When it comes to developing technology talent, one could say that what happens in Pittsburgh doesn't always stay in Pittsburgh. Carnegie Mellon hopes to change that through Project Olympus.
The initiative, launched with a grant from the Heinz Endowments, is designed to create and sustain computing innovation in Western Pennsylvania.
According to Carnegie Mellon Professor Lenore Blum, about 95 percent of the 400 computer science students who graduated in spring 2007 are leaving the 'burgh to pursue their careers. As Project Olympus director, Blum is taking an active role in turning the tide.
"With Project Olympus, we aim to build an infrastructure and foster a climate that will enable talent to take root and flourish in the region," said Blum, a distinguished career professor of computer science. "We feel that by attracting a new wave of technology company labs, and stimulating new business opportunities here, we can increase career opportunities for the technological talent graduating from local universities."
At the initiative's core is a prestigious and highly visible research, education and development Innovation Lab designed to attract and train young researchers and entrepreneurs.
Teams of post-bachelors, post-masters and post-doctorals — known as Olympus Scholars — work together with faculty, current students and industrial researchers to tackle challenges surrounding web search, super-intelligent computing, high-performance computing and high-assurance software. They are guided by business leaders as they transform research results into products, services and new enterprises.
"It's all very exciting," said Blum. "In a very short time, Olympus has become a hub and showcase for new Carnegie Mellon technologies. The enthusiastic response from the regional innovation investment community has been amazing! I'm very optimistic."