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News Clips - February 2, 2007

From January 26 to February 1, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 298 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Google's moon shot
The New Yorker | February 5
Every weekday, a truck pulls up to the Cecil H. Green Library, on the campus of Stanford University, and collects at least a thousand books, which are taken to an undisclosed location and scanned, page by page, into an enormous database being created by Google. ... Google's is not the only book-scanning venture. Amazon has digitized hundreds of thousands of the books it sells, and allows users to search the texts; Carnegie Mellon is hosting a project called the Universal Library, which so far has scanned nearly a million and a half books; the Open Content Alliance, a consortium that includes Microsoft, Yahoo, and several major libraries, is also scanning thousands of books; and there are many smaller projects in various stages of development.


Bernanke pushes 'open' Fed
CNN (Reuters) | January 31
After nearly a year as chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke has nudged the institution toward greater openness, while notching inflation-fighting credentials akin to those of his storied predecessor, Alan Greenspan. Along the way, the former Princeton University economics professor has begun guiding the central bank along a subtly different course than Greenspan, who was a business consultant and political adviser before he took the Fed's helm in 1987. Since taking over from Greenspan on February 1 last year, Bernanke has emphasized collegial decision-making, clearer communications of the Fed's intentions and views, and a lower public profile for the chairman. "Bernanke has tried, coming from an academic background, to take a more collegial approach to policy, to let the other members have more influence ... on what they decide to do," said Allan Meltzer, an expert on the history of the U.S. central bank at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. "Greenspan came from industry, and industry is much more organized around a central figure, the chief executive officer," Meltzer said.


Mayors unite on the 'green' front
USA Today | January 29
Pittsburgh, once the gritty center of steel manufacturing, now boasts the first "green" convention center and one of the world's largest environmentally sustainable buildings: the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. ... Pittsburgh, home to major companies (PPG Industries) and universities (Carnegie Mellon), is one of several cities repositioning themselves as centers of "green" technology, tackling everything from research and development to manufacturing and marketing.


Arthritis technology company launched
BusinessWeek (AP) | January 25
Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, a public-private business development group, on Thursday announced the formation of a new company that uses imaging technology to detect inflammation in arthritis patients. Arthritis Imaging Inc. uses a combination of three-dimensional and thermal imaging to help medical workers more accurately diagnose and track inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. The technology was developed and is being clinically tested at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Carnegie Mellon University's Medical Robotics Institute and the University of Pittsburgh also contributed to the project.


Going borderless and bilingual
Inside Higher Ed | January 25
A unique bilingual M.F.A. program in many ways defined by its base on the Mexican border is, with the addition of a new distance education initiative, embarking on a "grand experiment" to become borderless. "At times, it's difficult to get the students physically here," said Lex Williford, assistant professor in the University of Texas at El Paso's bilingual creative writing program and the instructor of the program's first online course. The university's residential M.F.A. program has been a magnet for students from Latin America, but, especially since September 11, Williford said, the border has at times been a barrier. ... "It's not just translation," added Mariana Achugar, an assistant professor of second language acquisition and Spanish at Carnegie Mellon University who has conducted research on El Paso's program. "You're able to develop skills in translating, but it's also being able to receive critiques from someone who understands narrative in a different way" even what a good story is.

Education for Leadership

Carnegie Mellon dogs it on picking a mascot
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | January 29
Every year, an anonymous student at Carnegie Mellon University struts around football games costumed head to paw as a Scottish terrier. If it walks like a mascot and wags like a mascot, one could reasonably assume the "Scottie Dog" at Carnegie Mellon is precisely that. Only it's not. ... Anything within the bounds of good taste will be on the table tonight when Carnegie Mellon holds a town meeting to solicit ideas. "It's an open slate," said John Marano Jr., who runs the school's trademark licensing office. "We're looking for something that students, alumni and our other supporters can rally around." ... The search at Carnegie Mellon will likely be aided by focus groups. The decision itself will reach all the way to university President Jared L. Cohon. ... Whatever the choice is, Carnegie Mellon will have to consider just how the image should be crafted and then take steps to trademark its use, said Jennifer Church, dean of student affairs who co-chairs the Mascot Task Force. The school said the name Tartans will continue to be used, especially in connection with athletics. Bob Bingham, a professor of art, put the mascot question to his eco-art class last week. The room of 14 women and four men considered Highanders but deemed that image too macho.

Arts and Humanities

Playground love
Nashua Telegraph | February 1
If music truly is the food of love, Greater Nashua is about to become a sonic all-you-can eat buffet. Local groups have planned slates of romantic music to lead into Valentine's Day. This weekend starts the onslaught when virtuoso pianist Sergey Schepkin joins the Nashua Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Royston Nash for Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 at the Keefe Auditorium, 117 Elm St., at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3. ... Although Schepkin says the Rachmaninoff piece does not fit a love theme at all, he said, "It is hands-down one of three or four most beautiful concertos for piano." Schepkin should know. The Russian-American pianist has served as associate professor of piano at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for about four years, dividing his time between Pittsburgh and Boston."It's an intricate composition," he said. "It uses all the resources of the instrument."


Carnegie Mellon's ETC opens in Silicon Valley
Gamasutra | January 25
The Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at Carnegie Mellon University has announced the formation of ETC-Silicon Valley, a satellite project of the game course formed as ten students and two ETC faculty members commenced project work and classes at two distinct locations in the Bay Area. ... The ISTP science faculty is interested in having middle school students use the Alice program, developed by ETC co-founder Randy Pausch, to create games focusing on science and technology themes. ... The ETC students participating in the ground-breaking semester in Silicon Valley are Jeong Hyun Bae, Philip Bloom, Elizabeth M.E. Chung, Justin Cinicolo, Yi-Wen Hung, Dae Hung Kim, Carlos Pineda, Karin Ray, Jake Rheinfrank, and Robert Russo. Supervising ETC faculty in Silicon Valley are Jiyoung Lee and Eric Keylor.

Information Technology

Other business news
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | February 1
Jeannette Wing, head of the Computer Science Department in Carnegie Mellon University's school of computer science, has been named assistant director of the National Science Foundation's Computer Information Science and Engineering directorate. Wing, with an annual budget of more than $527 million, will guide and manage funding for the federal agency that supports computer and information science and engineering research.


Top AVM forty under forty
American Venture Magazine | February 2007
Call it 2006's most promising young guns. The top 40 under 40 list is our remarkable selection of those talented young leaders who, with deep understanding of today's fast changing technology, had the extraordinary ability to develop a new variety of business models with a vision for the future and community involvement. The incredible part, that each of them made their dreams come true at a very young age. ... Luis von Ahn. Assistant professor Carnegie Mellon University Age: 28. Von Ahn's work typifies why computer science is more than just computer programming. In just a few short years, he has shown again and again how problems that had bedeviled computers could be solved by devising clever new methods. He has created a technique called human computation.


Robot's camera opens up panoramic shots to close scrutiny
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | January 31
Digital cameras produce photographs electronically with high resolution. Most people already know that. But a robot, expected to cost $200 or less, will turn those little silver boxes into powerful image-makers that belie their size. And the owner won't even have to point and shoot. The Gigapan robot platform developed by Carnegie Mellon University and the NASA Ames Intelligent Robot Group promises to transform Clark Kent cameras into Super-cams. The project is part of the group's Global Connection Project. ... Illah Nourbakhsh, associate professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon and head of its robotics master's program, said the Gigapan robot he helped develop takes as many as 300 photographs in 10 minutes to a half hour with any digital camera adjusted to the optical zoom setting. ... The Gigapan idea originated with Randy Sargent, formerly of NASA and now a Carnegie Mellon faculty member based in California. He, Dr. Nourbakhsh and their research team developed an earlier version of the imaging technology for the Mars Exploration Rovers that NASA used to explore panoramic images of the Martian surface.


Efficient process for ethanol production devised
All Headline News | January 28
Scientists at the Carnegie Mellon University have devised a new process to improve the efficiency of ethanol production. Carnegie Mellon chemical engineers have used advanced process design methods with mathematical optimization techniques to reduce the operating costs of corn-based bio-ethanol plants by more than 60 percent. Describing the benefits of new design process, Chemical Engineering Professor Ignacio E. Grossmann said: "This new design reduces the manufacturing cost for producing ethanol by 11 percent, from 1.61 dollars a gallon to 1.43 dollars a gallon.


Scientists develop 'DNA nanotags'
United Press International | January 29
U.S. scientists say they have combined fluorescent dye molecules with DNA nanostructure templates to make nanosized fluorescent labels called nanotags. The Carnegie Mellon University researchers say such nanoscale labels hold considerable promise for studying fundamental chemical and biochemical reactions in single molecules or cells, improving the sensitivity for fluorescence-based imaging and medical diagnostics. "Our DNA nanotags offer unprecedented densities of fluorescent dyes and, thus, the potential for extremely bright fluorescent labels," said graduate student Andrea Benvin, who developed the nanotags with Assistant Professor Bruce Armitage. "We've put it all into a very small package, which will allow us to detect molecules with great sensitivity without interfering with the biological processes we are trying to understand."

Regional Impact

Gift keeps economist going
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | January 30
Retired businessman Richard P. Simmons and his wife, Virginia, gave $29.5 million in the fall so the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra can continue to play Downtown. Now, they're giving $5 million so Carnegie Mellon University can keep a Nobel Prize-winning economist. Carnegie Mellon on Monday announced the gift for the Richard P. Simmons Distinguished Professorship. The first recipient is Finn E. Kydland, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2004. "Carnegie Mellon University is a huge asset to this region," said Simmons, the retired chairman of Allegheny Technologies Inc. "It's a world-famous university. ... " "It's critical if you want to retain world-class talent to have very large chairs to offer them because every other university in the world wants to hire your Nobel laureates," Tepper Dean Kenneth Dunn said. Kydland and Edward Prescott, both Carnegie Mellon graduates, won the Nobel Prize for their research on the consistency of government economic policy and the driving forces behind business cycles. Although not a graduate of Carnegie Mellon, Simmons, 75, of Sewickley Heights, teaches a popular graduate class, "Responsibilities and Perspectives of the CEO," at the Tepper School.


'Heroes' honored as '07 Science Center award recipients
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 1
There was electricity in the air yesterday at the Carnegie Science Center, along with colorful explosions and even elephant toothpaste. ... The dramatic science served as the prelude to release of this year's award winners. ... Seagate Research's Mark H. Kryder, who is also professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, will be honored with the Catalyst Award for creating Seagate and for his work in magnetic memory and storage devices, among other advances. His company has 160 employees, including 100 with doctorates.


The thinkers: He brings higher mathematics to bear on high finance
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | January 29
In Steven Shreve's world, there is a magical connection between the people who invest in convertible bonds and the ones who get frustrated watching a YouTube video that keeps stopping and starting. ... It's called stochastic calculus, a branch of mathematics that measures what happens in any system that is beset by random fluctuations. Dr. Shreve, the Orion Hoch Professor of Mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University, does research into both the convertible bond and YouTube problems. But he spends most of his time overseeing the university's highly regarded program in computational finance.


Startup weaves new foundation for chip design
Electronic Engineering Times | February 1
Startup Fabbrix Inc. wants nothing less than to weave a new foundation for chip design. At 65nm and below, the company says, manufacturable designs require regular circuit patterns or "fabrics";and Fabbrix says it can provide that without area, performance or power penalties. Fabbrix in December announced its collaboration with PDF Solutions Inc., which will result in a joint development project around silicon characterization. The project will help Fabbrix develop and optimize the circuit fabrics that underlie its approach. ... Fabbrix was founded in 2004 by Larry Pileggi, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, and some of his graduate students. "We recognized that the world was moving toward more regular design structures by necessity, and we had been doing research at Carnegie Mellon for five or six years," said Pileggi. "We were looking at the changes in design methodology that would be needed if things went to very regular structures."


PTC helps Carnegie Mellon expand Robotics outreach
CIOL | January 29
Product development company PTC has announced that teachers working with Carnegie Mellon University's Robotic Academy used Pro/ENGINEER Schools Edition to construct Lego NXT robots as part of the Robotics Academy's international outreach. The Academy's mission is to use the motivational effects of robotics to excite students about science and technology. ...  "Before anything is manufactured in the future, it will be modeled using parametric solid modeling software," stated Robin Shoop, director of the robotics academy, at Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute. "Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Academy is interested in developing tools for educators that help prepare students for the new economy. Our collaboration with Pro/ENGINEER expands teachers' opportunities to engage students in engineering education opportunities."


Bacteria harnesses as micro propeller motors
NewScientist Tech | January 2007
One of the main challenges in developing microscale robots lies in miniaturising their power and propulsion. Now, researchers in the U.S. may have found a solution to this problem, by exploiting the natural movement of bacteria to propel micro-objects through water. Many bacteria propel themselves along in a fluid by rotating their corkscrew-like tails, called flagella, at relatively high speeds. These flagella are only around 20 nanometres in diameter and are about 10,000 nm long. Motors made from bacterial flagella have been used as novel "nano-actuators" before (see Bacteria harnessed as miniature pumps), but Metin Sitti and Bahareh Behkam of Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, U.S., have taken another approach. They use the entire microorganism as the motor and control its on/off motion with chemicals.