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8 1/2 x 11 News

May 31, 2001

Vol. 11, No. 45

The "8 1/2 x 11 News" is published each week by the Department of Public Relations. News of campus interest should be sent to Ed Delaney, 412-268-1609 ( or Bruce Gerson, 412-268-1613 ( The newsletter is available on the official.cmu-news and bulletin boards.


Carnegie Mellon has announced the formation of a new Medical Robotics and Information Technology (MERIT) Center that will focus on creating new robotic technologies to benefit the healthcare industry. The interdisciplinary center will merge Carnegie Mellon's strengths in robotics, computer science, information technology and engineering to create computer-based tools to assist surgeons in minimizing invasive medical procedures and improving patient outcomes.

—Principal investigators of the new center are orthopedic surgeon and alumnus Dr. Anthony DiGioia (E 1979, E 1982), Takeo Kanade, the U.A. and Helen Whitaker University professor of computer science and robotics, and Ken Gabriel, professor of electrical and computer engineering and robotics.

—On display at the press gathering announcing the new center were several medical robotic technologies already in clinical practice, including HipNav, a computer-aided system developed by DiGioia and Kanade that helps the surgeon accurately place implants during total hip replacement surgery. DiGioia has conducted more than 200 hip replacements by using HipNav technology. Also on exhibit was Pearl the Nursebot, an interactive mobile robot that assists the elderly. Pearl was developed by a research team led by Sebastian Thrun of the university's Center for Automated Learning and Discovery.

—"What is being done here is enormously impressive," said Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), who participated in the press conference. "This is a community on the move, and high technology is a big factor. I like what I see. I pledge my support for your future achievements."

—The new center, which DiGioia said will help create the "medical tool box of the future," is also expected to bolster the region's economy. The center is expected to attract commercial partners and help spin off new medical technology companies.


EventScope (, an interactive computer interface that allows students to virtually explore remote places and planets from their classroom, is being tested by students in nine Pittsburgh regional schools. By using EventScope's stand-alone Java 3D-based viewer to navigate models of NASA sites on Mars, students get involved in the process of scientific discovery and virtually assume the role of a space scientist. Students also have access to data from NASA and Carnegie Mellon robotics expeditions.

—An interdisciplinary team of experts from the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry in the College of Fine Arts, the Robotics Institute, the Center for Innovation and Learning, and the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Geology and Planetary Science are responsible for EventScope, which debuted in November 2000.

—"The goal of EventScope is to use standard classroom computers to allow students to remotely experience far away places," said EventScope Director Peter Coppin of the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and the Robotics Institute.

—The EventScope team plans to distribute the software and its computer interactive learning approach to schools nationwide. Their eventual goal is to have the product available via a downloadable Web site version.


A Carnegie Mellon team is forming to participate in this year's Pittsburgh AIDS Walk at 10 a.m., Sunday, June 10. The walk is the biggest annual fund raiser for the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force, the region's largest service organization dedicated to HIV prevention, education and client support. Information on how to join the Carnegie Mellon team or pledge a donation is available by contacting or by visiting the Web


Nominations for this year's Andy Awards are due July 2. The university-wide staff recognition program honors staff for innovation, enthusiasm, citizenship and dedication. Nomination forms are available on the Web at and will be published in the next issue of the Carnegie Mellon News. Each nomination form must be accompanied by at least two statements of support, but no more than five. Each supporting statement should not be more than one page. For more information, see the Andy Awards Web site.


—University Libraries has added two important resources for chemistry online for Carnegie Mellon users. They are the Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, 4th edition, at and Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, 6th edition, at


Sharon Navoney, former executive director of development for the Graduate School of Industrial Administration (GSIA), has been named to the new position of associate vice president for development, effective July 1. She will serve under Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Robbee Baker Kosak as the liaison between the central development organization and each of the college development programs. "Her leadership style and development expertise will fill a big hole that currently exists both in communication and coordination between central development and the college fund-raising programs," Kosak said. To facilitate a smooth transition at GSIA, she will also maintain her duties there until a successor is named.

—Sigma Tau Gamma Foundation has recognized four Carnegie Mellon sophomores for their academic achievement. Each received a scholarship certificate and monetary award. The students are electrical and computer engineering majors Kuo-Kuang Kao and Lawrence Chang, and mechanical engineering majors Matthew DiCicco and Scott Driscoll.

Lola Komisin has recently joined Human Resources as an organizational development specialist for Learning and Development. She will be responsible for leadership and professional development programs, organizational improvement initiatives and interactive theatre training implementation. Komisin comes to Carnegie Mellon with more than 15 years of experience in education and organization development in university, healthcare and manufacturing environments.

—Assistant Vice President for University Relations Kyle Fisher-Morabito (HS 1985) has been named acting vice president for university relations, effective July 1. She replaces Don Hale, who has been appointed vice president for public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Gary Meckley, Carnegie Mellon's men's cross-country and track and field coach for the past 33 years, has announced his retirement. Under Meckley, the Tartans won 26 conference championships and set an NCAA Division III record with 129 consecutive cross-country victories from 1978-99.

Mary Shaw, the Alan J. Perlis professor of computer science, presented the keynote address, "The Coming-of-Age of Software Architecture Research," at the International Conference on Software Engineering. Shaw won the conference's contest for the best acronym for the word "Toronto" with her entry "Technical Ontologies Reify Object Notions Thorough Overkill." An abstract of her talk is on the Web at

Donna I. Marano, director of finance and administration for the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, was elected to a two-year term as treasurer of the Northeast Section of the International Society of Research Administrators.


June 10-13: Carnegie Mellon will host one of the largest gatherings ever of colloid, polymer and surface (CPS) scientists. The study of CPS is about "what makes brakes squeal and violins sing," said Physics Professor Stephen Garoff. During the conference, University Professor of Violin Andres Cardenes will play the Stradivarius he donated to the university.

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