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News Clips - April 20, 2007

From April 13 to April 19, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 563 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Gifts and bequests
The Chronicle of Higher Education | April 20
Carnegie Mellon University. To establish an endowed fund for a fellowship in the Mellon College of Science: more than $1-million from Brian and Astrid McWilliams.


Government, business would want say in New Internet
Fox News | April 18
The university researchers who began construction on the Internet some four decades ago never imagined the power their creation would have today. They toiled away in their labs quietly, and few outside cared. That won't be the case with a next-generation Internet envisioned as an ultimate replacement for the current one. Commercial and policy interests will likely play a bigger role this time as researchers explore "clean slate" designs that scrap the Internet's underlying architecture to better address security, mobility and other emerging needs. ... Carnegie Mellon professor Hui Zhang said some of the work there surrounds building incentives for network operators to update systems and pass along data efficiently. Researchers are realizing they can't simply rely on network operators' altruism, a tenet in the original design.,2933,266723,00.html


U.S. losing its lead in a vital branch of physics
McClatchy Newspapers | April 17
The United States is losing its lead in high-energy physics, a field of science it's dominated since the 1930s. ... Raymond Orbach, the undersecretary for science at the U.S. Department of Energy, told disappointed high-energy physicists in February that the International Linear Collider won't be ready until at least 2025, and more likely the end of that decade. ... New accelerators such as the International Linear Collider might discover such higher dimensions by "kicking particles with enough energy that they could disappear into the extra dimensions," said Fred Gilman, head of the physics department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and chairman of the Department of Energy's High Energy Physics Advisory Committee. "Particle accelerators would allow the discovery of such dimensions, and measurement of their shapes and sizes.


Computer science takes steps to bring women to the fold
The New York Times | April 17
For decades, undergraduate women have been moving in ever greater numbers into science and engineering departments at American universities. Yet even as they approach or exceed enrollment parity in mathematics, biology and other fields, there is one area in which their presence relative to men is static or even shrinking: computer science. ... “Women are the canaries in the coal mine,” Lenore Blum, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, told an audience at Harvard University in March, in a talk on this “crisis” in computer science. Factors driving women away will eventually drive men away as well, she and others say.


Wolfowitz's World Bank fate in limbo
USA Today | April 15
The World Bank emerged from its annual spring meeting Sunday a troubled institution that confronts deep-seated challenges extending well beyond the controversy about its embattled president. Speaking at a news conference in Washington, bank President Paul Wolfowitz insisted he would remain in office despite the storm over his handling of a high-paying promotion for his bank employee girlfriend. ... Once the unquestioned arbiter of aid for developing countries, the bank's influence now is shadowed by the rise of alternative sources of aid. Private charities such as the Gates Foundation now fund health programs in the developing world, while newly flush countries such as China offer aid without the political conditions the bank requires. The bank lends about $20 billion annually, but much of that money goes to countries such as Mexico that could obtain financing from capital markets, says Adam Lerrick, an economics professor at Carnegie Mellon University.


Researchers explore scrapping Internet
MSNBC (Associated Press) | April 13
Although it has already taken nearly four decades to get this far in building the Internet, some university researchers with the federal government's blessing want to scrap all that and start over. The idea may seem unthinkable, even absurd, but many believe a "clean slate" approach is the only way to truly address security, mobility and other challenges that have cropped up since UCLA professor Leonard Kleinrock helped supervise the first exchange of meaningless test data between two machines on Sept. 2, 1969. ... The National Science Foundation wants to build an experimental research network known as the Global Environment for Network Innovations, or GENI, and is funding several projects at universities and elsewhere through Future Internet Network Design, or FIND. Rutgers, Stanford, Princeton, Carnegie Mellon and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are among the universities pursuing individual projects. ... Princeton already runs a smaller experimental network called PlanetLab, while Carnegie Mellon has a clean-slate project called 100 x 100. These days, Carnegie Mellon professor Hui Zhang said he no longer feels like "the outcast of the community" as a champion of clean-slate designs.


What's left for the IMF?
The Wall Street Journal | April 13
Members of the International Monetary Fund will meet in Washington this weekend and, almost certainly, once again go home without facing up to the facts of a new financial universe: Developing economies no longer orbit around the IMF and, in any case, the Fund doesn't command the resources necessary to control surging capital markets. ***This article was written by Carnegie Mellon professor of economics, Adam Lerrick.

Education for Leadership

Students mourn, remember at candlelight vigils
KDKA | April 18
Students gathering together to hold candlelight vigils has become an important part of the mourning and remembrance process for college students not just at Virginia Tech, but across the country. Last night, students at Robert Morris University came together for a vigil and flag-lowering ceremony to remember those who lost their lives in Monday’s shootings. And tonight, students at Carnegie Mellon University came together to mourn and show their support for those left behind.

Arts and Humanities

Stage review: The Orestei Project is intellectual and deeply provoking
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | April 19
Long in the conceptualizing by director Jed Allen Harris and in the making by practically the whole Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, what it calls The Oresteia Project is imaginative theater, staged with breathtaking brio. In its dialogue with the text of Aeschyus' famous trilogy of 458 B.C., one of the essential cornerstones of Western art, it plumbs primal issues of mankind's relationships with the gods and its own passions. It is one of the theatrical events of recent years.


Opera Theatre settles into Byham for 2007-08
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | April 15
Pittsburgh will have a second opera company performing in the Cultural District starting next season, when Opera Theater will offer a subscription series of three new productions at the Byham Theater. ... We expect to sell more tickets at the Byham," artistic director Jonathan Eaton says. Multiple performing locations also made it impractical to offer subscriptions, he says. ... Eaton hopes to start a local New Year's tradition of staging "Die Fledermaus" by waltz king Johann Strauss Jr. This comedy also will be sung in English. Eaton still is casting the production, but says Shadyside-based mezzo-soprano Myrna Paris -- who also performs nationally -- will sing and play piano for a cabaret show during the operetta's New Year's Eve party scene. Carnegie Mellon conductor Walter Morales will lead the performance.


America's colossal art collection raises questions of priority
Houston Chronicle | April 13
Barbara Ernst Prey is accustomed to painting things she can see — lobster boats near her home on Long Island, N.Y., seascapes of summertime Maine. But when she agreed to paint the international space station years before its projected 2010 completion, she was forced to rely on pure imagination and the counsel of NASA scientists and astronauts. ... Prey's depiction — a glowing outpost orbiting in a black, star-spangled sky above a bright-blue Earth — joined the space agency's 800-piece art collection in a gallery at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. ... Since the nation's founding, painters, photographers, musicians, dancers, sculptors — even avant-garde performance artists — have been commissioned or have donated their work to convey information to the public about the workings of its government and to provide the American people with a vast cultural record of historical events. Their works are showcased in federal buildings, in embassies and in galleries around the world. "The federal government has, almost from the beginning, been very involved in commissioning art that would promote a certain understanding of what America is," said Scott Sandage, a cultural historian at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. "It ranges from coinage and currency to postage stamps and WPA (Works Progress Administration) murals in post offices, all the way up to Norman Rockwell's paintings of Franklin D. Roosevelt's 'Four Freedoms.


U3 Festival notes
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | April 13
For the third time in five years, the music departments of the universities of Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne and Pittsburgh have joined forces for a series of concerts celebrating their wealth of composers. The U3 Festival brings university ensembles together to perform works by departmental composers.


An appreciation: Kurt Vonnegut / A generation 'devoured' his novels
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | April 13
Since the day Mark Twain joined the lecture circuit, Americans have wanted their authors to be performers -- and Kurt Vonnegut didn't let them down. ... "He was a very funny guy at one time," said Hilary Masters, "but then he got too much into this quasi-folksiness, this Mark Twain image with the hair and the suits." ... A novelist and essayist himself, Mr. Masters said he met Mr. Vonnegut in the 1960s "when he began to bloom as a unique writer. There was nobody around who wrote like him. "The funny thing is that when he started out, he was a pretty conventional writer in books like 'Player Piano,' Then something happened. We were all very taken with 'Slaughterhouse-Five,' " said the Carnegie Mellon University literature and writing professor.

Information Technology

Carnegie Mellon prof proposes faster P2P music, movie downloads
Campus Technology | April 17
A Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist has proposed a way to speed transferring large data files, such as movies and music, with a technology that would generalize the types of files that could be moved over peer to peer networks. David Andersen, assistant professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon, and Michael Kaminsky of Intel Research Pittsburgh have designed the system, called Similarity-Enhanced Transfer (SET). The system increases the number of potential sources for downloads. Boosting the number of sources usually translates into faster P2P downloads, Andersen said.


Bits&Bytes: Startup has 'secret' product to increase online video capacity
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | April 14
"March Madness" was given new meaning when 300,000 fans -- many from their desks at work -- were simultaneously watching CBS' Web cast of the NCAA's Final Four showdown earlier this month. "Think about how much bandwidth they used," said Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor and serial entrepreneur Hui Zhang. College basketball fans were using so much "juice," said Dr. Zhang, CBS had to set up "cyber waiting rooms" for the unlucky wanna-be viewers who hadn't logged on in time to access the feed. Rinera Networks, the startup Dr. Zhang launched last year with his former student-turned-partner, Berkeley Professor Ion Stoica, plans to unveil by the end of the year a top-secret product that aims to increase the number of people who can watch video online simultaneously. But right now, the two men aren't saying how. ... Dr. Zhang said his Carnegie Mellon connections -- colleagues such as CombineNet founder Tomas Sandholm and Panasas founder Garth Gibson -- lead to his link-up with the California investors.


Heinz Kerry just quieter, not silent
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | April 15
She is no longer the outspoken, freewheeling quote-machine of the early 2004 presidential campaign, the woman beside Democratic nominee Sen. John F. Kerry who intrigued voters and frazzled political handlers with her tendency to say exactly what she thought on everything from health care policy to botox, from pre-nups to Rick Santorum. ... But get Mrs. Heinz Kerry started on the new book about the environment she co-wrote with her husband, or the free conference on women's health and the environment she's hosting Friday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown, and she is soon in full roar, albeit in a soft, accented voice. ... But, as heir to the ketchup fortune of her late husband, Sen. John Heinz, and chair of the $1.3 billion Heinz Endowments, she seems most to relish her role as a kind of connoisseur of brain power, raving about the smart people she's lured to the conference or to her foundation the way some collectors gush about their latest Lamborghini. Dr. Christine Gabriel, hired from Carnegie Mellon University by the Heinz Endowments last year, is fiercely described as a "brilliant engineer," while one of the conference's speakers, John Peterson Myers, is "amazing.


Scientists Identify Genes Activated During Learning And Memory
ScienceDaily | April 19
Researchers have long recognized that for learning and memory to take place, certain genes must be activated to alter neuron activity inside the brain. Disruptions in normal gene expression within these neurons can lead to alarming consequences, such as seizures and epilepsy. But identifying and cataloging all the genes involved in learning is a daunting task. In the March 13 issue of BMC Neuroscience, Carnegie Mellon University scientists show how an innovative computational approach can provide a rapid way to identify the likely members of this long sought-after set of genes. ... The work could ultimately lead to the development of drugs to treat neurological disorders," said Alison Barth, assistant professor of biological sciences and a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC). "We also expect this work to provide a valuable platform for any investigator to understand how neurons change at the molecular level during learning and the formation of memory.

Regional Impact

Area, Cleveland science groups to cooperate
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | April 18
When it comes to the fields of biomedicine and bioscience, the Pittsburgh and Cleveland regions have a lot in common, says John W. Manzetti. That's why Manzetti, CEO of The Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, and Baiju R. Shah, his counterpart at BioEnterprise in Cleveland, plan to cooperate in a joint economic development initiative. ... "There's a lot of logic to this," said Donald Smith, director of economic development for Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. Joining forces to promote companies in both regions would likely draw more attention from national venture capital firms, he said.


Al Jazeera visit Pittsburgh for interview with PeaceMaker gamers
Pop City Media | April 18
Al Jazeera, yes, the Middle East television network of Osama bin Laden fame, flew into Pittsburgh last week and dropped in on the South Side offices of ImpactGames for an interview with the designers of PeaceMaker, the hot new video game that promotes peace and understanding by putting players in the midst of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “They are part of our target audience so this is very good for us, ” says ImpactGames CEO Eric Brown. The game, which may be played in English, Hebrew and Arabic, is gaining particular momentum overseas since its release on Feb. 1st of this year. “Al Jazeera wanted to know how the idea came about,” Brown says. “We met with Carnegie Mellon advisors of the project and some of the students to give them the American response to it. The reporter had played the game and was very informed. He seemed very pleased with the footage.” ... PeaceMaker was developed by Eric Brown and Asi Burak, a former Israeli intelligence officer, both graduates of Carnegie Mellon University. The player’s goal is to "establish a stable resolution to the conflict and win the Nobel Prize." As one Israeli reviewer conveyed: “For those of us who live and work here, it hits very close to home.


Newsmaker: C. Fred Higgs III
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | April 16
Residence: Squirrel Hill. Family: Wife, Teresa. Education: Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Tennessee State University in 1995; master's and doctorate in mechanical engineering, 1997 and 2001, respectively, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Noteworthy: Received the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development Award and a five-year, $400,000 grant to develop sophisticated computer models that can predict wear problems on various surfaces. The grant will help Higgs in expanding an existing tribology (science of the mechanisms of friction, lubrication and wear of interacting surfaces in motion) course by adding laboratory projects at Carnegie Mellon and pre-college workshops at Westinghouse High School. Occupation: Assistant professor of engineering at Carnegie Mellon University; has been at university since September 2003.


Businesses, customers get on first name basis
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | April 15
You, Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So, might have noticed a hot trend at retail establishments. You're about to travel merrily on the road to checkout anonymity when an eager clerk flips up your credit card and wishes you -- personally, by first or last name -- to have a nice day. It's a strategy extolled by many customer service experts, who argue that such personalization makes customers feel important, perhaps even pampered. ... Carnegie Mellon University Professor George Loewenstein notes that, if nothing else, our own name gets our attention. In studies on the "cocktail party effect," he said, people will pick out the sound of their own names even when they are spoken in a noisy room. ... Different uses of names can convey different messages from a business. Addressing a customer by "Mr." or "Ms." might establish a posh tone for the business. "If we move to hotels as an analogy," said Peter Boatwright, a Carnegie Mellon marketing professor, "the upscale, premium hotels, the Four Seasons type, are going to use your name. By association, if I know that and I walk into a bank, I might put that bank at a premium level of service." ... Mr. Boatwright and fellow Carnegie Mellon Professor Rahul Telang recently did a study in which they tested how people responded to being addressed by name in e-mail correspondence from a company that they had done business with in the past.


Caterpillar robot 'treats hearts'
BBC News | April 18
A robotic caterpillar has been designed which can crawl across the surface of the heart to deliver treatment. New Scientist reports a prototype of the HeartLander device, created by US researchers, has been tested on pigs. The tiny robot, just a few centimetres long, can move at up to 18 centimetres per minute, controlled by "push and pull" wires from outside the body. The British Heart Foundation said the "caterpillar" could one day be useful, but much more research was needed. The HeartLander has been designed by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. ... Dr. Cameron Riviere, who led the research, says its use could allow procedures to be carried out without having to stop the heart, reducing the risk of illness linked to heart bypass procedures.


Hard disk failure rates 'up to 13pc'
Australian IT | April 17
Hard disk failure rates are much higher than manufacturers claim, according to a new study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. The researchers found that large-scale installation field usage appears to differ widely from nominal datasheet MTTF (mean time to failure) conditions, as the field replacement rates of systems were significantly larger than expected, based on datasheet MTTFs. ... "We observe little difference in replacement rates between SCSI, FC and SATA drives, potentially an indication that disk-independent factors, such as operating conditions, affect replacement rates more than component specific factors," says Garth Gibson, a co-author of the report, Disk failures in the real world: What does an MTTF of 1,000,000 hours mean to you?,7204,21553519%5E15321%5E%5Enbv%5E15306,00.html


Tel Aviv University in top gear for Earth Day
Malaysia Sun | April 16
Earth Day is the special time of the year when people around the globe celebrate advances made to protect the environment. It is also a time when people concentrate on creating new visions for the state of our planet. In honor of Earth Day this year, Tel Aviv University’s Porter School of Environmental Studies says it will be hosting two conferences with the environment in mind: Renewable Energy and Israel’s first conference on Green Chemistry. The School will also lead the judging panel and award prizes at Israel’s new environmental film festival, Ecolnoa. ... Representatives from other Israeli academic institutions will also present keynotes; foreign guests will include internationally acclaimed scientists such as Prof. Terry Collins, the director of the Institute For Green Oxidation Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University; and Prof. Peter Sundin, director of the International Program in Chemical Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden.


Now, a SET system for faster downloads from Internet
Malaysia Sun | April 14
A Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist and an Intel researcher duo claim to have designed a system that allows for faster transferring of large data files, such as movies and music, over the Internet. David G. Andersen, assistant professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon, and Michael Kaminsky of Intel Research Pittsburgh say the Similarly Enhanced Transfer (SET) system speeds up the download process by configuring the peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing services to share not only identical files, but also similar files.


Theme of the three-day conference in 'Transforming the World through Technology'.
EFY Times | April 14
The IIT 2007 Global Alumni Conference, organized by PanIITInc, is going to be held in San Clara, California between 6 July and 8 July 2007. Keynote speakers at the conference will be Hillary Clinton, Senator, New York; Jeff Immelt, CEO, GE; and Arun Sarin, CEO, Vodafone and over 4000 attendees are expected to attend the conference. The conference will provide an opportunity to discuss the cutting edge technology issues like Clean Technology and Web 2.0. ... "The 2007 conference will build on the very successful IIT 2006 conference in Mumbai that was inaugurated by Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. The Pan IIT movement is rapidly picking up steam. In 2006, we had conferences in Mumbai, Singapore and Toronto, and in 2007, there are regional events planned in Paris and Tokyo, in addition to the Global Conference in Santa Clara," said another organizer, Ashu Garg. Nobel laureate Arno Allan Penzias (1978 Nobel Prize in physics); Jared L. Cohon, president, Carnegie Mellon University; Rajat Gupta, McKinsey; Arjun Malhotra, CEO, Headstrong; entrepreneur and philanthropist Kanwal Rekhi; Sunil Wadhwani, iGATE and other luminaries from around the world will look hard at the future, explore the frontiers of new thought and technology and identify the next big forces and trends that will sweep across the world.