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News Clips - February 16, 2007

From February 9 to February 15, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 327 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Wireless sensors extend internet's reach
MSNBC (AP) | February 14
To the untrained eye, the sleek, airy building constructed atop a decommissioned nuclear reactor at the University of California, Los Angeles could pass for high-tech office space. A closer inspection of the glass-and-steel facade reveals dozens of miniature, low-resolution cameras and sensors. They're wirelessly linked to computers throughout the 6,000-square-foot space, keeping tabs on traffic flow in public areas and monitoring temperature, humidity and acoustics. ... As with any wireless technology, sensor networks can be prone to malicious security attacks or illegal eavesdropping, said Adrian Perrig, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He has written extensively about security and privacy hurdles of wireless sensor communication and is working to create more secure networks. "If poorly secured networks are deployed and exploited, people may have significant concerns about sensor technology," he said.


The human factor in gadget, Web design
CNET | February 12
One obvious reason is that the video-sharing Web site has kept it simple. YouTube doesn't require a video player download or a special account just to watch a video. With just a click on a link, a video is up and running in a few seconds. It's a people-friendly design, and that attention to simplicity has paid off. Experts in the field of so-called human-computer interaction, however, say good design like the YouTube interface is the exception, not the rule. For every slick Apple iPod, there are a dozen washing machines with a baffling array of buttons. And for every simple TiVo interface, there are umpteen TV remote controls that look like something out of NASA's Mission Control. ... "Design is starting to change who succeeds and who fails," said Alonso Vera, a senior research scientist at NASA Ames Research Center who's also a senior systems scientist at Carnegie Mellon University. "A few years ago that wasn't true. If I had a better algorithm, I would win," he said.,+Web+design/2100-1008_3-6158224.html


Plagued with relationship troubles? Blame your parents.
Washington Post | February 12
So, Valentine's Day is two days away, but you know he isn't going to bring you any flowers. And instead of a cuddle and a kiss, you know she is going to dig up that old canard about your mother. ... Forget about Hallmark cards and chocolate. Just in time for Valentine's Day, scientists are announcing the results of an astonishing two-decade-long study that explored the connection between insecure infants and relationship problems in young adults. Turns out the kind of baby you were at 12 months can say a lot about the kind of lover you will be at 21. ... At its core, said Brooke Feeney, a social psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University who published another study in the same journal, research into the factors that predict happiness in our personal lives reveals a paradox about relationships -- and a timely lesson for Valentine's Day.

Education for Leadership

Engineering students get to operate on surgery ideas
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 14
In an operating room, one expects to see a patient on the operating table surrounded by surgeons, nurses and high-tech equipment. But on a recent evening in Allegheny General Hospital, four operating rooms were crowded with Carnegie Mellon University students in bunny suits (blue overalls worn in operating rooms) and hair bonnets. Don't worry: They weren't doing surgery. But in one room, they were taking turns using electronic scalpels -- Bovie pens -- to cut, then suture porterhouse steaks. But these weren't just everyday porterhouse: "Good porterhouse," Dr. James Burgess said. ... Dr. Burgess offered to teach such a course at Carnegie Mellon and university officials took him up on the offer. AGH officials also supported the program. ... Todd Przybycien, director of Carnegie Mellon's biomedical engineering department, said the course is "wildly popular" because students get hands-on experience and have a rare chance of working with surgeons.


2007 Education Planning Guide: Professors provide vital relationships
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 14
They take care of students' plants and fish over spring break. They make their students want to be well-read in classical literature. They inspire their students' academic and career interests. From Chatham College to Carnegie Mellon University, English literature to electrical engineering, these are what some students consider the marks of a good professor. And for students testing the academic waters, professors can make or break an educational experience. Sometimes, the most critical encounter with a professor comes in an introductory course. "A good professor answers 'why' without someone asking it," said Aneeb Qureshi, 19, a sophomore in electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon. "And good professors have kids asking questions." For Mr. Qureshi, this professor is Tom Sullivan.


Undergraduate applications set record at Carnegie Mellon
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 13
Undergraduate applications to Carnegie Mellon University jumped 19 percent this year, to a record-setting 22,052, from 18,493 applications last year. The school's numbers as of Feb. 1, and data released by several other top universities in recent days, suggest yet another round of application surges among some of the nation's leading schools. Over the last four years, applicant totals to Carnegie Mellon have climbed by 56 percent, according to university data. Mike Steidel, the school's director of admission, said the volume appears linked to such factors as the ease with which students can apply electronically to many schools, and publicity his own school received from favorable college rankings, including Kaplan/Newsweek's description of Carnegie Mellon in August as one of 25 "new Ivies."


Tepper contest goes statewide, Carnegie Mellon eyes national stage next
Pittsburgh Business Times | February 12
Carnegie Mellon University is taking its Tepper Venture Challenge statewide, with an aim toward making the undergraduate business-plan competition a national contest within the next few years. "We want it to be broader than Carnegie Mellon," said Arthur Boni, director of the Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business. "You increase the diversity of teams, get more participation and raise the level of competition. That's what it's all about.

Arts and Humanities

Art museum presents the installation of Messa di Voce
Art Daily | February 15
The Art Museum continues its dedication to new media art with the installation of Messa di Voce on February 13. Messa di Voce, which literally translates to “placing the voice”, enables public play and exploration through the fiction that the voice can be seen. Artists and engineers Zachary Lieberman and Golan Levin, working together with international vocalists-composers Jaap Blonk and Joan La Barbara, have created an extraordinary new media artwork that melds the latest in computer vision with cutting-edge speech analysis. ... Levin has been producing internationally acclaimed works since 2000 and has been described as one of the “Top 100 Innovators Under 35” by Technology Review and “one of the most brilliant figures in contemporary audiovisual art” by the Spanish newspaper El Pais. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Electronic Time-Based Art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.


N.C poses web rules
Winston-Salem Journal | February 13
Each day, thousands of teenagers log onto and other social-networking Web sites. They listen to music, send messages to friends, keep online diaries and post photos of themselves. They also may be putting themselves at risk to child predators. That risk is serious enough, says North Carolina's highest law-enforcement official, that nobody under 16 should be allowed to use those sites. Criminals who target children see MySpace as a "smorgasbord," Attorney General Roy Cooper said yesterday. ... Though acknowledging that any system would have holes, Cooper said that there are programs that MySpace could use to ensure that children obtain parental consent before signing up. He also said that there are ways that the site could check users' ages against public databases. David Krackhardt, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and an expert on social networking, said he is wary of excessive governmental monitoring over the Internet. He is also the father of three children - ages 11, 14 and 17 - and he said he believes that online predators are a serious problem. "I'd hate to see us move in the direction of China, where they've decided to take over all kinds of control on the Web," Krackhardt said. "I think there has to be a compromise." He added that he finds age-verification systems troubling.!local news&s=1037645509099


People underestimate illegal drug cravings
Earth Times | February 12
People who try illegal drugs underestimate the influence drug cravings may have over their behavior, according to a U.S. study. George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon University hypothesized that people experiment with drugs that they know are addictive in part because they can't appreciate the intensity of drug cravings, and thus underestimate the likelihood that they will become addicted.


Dyslexia begins when the wires don't meet
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 11
It's one of Marcel Just's favorite cartoons. A man has just finished painting a sign on the door of a building. It reads: "Institute for the Study of Daily Sex." A man standing next to him says, "Maybe you'd better let me spell dyslexia." Dr. Just, a brain researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, appreciates the humor, even though he knows it's based on a common misconception -- that dyslexia is a visual scrambling of letters and words. The work done by Dr. Just and his colleagues at Carnegie Mellon, as well as brain imaging carried out at Georgetown University, Yale University and other centers, has now proven that seeing letters in reverse or out of order is not the cause of of dyslexia. ... The area lights up brightly on brain scans as normal readers sound out words, said Ann Meyler, a post-doctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon. In poor readers, it is much less active.

Information Technology

Carnegie Mellon software aids NASA's Mars rovers
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 13
New software developed at Carnegie Mellon University will allow the Mars rovers -- Spirit and Opportunity -- to explore the red planet more efficiently. Or as NASA claims, it will teach old rovers new tricks. Tony Stentz, research professor in Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute, developed the software with student David Ferguson, now with Intel. NASA tested the software on earthbound rovers before uploading the software to Opportunity and Spirit last summer. Tests done Wednesday on Opportunity worked well, said Mark Maimone, a NASA rover mobility engineer who earned his doctoral degree at Carnegie Mellon.


Nintendo Wii Remote, other controllers may cause classic game pad to lose grip
San Diego Union Tribune | February 12
In the beginning, or shortly thereafter, there was the game pad. With its directional control, or D-pad, on one side and buttons on the other, the game pad has ruled the video game console since the 1983 Nintendo Entertainment System. ... RedOctane's “Guitar Hero” surprised the gaming world when it strummed its way onto NPD Group's top-seller list with a plastic guitar-shaped controller. The sequel, “Guitar Hero II,” made the list again last year, reaching No. 2 in December, despite the extra $30 for the controller that came bundled with the game. ... Tina Blaine, a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center, says the success of “Guitar Hero” and the Wii marks a milestone of sorts for mainstream gaming. “It's definitely a sign that things are changing,” Blaine said. Video game companies rarely take risks, so the success of products built around two unconventional controllers is a big deal, she said. “It confirms that people are looking for new types of experiences,” Blaine said.


Global gamers craft war from home
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | February 11
Dan Mauldin doesn't mind when he's stuck at home, mostly because a social outlet beyond his imagination awaits online. And it's no chat room. Mauldin, 14, a freshman at Upper St. Clair High School, is one of 8 million people worldwide who have joined the World of Warcraft fraternity. WoW, as gamers call it, is arguably the most successful of the quickly growing massively multiplayer online role-playing game genre, known as MMORPG. ... Designers make games as attractive as possible to keep players' interest, but they don't include elements to brainwash players, said Jesse Schell, who teaches game design at Carnegie Mellon University and was the lead designer on the first MMORPG when he worked at Walt Disney Imagineering's Virtual Reality Studio.


It's a wiki wiki world at Carnegie Mellon: Lecture notes are open to all
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 11
At the first class of the semester, the professor hopped onto the lecture hall's carpeted stage, the lowest spot in a room with 180 students. Carnegie Mellon University's Luis von Ahn explained why this semester's course would be different. This time, the students would hold new power: They could access lecture notes, posted online, and edit them or rearrange them or clarify them. ... For this class, the wiki fulfills both an experimental urge and a need. When Carnegie Mellon University professor Steven Rudich designed the course 15 years ago, no other college in the country offered a similar beginning computer science course, with an emphasis on broad concepts and a de-emphasis of jargon. Because of that, the class has never used a textbook; pieces of six or seven books, Mr. von Ahn said, might cover the course material. Carnegie Mellon commissioned science writer Ivars Peterson in July 2005 to write the class's textbook. He received, as a starting point, thousands of lecture slides from Mr. Rudich.


Loftness appointed to world council for sustainable development
Pop City Media | February 14
Vivian Loftness, a professor in Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture and Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics, has been appointed to the Assurance Group for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a coalition of 190 worldwide companies with the impressively green goal of a world in which buildings consume zero net energy. “It is certainly a real honor,” says Loftness, “because they’ve basically picked one individual from a number of nations.


Talk of spinoff bubbles up from NIH-funded project
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 10
Less than a year after Alan Waggoner secured a $13.3 million grant from the National Institute of Health to launch the National Technology Center for Networks and Pathways, a joint project of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, there's already talk of a spinoff. You read it correctly. A startup company is possibly in the works -- harvesting the research of Dr. Waggoner and Marcel Bruchez, the chemist-turned-entrepreneur-turned-chemist that he lured from California to manage the effort. The duo and their team of 34 make tools that create a window into the inner actions of cells that, they say, are like no other. "Only in the past two years has the momentum grown" for introducing the product into the marketplace, Dr. Waggoner said.


Private sector: Five trends in Asia that will impact Western Pennsylvania's economy
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 13
From multinational corporations headquartered in Pittsburgh to the "mom-and-pop" dry cleaning establishment in Cranberry, every business is caught in the cogs of a global economy whose engine more and more seems to be running toward the East. Beginning with the Japanese move into a worldwide auto industry once so completely dominated by U.S. manufacturers, Asia has been slowly building its economic power to the point Asian companies now encroach on U.S. and European dominance in virtually all industries. ... But Asia also has emerged as a competitor for the resources that are consumed to create high living standards, leading me to the first of five trends in Asia that I believe will have the most impact on the Pittsburgh regional economy: ... India will play a greater role in Pittsburgh's international business community. ... But before one bemoans the increased outsourcing of high-paying skilled jobs to India, consider this one fact. Because of the presence of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, there are few regions in the United States with as many economic ties to India as we have.


Carnegie Mellon group discusses city's WiFi options
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | February 9
As they move to extend wireless Internet access across the city, Pittsburgh leaders could follow a path similar to the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership's effort that brought free Wi-Fi service last summer to the central business district. "We need to work with third-party organizations like 3 Rivers Connect, Pittsburgh Wireless Neighborhoods and others to find who can back this effort" to build a $5 million wireless system that would serve every neighborhood, Councilman Bill Peduto said Thursday. Peduto and other council members heard a presentation yesterday by Carnegie Mellon University professor Jon M. Peha and a few of the 21 students who spent a semester looking at how much citywide Wi-Fi might cost, who could build and run it, how much money it might bring in and how the government might benefit.


College presidents' tenure grows
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 12
When Chatham College hired its president back in 1991, one might have argued that the odds for an extended stay weren't great. ... A report due out today says the nation's college and university presidents are holding their jobs longer than at any time since the mid-1980s. Though considerable turnover continues, the average sitting president has served 8.5 years, up from 6.6 years in 2001 and 6.3 years in 1986, when the American Council on Education first conducted its survey, the largest of its kind. ... Just down the road from Chatham, University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, 58, is in his 12th year running the vast research school. Jared Cohon, who was 49 when he was hired to lead Carnegie Mellon University, is closing in on a decade in the president's office.


University partnership ignites region
Pop City Media | February 8
“Anything that happens,” says Lance Taylor, Ph.D, president/CEO of Cellumen, a Jane Street bio-tech company; Adjunct Professor, Carnegie Mellon University; Board Member, Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse; holder of more than a dozen patents – “starts with people. Here, it was the right two people at the right time.” Seven years ago, Taylor adds, “while talking with foundations and other regional leaders, Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg and Carnegie Mellon President Jared Cohon realized that there was a lot of opportunity for cooperation between their two institutions, that they were more complimentary than competitive. Further, they reasoned, if Pittsburgh was going to compete with other major centers, especially in life sciences, if would be better if the universities cooperated. Rather than fighting for a bigger slice of a fixed pie, they could help build a bigger pie. The result was that their cooperation has been the single biggest opportunity to help the region grow.” The first fruits, the Digital Greenhouse in 1999, morphed into the Technology Collaborative. “The Digital Greenhouse was a leap of faith,” offers Don Smith, an early leader in the effort.


Artificial cells may revolutionize therapy
Daily India (UPI) | February 14
Carnegie Mellon University's Philip LeDuc, an assistant professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering, posits the efficacy of using man-made cells to treat diseases without injecting drugs. "Our proposal is to use naturally available molecules to create pseudo-cell factories where we create a super artificial cell capable of targeting and treating whatever is ailing the body," said LeDuc. "The human cell is like a bustling metropolis, and we aim to tap the energy and diversity of the processes in a human cell to help the body essentially heal itself.


Carnegie Mellon hosts talk by US official
Gulf Times | February 14
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar will host a lecture by the U.S. Under-secretary of State for Management, Henrietta Fore, tomorrow. Fore is expected to talk about managing large organizations, with some focus on the role of women in management and the role of women in developing a society's full potential.