2017 20:00:00 -0500
Student-Athletes Honored at Fourth Annual Academic Achievement Celebration https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/student-athletes.html Group photo of student athletes

Commitment, determination and dedication were frequent words spoken during this year's academic achievement celebration hosted by Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Athletics. Twenty-nine student-athletes paused during finals week to celebrate each other and their successes on and off the field.

Carnegie Mellon Interim President Farnam Jahanian said he is often on the sidelines cheering.

"I'm always struck by how impressive our student-athletes are," Jahanian said. "Whether through teamwork that you see on the field, on the court, or in classrooms, in our labs, and in our studios, our student-athletes are working together every day to reach new levels of achievement."

For the fourth year, juniors and seniors were feted who had an average grade-point average (GPA) of 3.72 or better. Of those, five had an average of 3.9 or higher, and three posted a perfect cumulative 4.0.

"The student-athletes invited to this celebration would not be here if they did not make a commitment to excellence upon their arrival to Carnegie Mellon," said Director of Athletics Josh Centor. "While academic success earned them their invitation, it is important to note that among the best students in the classroom are our best athletes."

Centor noted several team and individual accolades and shared that a student-athlete was spearheading a tutoring initiative that will have the Tartans working in a local elementary school almost every day next semester.

Senior men's basketball guard Thomas Cook, a first-generation college student in the Tepper School of Business, shared Jackie Robinson's quote — "A life has no impact except for the impact it has on other lives."

"I think that Carnegie Mellon student-athletes truly embody that, and I hope it continues in the future," Cook said.

Senior swimmer Kim Hochstedler spoke about the effort it takes to strive for greatness. Hochstedler swims the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke and the 200- and 400-yard individual medley.

"Whether it's a difficult practice or a challenging course, we all put our heart and our souls into everything we do here at Carnegie Mellon," said Hochstedler, who is studying psychology and statistics as part of the Science and Humanities Scholar Program. She is also an Andrew Carnegie Scholar. "It's not unusual to see an athlete start a school project weeks in advance or stay a few extra hours in lab, because we all strive for excellence in our academic pursuits. Similarly, it's not unusual to see an athlete stay after practice to stretch or run a few extra drills because we also strive for excellence in our sport."

Cook said the annual fall Student-Athlete Career Networking function is something unique to Carnegie Mellon.

"It's no surprise that every single year we have the most sought after employers come and recruit Carnegie Mellon student-athletes," Cook said. "It's a testament to our excellence and what we've produced and to the Athletics Department."

Cook also spoke about the Tartans' involvement in the community.

Four of CMU's teams have honorary captains from local and national children organizations, such as Friends of Jaclyn Foundation and Team Impact, which aims to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses by matching them with intercollegiate athletic teams. Through Team Impact, CMU's men's basketball team welcomed Camden Lookabaugh in 2014.

"The relationship we've built with Camden and Team Impact has been more rewarding than any individual accomplishment I've had in the classroom, on the court, or in my early career," Cook said.

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Fri, 15 Dec 2017 16:30:00 -0500
Colwell Named Jack G. Buncher Chair, Reappointed Head of CMU's School of Music https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/colwell-named-buncher-chair.html Image of Dorothy Jackovic; Denis Colwell, Karen Emmerich, Bill Doring; Joseph Jackovic

Associate Professor Denis Colwell has received the Jack G. Buncher Chair and has been reappointed head of Carnegie Mellon University's School of Music, a position he has held since 2012.

"I look forward to another five years of Denis' innovative ideas, creative approaches, impactful pedagogical philosophy, and strategic-thinking skills, not to mention his passion for the school and its people," said College of Fine Arts Dean Dan Martin. "For these and so many other reasons, Denis is richly deserving of this tremendous honor made possible through the Buncher family."

The Buncher family established the chair with a $5 million gift to CMU's School of Music. To acknowledge the gift, longtime School of Music faculty member Marilyn Taft Thomas composed "The Buncher Suite" for violin soloist full orchestra. The CMU Philharmonic recorded the composition with University Professor Andres Cardenes as soloist, and Philharmonic Assistant Conductor and Music Director of the Contemporary Ensemble Daniel Nesta Curtis conducting. A recording of the piece and a documentary DVD will be given to the Buncher family as a gesture of gratitude, Colwell said.

Colwell trained as a trumpet player and completed his bachelor's of fine arts degree at Carnegie Mellon, studying under the legendary trumpeter Anthony L. Pasquarelli. He became assistant head of the school and, at the same time, served as music director of the CMU Wind Ensemble. He also directed and performed more than 1,400 concerts across the United States with Pittsburgh's River City Brass Band.

When Colwell became head of the Carnegie Mellon School of Music, he began to make positive changes almost immediately, Martin said. He made the management of the school more transparent and democratic, he instituted a number of initiatives that increased the quality of education and performance within the school, and he helped to engage the campus community with the school in a way that had not been accomplished before.

"It is a very great honor to be the first holder of the Jack G. Buncher Chair and to be reappointed as the head of the School of Music," Colwell said. "I want to very humbly thank and recognize all of my colleagues on the faculty and staff for their dedication and commitment to the school, and also our students — who work so very hard to continue the school's tradition of excellence. We are all enormously grateful to the Buncher family for their confidence in our school and for their magnificent generosity, the long-term benefits of whicih are nothing short of transformational. And, of course, thanks to my wife and daughter for their love, support and understanding."

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Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:33:00 -0500
Bhagavatula Named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/bhagavatula-nai-fellow.html Image of Vijayakumar Bhagavatula

Carnegie Mellon University's Vijayakumar Bhagavatula, the U.A. and Helen Whitaker Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Election as an NAI Fellow is the highest professional accolade a bestowed to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and welfare of society.

The 2017 fellows are named inventors on nearly 6,000 U.S. patents, bringing the collective number of U.S. patents held by all NAI Fellows to more than 32,000. NAI Fellows were nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.

Bhagavatula shares a number of patents related to facial recognition software and computer vision.

An interim vice provost for research at Carnegie Mellon, as well as a former associate dean for Graduate and Faculty Affairs in the College of Engineering, Bhagavatula will become the next director of CMU-Africa, effective, Jan. 1. CMU-Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, offers master's degree programs in electrical and computer engineering and information technology.

The 2017 NAI Fellows will be inducted April 5, 2018, as part of the Seventh Annual NAI Conference of the National Academy of Inventors in Washington, D.C. Andrew H. Hirshfeld, U.S. commissioner for patents, will provide the keynote address for the induction ceremony.

Bhagavatula received a bachelor's degree and master's degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon in 1980 before joining the faculty of CMU's Electrical and Computer Engineering Department in 1982. He has served as interim dean for the College of Engineering and as acting department head of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

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Thu, 14 Dec 2017 11:34:00 -0500
New Study Finds Carbon Capture and Utilization Won't Mitigate Global Warming https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/carbon-capture-study.html Image of a coal fired plant

A study by four international scientists, including Carnegie Mellon University's Edward S. Rubin, questions the effectiveness of a proposed plan to mitigate global warming by using carbon dioxide (CO2) to produce fuels for transportation.

The approach, called carbon capture and utilization (CCU), would collect CO2 emitted by a power plant or industrial process and convert it to a liquid fuel using existing chemical technologies. CCU is being promoted by a number of researchers and organizations as a way to reduce the extraction of fossil fuels while also reducing CO2 emissions linked to climate change.

The new study published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science finds that CCU has little potential to mitigate climate change and could actually worsen the problem — unless the large amount of energy needed to manufacture the fuel comes from carbon-free sources, such as wind and solar.

"For that reason, proponents of CCU assume that all the energy needed is supplied by renewable energy," said Rubin, a co-author of the study.

Rubin and J. Carlos Abanades of the Spanish National Research Council, Marco Mazzotti of ETH Zurich and Howard J. Herzog of the MIT Energy Initiative presented their findings in a paper titled "On the climate change mitigation potential of CO2 conversion to fuels."

Rubin, the Alumni Chair Professor of Environmental Engineering and Science in Carnegie Mellon's Department of Engineering and Public Policy, and co-authors find that a far more effective approach to manufacturing transportation fuels is to use that renewable energy to decarbonize the electric power grid, while sequestering the CO2 from fossil fuel use deep underground.

"The result is a system that avoids far greater emissions of greenhouse gases, reduces the overall extraction of fossil fuel resources, and is less costly than a CO2 utilization scheme producing the same amount of fuel," said Rubin.

The researchers said they believe that while large-scale CO2 utilization sounds attractive, their analysis "shows that this concept has severe limitations as a mitigation measure or cost-effective strategy for reducing CO2 emissions."

Read the full article.

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Wed, 13 Dec 2017 21:00:00 -0500
Student Team Creates Test To Lessen Environmental Impact of Offshore Oil Extraction https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/cmuq-igem.html Image of CMU-Q students

A team of students at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar was awarded the Bronze Achievement Award at the International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. This is the first time CMU-Q has fielded a team at the annual iGEM competition, which included 310 teams from 44 countries.

The team developed an easy, quick way for the oil industry to test for biofilm build-up in offshore pipelines. A rapid and reliable test could help the oil industry reduce its use of biocides, which would lessen the negative impact on the marine ecosystem.

"This project is exciting because it has a practical application that can make a big impact on the health of the ecosystem in the waters around Qatar," said Annette Vincent, assistant teaching professor of biological sciences and the team's faculty adviser. Vincent said the next step is to develop a strain of harmless bacteria that would replace the biocide altogether.

The interdisciplinary student team includes Yasmin Abdelaal, Albandari Al-Khater, Dina Nayel Al Tarawneh, Najlaa Al-Thani, Aisha Fakhroo, Al-Reem Johar, Saad Rasool, Kawthar Alsadat Jafarian and Fatema Abdul Salik. The team received additional coaching by Cheryl Telmer, a research biologist at Carnegie Mellon's Pittsburgh campus.

The team will present the project at the Qatar Foundation Annual Research Conference in 2018.

The International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to education and competition, the advancement of synthetic biology, and the development of an open community and collaboration.

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Wed, 13 Dec 2017 16:45:00 -0500
Augmented Reality App Puts Museum Visitors in Touch with Architectural History https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/ar-museum-app.html Image of two faculty members standing in the hall of architecture

With the tap of a tablet, a Carnegie Mellon University-created augmented reality app puts museum visitors in touch with the stories behind historical plaster casts like those taken from The Tower of the Winds in Athens or the Assyrian Palace of Nineveh, near modern-day Mosul, Iraq.

Visitors to Carnegie Museum of Art's Hall of Architecture are testing the app, called Plaster ReCast, through May 6. The app already works with three casts in the hall's architectural plaster cast collection, which is the world's third-largest and includes monumental replicas of portions of buildings and fragments from across the Western world. Three more will be added in the spring.

CMU School of Architecture professors Francesca Torello and Joshua Bard researched the casts and created the framework and the content for the app, then worked with a team of students from CMU's Entertainment Technology Center to develop it. Together, they combined an understanding of history, architectural design and applied technology.

"Three branches of knowledge intersected to make this a meaningful application of augmented reality," Bard said. "That collaborative spirit and overlap of shared skill sets in the CMU community make projects like this possible."

On top of the tablet's camera view, the app can show users 3-D scans of the plaster casts, 3-D models of the original buildings from which the casts derive, and historical information on the original buildings. Augmented reality allows the user to access these layers of information without detracting from the museum experience.

"Being in the gallery with other people is part of what a museum is about," Torello said. "You're not by yourself with a webpage in front of you. You're there having an experience, and, on top of that, you can access all of this content."

Torello said that is important because, while the Hall of Architecture is grand and impactful, many people do not understand the meaning behind the pieces, and the appreciation for the craft of plaster casting has been lost.

ReCast | Video from CMU School of Architecture on Vimeo.

"The public is often not aware of how a copy can be valuable in and of itself," Torello said. "In antiquity, for example, the Romans were making copies of Greek sculpture. So, the idea of seriality is, in reality, part of art history. In our society the authenticity of the art object has more importance, so these pieces have lost part of their clout."

Plaster ReCast is one of the projects featured in "Copy + Paste: Hall of Architecture," an eight-month study of the museum's Hall of Architecture. Over the course of "Copy + Paste," curators, technologists, students, architects and artists are testing ways of presenting information about the collection. The museum plans to use activities and visitor feedback to inform future efforts.

Alyssum Skjeie, project lead for "Copy + Paste" and program manager for The Heinz Architectural Center in CMoA, said the museum is curious to see how visitors react to the app and to find out whether certain features of the app enhance visitors' experience better than others.

"The whole idea is to provide visitors with information that they want, need and have asked for," Skjeie said. "This is a great way to test that."

She said CMoA's work with CMU not only has allowed it to develop an app covering a space rich with associations, it also is bringing CMU students back to the museum for a second HACLab.

CMU students will join the "Copy + Paste" effort in January through an architecture studio led by Bard. A couple days a week within one of the museum's galleries, students will work on projects that ultimately will become part of the exhibition. They will explore the material culture of architectural plaster, examining its historic importance and possible robotic applications.

The studio also will give the public a chance to talk with students, Bard said. Through that, he hopes museum visitors can learn more about the design process and create a public dialogue around it.

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Wed, 13 Dec 2017 16:30:00 -0500
Media Advisory: Carnegie Mellon Experts Available To Discuss Net Neutrality https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/net-neutrality-advisory.html Image of a gavel made out of 0s and 1s

Carnegie Mellon University experts are available to provide comment as the Federal Communications Commission prepares to vote on net neutrality rules this Thursday, Dec. 14. Two faculty members, David Farber and Douglas Sicker, previously served as the FCC's chief technology officer.

CMU experts represent a variety of fields, including information technology, telecommunications, ethics, public policy and economics, and are available to discuss a range of issues, including how the ruling might impact consumers, internet service providers, large companies and startups. Some of the faculty members available to discuss net neutrality include:

Vibhanshu Abhishek is an expert in emerging technologies, information privacy and security as well as technology-enabled markets. He studies how consumers respond to different forms of advertising and how companies can strategically use new advertising channels to connect with their consumers. Abhishek is an assistant professor of information systems at the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy.

Alessandro Acquisti is an expert in behavioral economics of privacy, economic value of personal data and digital discrimination. He is a professor of information technology and public policy at Heinz College and co-director of the Center for Behavioral Decision Research. He is a fellow of the Ponemon Institute and a member of Carnegie Mellon CyLab and the CyLab Usability, Privacy, and Security Lab.

David Farber a computer scientist who has been called the "Grandfather of the Internet," is known for his foundational contributions to electronics, programming languages and distributed computing. He served as chief technologist at the FCC from 2000 to 2001. Farber is an adjunct professor of Internet Studies at the Institute for Software Research in the School of Computer Science.

Tae Wan Kim's research covers the future of work, links between business ethics and social sciences, and cross-cultural business ethics. He is an assistant professor of business ethics at the Tepper School of Business.

Justine Sherry's research focuses on questions surrounding networked systems, measurement, internet architecture, cloud computing and the challenges and opportunities arising from the use of middleboxes, such as firewalls and proxies, as services offered by internet service providers and clouds. She is an assistant professor in the School of Computer Science.

Douglas Sicker is an expert on network technology and public policy, with research areas including network policy, security and privacy, wireless systems and broadband networking. He was appointed chief technology officer at the FCC in 2010 and worked as a senior adviser on the FCC National Broadband Plan. He also served as CTO and senior adviser on Spectrum for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Sicker is a professor and head of the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, with a joint appointment as a professor in the School of Computer Science.

Rahul Telang is an expert in the economics of digitization, technology and entertainment, and privacy. He was the senior editor of Information Systems Research and MIS Quarterly, and his work has been funded by several industry participants, including Google. Telang is a professor of information systems at Heinz College.

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Tue, 12 Dec 2017 14:24:00 -0500
GeekWire Chooses Pittsburgh for Temporary HQ2 https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/geekwire.html Image of GeekWire editors

GeekWire is coming to Pittsburgh — at least for a while.

The Seattle-based technology news hub announced today that it will establish a second, temporary headquarters in Pittsburgh for the month of February. The idea to create a reporting outpost was prompted by the much-publicized Amazon HQ2, with GeekWire placing special emphasis on choosing a city that it considers a strong contender for the Amazon prize.

Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science, with encouragement from colleagues at the University of Washington, last month submitted an invitation to GeekWire to consider Pittsburgh in its search. The SCS proposal emphasized local officials likely would not break their silence regarding details of the region's bid for the Amazon HQ2 bid, but contended the city had too many great stories to ignore.

Two or three reporters will arrive in Pittsburgh in late January to begin exploring Pittsburgh. Throughout February, they plan to write about the tech scene and examine the local food culture, public transportation, infrastructure, arts scene, economic development and other factors relevant to the Amazon search.

"We are excited to choose Pittsburgh as the home for GeekWire HQ2 — our temporary headquarters for the month of February," said John Cook, GeekWire co-founder. "Pittsburgh is undergoing an amazing rebirth, transforming itself into a world leader in the innovation economy. Interesting stories abound in Pittsburgh — from the cutting-edge research labs of Carnegie Mellon to the startup spaces of East Liberty to the influx of engineering talent.

"We look forward to telling those stories, and connecting with civic, tech and business leaders about a changing city, while at the same time indulging in the city's food renaissance and cheering on the Penguins."

The GeekWire staff, despite trepidation about February weather in southwestern Pennsylvania, picked Pittsburgh as one of four finalists, along with Denver, Cincinnati and Raleigh. Editors invited readers to vote their preference among the finalists. Pittsburgh was the runaway winner, with 50 percent of the votes.

"Is there a cooler tech city than Pittsburgh? I don't think so," said Andrew Moore, SCS dean. "That's why we always welcome writers, editors and photographers who have the talent to convey what's happening here to the larger world. GeekWire has an excellent reputation in Seattle and we are excited about them coming here to get better acquainted."

GeekWire was launched in March 2011 by Cook and Todd Bishop, both veteran journalists. The site covers technology developments throughout the Pacific Northwest and nationally, with 70 percent of its readership outside the Seattle region. It focuses special attention on hometown industry behemoths Amazon and Microsoft while covering research developments and tech startups in the region. It sponsors a number of events, such as the GeekWire Summit and GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit, and has a weekly radio show.

"GeekWire has grown to become a dominant tech news organization and an epicenter for the local technology community," according to the news site.

Though SCS extended an invitation, GeekWire will operate independently, just like any other news media outlet, and SCS will neither exercise control over editorial content nor favor GeekWire over other news outlets.

"We very much look forward to learning more about this historic American city, and how it is positioning for continued economic and societal vibrance in the coming years," Cook said. "If you have story ideas for our reporters or just want to tell us a great place to eat, please email us at hq2@geekwire.com."

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Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:17:00 -0500
$10 Million Gift to Endow Carnegie Mellon Deanship https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/devries-gift.html Image of Glen de Vries

Carnegie Mellon University alumnus Glen de Vries, co-founder and president of Medidata, has donated $10 million to endow the chair of the dean of CMU's Mellon College of Science (MCS).

The gift by de Vries, a 1994 graduate of the Mellon College of Science who helped create the leading cloud platform for life sciences research, will allow MCS Dean Rebecca Doerge and her successors to invest in fundamental sciences, in interdisciplinary initiatives, and in faculty and students.

In recognition of this transformational gift, the university will create the Glen de Vries Dean's Chair.

Image of Glen de Vries

"Foundational science and math are at the core of CMU's education and research, and we are deeply grateful to Glen for ensuring that Dean Doerge and those who follow her will have the critical resources they need to advance the Mellon College of Science," Interim President Farnam Jahanian said. "Since graduating from MCS, Glen has built an extraordinary career at the intersection of science, business and medicine, and his work has revolutionized how we conduct medical research. His decision to give back to CMU at this time inspires all of us."

The gift will provide resources to the Mellon College of Science — which includes the biological sciences, chemistry, mathematical sciences and physics — to support promising initiatives, like interdisciplinary research into topics such as materials science, neuroscience and energy studies that link MCS to other areas of strength across the university; to recruit top students and faculty; and to expand MCS's research and instructional infrastructure.

"CMU had a profound effect on me, personally and professionally," de Vries said. "It is an incredible privilege to support the university, and to help perpetuate the dynamic learning environment in and around MCS."

The Mellon College of Science's research in foundational science is strengthened through the interdisciplinary nature of CMU, which encourages scientists to approach scientific questions using techniques from fields such as computer science, data science, automation and engineering.

Doerge, an interdisciplinary researcher whose own research spans biological sciences, statistics and data science, will be the first recipient of the Glen de Vries Dean's Chair. She was installed as dean of the Mellon College of Science in the fall of 2016, having previously been the head of the department of statistics at Purdue University.

"Glen is quintessentially CMU. He combined his expertise in biological sciences with computer science and data science along with his entrepreneurial spirit to address a pressing problem in health care," Doerge said. "He is truly an inspiration to all of our students, proving that there is no limit to what can be done with a CMU degree."

"Glen's historic gift is a resounding endorsement of the Mellon College of Science's importance to both Carnegie Mellon and the broader research community, and will allow us to take to the next level our commitment to an interdisciplinary, hands-on culture that molds students into supremely educated, well-rounded 21st century scientists and fosters innovative research," she added.

A New York native, de Vries received his undergraduate degree in molecular biology and genetics from Carnegie Mellon. He then worked as a research scientist at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and studied computer science at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematics before starting Medidata in 1999.

Medidata is a life sciences technology provider that greatly enhances the way clinical research is designed, conducted and analyzed. Its integrated cloud-based platform is used by more than 950 organizations, and powers clinical trials for 18 of the world's top 25 global pharmaceutical companies and 18 of the top 25 medical device developers. In less than 20 years, it has grown from just two employees to about 2,000 employees in 14 locations and more than half a billion dollars in revenue annually. Medidata's software has supported more than 13,000 studies involving nearly four million patients.

In 2017, de Vries received the CMU Alumni Achievement Award. He is a member of the Carnegie Mellon University President's Global Advisory Council, and has returned to campus numerous times to speak with students and faculty, as well as recruit alumni to work at Medidata. He was an invited panelist during the university's recent 50th Anniversary Celebration at Homecoming Weekend. De Vries' previous philanthropy at CMU includes an endowed Presidential Fellowship in the biological sciences.

He is a Columbia HITLAB Fellow, a member of the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association European Advisory Board, and serves on the board of the Young Scientist Foundation, which prepares high school students for success at the university level through training and mentorship.

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Tue, 12 Dec 2017 08:43:00 -0500
For Alumnus Dave Cotteleer, It's All About the Ride https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/harley-davidson-executive.html Image of Dave Cotteleer

By his own admission, Dave Cotteleer usually operates on gut instinct: If a move feels right, he is 100 percent in.

That philosophy of following his passion is the most logical way to explain what might seem, on its surface, as Cotteleer's unorthodox career path, from bank auditor to heavy metal rocker to vice president and managing director of the U.S. Market for Harley-Davidson. But in fact, each experience has informed the other, and collectively, they add up to what has been a lifelong pursuit of authenticity.

"Follow your passion. Don't sell out," said Cotteleer, a 1997 graduate with a master's degree of science in Industrial Administration from Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business. Cotteleer recently spoke to an audience of Tepper School MBA students as part of the W.L. Mellon Speaker Series. "Always be looking at opportunities that add something to you and something that you can be excited about."

After graduating with an undergraduate degree in finance, Cotteleer spent a brief stint working for a bank before joining a heavy metal band in 1994. He honed his business knowledge on the road by working with music industry executives, promoters and union workers at concert venues. The birth of his daughter dramatically altered his career trajectory, prompting him to apply to what is now the Tepper School to study operations.

"I run a lot on feel. And when I came here, it felt right," he said. "It's a decision that I have never regretted."

A summer internship at Harley-Davidson led to a full-time job offer, and he started as an information technology project manager in 1997.

"We were kind of, as a country and really in business, midway through what I term as the supply chain revolution," Cotteleer said. "It was when the whole world was waking up to the power of supply chain."

Despite a promising career start at Harley-Davidson, Cotteleer began to feel as though he was stagnating, so he left in 2005 for a job with the Sara Lee Corp. in Chicago. Although it was a bigger job and a bigger company, he now thinks it was a mistake.

"I didn't do it for the right reasons," he explained. "I thought that I loved the work of supply chain management, but the reality was I was chasing money and title."

That epiphany led him to realize a basic truth about his life, both inside and outside of the business world: Authenticity is key to effective leadership.

"Be authentic. Because the higher you go, the less truth you hear," he told the audience. "I believe that as soon as you become a manager, you have a moral obligation to be engaged and to be bought into where the organization is going."

He returned to Harley-Davidson, where he led the development of a new motorcycle designed specifically for the market in India, which in 2009 lifted some of its earlier restrictions on engine size. With no experience in product development or engineering, Cotteleer said he believes his leadership skills helped him make the project a success — a factor that also led to him earning the role of Harley's CIO in 2011, despite a relatively limited technology background.

Currently, Cotteleer said the company is working to apply technology to its iconic motorcycles in ways that younger riders expect and that its traditional customer base can readily embrace.

"The challenge that we face ... is how do we apply technology in our business, to our product, in a way that doesn't substantially alter the promise or the experience that people expect from Harley-Davidson?" he said, pointing out that countless people wear tattoos of the Harley-Davidson logo, one of the most recognizable brands on the planet.

He remains confident that he and his team at Harley will be up for the challenge. He credits his Tepper School education with helping him develop the problem-solving ability to effectively lead.

"After coming here, I realized there is no problem that can't be broken down, modeled, and solved," he said. "You can't survive this program unless you're really willing to dig in and work."

The journey continues for Cotteleer: Since his visit to campus, he has been promoted to an even more senior role as vice president and managing director of the U.S. Market for Harley-Davidson.

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Mon, 11 Dec 2017 14:30:00 -0500
CMU Receives $7.5M in Federal BRAIN Initiative Funding https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/brain-funding.html Image of an illustration of a synapse made out of 0s and 1s

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University's departments of Biological Sciences and Chemistry, Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center (MBIC) and Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) have received close to $7.5 million in new funding from the National Institutes of Health through the federal BRAIN Initiative to support innovative research and develop tools that will rapidly advance brain research.

"Carnegie Mellon's combined expertise in biology, psychology, computer science and engineering has positioned us to be at the forefront of creating new tools and technologies for neuroscience," said Alison Barth, professor of biological sciences, interim director of CMU's BrainHub neuroscience initiative and a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition. "The federal BRAIN Initiative's support is invaluable to increasing our understanding of how the brain communicates."

High Throughput Approaches for Cell-Specific Synapse Characterization

Marcel Bruchez, director of MBIC and professor of biological sciences and chemistry, and Barth were awarded more than $2 million to develop new tools and methods for high-throughput fluorescence synapse quantitation. They will work with the University of Pittsburgh's Simon Watkins, director of the Center for Biologic Imaging (CBI).

The human brain consists of billions of neurons, each of which passes information through thousands of synapses. Identifying how and where synapses develop under normal conditions and viewing how they change is vital to our understanding of learning, development and disease.

Image of dendritic spines
An image shows the ostsynaptic labeling of dendritic spines using fluorogen-activating proteins in a pyramidal neuron in the neocortex.

Fluorescence imaging has made it possible to identify specific cells among the sea of neurons in the brain and monitor how they are connected with one another. Under the new grant, the researchers will optimize reagents that will allow them to detect presynaptic and postsynaptic inputs and quantify synapse distribution between specific cell types in brain tissue. They will also develop software that will automate the analysis of the data, which was previously done by humans. This will allow researchers to count millions of neurons and billions of synapses, whereas previous studies were only able to look at small numbers of cells, or subcellular regions.

Confocal Fluorescence Microscopy Data Repository

Alexander J. Ropelewski, director of the biomedical application group at the PSC, Bruchez and Watkins received more than $5 million under the BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network to build a confocal fluorescence microscopy data repository that will provide researchers with easy, searchable access to petabytes of neuroscience data.

New imaging tools and technologies, like large-volume confocal fluorescence microscopy, have greatly accelerated neuroscience research in the past five years, allowing researchers to image the whole brain at such a high level of resolution that they can zoom in to the level of a single neuron or synapse. These images, however, contain such a large amount of data — that only a small part of one brain's worth of data can be accessed at a time using a standard desktop computer. Additionally, images are often collected in different ways — at different resolutions, using different methodologies and different orientations. Comparing and combining data from multiple whole brains and datasets requires the power of supercomputing.

The Pittsburgh-based team will bring together MBIC and CBI's expertise in cell imaging and microscopy and pair it with the PSC's long history of experience in biomedical supercomputing to create a system called the Brain Imaging Archive. Researchers will be able to submit their whole brain images, along with metadata about the images, to the archive. There the data will be indexed into a searchable system that can be accessed using the internet. Researchers can search the system to find existing data that will help them narrow down their research targets, making research much more efficient.

Machine Learning Approaches for Electrophysiological Cell Classification

Barth was awarded more than $300,000 to develop a method to identify neural cell types from extracellularly recorded spike trains, a "Rosetta Stone" for decoding brain activity.

In a 500x500 micron column of brain tissue, there can be more than 60 different types of neuronal cells, each with its own properties. Currently researchers gather information from neurons by inserting an electrode into the brain and recording when neurons spike in response to a stimulus. While this reveals valuable information, researchers don't know which cell type they are recording.

Barth believes that researchers could determine cell type based on patterns found in a neuron's spike train. She will partner with researchers in Carnegie Mellon's Machine Learning Department and Language Technology Institute to develop classifiers for neuron types and use machine learning to identify cell type based on the pattern of spikes collected from a neuron.

Previously, Carnegie Mellon researchers received an additional $2.8 million from the BRAIN Initiative. Engineering faculty members Steven Chase and Byron Yu received over $850,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish how variability in movement is encoded in the brain and how this variability contributes to learning and performance. Yu also received close to $1 million from the NSF to understand how the sensory environment and state of mind combine to affect perception and interpretation of the world around us. Max G'Sell, assistant professor of statistics received close to $1 million to study brain circuits in a real-world setting.

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Fri, 8 Dec 2017 10:24:00 -0500
Human Rights Day: Aronson Helps Put Focus on Scientific Freedom https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/human-rights-day.html United Nations archival image of children

International Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, has a scientific focus this year. It coincides with the American Association for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) recently released scientific freedom and responsibility statement, promoting scientific freedom and scientific responsibility.

"Human Rights Day is a time to reaffirm that we all possess certain basic rights that no individual, corporation, group or governmental entity can abridge or take from us," said Carnegie Mellon University's Jay D. Aronson, associate professor of science, technology and society in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences' Department of History and director of CMU's Center for Human Rights Science (CHRS).

Aronson serves on the AAAS Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility (CSFR), which developed the statement and has rolled out online resources for scientists, human rights advocates and policymakers. CSFR is an advisory committee to the AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law program.

The CSFR's full statement reads:

Scientific freedom and scientific responsibility are essential to the advancement of human knowledge for the benefit of all. Scientific freedom is the freedom to engage in scientific inquiry, pursue and apply knowledge and communicate openly. This freedom is inextricably linked to and must be exercised in accordance with scientific responsibility. Scientific responsibility is the duty to conduct and apply science with integrity, in the interest of humanity, in a spirit of stewardship for the environment and with respect for human rights.

"The statement recognizes the societal value of science and the pursuit of knowledge, but just as importantly, it reminds those of us in positions of privilege that we have a responsibility to work to ensure human rights for all people around the world," Aronson said. "This duty is particularly strong at Carnegie Mellon, where we are building technologies and pioneering new knowledge that will have a profound impact on the planet and its peoples for generations to come."

United Nations Logo

Aronson said the statement is aspirational - it tells us how science and its relation to society ought to be and provides a framework to evaluate current and proposed research efforts in this regard. However, AAAS and the committee note that scientists' conduct is often constrained by a variety of political, economic and institutional factors.

To explore some of these issues, Aronson authored a supplemental article  that addresses the circumstances under which the ideals of scientific freedom and responsibility may fall short. The topics included: research in contexts where data and results cannot be freely collected or shared due to national security or economic concerns; doing research in non-democratic societies; and handling findings or data could be detrimental to society.

"Even though it may not be possible for scientists to uphold all of the values laid out in [the AAAS statement, they still must not use their knowledge, expertise, or creations to violate human rights or human dignity, cause unnecessary pain or suffering to non-human organisms, or disproportionate damage to the environment whenever it is possible to make another choice. Scientists should interpret restrictions, rules and directives that impinge on human rights and freedom as narrowly as possible and resist them when feasible," Aronson wrote.

Robin Mejia, manager of the CHRS Statistics and Human Rights program, believes scientific freedom is crucial to generating the kinds of data needed to assess and measure whether human rights are being violated. She notes that targeting scientists can be a way governments attempt to control data.

"A functioning democracy requires independence of agencies that gather and measure the data used to make policy decisions," said Mejia, who serves as vice chair of the American Statistical Association (ASA) Committee on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights. She has coordinated the ASA's response in the case of Andreas Georgiou, a Greek economist being targeted in his home country for producing accurate debt figures.

The United Nations will use Human Rights Day 2017 to kick off a year-long campaign to mark the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights that everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being - regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Join the conversation with #StandUp4HumanRights.

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Thu, 7 Dec 2017 16:07:00 -0500
Airport Visitors Travel in Time, Face Off with CMU Technology https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/airport-display.html Image of the Earthtime Exhibit

As part of the Pittsburgh International Airport's Creating a Sense of Place program, sponsored by the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Carnegie Mellon University has installed two displays at the airport that give travelers a chance to interact with CMU technology, and get a look at how research conducted at CMU is shaping the future of the world.

CMU has played a critical role in the region's resurgence as a high-tech hub, attracting talent and investment from around the world. With more than 13,000 students, the university hosts more than 70,000 visitors annually, from families and alumni to corporate, government, nonprofit and academic leaders.

EarthTime and IntraFace provide opportunities for visitors to explore technology from CMU's world-renowned School of Computer Science.

EarthTime

Location: Concourse D

Developed by the Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment Lab (CREATE Lab) at CMU, EarthTime displays visualizations of Earth's transformations through natural changes and human impact. By rapidly combining huge sets of data with a vast number of images captured by NASA satellites between 1984 and 2016, users can explore issues like deforestation, movement of refugees, sea-level rise and surface water changes.

CREATE Lab empowers people to use technology to better their lives while promoting evidence-based decision-making, public discourse and action. In partnership with the World Economic Forum, CREATE Lab has demonstrated EarthTime to ministers, heads of state, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and corporate leaders. Most recently, the technology was presented at New York City's Climate Week and in a TEDxGlobal Talk. It also has been used as a teaching tool in classrooms and by Kew Gardens in the United Kingdom for its annual "State of the World's Plants" report.

IntraFace

Location: Concourse C

The human face is one of the most powerful channels of non-verbal communication, conveying data about a person's emotional state, level of alertness and moods. Visitors to the IntraFace kiosk can explore how real-time facial image analysis software recognizes five basic expressions: happy, surprised, neutral, disgust or sad. Perhaps in keeping with the season, happiness has been the most common emotion registered by almost 30,000 people who have visited the kiosk since its launch in early November.

IntraFace is a project of the Human Sensing Lab at CMU's Robotics Institute. By sharing this open-source technology with the world's research community, scientists can pursue new ways to build intelligent systems that solve society's complex problems, including advancing the autism screening process, detecting terrorists in crowds and addressing distracted driving.

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Thu, 7 Dec 2017 15:49:00 -0500
CMU Silicon Valley Students Mentor Teens in Hackathons https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/silicon-valley-hackathons.html A CMU student tests a phone app

Students and faculty from Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley are working to support the next generation of technologists by mentoring high school students competing in community hackathons.

"The first time I saw these teens, I was quite amazed by their passion for computer science," said Miaozhen Zhang, a master's degree student studying software management at CMU's Integrated Innovation Institute (III). "At CMU we work hard, but we are doing what we love. It was inspiring to share my passion with young people, to help them find what they love as well."

Instructor and CMU alumnus Catherine Fang has been a strong advocate for supporting Bay Area teenagers, connecting CMU students from the III, the Information Networking Institute and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering to many local volunteer opportunities, including recent teen hackathons MVHacks, which was organized by Mountain View High School, and CU Hacks 3, an event organized by the Cupertino Library and Santa Clara County Library District.

"Events like hackathons are good opportunities for our students to pay it forward to the community and share the expertise they acquire at Carnegie Mellon," Fang said. "Our Silicon Valley campus is rooted in the heart of the computer science industry, and our programs here are infused with both academic knowledge as well as industry best practices."

Fang said each semester CMU students brainstorm product ideas and push them through prototyping and productization.

"The MVHacks hackathon is like a mini-version of the process," she said. "We were very touched and inspired by the enthusiasm of the local high schoolers and their willingness to take on challenges."

Additional sponsors for the event included Microsoft, LinkedIN, Symantec and LeanGap.

With the support of CMU mentors, the 120 high school students from 25 area schools who participated in the inaugural MVHacks developed high-tech products and prototypes exploring many areas. For example, Team Food Raccoon developed an app to detect food waste by analyzing how much food is thrown away in IoT-enabled trash cans. One group of students created BookBuddy app, a technology to scan data about a book by taking a photo of its cover. And another team created Whiteboard Web, which aimed to use virtual classroom technology to make education more accessible to remote regions.

"We've already heard very positive feedback from participants and their families," Fang said. "We plan to keep the momentum going and make hackathon mentorship one of CMU Silicon Valley's traditions. Together, we can build a better community that is ready for the next digital transformation."

At CU Hacks 3, participants were encouraged to code prototype applications that would help the Cupertino community become a better place to live, while giving the high school students hands-on knowledge in computer science and software engineering. The winning team created an image recognition app that, when given a photograph of a plastic or glass bottle, a container or another object, would tell the user whether that item is recyclable.

"The students really learned a lot from all of the outstanding CMU mentors," said Matt Lorenzo, the teen services librarian at Cupertino Library and host of the hackathon. "It was a wonderful collaborative effort, and in the end, the teens created some really awesome projects that went toward helping the Cupertino community."

Elaine Aw, a software management master's degree student at CMU-SV, was a mentor for the Cupertino event.

"You can feel the energy in the room — the teens learned really fast," Aw said. "It's amazing that at their young age they were able to prove their ability to leverage new technologies, like Google Cloud Vision API and Firebase, to create new applications. It is a nice reminder that regardless of age, anyone can be creative, hack and create something of value."

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Wed, 6 Dec 2017 13:30:00 -0500
Submissions Now Being Accepted for 2018 Theatre Education Award Presented by Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/quinto-named-arts-education-ambassador.html Image of Zachary Quinto

The Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) will once again recognize an exemplary teacher with the "Excellence in Theatre Education Award," to be presented at the 2018 Tony Awards on Sunday, June 10, 2018. CMU alumnus, actor and producer, Zachary Quinto, will serve as the award's official ambassador and will take part in the selection committee.

Now through February 16, 2018, submissions will be accepted online for K-12 theatre educators at an accredited institution or recognized community theatre organization. Anyone — from students and school administrators, to friends, neighbors and family — can submit a worthy teacher for consideration. He or she must be a teacher whose position is dedicated to and/or includes aspects of theatre education. Submissions can be made at www.TonyAwards.com/EducationAward.

Since 2014, the Excellence in Theatre Education Award has been bestowed annually at the Tony Awards. Last year's honor was presented to Rachel Harry of Hood River, Oregon, where she has been teaching drama for 30 years. She built the program and created performances that frequently sell out at the high school and a larger middle school theater with 1,100 seats.

After earning his drama degree at CMU, Zachary Quinto went on to star in several popular TV series, including "Heroes" and "American Horror Story," along with a memorable turn as Spock in the recent "Star Trek" feature films. In spring 2018, Quinto will share the stage with another CMU alumnus, Matt Bomer, alongside Andrew Rannells and Jim Parsons in Broadway's "The Boys in the Band." Quinto is a staunch supporter of arts education and its positive effects on young people.

"The teacher who inspired me and supported my foray into theatre arts was Jill Wadsworth from CLO (Civic Light Opera) Academy in Pittsburgh," Quinto said. "Arts education is an essential part of both creative and personal development, giving young people an opportunity to know themselves on a deeper level and celebrate the limitless possibility of their uniqueness. Whether or not they end up pursuing a career in the arts, it is the foundation for a more integrated acceptance of self, and a springboard for a wide range of educational and professional opportunities as they mature."

"We see the effects of great teachers every time we attend a performance and watch a skilled actor capture the audience," said Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League and Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing. "We are honored to recognize theatre education professionals through the Excellence in Theatre Education Award, especially at a time in our nation when the arts are so vitally important."

"Teachers change lives, and presenting this annual award is one of the greatest ways to recognize that," said Dan Martin, Dean of CMU's College of Fine Arts. "Together with the League and the Wing, giving a nod to a deserving teacher helps us to support the ongoing platform of arts education and reinforces how very important it is in our society today."

A panel of judges comprised of the American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League, Carnegie Mellon University and other leaders from the theatre industry will select the winner. The winner will receive a cash grant for his or her school, flights to New York City, hotel accommodations and a pair of tickets to the 2018 Tony Awards Ceremony and Gala.

This year, the person/persons who submit the entry that wins also will receive recognition, including a master class presentation at their school from professionals at Carnegie Mellon. Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama is the oldest drama degree-granting program in the United States and celebrated its centennial in 2014. In the past century, CMU has produced hundreds of Tony nominees, and its alumni have won more than 40 Tony Awards to date.

The 2018 Tony Awards, presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, will air live on CBS on Sunday, June 10. For more information on the Tony Awards, visit TonyAwards.com and Facebook.com/TheTonyAwards and follow @TheTonyAwards on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.

Press releases and high-res images are available at www.TonyAwards.com/presskit.

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Wed, 6 Dec 2017 11:00:00 -0500
Interdisciplinary Festival Experiments with Art, Music in Limestone Mine https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/subsurface-festival.html Image of a mine with a light display

Carnegie Mellon University students have taken music and art to a new place — hundreds of feet below the earth's surface.

Students and faculty from CMU's College of Fine Arts, School of Computer Science, the BXA Intercollege Degree Programs and Integrative Design, Arts and Technology (IDeATe) Network put on a one-hour festival Saturday in a limestone mine in Brady's Bend, Armstrong County.

"SubSurface: Site-Specific Sight & Sound" appears to be the first arts festival in the region to be held in an underground limestone mine, according to Rich Pell, associate professor in CMU's School of Art and co-organizer of the event.

After buses took them deep within the mine, about 130 attendees explored a quarter-mile path transformed by swirling light projections, electronic music performances and art installations, including corn stalks, a person wearing a donkey mask in the restful pose of a TV-watching retiree and a clothesline strung with forgotten socks.

"My students were all approaching this from the perspective of the Anthropocene, which is this idea of the human influence over environment, climate and geology," said Pell, who came upon the mine after looking at old industrial sites for his class' final art critique. "So, I wanted to find a place where their work could speak to that, where you could be inside it."

The journey concluded with a concert in a long, cavernous room. The performance began as an instrumental set and gradually transitioned to electronic music, with purple and teal computer-controlled lighting that visualized sound moving through the room.

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Tue, 5 Dec 2017 12:42:00 -0500
Advances in Technology Provide Clearer Insight Into Brain's Visual System https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/eeg-study.html Image of a custom EEG cap

Carnegie Mellon University engineers and cognitive neuroscientists have demonstrated that a new high-density EEG can capture the brain's neural activity at a higher spatial resolution than ever before.

This next generation brain-interface technology is the first non-invasive, high-resolution system of its kind, providing higher density and coverage than any existing system. It has the potential to revolutionize future clinical and neuroscience research as well as brain-computer interfaces.

To test the custom-modified EEG, the research team had 16 participants view pattern-reversing black and white checkerboards while wearing the new "super-Nyquist density" EEG. They compared the results from all electrodes to results when using only a subset of the electrodes, which is an accepted standard for EEG density. Published in Scientific Reports, the results showed the new "super-Nyquist" EEG captured more information from the visual cortex than any of the four standard "Nyquist density" versions tested.

"These results are crucial in showing that EEG has enormous potential for future research. Ultimately, capturing more neural information with EEG means we can make better inferences about what is happening inside the brain," said lead author Amanda K. Robinson, a postdoctoral fellow in CMU's Department of Psychology and Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition during the study who is now a research fellow at the University of Sydney. "This has the potential to improve source detection, for example in localizing the source of seizures in epilepsy."

To create the new tool, the team modified an EEG head cap from a 128-electrode system, which increased its sensor density by two to three folds over occipitotemporal brain regions. They designed the experiments to use visual stimuli with low, medium and high spatial frequency content.

Then, they used a visual paradigm designed to elicit neural responses with differing spatial frequencies in the brain and examined how the new super-Nyquist density EEG performed, revealing that the new configuration captured more neural information than standard Nyquist density EEG. The subtle patterns of neural activity uncovered by the new super-Nyquist EEG were closely related to a model of primary visual cortex.

"It is exciting to see that exceeding these engineers' Nyquist densities can provide new information about brain activity, and it opens doors for utilizing higher-density EEG systems for clinical and neuroscientific applications. It also validates some of our fundamental information-theoretic studies in the past few years," said Pulkit Grover, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and a member of the CNBC.

"Development of higher density systems is underway, in collaboration with Shawn Kelly in the Engineering Research Accelerator at CMU," Grover said.

Early financial support to modify and test the new EEG was provided by CMU's BrainHub initiative and ProSEED program.

"This collaboration arose out of CMU's unique BrainHub Initiative that was created to encourage collaboration between brain and behavioral scientists, engineers and computer scientists," said Michael J. Tarr, the Trustee Professor of Vision Science and head of CMU's Psychology Department."Our project is but one example of how working across disciplines can push the boundaries of our science, enabling new methods for studying and, ultimately, understanding the brain. Novel partnerships such as ours are our best avenue for making real progress that can eventually be translated into devices and theories that will help improve our lives."

In addition to Robinson, Grover and Tarr, CMU's Praveen Venkatesh and Marlene Behrmann and the University of Pittsburgh's Matthew J. Boring participated in the study.

Instrumentation of the novel cap was funded in part by the SONIC center of the Semiconductor Research Corporation. Venkatesh was supported by the Phil and Marsha Dowd Fellowship, and Boring was funded by the CNBC computational neuroscience undergraduate fellowship.

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Tue, 5 Dec 2017 11:03:00 -0500
Miller Gallery Hosts School of Design Senior Thesis Exhibition Dec. 2-10 https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/miller-gallery.html Design Exhibit Poster

"Assemblage," the Carnegie Mellon University School of Design Senior Thesis Exhibition will be held Dec. 2-10 in the Miller Gallery on CMU's Pittsburgh campus.

The exhibition features final works from 48 seniors — the first class to complete CMU's new Bachelor of Design program — in three design concentrations: Products, Communications and Environments. A reception will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

Throughout the new curriculum, the students have been encouraged to think about the long-term effects of decisions and how those decisions affect the larger environment. At the beginning of the process students asked questions that lead to more questions, talked to people and reflected on lessons learned from the past.

"This approach often leads us to help others speak in order to build empathy around the user's experiences," the students said in their exhibit statement. "To convey our intentions, we craft outputs, whether a carefully communicated message or thoughtfully crafted artifact, that respond to our research and reflection. However, as creatives, we often look to express and strengthen our own voice in our personal work. So, as design professionals, when do we speak and when do we listen?"

In the show, visitors will experience a wide variety of works from deeply personal narratives to community building projects and future-oriented artifacts. In each piece, the designer's presence is balanced with the message of the project, whether prompted in studio or self defined.

The exhibitors are: Adella Guo, Albert Yang, Alex Palatucci, Angee Attar, Anqi Wan, Benal Johnson, Bettina Chou, Carolyn Zhou, Chris Perry, Christie Chong, Deborah Lee, Deniz Sokullu, Emily Mongilio, Faith Kaufman, Gillan Johnson, Hae Wan Park, Hee Jung Koh, Jake Scherlis, Jasper Tom, Jeong Min Seo, Jesse Klein, Jessica Headrick, Ji Tae Kim, Julia Ainbinder, Kate Martin, Kevin Gao, Lily Fulop, Lily Kim, Lois Kim, Lucy Yifan Yu, Maggie Banks, Max Plummer, Maximilien Stein, Meredith Newman, Natalie Harmon, Natapitt (Popo) Sethpornpong, Nina Flores, Noah Johnson, Raphael Weikart, Rufeng (Steven) Ji, Sara Remi Fields, Selena Norman, Sharon Yu, Tiffany Jiang, Tina Park, Treat Swarstad, Ty Van de Zande and Youjin (Juliana) Nam.

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Tue, 5 Dec 2017 10:34:00 -0500
Whitacre Awarded $50K Energy Award for Creating Eco-friendly Battery https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/whitacre-energy-award.html Image of Jay Whitacre

Jay Whitacre, director of Carnegie Mellon University's Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, has been awarded the 2017 Leigh Ann Conn Prize for Renewable Energy for creating the first mass-produced, low-cost, eco-friendly battery called the Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI™).

This $50,000 biannual award presented by the University of Louisville recognizes outstanding renewable energy ideas and achievements with proven global impact. Whitacre's sodium-ion batteries, which use water-based chemicals, are an economical way to incorporate renewable energy into the grid. The batteries do not feature lead, lithium or organic solvents.

"Dr. Whitacre is a world-class scientist and entrepreneur dedicated to the viability of low-cost energy storage," said Greg Postel, University of Louisville interim president. "The University of Louisville celebrates his research and its positive influence. In a changing world of energy use, he is an outstanding winner of the Leigh Ann Conn Prize."

Whitacre, the College of Engineering's Trustee Professor of Energy in the departments of Materials Science & Engineering and Engineering & Public Policy, came to Carnegie Mellon in 2007. Shortly after, he debuted his unique battery — the only sustainable battery to ever be mass-produced and Cradle to Cradle Certified™.

Whitacre's battery is now manufactured by Aquion Energy, an energy storage technology company he founded in 2009. Among its many awards are the 2011 World Technology Award and the North American Company of the Year in the 2017 Global Cleantech 100. Aquion Energy was included on MIT Technology Review's list of the 50 Disruptive and 50 Smartest Companies.

The company was acquired in June 2017 by a U.S.-based branch of Titans Energy Technology Group.

In conjunction with a public lecture, Whitacre will receive the award and a medal at a ceremony in Louisville in March 2018. The prize, administered by the University of Louisville's Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, is named for the late daughter of Hank and Rebecca Conn, center supporters and the prize benefactors.

"This revolutionary battery technology and Jay's resilient entrepreneurial spirit demonstrate a vitality that resonates. It's what we all need," Hank Conn said. "It is exciting to recognize his innovations and their translation into impactful technology."

Previous prize winners include world-renowned chemist and Harvard University Professor Daniel Nocera who developed two energy storage systems, the "Artificial Leaf" and the large-scale flow battery, and Swiss chemist Michael Graetzel, developer of the dye-sensitized solar cell.

"With this award, Jay's track record of being a standout innovator in the world of energy technologies will continue to position the College of Engineering and Carnegie Mellon University as a leader in groundbreaking energy innovation," said James H. Garrett Jr., dean of the College of Engineering. "We in the college are very proud of Jay for winning the prestigious Leigh Ann Conn Prize."

Whitacre has won several awards for his innovative battery, including the prestigious $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, and the Carnegie Science Center Advanced Materials Award. He received the Caltech Resnick Sustainability Institute Award "for research and development of scalable, environmentally benign, low-cost grid-scale energy storage." Fortune Magazine has named him one of the world's Top 25 Eco Innovators. He was also named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

Whitacre has served on the boards of various energy technology companies and committees for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. He has authored or co-authored over 70 peer review papers and is a prolific inventor who has authored or co-authored over 30 patents that are issued or pending.

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Mon, 4 Dec 2017 12:00:00 -0500
DoD Appoints Kiron Skinner to Defense Policy Board https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/december/skinner-appointed-defense-policy-board.html Image of Kiron Skinner

U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis has appointed Carnegie Mellon University's Kiron Skinner to the Defense Policy Board. The board provides the secretary, deputy secretary and under secretary for policy with independent, informed advice and opinion concerning matters of defense policy. 

Skinner, founding director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, is a renowned expert in national security and foreign policy. She recently was named the Taube Professor of International Relations and Politics.

Secretary Mattis tapped J.D. Crouch, a former assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor and currently the chief executive officer and the president of the United Services Organization, to chair the Defense Policy Board. Four additional members were also announced: Wanda Austin, Making Space, Inc; Eric Cantor, Moelis & Company; David McCormick, Bridgewater Associates; and James Talent, American Enterprise Institute. 

They will join returning members Madeleine Albright, Rudy deLeon, Michèle Flournoy, Jamie Gorelick, Jane Harman, Henry Kissinger, Frank Miller, William Perry and Adm. (Ret) Gary Roughead.

Skinner joined CMU in 1999 and is also a distinguished fellow of CMU's CyLab and holds courtesy faculty appointments in Heinz College and the Institute for Software Research.  She served on President Donald Trump’s transition team’s executive committee, and the teams for the National Security Council and the State Department.

CMU's Institute for Politics and Strategy, which was launched by Skinner in 2015, serves as a center for research, undergraduate and graduate education, and university-wide initiatives in the fields of political science, international relations, national security policy and grand strategy. 

At Carnegie Mellon, Skinner also directs the Center for International Relations and PoliticsWashington Semester Program and Institute for Strategic Analysis, a joint effort between Dietrich College, College of Engineering, Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy, School of Computer Science, and the Software Engineering Institute. She co-created CMU's Master of Information Technology Strategy program, which provides a multidisciplinary education focusing on cybersecurity issues, decision-making challenges and international security.

Skinner currently serves as special adviser to Admiral John Richardson, the chief of Naval Operations, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a life director of the Atlantic Council, and is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. From 2001-2007, she was a member of the U.S. Defense Department's Defense Policy Board as an adviser on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

She is the co-author, along with political scientists Serhiy Kudelia, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Condoleezza Rice, of "The Strategy of Campaigning: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Boris Yeltsin," which is used in political science courses at leading research universities. She authored "Turning Points in Ending the Cold War,” a landmark work in international history featuring a collection of essays by leading American and Russian statesmen and scholars. She co-authored the New York Times best sellers "Reagan, In His Own Hand" and "Reagan, A Life In Letters." She is a frequent contributor of opinion essays and has written for CNN.com, National Review online, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. 

In October, Fox News Channel signed Skinner as a contributor to offer  foreign policy and political analysis across FNC and FOX Business Network's daytime and primetime programming.

Skinner earned master's and doctoral degrees in political science and international relations from Harvard University and undergraduate degrees from Spelman College and Sacramento City College. She received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Molloy College in Long Island, New York.

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Sat, 2 Dec 2017 17:17:00 -0500
Economist Marvin Goodfriend Nominated To Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/november/goodfriend-nominated-to-federal-reserve-board.html Image of Marvin Goodfriend

Macroeconomist Marvin Goodfriend, monetary policy expert and central banking historian, has been nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the White House announced yesterday. A professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business since 2005, Goodfriend epitomizes the school's longstanding reputation as a thought leader in global monetary and banking economics.

Prior to his appointment at the Tepper School, he served as senior vice president and research director at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. During his 27-year tenure with the central bank, Goodfriend worked closely with the bank president to develop the bank's policy positions.

"This is richly deserved recognition at the highest level for Professor Goodfriend, a tribute to his distinguished career as one of the nation's foremost experts in monetary policy," said Farnam Jahanian, Carnegie Mellon's interim president. "It is a remarkable honor for the entire Carnegie Mellon University community to have one of our own called to public service by the White House and is also a testament to the excellence of the Tepper School."

"Marvin has brought both visionary and superb practical thinking to the frontlines of today's most provocative debates on monetary policy," said Robert Dammon, dean of the Tepper School of Business and professor of financial economics, "and the Tepper School community is immensely proud to see Marvin's life's work recognized with this vital and prestigious nomination."

The Board of Governors is comprised of seven members when fully seated. Board members are nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate and serve staggered 14-year terms. The Board oversees the 12 Federal Reserve Banks, sets Federal Reserve bank regulations, and decides monetary policy together with the Reserve Bank presidents.

Goodfriend's research encompasses monetary theory and monetary policy practice with a focus on banking and financial markets, economic development and macroeconomic fluctuations. His leadership and scholarship within global economics include his co-leadership of the Carnegie Rochester NYU Conference on Public Policy and his membership on the Shadow Open Market Committee as well as his ongoing work advising many of the world's major central banks. A popular professor, he has earned teaching awards from both Tepper School MBA students and undergraduate economics students for excellence in the classroom.

Goodfriend's mentor, inspiration and close colleague for more than three decades was the late Tepper School political economist and renowned Federal Reserve historian Allan Meltzer, who died in May at the age of 89. Goodfriend presently holds the Friends of Allan H. Meltzer Professorship.

The Tepper School is proud of its contribution to economic research and teaching, boasting nine Nobel laureates in Economic Sciences as part of its research and academic legacy.

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Thu, 30 Nov 2017 09:07:00 -0500
Alumnus Rob Cochran Shares His "Exhilarating Ride" as an Entrepreneur https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/november/rob-cochran.html Rob Cochran

There is no easy road in business, but the lessons Rob Cochran has learned over the past 30 years as president and CEO of  #1 Cochran, Western Pennsylvania’s top automotive dealership group, can help students map a route to success.

The Carnegie Mellon University alumnus recently returned to his alma mater to share his personal journey, offer helpful advice and discuss new challenges facing the automotive sales industry. His talk was part of the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship’s Leadership Series and kicked off activities for the center’s annual Global Entrepreneurship Week.
 
“As the son of a car salesperson — a very, very good one at that — I was taught early on the benefits as well as the unintended consequences of entrepreneurialism. This university and this environment helped me hone my approach, broaden my expectations, and, I think, discover an inner fire within me that is really necessary for entrepreneurs,” Cochran said.
 
As a freshly minted CMU graduate with degrees in applied mathematics and industrial management, Cochran began working in his family’s two car dealerships in Monroeville as executive vice president in 1987. He looked forward to learning the business, returning to graduate school for a broader and more textured education, and then potentially assuming leadership of the company in his mid 30s.
 
Those plans hit a major detour in his first year on the job, when his father and company founder, Bob Cochran, was diagnosed with cancer. That same year, his father’s right-hand man retired, and the economy slowed. When his father died a few years later, Cochran found himself holding the reins of the company much sooner than he had anticipated.
 
Adding to the pressure of taking over as CEO, his father had committed to the purchase of a recently vacated department store to relocate the company’s two dealerships.  

“It was a significant investment for our family at the time. We went from paying roughly $6,000 a month in rent to borrowing $20 million for a $15 million purchase and retrofit,” Cochran said. “So, it was a large jump and a large risk, a risk that I didn’t take, but one that I certainly had to manage over the coming years.”
 
Cochran said his age at the time presented him with a challenge.
 
“I probably looked like I was 15. And I was responsible for people 10, 20, 30 and even 40 years older than me,” Cochran said. “So, developing and establishing trust not just in my competency and intellect, but more so in my character, was challenging. All eyes were on me and all people were looking to judge. And I felt that.”
 
Cochran said an “old, crusty used car manager” gave him advice.  

“He said when you’re leading people, it is not very helpful for you to act like the smartest person in the room,” Cochran said. “You want to make everyone else feel like they have things to contribute. My ability to project myself as a bright and energetic and trustworthy person that was eager to learn from them was paramount to my early success.”
 
Cochran spoke about today’s challenges and opportunities for the automotive industry and his company, such as the digital marketplace, autonomous vehicles, ride sharing and electrification. He also offered some helpful advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.  

“Ask yourself, why are you doing this?” Cochran said. “For me, the financial benefits of having some success as an entrepreneur have always been secondary to the gut-level feeling within me of impact, of a greater contribution to people’s lives, a feeling of congruence with who I am as a person.”
 
Cochran said it takes talent, inner strength and good fortune to be successful in business.

“It’s an exhilarating ride,” Cochran said. “It’s one that offers no assurances or promises, but one that clearly has ripe opportunities for those talented enough, those emotionally tough enough, and yes, those lucky enough to find those opportunities.”

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Wed, 29 Nov 2017 15:12:00 -0500
New Technique Reduces Side Effects, Improves Delivery of Chemotherapy Nanodrugs https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/november/nanodrug-delivery.html Image showing results of drug tests

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have developed a new method for delivering chemotherapy nanodrugs that increases their bioavailability and reduces side effects.

Their study, published online in Scientific Reports, shows that administering an FDA-approved nutrition source prior to chemotherapy can reduce the amount of the toxic drugs that settle in the spleen, liver and kidneys.

Nanodrugs — drugs attached to tiny biocompatible particles — show great promise in the treatment of a number of diseases, including cancer. Delivery of these drugs, however, is not very efficient — only about 0.7 percent of chemotherapy nanodrugs reach their target tumor cells. The remainder are absorbed by other cells, including those in the liver, spleen and kidneys. When the drugs build up in these organs, they cause toxicity and side-effects that negatively impact a patient's quality of life.

Image of test results
Administering a combination of Abraxane® and Intralipid® results in less toxicity of the chemotherapy drug in the kidneys (bottom row) than administering Abraxane® alone (top row).

Chien Ho, professor of biological sciences at Carnegie Mellon, and his colleagues have developed a novel way to improve delivery of chemotherapy nanodrugs by using Intralipid®, an FDA-approved nutrition source to temporarily blunt the reticuloendothelial system — a network of cells and tissues found throughout the body, including in the blood, lymph nodes, spleen and liver, that play an important role in the immune system.

Ho and colleagues tested their technique in a rat model of cancer using three FDA-approved chemotherapy nanodrugs, Abraxane®, Marqibo® and Onivyde®, and one experimental platinum-based anti-cancer nanodrug. In the study, they administered Intralipid one hour before giving the animal a chemotherapy nanodrug. They found their method reduced the amount of the drug found in the liver, spleen and kidneys and reduced the drugs' toxic side-effects. They also found more of the drug was available to attack tumor cells. Additionally, the Intralipid treatment had no harmful impact on tumor growth or drug efficacy.

The researchers believe their drug delivery methodology can be applied to a variety of nanodrugs without any modifications to the drugs.

"This methodology could have a major impact in the delivery of nanodrugs not only for patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment but also to those being treated with nanodrugs for other conditions," Ho said.

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Wed, 29 Nov 2017 12:32:00 -0500
Student Looks to Machine Vision To Optimize 3-D Printing https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/november/3d-printing.html Image screen with three dimensional object showing

Carnegie Mellon University doctoral candidate Luke Scime is working at the intersection of mechanical engineering and computer science to optimize the process of metal 3-D printing.

3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, uses a layer-by-layer manufacturing process to print objects out of metal, plastic and other materials. The technology has the potential to make stronger, lighter and more customized products than traditional manufacturing.

Researchers, like Scime, are working to better understand and perfect the process.

Scime, who is in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, studies metal laser powder bed fusion, a process in which a machine spreads a layer of metal powder that is a fraction of a millimeter thick. Next, a laser beam melts the metal powder into a cross-section of the object being built. The machine repeats this process until the object is complete.

Scime is analyzing how problems can occur in the process by taking images as the machine spreads each layer. He uses machine-learning techniques to teach the computer to recognize what flaws look like. Then, the computer aggregates those images and begins to mark areas where a problem may be occurring.

image of a printed part
An image shows what a printed part looked like, with flaws highlighted.

"Computer science offers opportunities to solve problems that we're finding in our work with additive manufacturing, problems that we don't otherwise have a way to solve," said Scime, who received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Florida. "At every stage of my life, as I've pursued mechanical engineering I somehow always find myself incorporating computer science concepts into traditional engineering."

Though small, these flaws take a number of forms. "Recoater hopping" occurs when the recoater blade lightly impacts the part and "recoater streaking" happens when the blade itself is nicked or damaged. There also can be debris lying on the powder bed, parts may start to warp or deform from heat stress or items can be damaged when the machine does not spread enough powder for a layer. Scime's machine vision techniques pose a solution to help identify these issues underlying the process.

The end goal is for the machine to recognize an issue and then correct it right away.

"If you know where the problem is happening in real time, you can see the area flagged on the images and be able to either fix it or at least stop it, so you're not wasting time and material," Scime said.

Scime works in Mechanical Engineering Professor Jack Beuth's lab, which focuses on expanding process space, such as modifying how much power and speed to give a laser beam and identifying what effects those changing parameters have on a part. Beuth is co-director of the NextManufacturing Center.

"I've always loved the City of Pittsburgh," Scime said. "So when I learned how heavily Carnegie Mellon was investing in Additive Manufacturing, I jumped at the opportunity to come here."

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Tue, 28 Nov 2017 15:40:00 -0500
CMU and KMITL Announce Research and Education Collaboration https://cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/november/thailand-collaboration.html Image of signing

Carnegie Mellon University and King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, a leading engineering university in Thailand, have announced a long-term collaboration to significantly expand research and education in the areas of information, computing and autonomous technologies.

The collaborative activities, to be collectively known as the Carnegie Mellon — KMITL (CMKM) program, will occur both in Thailand and at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The CMKM program will involve professors, researchers and students from Carnegie Mellon and KMITL, and include several industry partners from Thailand. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering within Carnegie Mellon's College of Engineering will play a central role in the CMKM program.

"This partnership brings much-needed capabilities in world-class engineering research and education to Thailand. We are looking forward to working with top talents for ground-breaking research and innovation that will drive the emerging economies of Southeast Asia," said Teerakiat Jareonsettasin, Thailand's minister of education. "There is no better time to put Thailand at the heart of education investment. The Thai government is doing its utmost to provide the best opportunities, privileges, incentives, and above all the commitment to make our collaboration the best we can." 

"This long-term collaboration between CMU and KMITL, in association with the Thailand Ministry of Education, will not only strengthen historic ties between CMU and scholars and alumni in Thailand, it will greatly enhance our shared capacity for research and education in areas that are shaping the global economy," said Carnegie Mellon Interim President Farnam Jahanian. "As this program develops, we look forward to the growth of new international networks of knowledge and intellectual pursuits."

"I am incredibly excited at just the mere thought of collaboration of such global scale," said Suchatvee Suwansawat, president of KMITL. "Today marks the day Carnegie Mellon University and KMITL make history. We are committed to delivering uncompromised research and education in computing, AI, Big Data, and to bring about high impact research to accelerate digital transformation for Thailand and Southeast Asia. It is our vision to make Thailand the Southeast Asia center for advanced research, to make capacity building a reality, and to create a sustainable model for the developing countries."

"KMITL's passion for excellence is a perfect match with ours and I see great potential in our partnership," said James H. Garrett, Jr., dean of CMU's College of Engineering. "This partnership establishes an excellent foundation for even greater collaborations yielding wider impact."

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Tue, 28 Nov 2017 13:48:00 -0500
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