Showcase Talks-Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship - Carnegie Mellon University

Showcase Talks, 2:00 pm, University Center, Rangos 1

Map and directions

To request an invitation, please contact Emily Stark

Faculty Research

Mor Harchol-Balter

Associate Professor of Computer Science

Dynamic Power Management in Data Centers

Energy costs for data centers continue to rise, but most of this energy is actually being wasted. Servers are only busy 10-30% of the time, but they are often left on, while idle, utilizing 60% more of peak power while in the idle state. The New York Times refers to this as "the industry dirty secret." Professor Harchol-Balter proposes dynamic power management solutions to cut this waste while continuing to meet response time goals.

Jonathan Cagan

George Tallman and Florence Barrett Ladd Professor in Engineering, Mechanical Engineering

Modeling Consumer Emotion

Uncover the emotional aspects of preference and how that preference leads to product choice. Outcomes can lead to better product development and better marketing alignment with the consumer. Learn about work in preference modeling, emotional-based models and brain mapping of decision making during conflict.

Raj Rajkumar (CIT '87, CIT '90)

George Westinghouse Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

What Happens When Vehicles Drive Themselves?

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have been building autonomous vehicles since the mid-1980s, culminating in the winning entry at the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge which required driverless vehicles to ply 60 miles in less than 6 hours in urban-like conditions. These multiple generations of autonomous platforms, however, were designed to function only in limited operating scenarios and also looked like prototypes – both of which are significant barriers to popular adoption. Now, working closely with General Motors, and with additional support from the US Department of Transportation and the National Science Foundation, Prof. Rajkumar’s team has created a normal-looking autonomous vehicle that boasts a broad set of capabilities including vehicular communications. This talk will summarize what this could mean to the future.

Aarti Singh

Assistant Professor of Machine Learning

Unleashing the Potential of Modern Neuroimaging

DSI (Diffusion Spectral Imaging) can map up to a million nerve fibers in the brain; however, computational considerations restrict neuroscientists to work with a small subsample, limiting our understanding of neural connections. Dr. Singh will present her group’s research on developing active machine learning methods that selectively perform most informative computations to enable learning from very high-resolution datasets.

Russell Schwartz

Professor of Biological Sciences and Computational Biology

Reconstructing Evolution of Tumor Cells by Computer Algorithms

Understanding how tumors evolve at the cellular level is important to many questions in diagnosing and treating cancer.  It is a hard problem, though, due to the extensive variability in tumors from patient to patient and even from cell to cell.  We will examine how computer algorithms can sort through this complexity, reconstruct models of tumor evolution and apply them to better understand and predict mechanisms of tumor progression.

Tuomas Sandholm

Professor of Computer Science

Modern Dynamic Kidney Exchanges

In kidney exchanges, patients with kidney disease can obtain compatible donors by swapping their own willing but incompatible donors. Dr. Sandholm will share experiences from using algorithms to run the UNOS US-wide kidney exchange and two regional ones. He will also present results on the role of long chains and discuss a brand new optimal probabilistic planning algorithm for this domain that generates plans that are robust against last-minute execution failures, such as positive crossmatches.

Startup Companies


Priya Narasimhan
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

YinzCam: The Ultimate Mobile Fan Experience

This is the story of how an undergraduate research project grew into a Carnegie Mellon spin-off that now produces technology used by 55+ professional sports teams in the U.S., and is expanding to stadiums overseas.


Greg Barlow (CS '08, CS '11) Project Scientist, Robotics Institute

Cutting Down on Congestion with Intelligent, Adaptive Traffic Signals

Traffic congestion costs U.S. drivers over $120 billion a year in wasted time and fuel. Improving the efficiency of traffic signals is one of the most cost effective ways of reducing congestion. Surtrac coordinates flows for many directions of travel and optimizes signal timings second-by-second for a true real-time response to current traffic, bringing intelligent, adaptive signal control to the urban grid.

Sharp Edge Labs

Marcel Bruchez
Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biological Sciences

Understanding Drugs and Accelerating Therapies

Pain, heart disease, cystic fibrosis and diabetes arise from defects in the “daily commute” of specific proteins in cells. When these target proteins fail to get to the surface in adequate quantities at the right time, disease occurs. Sharp Edge Labs has developed a robust cell-based assay technology that gives new insights into the action of candidate drug molecules on these subtle biological processes.


Doug Bernstein (CIT '12)


PECA Labs: Saving the Lives that Industry Ignores

PECA Labs is a medical device development company focused on rare pediatric cardiac disorders. Our first product is a heart valve that will help to save thousands of children every year from undergoing repeated open heart surgeries. The device with intra-operative construction has already shown greatly improved clinical results compared to any available option, has received HUD designation from FDA, and is expected to have full marketing approval within the next year.

ActivAided Orthotics

Kelly Collier (CIT '11)


ActivAided Orthotics: Restore Posture, Relieve Pain

ActivAided Orthotics' first product is RecoveryAid, posture training apparel designed to rehabilitate back pain by correcting the underlying biomechanics and poor posture that initially lead to and perpetuate a back injury. RecoveryAid uses tactile, tangible cues built into an easy to wear shirt that teaches the patient to hold proper spine alignment and conditions the muscles over time to keep that good posture as a habit.


Luis von Ahn (CS '03, CS '05)
Associate Professor of Computer Science

Free Language Education for the World

Duolingo builds a world with free education and no language barriers. Users are able to learn languages for free, while simultaneously translating on the Web. With 10 Million users in only 15 months, Duolingo is now the most popular way to learn languages online. The app is available on the Web, iPhone, iPad and Android. The company has raised 18.3 million in funding from Union Square Ventures, Ashton Kutcher’s A Grade Investments and NEA. In October of 2013 Duolingo launched its language incubator which allows anybody to add languages to the platform.

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Fall 2013: Pittsburgh