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8 1/2 x 11 News

August 2, 2001

Vol. 12, No. 4

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.

Previous editions are available online.


Provost Mark Kamlet has appointed Raj Reddy, the Herbert A. Simon university professor of computer science and robotics, to head Carnegie Mellon's future campus in Silicon Valley. Jim Morris, dean of the School of Computer Science (SCS), said Reddy, former dean of the SCS, will spend a "significant fraction of his time" in Silicon Valley for the next few years focusing on establishing a new master's of science program in information technology. Morris said the pilot education program will begin this January with about 20 students.

—"He's (Reddy) a giant in the field of computer science," said President Jared L. Cohon. "He'll be a great leader on our West Coast campus." "We have a famous and first-class faculty member directing the campus," Morris added. "That gives the project great credibility."

—Earlier this summer SCS named Brian Reid as its first faculty member to be headquartered in Silicon Valley. Reid will have an important role in the fledgling High Dependability Computing Consortium, which the university established with NASA late last year.

—Carnegie Mellon signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NASA in January 2000 to explore creating a branch campus at the NASA Ames Research Park in Moffett Field, Calif. Silicon Valley officials are now studying the project's environmental impact. The study is expected to be completed this fall.


Carnegie Mellon University, two of its key artificial intelligence researchers and a bevy of computer science and robotics graduate students are playing a leading role in RoboCup 2001 (, the five-year-old international sporting and scientific event making its U.S. debut in Seattle Aug. 4-10. More than 110 teams of autonomous soccer-playing robots from 23 countries will compete on the floor of the Washington State Convention and Trade Center. The event is sponsored by the RoboCup Federation, whose goal is to field a team of soccer playing robots that will beat the human world champions by 2050.

—Associate Professor of Computer Science Manuela Veloso is general chair of RoboCup 2001, and Robotics Institute Research Scientist Tucker Balch and alumnus Peter Stone are associate chairs. Veloso was instrumental in pushing for the creation of the RoboCup competitions since 1995. She saw robotic soccer as an excellent venue to illustrate her work in artificial intelligence and multi-agent learning. With Veloso at the helm, Carnegie Mellon researchers have been competing in RoboCup since its inception in 1997 in Nagoya, Japan.

—Carnegie Mellon is the only institution fielding teams in all divisions: the Small Robot League, Middle-sized League, Simulator League and the Sony Four-Legged Robot League. "CM-Dragons 01," the small robot team, includes doctoral students Ravi Balasubramanian, Michael Bowling, Brett Browning, James Bruce and Veloso. "CM-Pack 01," the Sony legged robot team which was featured in the July 30 issue of Newsweek magazine, includes Veloso, doctoral students Scott Lenser and Will Uther and undergraduate Martin Hock. "CM hammerheads 01," the middle-sized team, is led by Balch and includes robotics doctoral students Rosemary Emery, Ashley Stroupe and Steve Stancliff, and master's student Kevin Sikorsky. The simulation team, "ChaMeleons 01," includes doctoral students Paul Carpenter, Patrick Riley, Gal Kaminka and Veloso.


By studying images of the brain at work, Carnegie Mellon scientists have concluded that we cannot converse on cell phones without distracting our brains from the task of driving. In findings reported in the journal NeuroImage, a team led by Psychology Professor Marcel Just discovered that attending to a conversation significantly distracts the brain from processing complex visual information. "This has direct implications for cell phone use during driving because it answers one of the classic questions about human thinking," Just said. "We've demonstrated that the human brain has a limited ability to perform two cognitive tasks concurrently under demanding circumstances, such as simultaneously conversing and driving." For more on the study, see the July 26 "Cell Phones Distract Drivers" posting on the official.cmu-news bboard.


Debra Hamlin, Parking Services coordinator, has announced construction plans for the installation of the new pay-as-you-park system in the East Campus Garage, which will allow non-permit holders to pay only for the time they park their car. Construction will take place in three phases beginning Thursday, Aug. 2 and will take about seven weeks to complete. While construction is in progress, only one entrance and exit of the garage will be closed during each construction phase. Detailed information is posted on official.cmu-news for July 31.


The Office of Technology for Education is offering Blackboard 5 workshops in August for faculty and teaching assistants. Blackboard is an online course delivery tool available to Carnegie Mellon faculty. The workshops will cover the following topics: Blackboard Basics; What's New and Different in Blackboard 5; Online Quizzes, Homework and Gradebook in Blackboard; Facilitating Collaboration and Interaction with the Discussion Board and Groups; Planning & Designing Your Course.

—For workshop descriptions and schedules, go to


—The university changed Workers Compensation carriers this past July 1. Claims are now processed by The Hartford. The previous carrier was PHICO. There is no change for employees in the claim reporting process. Employees still need to complete a Supervisor's Injury/Illness report and an Employee Acknowledgment of Rights and Duties form and send the completed forms to the Benefits Office immediately following a work-related injury. Concentra is still the panel of physicians for university workers compensation claims.


Judith Klein-Seetharaman, a biological chemist working as a postdoc in the Computer Science Department, has received the Sofja Kovalevskaja-Science Prize from The Humboldt Foundation in Germany. The award comes with a cash prize of 1,708,000 Deutsch Marks, equivalent to about $1 million in American currency, for her research and expenses. The prize is intended to allow the recipients to establish their own reseach laboratory at an institution of their choice in Germany. The award honors top-level scientists under 35 years of age who are non-German or who have lived outside of Germany for at least five years. Klein-Seetharaman earned bachelor's degrees in biology and chemistry from the University of Cologne, Germany, and her doctor's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before coming to Carnegie Mellon.

Srinivasan Seshan, assistant professor of computer science, has received an IBM Faculty Partnership Award (FPA) and a National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Development Award. The IBM award was granted for his work in networking protocols and infrastructure for ubiquitous computing. He earned the NSF Career Award for his proposal, "Towards an Efficient Ubiquitous Computing Infrastructure," in which he will attempt to design a new networking and operating system infrastructure for the next generation of ubiquitous computing applications.

Egon Balas, the Lord university professor of operations research in the Graduate School of Industrial Administration, was awarded the Euro Gold Medal by the European Association of Operational Research Societies at its recent meeting in Rotterdam, Holland. This award is Europe's highest distinction in the field of operations research. Balas, who was a unanimous choice for the award, is the 14th scientist to receive the honor and the first American. He was recognized for his "leading role in integer programming during the last 35 years, and for his innovative and influential methodological breakthroughs that greatly impacted the practice of operations research."

—Correction: Paul Tompkins was omitted from the list of project team members in last week's news item about Hyperion, the solar-powered robot developed by researchers in the Robotics Institute for future long-term exploration of planets and moons.


Monday, Aug. 6: Best-selling author Gail Sheehy presents her latest work, "Chasing the Tiger," as part of the School of Drama's Monday Night Reading Series. 8 p.m., Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theater, Purnell Center for the Arts. Her play is the final production in the series focusing on new works by selected playwrights from around the country. Sheehy will be present at the reading of "Chasing the Tiger" and will participate in the discussion session. For more information, call the Drama box office at 412-268-2407.

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