Faculty and Researchers in the News
Fortune Magazine, June
True Internet nirvana is a school like Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon, where the network is not only fast but wireless.... Kids loll on the grassy quad and surf the Web, or lounge on black leather chairs in the student center while they check their email.... Maybe someday we won't be chained to our desktop PCs either.
Fast Company Magazine, July
A visit to Craig Vogel's cluttered office at Carnegie Mellon University is a journey to the intersection of creative destruction and American consumerism. His shelves are a graveyard; a loving anthology; and a shrine to the good, the great, and the truly idiotic. Here's that indestructible metal toaster you used when you were a kid. There are radios, coffeemakers, blenders. And there are potato peelers lots of potato peelers.
Vogel is a professor of design. With Jonathan Cagan, a mechanical engineering professor at the university, he teaches a course in product development. The two academics research and consult on the subject of new product design for such companies as Ford Motor, Motorola, and Whirlpool. This is what they've learned so far: Companies don't do a very good job of developing new products. In their book, Creating Breakthrough Products: Innovation from Product Planning to Program Approval, Vogel and Cagan advocate an integrated approach to product design. Innovative new products, the authors argue, come from mastering the "fuzzy front end." They happen when a company delivers on both style and technology in a way that can provide some measure of fantasy....
Computerworld Magazine, July 1
The National Institute of Standards and Technology, in its report on software bugs, said testing standards could reduce costs [related to software bugs], but it doesn't suggest how to get to that point. One group working on software quality problems is the Sustainable Computing Consortium, which consists of 18 organizations from all sectors of the economy and is located at Carnegie Mellon University. The consortium has teamed up with the school to develop new standards, measurement tools and best practices research to improve software quality, dependability and security. "There is no way for vendors and users to measure the quality of the code," said William Guttman, a professor of economics and technology at Carnegie Mellon. Security issues fuel much of the demand for code improvements. Users need to get mad, said Shawn Hernan, the team leader for vulnerability handling at the CERT Coordination Center at Carnegie Mellon. "Anger would be the right thing, particularly in respect to security. It's literally the same mistakes being made over and over again," he said.
New York Times, July 4
The new prominence of women in leadership roles at colleges is a result of both a growing number of women with administrative experience and of concerted efforts by many universities to recruit more women at the top. The fact that women are now 56 percent of all college students is probably also a factor ... "When the top deans are all men, it doesn't strike most people as odd," said Barbara B. Lazarus, associate provost at Carnegie Mellon University. "But to have all these women at a time when we still use 'woman' as a modifier we say woman president is remarkable."
ABC News, July 11
Washington Post, July 15
Peha and Marvin Sirbu, a professor, dispatched a few students to set up two lookout posts: one on top of a campus building at Carnegie Mellon, and the other on a bluff overlooking Pittsburgh. From these, they measured how much bandwidth was being used by radio stations, cellular phones and other users of the airwaves.... "Spectrum use was highly sporadic," Peha said. Although the findings were based on a limited sample, they suggest that plenty of spectrum is available if it is used more efficiently, he said.
Washington Post, July 16
Welcome to the world of Net thinking, a form of reasoning that characterizes many students who are growing up with the Internet as their primary, and in some cases, sole source of research. Ask teachers and they'll tell you: Among all the influences that shape young thinking skills, computer technology is the biggest one. "Students' first recourse for any kind of information is the Web. It's absolutely automatic," says Kenneth Kotovsky, a psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University who has examined the study habits of young people.
Washington Post, July 24
Internet security issues need to be addressed in boardrooms and executive suites, not just data centers and network storage closets. That's the message one industry organization is trying to convey by targeting the upper echelon of management with a guide on how to ward off potential threats.
The guide, to be released today by the Internet Security Alliance, recommends that executives adopt 10 key practices in order to protect their organizations' vulnerable networks and content. The Arlington-based alliance is the joint effort of Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute, the institute's CERT Coordination Center and the Electronics Industries Alliance.
"We've been dealing over the years with a lot of security incidents, and typically we get the reports from the technical people, not the executives. Often they feel they are not getting the support that they need from the management," said Richard D. Pethia, director of CERT.
Wall Street Journal, July 26
Compare the creative destruction of this summer's US stock slaughter to the protracted agony of the Argentine crisis. More than seven months after the government announced a freeze on bank accounts, a confiscation of dollar deposits, sovereign debt default, and a painful devaluation, Argentine markets cannot clear. The reason is simple. The difference between a fast, sharp rationalization of prices in the US market and the paralysis that is Argentina is the ability to assign costs, rapidly and efficiently, in the midst of a debacle.
"Time is the enemy here," says Adam Lerrick, director of the Gailliot Center at Carnegie Mellon, "The longer the delay, the greater the costs. What the government has been doing for these many months is trying to figure out who is going to pay for the mismanagement," says Mr. Lerrick.
Reuters, July 28
"It was right to respond to the Asian crisis and to the possible problems that might have fallen from Russia and Long-Term Capital," Carnegie Mellon University professor Allan Meltzer said. "But I think they stayed with that much too long." At that time, Meltzer headed the Shadow Open Market Committee, a prominent group of economists who closely monitor measures of the nation's money supply to gauge the appropriateness of Fed policy. "We warned about the fact that they were printing too much money in 1999, 2000," he said. "Certainly some of that money found its way into the stock market."
Discover Magazine, August
A sociable robot doesn't have to be smartit just has to fool us into believing it is. Horatio "Doc" Beardsley sits in a small, windowless room in the Entertainment Technology Center at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University, chatting away while he awaits a minor checkup. In a slightly blustery voice, he discusses his life experiences, describes his inventions, and answers questions, all with a corny sense of humor....
Doc is a fake, a robot programmed to respond to spoken keywords with canned lines. He will start talking spontaneously after 6.5 seconds of silence, feign forgetfulness if he cannot match input to output, and generally bluff his way through the art of conversation....
Todd Camill, a research engineer at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute, says robots endowed with synthetic intelligence could soon make their public debut as animatronic characters in theme parks and museums. Doc Beardsley's life began about two years ago when Camill and Tim Eck, a recent graduate of the Entertainment Technology Center program, joined forces. They wanted to show that a robot could be a captivating performer even if it did not have massive brainpower. Their key goal was merely to create a convincing illusion of intelligence.
Wall Street Journal, Aug. 15
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