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News Clips - June 29, 2007

From June 22 to June 28, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 137 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Perks and pricing | July 2007
Q: My friend does a lot for his workers, including taking them to lunch once a week. At first they were grateful, but now they don't even say thank you. What should you do when employees stop appreciating perks? A: There are several reasons gift horses get their mouths looked in. ... In any case, employees' motivations matter less than your friend's in offering the free meals. Chances are he didn't start Taco Tuesdays just to be thanked. If he's never explained his objective, employees may view those lunches as regular weekly meetings — especially if table talk concerns work. Your friend should make his objective clear. If the goal is to boost morale, he could use the lunches as a forum to acknowledge employees' individual contributions. If it's to motivate, he could invite industry experts to speak during the meals. If it's to reward, he should tell employees that — and ask them if they'd rather spend the money on something else, advises Peter Cappelli, professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania. ... One other possibility to consider: Maybe your friend takes his staff to lunch because he enjoys their company. In that case, employees' rejection may be especially painful. "For CEOs, there's a very blurry boundary between our business and ourselves," says Denise M. Rousseau, professor of organizational behavior at Carnegie Mellon University. Spending time with his non-work buddies may make your friend feel better. For a start, you could take him to lunch.


IMF Chief De Rato to leave, citing 'personal reasons'
Bloomberg News | June 28
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato will quit his post in October, two years before his term ends, citing "personal reasons." His departure means both the IMF and World Bank, which were created in 1944, will have new leadership at a time when their relevance is being questioned and demand for loans wanes. De Rato championed a bigger role for developing nations such as China to reflect their fast-growing economies. He also began an effort to toughen monitoring of members with misaligned exchange rates. The IMF "is struggling to find a new role," said Adam Lerrick, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. "Rato attempted moderate reform but unless there is bold reform the IMF will become totally irrelevant."


Computer scientists pull a Tom Sawyer to finish grunt work
The Wall Street Journal | June 27
How is this for low: Elite computer scientists are using highly addictive computer games to trick unsuspecting Web users — possibly including children — into toiling without pay for some of the world's richest companies on stupefyingly dull grunt work. It's all true. Though, in fairness, nothing nefarious is going on at all. The scientists are part of a mini-movement known by the oxymoronic name of "human computation." The idea is that because there are many tasks that humans still do better than computers, why not just get people to do them? Often, the best way to do just that is to make a game out of it. That was the insight of Luis von Ahn, a 28-year-old professor at Carnegie Mellon University who is the creative force behind a Web hit known as the ESP Game, at The site has had more than 130,000 visitors and has lately inspired other researchers to try the same thing. ... The ESP game is not Prof. von Ahn's only contribution to the modern computing scene. He is also one of the developers of the Captcha, those distorted words you have to retype correctly before you can, say, open a new email account. ... Prof. von Ahn clearly is on a career roll. Last fall, he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant; he was also just named a Research Fellow at Microsoft. Google has licensed the ESP Game and is now using it with its Google Image Labeler to ID its own massive collection of Web pictures.


Goldman meets match in Googleplex when recruiting graduates
Bloomberg News | June 27
With the surge in mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts and hedge fund investing, U.S. securities firms are struggling to fill all of the empty spots at their investment banks, in trading rooms and on quantitative finance desks. Employment in financial services grew 37 percent to 830,000 people in the decade ended in 2006, according to the New York-based Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association, an industry lobbying group. ... Banks are adding engineering schools to the roster of business campuses where they recruit. During the past two years, Citigroup Inc. has started visiting Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh; Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Georgia Tech in Atlanta.


For certain tasks, the cortex still beats the CPU
Wired Magazine | June 26
Which is prettier? A picture of a black cat sleeping on a pillow or one of a curly-haired brunette woman in a miniskirt? I've got only a few seconds to decide. I vote for the cat. I'm sitting in a laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University, playing Matchin', a computer game developed by Luis von Ahn. In the game, two players — von Ahn and I, seated at different terminals — watch as pairs of pictures swiped off the Internet flash up on our screens. Our goal is to pick the one we think both of us will find more attractive, not necessarily the one we personally prefer. This requires a sort of mindmeld, and it doesn't always work: Von Ahn picks the girl in the miniskirt instead of the cat. We've got one minute to process as many pictures as we can, so we race on frantically, evaluating photos in an instant. Soon we hit a groove: We both say that a picture of a peacock is prettier than one of a picnic, a baby is lovelier than a tombstone, a wedding couple beats a field of wheat. Then the game is suddenly over, and we get our score: We agreed 70 percent of the time. Pretty good, but not enough to hit the high-score tables. "Man," laughs von Ahn. "You picked some weird stuff!" It's an oddly enjoyable game. But Matchin' is also a covert experiment in artificial intelligence. Every time players agree on a picture, it's tagged as prettier. Von Ahn, a 28-year-old professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon, will put the game online this summer, and as thousands of people play it, his database of 100,000 photos will be imbued with something quintessentially human: an aesthetic sensibility, encoded as a ranking of attractiveness.

Education for Leadership

Academics, adventure sought for area summer camps
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | June 28
There is an academic program for teens at Oxford in England. Service learning programs send children to Alaska and the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast. Carnegie Mellon and Penn State universities will host classes for third-graders this summer, and other universities will host classes for students just entering kindergarten. Academic and adventure programs have become the standard for summer camps, as they expand and host a growing number of children in more programs, advocates said.


Team SpelBots take on robotic titans at RoboCup 2007
Space Daily | June 28
The history-making Spelman College robotics soccer team competes again at the world's most-renowned competition for research robotics. ... With the support of companies like General Electric, Boeing and Apple Inc., and an educational partnership with professor David Touretzky at Carnegie Mellon University through a National Science Foundation Broadening Participation in Computing grant, Spelman College has been able to broaden its reach, bringing into the fold three historically Black universities (Hampton University, Florida A and M University and University of the District of Columbia) that are now conducting robotics education and research.


Universities, businesses agree on guidelines for IP, shared research
InformationWeek | June 27
The University-Industry Innovation Summit Team, which encourages businesses and universities to share collaborative research, has announced a new set of guidelines to protect intellectual property. In 2005, summit members agreed on principles that make collaborative software development projects freely available to the open-source community. The summit team announced a new set of guidelines Wednesday that will continue to encourage research sharing, while adding licensing terms and conditions. The summit team consists of representatives from Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of California at Berkeley, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Texas at Austin, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.


State board refuses to require foreign language studies because of high cost
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | June 25
To meet the needs of today's global economy, some states are now requiring that all students learn a foreign language. But Pennsylvania has decided that such a mandate would be "irresponsible," because it would cost too much and because there are too few certified foreign language instructors, said state board of education Chairman Karl Girton. ... Bonnie Youngs, president of the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association and a teaching professor of French and Francophile studies at Carnegie Mellon University, said the state board's action is at odds with the governor's efforts to attract international businesses to Pennsylvania. "It doesn't look like the state education system is going to go hand-in-hand with what he's trying to accomplish," she said.


GCG student postmortem: Northrop Grumman recruitment game | June 21
In this latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide, James Portnow and his fellow Carnegie Mellon team describes what went right and what went wrong in creating a '5 minute experience' flight combat game for the Northrop Grumman Corporation, intended to draw in potential recruits at job fairs.

Arts and Humanities

To increase charitable donations, appeal to the heart — not the head
Knowledge@Wharton | June 27
"When donating to charitable causes, people do not value lives consistently," write [Deborah Small, a Wharton marketing professor] and her co-authors, George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon University and Paul Slovic of Decision Research, a non-profit research firm in Eugene, Ore. "Money is often concentrated on a single victim even though more people would be helped if resources were dispersed or spent protecting future victims."


'Glassnost' at Carnegie Mellon gallery represents enlightened ideas
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | June 27
One of the perks of the city's 2007 focus on glass is the opportunity to see examples of the myriad ways artists, in the United States and abroad, are pushing the medium beyond functional, pragmatic applications. This expressiveness may be as robust and decorative as the flamboyant "Chihuly at Phipps: Gardens & Glass" or as self-contained and thought-provoking as pieces in a rich exhibition, "Glassnost," at the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University. The show title is derived from the 1980s Soviet policy that encouraged openness and tolerance in the public sphere and, while some of the works exhibited have a political edge, the emphasis is on receptivity to a new medium for many of these artists and to a spirit of collaboration.


Cellofourte bows out
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | June 26
Cellofourte, a local all-cello rock group, saw its improbable run in a worldwide battle-of-the-bands competition end over the weekend in Cleveland. The concert was the regional final of the Emergenza Music Festival that will culminate in Germany with concerts and a record deal for the winner. Cellofourte, which had advanced through several rounds to this point, came in a close second at Peabody's Down Under Saturday night. The quartet of former and current Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne university students won't advance in the competition but will take plenty from the experience. "We had a chance to play a lot of great halls and had a lot of fun," said founder Tate Olsen.


'Revolt of the crash-test dummies' by Jim Daniels
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | June 24
Poetry written in the language of everyday people has a long and distinguished history stretching from Wordsworth through Philip Levine. A Detroit native like Levine, Jim Daniels made a name for himself as one of our leading working-class poets, and his new collection is within that tradition. It also happens to be a lot of fun to read. Daniels' considerable body of work includes nine books of poetry, three volumes of short fiction, two screenplays and a one-act-play which have brought him numerous awards, including being featured in the Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies. He teaches creative writing as the Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University.


Early identification of at-risk readers | June 24
Taken together, functional brain scans and tests of reading skills strongly predict which children will have ongoing reading problems. What's more, the two methods work better together than either one alone, according to new research in the June issue of Behavioral Neuroscience, which is published by the American Psychological Association (APA). Neuroscientists at Stanford and Carnegie Mellon universities think this double-barreled diagnostic can help identify at-risk readers as early as possible. That way, schools can step in before those children fail to learn to read or develop poor reading habits that might interfere with remediation, such as relying on memory for words rather than sounding out new ones. Early identification and systematic intervention can very often turn likely non-readers into readers, according to the study authors.

Information Technology

Bend it like NIST —- Dust mite-sized soccer debuts July 7–8 at RoboCup in Atlanta
First Science News | June 28
Imagine a mechanical Pelé or David Beckham six times smaller than an amoeba playing with a "soccer ball" no wider than a human hair on a field that can fit on a grain of rice. Purely science fiction? Not anymore. The U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) invites the media to witness the first nanoscale soccer games at the 2007 RoboCup in Atlanta, Ga., on July 7-8, 2007. The 2007 RoboCup features six competition leagues: Four-Legged, Humanoid, Middle Size, Small Size, Simulation and Rescue Robot. RoboCup and NIST are jointly organizing this year's nanosoccer competition as a demonstration event with plans for it to become the Nanogram League in 2008. Five teams are entered in the Nanogram Demonstration Competition: two from Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Pa.), and one each from the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis, Md.), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Zurich, Switzerland) and Simon Fraser University (Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada).


Privacy isn't dead, or at least it shouldn't be: a Q&A with Latanya Sweeney
Scientific American | June 27
As security concerns mount, networks proliferate and ever more data move online, personal privacy and anonymity are often the first casualties. For the Insights story, "A Little Privacy, Please," appearing in the August 2007 issue of Scientific American, Chip Walter sat down with Carnegie Mellon computer scientist Latanya Sweeney, who discusses the new threats to privacy and ways to fight identity theft and other misuse of information.


Academic research group bolsters leadership team
Campus Technology | June 27
The Computing Research Association (CRA) has picked 16 higher education computing researchers to serve as members of its first permanent Council for the Computing Community Consortium. ... Those named to three-year terms on the Council are: Bill Feiereisen of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Susan Graham of the University of California at Berkeley, David Kaeli of Northeastern University, John King of the University of Michigan, and Peter Lee of Carnegie Mellon University. ... CRA Chairman Daniel Reed said key tasks for the council will be to help the CCC motivate the computing research community to debate long-range research challenges, build consensus around research visions, and develop the most promising visions into clearly defined initiatives.


Prizes awarded for work in object-oriented programming
Dr. Dobb's Portal | June 26
The Dahl-Nygaard Prizes for 2007 will be awarded to Luca Cardelli of Microsoft Research and Jonathan Aldrich of Carnegie Mellon University for their work in object-oriented programming. Aldrich will receive the Junior Prize and Cardelli the Senior Prize. The Dahl-Nygaard Prizes, established in 2004 by the Association Internationale Pour les Technologies Objets (AITO), are named for Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard who developed Simula, considered the first object-oriented programming language.


Unique tools used to teach young students about programming
University of Arkansas-Fort Smith news | June 22
The Camp E! magination  activities included "ITea Party" for girls only and "Techno-Toons" for boys and girls. Both were provided through UA Fort Smith's Information Technology Department and the College Connection-Tech Prep program. The camps used a tool called "Alice," after Alice in Wonderland, which was developed to teach programming concepts to beginning students. ... Lori Cravens, program specialist with College Connection/Tech Prep, said the camps allowed the students to learn the basics of programming through storytelling. "With ‘Alice,' developed at Carnegie Mellon University, students were encouraged to create and construct an animated story," Cravens said. "They began with storyboarding and idea development, then came actual implementation. Virtual worlds were already created and ready for development, or the student could develop one if the student was comfortable with the environment. "The ultimate objective was to help students view information technology as a possible career path while having fun," she said, "and I think they did."


Bye-bye, ballot box?
The San Diego Union-Tribune | June 22
Lorrie Cranor, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University and an electronic voting expert, said people's perceptions about Internet voting's potential pitfalls are the biggest stumbling blocks in its adoption. While there have been important advances in encryption, most people don't understand how that complex technology works, Cranor said. "You just have to trust it, and there is a question whether the general public will," she said.


USGBC Commits $1 million to support green buildings research | June 25
The U.S. Green Building Council's commitment will target the development of new technologies in energy and water security, global climate change prevention, indoor environmental quality and passive survivability in the face of natural and man-made disasters. "Our pledge to invest $1 million in research is a reflection of USGBC's commitment to its vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair of USGBC. ... "Research will help us advance the practice of building science," said USGBC Board Member Vivian Loftness, of Carnegie Mellon University. "It should also track and validate as quickly as possible the profound connection between green buildings and human health and productivity. We sense this connection intuitively, and we're beginning to have some astonishing data about fewer absences in schools, greater productivity and fewer injuries in business, even higher sales in retail environments. The kind of research we need is that which proves the business case so profoundly that an organization's commitment to building green becomes the easiest and best operational decision they can make."


'Green chemistry' promises a cleaner country
The Jerusalem Post | June 21
Plastic from corn, biological-weapons neutralization and the vanquishing of pollutants from munitions were among the topics discussed at this month's "Green Chemistry" conference at Tel Aviv University, the first such meeting held in Israel. ... The conference, entitled "Green Chemistry - Applications, Research and Trends," included sessions on commercial applications of green chemistry; raw materials recycling, toxicity reduction, renewable fuels, energy efficiency - a novel academic approach; environmental and health aspects of home and commercial use of chemicals; and global and national policy on chemical use. ... Prof. Terry Collins, director of the Institute for Green Oxidation Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, spoke about his invention, Fe-TAML, a green chemical that can effectively neutralize the substances, such as anthrax, released in a biological attack.


Briefs: Salk Fund bill advances
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | June 26
The state House of Representatives on Monday approved proposed legislation that moves forward efforts to establish the Jonas Salk Legacy Fund for expanded biomedical research. After the 103 to 98 vote in the House yesterday, the proposal now moves to the Senate. The fund, named for the leader of the Pitt research team that developed the polio vaccine in 1952, would provide $500 million to medical and bioscience research universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State, Carnegie Mellon, Temple and the University of Pennsylvania. Planned facilities include a second building for University of Pittsburgh's Hillman Cancer Center in Shadyside.

Regional Impact

United Way raises $29.8 million
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | June 29
United Way of Allegheny raised $29.8 million — exceeding its campaign target for the first time since 2002 by focusing on the region's past and its future. Helping the agency surpass its 2006 goal of $29.2 million were the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, U.S. Steel and Carnegie Mellon University. UPMC increased its giving over last year by $464,000, U.S. Steel by $308,000 and Carnegie Mellon by $80,000.


Carnegie Mellon, PPG speakers say time is now to tackle global warming, energy issues
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | June 26
An organization celebrating its 100-year anniversary deserves to bask in its accomplishments. But the Air & Waste Management Association kicked off its annual conference in Pittsburgh yesterday with two forward-looking keynoters who predicted tough roads ahead as the world gets serious about global warming and energy issues. Charles E. Bunch, PPG Industries chairman and chief executive officer, told the opening session audience that climate change is the hot topic today and the availability of energy is at the heart of that interest. Carnegie Mellon University professor Lester Lave, an international expert on the relationship between environmental issues and political economies, said the United States is facing a "carbon constrained future" that will require greenhouse gas emission reductions of at least 60 percent to 90 percent to affect climate change.


The next page: Pittsburgh — we can make it here
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | June 24
What changes a city? How do you build a thriving economic sector? What tilts a city at a tipping point to live up to its full and glorious potential? Lions Gate producer John Dellaverson is a Hollywood bigshot. A University of Pittsburgh alum who is still in touch with his New Castle roots, he came to town last month to speak to my students at Pitt and also meet with people eager to create a film business here. ... As he went to numerous meetings and saw and heard about the many resources in this region — the universities, WQED, the Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Civic Light Opera, etc. — he repeated what other expatriates who visited have said: There is great potential here — but someone has got to sew all this up. Someone has to get everything to work together to transform these nonprofit resources into a lucrative business. So what is the answer? At the risk of oversimplification, I state it in three words: Invest in talent. Imagine for a moment: What this city would be like if local investors had bet on "Pippin," which Stephen Schwartz wrote while attending Carnegie Mellon; or the plays of August Wilson which, though set in Pittsburgh, were all initially staged elsewhere; or "Lizzie McGuire," the TV series created by Mt. Lebanon native Terri Minksy; or the recent show "Heartland" about the world of transplant surgery, which fellow Mt. Lebo grad David Hollander set in Pittsburgh?


Carnegie Mellon researchers develop cell phones to do daily chores
WPXI | June 25
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are developing software that will give your cell phone the power to open your doors and your bank accounts. This research is called the Grey Project and is headed by Professor Michael Reiter. Reiter said, "There are phones right now that we use right off the shelves that are capable of doing this if we just add our software." Reiter said, "Many of us don't carry our keys anymore for our office doors." That's because the office doors in his building are connected to computers which talk to the door locks and can automatically open them from anywhere in the world.


Parents lead fight against power line
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | June 24
Plans for a high-voltage power line through Washington and Greene counties have met with heavy opposition from property owners, creating what has been estimated by local officials to be the loudest citizens outcry in a generation. ... Organized opposition, in the form of local officials and a citizens group, Stop The Towers, has discouraged residents from harping on health and safety issues because effects can't be proven and won't be taken under consideration by state or federal authorities. Despite years of testing and studies, there still isn't enough science to determine the health effects of power lines, according to M. Granger Morgan, an electricity expert who has studied the issue for about a decade. People are routinely exposed to electromagnetic energy through household appliances, but "because power lines are big and highly visible, they tend to get more attention," said Mr. Morgan, head of the Department of Engineering and Public Policy and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.


Talking with ... Lin Chase
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | June 24
Lin Chase is the director of research and development for technology at Accenture in Bangalore, India. She was in Pittsburgh this month to visit her hometown, Ligonier. Listen In: Excerpts of a conversation with Lin Chase of Accenture: Women in management roles in India, Acceptance as a female manager.  Q: You majored in physics as an undergraduate. How did you land in the high-tech industry? A: In between my bachelor's and master's degrees, I worked for a really great Pittsburgh [software] company, Carnegie Group. I was one of their first hires. The founders were from Carnegie Mellon University. One was Mark Fox, who was very keen to get me into the Carnegie Group, and years later, another founder, Raj Reddy, was my Ph.D. adviser. ... Job: Director of research and development for technology, Accenture, Bangalore, India., Age: 44, Hometown: Ligonier, Education: Bachelor of science, physics, Carnegie Mellon University, 1985; master of science, computer science-robotics, Carnegie Mellon University, 1992; doctorate, computer science-robotics, Carnegie Mellon University, 1997.


Bits & Bytes: Big-name investors betting on BubbleMesh
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | June 23
To the untrained ear, BubbleMesh might sound like a frothy preteen confection or a poorly named boy band. Rather, it's the engineering design and analysis technology that Carnegie Mellon University's Kenji Shimada has been perfecting for 16 years and is the basis of Ciespace, the startup he launched from his Oakland office. Investors including automotive giant Honda Motor and local tech startup engine Innovation Works are betting that BubbleMesh, which slashes the time it takes to create and test computer-generated models, will be the must-have accessory for manufacturers of, well, anything that is designed. BubbleMesh more quickly and accurately simulates the toughest scenarios to test manufactured products such as cars, consumer electronics, medical devices than competitors' software, said company Chairman Tom Beckley.


Future Arab, Jewish leaders meet at Carnegie Mellon to erode historical barriers
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | June 23
Osnat Boberov has high hopes for a new park in northern Israel: She wants it to help erode generations-old barriers between Jews and Arabs in Galilee. "We want to bring back the oak trees into an area that is now under industrial trash," said Boberov, 36, who is part of a team that includes members of both ethnic groups. "Part of it is still green, but it is possible that it won't be like that in two or three generations." Boberov's project is one of seven developed by 21 first-year fellows for the GaliLead Project, a two-year program designed to educate future leaders from the Galilee region, where the project is based. It's aimed at promoting social change by providing opportunities for Jews and Arabs to live and work together. The fellows spent the past nine months attending weekly classes in Sachnin, a small Arab village in northern Israel, and are wrapping up the first year this week in Pittsburgh with workshops at Carnegie Mellon University, which helped develop the leadership curriculum. GaliLead was initiated by a group of Galilee residents who worked with the university for four years before the project's launch last fall, said Paul Goodman, professor of organizational psychology who promotes international alliances for Carnegie Mellon. The university, the United Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh and United Jewish Communities act as GaliLead's North American partners, offering advice and fundraising support.


GaliLead participants visit Carnegie Mellon for leadership training
The Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh | June 22
Two years ago, Jewish and Arab leaders from the Galilee traveled to Carnegie Mellon University to begin laying the groundwork for a joint leadership program that would create new opportunities in northern Israel and begin to bridge the cultural gaps between Arabs and Jews who live there. ... This week, 21 GaliLead participants were in Pittsburgh for five days of leadership training at Carnegie Mellon and for a series of meetings with local leaders and program supporters. After a year of sharing experiences and ideas, the first GaliLead participants, who meet weekly, are ready to work on implementing a variety of projects that address health, education, economic development and environmental needs.


Slippery slope to conductivity
Financial Times | June 29
There has been considerable excitement over the discovery that electronic circuits can be fabricated out of advanced plastics almost as well as materials such as copper and silicon. Now researchers have found that adding a kind of grease can make some of these innovative plastics vastly better electrical conductors, making it possible for them to be used in the next generation of components such as radio frequency identification tags, flexible screen displays and bank cards. The essential manufacturing step is to combine an electrically conducting plastic with a grease-like chemical to form what is called a "block copolymer." "These block copolymers are very promising for creating future materials such as lightweight, thin composite films for electronic book readers that you could roll up like today's newspapers," according to Genevieve Sauvé, one of the researchers from Carnegie Mellon University.


Blackholes make simulated universe debut
The Register | June 29
Scientists have a better understanding of the role black holes have played in the evolution of galaxies in our cosmos, thanks to a new and unprecedentedly detailed simulation of the universe developed by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University. Black holes were once thought to be rare beasts. Still elusive, they are now thought to be ubiquitous in our universe. Despite this, they have not been included in previous universe simulations because on such a grand scale of cosmic structure, they are just too small to figure. Now a team of scientists, led by theoretical cosmologist and associate professor Tiziana Di Matteo, incorporated the physics of black holes into a universe simulation for the first time.


U.S. boffins promise organic semiconductors
IT News Australia | June 28
Chemists at Carnegie Mellon University have discovered that grease can greatly increase the electrical conductivity of some innovative plastics, potentially paving the way for organic semiconductors. The discovery, published in the latest edition of Advanced Materials, could become widely adopted to produce next-generation switches for transistors used in RFID tags, flexible e-book screens and debit or key cards. "This research brings us closer to developing organic semiconductors with electrical and physical properties far superior to those that exist today," said principal investigator Richard D. McCullough, professor of chemistry and dean of the Mellon College of Science. "We were surprised and amazed with our findings."


New partnership aims to tackle skills shortage
The University of Queensland News Online | June 28
The University of Queensland today announced a new partnership with Boeing and Carnegie Mellon University to help tackle Australia's critical shortage of qualified software engineers. ... The Boeing Professor of Systems Engineering at UQ, Professor Peter Lindsay, said the University was happy to announce it had licensed the first of seven planned courses from Carnegie Mellon University (Carnegie Mellon) for the UQ masters suite in software engineering. "Students therefore will have access to an internationally-regarded product, drawing on the world-leading expertise of Carnegie Mellon, which is widely-acknowledged as one of the top universities in software engineering internationally," Professor Lindsay said. The first course from Carnegie Mellon University will be offered in the Master of Engineering (Software Engineering) from semester two, starting July 23. ... The Director of the Master of Software Engineering Programs at Carnegie Mellon, Professor David Garlan, said the collaboration would complement Carnegie Mellon University's existing broad base of international collaborations in the area of professional software engineering masters programs. "Since its inception in 1989, the MSE Programs have provided outstanding training to our students, and prepared them to be agents of change in industry. We are delighted to be working with UQ to transfer that calibre of education to students in its degree programs," he said. The Director of the Institute for Software Research at Carnegie Mellon, Professor William Scherlis, said that UQ had shown "tremendous vision" in its development and refinement of its international educational programs. "We look forward to what we know will be a long and mutually rewarding relationship," he said.


Study: 'Grease' good electrical conductor
Monsters and Critics (UPI) | June 27
U.S. scientists have discovered a process by which a kind of grease can make some plastics vastly better electrical conductors. Carnegie Mellon University chemists said their process might become widely adopted to produce the next generation of tiny switches for transistors in radio frequency identification tags, flexible screen displays and debit or key cards. "This research brings us closer to developing organic semiconductors with electrical and physical properties far superior to those that exist today," said principal investigator Professor Richard McCullough, dean of the Mellon College of Science. "We were surprised and amazed with our findings."


Study centers hope to enroll more students
Gulf Times | June 23
As the commencement date of classes draw nearer, vacation study centers in Doha expect more pupils to enroll. New Indian Education Center and National Education Center (NEC) have registered close to 200 students each for their program beginning on July 1, officials said yesterday. Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar expects students entering Grade 11 and Grade 12 to participate in its 19-day summer college preview program. "The participants will get a realistic preview of what will be expected of them as college students," according to information posted on Carnegie Mellon on Qatar's website. Though, summertime is viewed by many as fun time, it also provides ample opportunities for high and middle school pupils to prepare for the upcoming academic session, an official of NEC explained.