Carnegie Mellon News Online Edition
In This Issue

Carnegie Mellon Establishes New Partnership with Taiwan

Autonomous "Groundhog" Maps Mathies Coal Mine

Council Approves New Campus Smoking Policy

French Professor Directs "Model for Matisse"

"Entertaining" Alumni Discuss Technology in Tinsel Town

Virtual Mass Spectrometry Lab Transforms Learning Experience

Cognition Lab Director Studies How Much Babies Know

New Award Category Rewards Inclusive Workplace Culture

Teresa Heinz Offers Parting Advice for Class of 2003

Phillips Family Spans a Century at Carnegie Mellon

Padua, Italy Next Stop for RoboChamps

Loftness, Morgan Earn Top Academic Honor

Teacher, Editor Has "Something New To Do Right Now"

Researchers Develop Crime Prevention Software

News Briefs
Full Steam Ahead

MCS Staffers Honored for Outstanding Achievement, Commitment, Teamwork

SEI Director Accepts VP Post at Georgia Tech

Tiny Procession at Children's School

MAM Program Celebrates 15th Anniversary

GSIA Rewards Staff for Excellence, Service

Alumnus Philip Dowd Creates New Seed Fund

Mentors Help Middle-School Students Win State Competition

NREC Wins Grant To Build Unmanned Ground Vehicle

University Receives Award for Innovative Use of Technology

Students to "Blast-Off" at RoboCamp

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Start Your Engines!
Carnegie Mellon mechanical engineering students will get a chance to test their formula-one race car and racing savvy in a new competition for college-age drivers at this year's Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, July 19 in Schenley Park. The Richard M. Caliguiri Collegiate Invitational is named in honor of the late Pittsburgh mayor and Vintage Grand Prix founder. The students will compete in a racing skills competition and in a timed slalom course race against teams from several universities, including the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State.

Carnegie Mellon Establishes New Partnership with Taiwan
Carnegie Mellon has sealed an agreement with Taiwanese officials establishing new research and educational outreach programs with the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and National Chiao-Tung University (NCTU) in Hsinchu, a research-rich area south of Taipei.

"Signing the agreement, marks the beginning of a long-term relationship," said Carnegie Mellon Provost Mark Kamlet. "We will work jointly with ITRI and its president, Chintay Shih, to identify future key technical areas of research."

Research at the government-sponsored ITRI lab will focus on circuit design and its application in communication, information technology, computer and consumer electronics, and multimedia.

Autonomous "Groundhog" Maps Mathies Coal Mine
Carnegie Mellon's Groundhog, an autonomous, four-wheeled robot with huge heavy duty tires, took an unprecedented trip into an abandoned coal mine in late May and was able to create accurate three-dimensional maps of its surroundings.

Students in the Robotics Institute's Mobile Robot Development class, taught by Systems Scientist Scott Thayer and Fredkin University Professor William L. "Red" Whittaker, developed the robot in response to an incident at the Quecreek Mine near Somerset, Pa. last July, when nine miners nearly drowned after they accidentally breached the wall of an adjacent flooded mine. Inaccurate maps were cited as a cause of the accident.

Groundhog's goal was to explore and map a 3,500-foot corridor of an abandoned coal mine near New Eagle in southwestern Pennsylvania. Overseeing the excursion were the Carnegie Mellon control team and officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

The robot entered the mine from a portal near its supply yard and traveled slowly into the mine at a speed of 1 mile per hour. About 1,000 feet into the mine, Groundhog, which sends its robot-eye view back to the control team through a wireless video system, encountered a fallen ceiling beam that crossed its path. It made the appropriate decision to retreat.

During its retreat, Groundhog had to reboot its computer system several times for reasons still unknown. Two safety officers from the DEP entered the mine to reset the robot's data transceiver. The robot's control team then reestablished communication and guided the robot out of the mine and back to its control truck under the robot's own power.

"The level of autonomy necessary to achieve this mission was remarkable," said Associate Computer Science Professor Sebastian Thrun, who contributed his site localization and mapping technology to the project.


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