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News Clips - June 20, 2008

From June 13 to June 19, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 324 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Software's dirty little secret
Scientific American | June 17
Because business has pushed advances in software out of necessity for so many years, academia has had to play catch up, rather than teaching and establishing a software architecture for subsequent generations to follow. One approach is to teach young programmers through a tutorial such as "Alice," which is a 3-D software writing program designed to make it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game or making a video to share on the Web. Alice was created by a team of programmers led by Randy Pausch [a Carnegie Mellon University professor of computer science, human–computer interaction and design] and is a freely available teaching tool designed to be a student's first exposure to fundamental programming concepts.


New software can tell where a photo was taken
The Chronicle of Higher Education | June 16
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have created software that helps identify where in the world a photo was taken. The software matches a given photo against six million geo-tagged photos available on Flickr. (Many of the online photo-sharing service’s users elect to identify where in the world their photos were taken.) By finding similarly-composed shots on Flickr—such as those containing narrow streets or tall cathedrals—the software can figure out where an image was likely to have been taken.


Messages of exhortation, counsel and congratulation
The New York Times | June 15
Al Gore, former vice president, Carnegie Mellon University: Not long after I left my job in the White House my wife, Tipper, and I were driving from our home in Nashville, Tenn., to a small farm we have 50 miles away. ... We looked for a place to eat and found a Shoney’s restaurant. ... The waitress came over and made a big commotion over Tipper and took our order and went to the couple in the booth sitting next to us. She said: “Yes, that’s former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper.” And the man said, “He’s come down a long way, hasn’t he?"


The great inflation debate
BusinessWeek | June 13
Marvin Goodfriend, a specialist in monetary theory at Carnegie Mellon University, is one of those who believes the core rate of inflation is what really matters. "In the world economy, what's getting scarce are commodities, food, and fuel. We need to allow those prices to rise to reflect true scarcity. That has nothing to do with monetary policy," says Goodfriend, adding: "In the U.S., we will have a reduction in the standard of living because of this."

Education for Leadership

In search of elusive information? Turn to Pittsburgh startup
Pop City Media | June 18
Pittsburgh startup has ambitions to change the world by becoming the "E-bay for advice." Carnegie Mellon University MBA candidate Brian Wirtz and his team of three students are developing a website that will create a global marketplace for infinite amounts of knowledge. Using a concept it calls “micro-collaboration,” the site will give users the tools to find, pay and connect online instantly to an expert on any subject, called a “bright visor,” through voice and live video conferencing.

Arts and Humanities

"The Last Five Years:" love, backwards and forwards
Martha's Vineyard Times | June 19
Kaf Warman, Associate Artistic Director of the Island Theatre Workshop (ITW) and Associate Professor at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, directs the play. It stars Ericka Strasburg and Peter Moses, both Carnegie Mellon acting majors, as Cathy Hyatt and Jamie Wellerstein.

Information Technology

Rummaging smartly through the internet
Times of India | June 16
Microsoft is also developing a 3-D browser, called Deepfish, for mobile devices. Many other 3-D browsers are in the pipeline. It is seductive technology that can look gorgeous. But Dave Farber, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon who is one of the internet’s founding fathers, says the enthusiasm for cool visuals will be replaced by a realization that 3-D navigation is a much-needed tool. He points to Hyperwords, which he thinks will become widely used (and imitated). It allows people to make more connections of the kind that interest them.


Scientists uncover possible link between different forms of epilepsy
The Hindu | June 17
The researchers from Carnegie Mellon University discovered that BK channels become abnormally active after a seizure. This disruption results in the neurons becoming overly excitable, which may be associated with the development of epilepsy. The Carnegie Mellon scientists were able to reverse this abnormal excitability using a BK channel antagonist, which returned the post-seizure electrical activity to normal levels.


The next page: Schenley High School -- a 'green building' ahead of its time
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | June 15
Vivian Loftness, of Carnegie Mellon's School of Architecture, contends that the district will save money in the long run by preserving a school of superb design, rather than wasting resources retrofitting substandard buildings to replace Schenley. Here, she examines the qualities that make Schenley visionary. "Green Schools" are being built across the nation in an effort to provide the healthiest and most productive classrooms for our children. The attributes of Green Schools are many, embodied in national standards such as CHPS (Collaborative for High Performance Schools) and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

Regional Impact

Game on: Software company may bring headquarters to Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | June 19
Pittsburgh is the front-runner to become the U.S. headquarters location for a British videogame developer looking to expand its operations abroad. […] "If any company in game development is going to be successful, it is going to be so because of talent," he said, citing Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center as a particular draw. "I'd be in England or wherever, and when I'd say that I was from Pittsburgh, someone would say to me, 'Do you know about the Entertainment Technology Center? It's really amazing."


No Child Left Behind may be a drag on the gifted
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | June 19
Ann Shoplik, director of the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Talented Elementary Students, said that she has noticed a difference in attention given to gifted children since the passage of NCLB. "Everyone's glad that [gifted students] are getting these high test scores, but there's no emphasis on how can we challenge them," she said. "That's not the focus anymore."


Carnegie Mellon, GM to design mass market vehicle that drives itself
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | June 19
It's the ultimate cruise control. General Motors and Carnegie Mellon University today plan to announce a five-year, $5 million project to design a mass market vehicle that drives itself.


Carnegie Mellon's new style of robot pops up
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | June 18
Imagine the sound of a cork gun popping. Now do it 100 times, like a cork machine gun, and you'll have the approximate sound of a pneumatic hopping robot that is one of the oddest experiments under way at the National Robotics Engineering Center in Lawrenceville. The six-year effort, backed by $1.2 million from Boeing, is to build a robot that bounces and rolls by popping pistons along its perimeter. "The good thing you get from hopping is access to places you cannot get any other way," said senior systems scientist Dimi Apostolopoulos, who heads the project at the Carnegie Mellon University-operated center.


Driver fatigue alarm now available in UK
Road Transport | June 19
The company is targeting night-time drivers as those recognised to be most at risk from fatigue. "We are now receiving strong interest for the product, particularly from fleet and transport managers who may have previously been drivers themselves and are well aware of the dangers associated with tired driving," Lee continues. "It is our job to increase awareness among the other decision-makers who have probably experienced driver fatigue themselves personally, but not while on a professional driving activity." The system was developed at the Carnegie Mellon Institute in Pennsylvania by Dr. Richard Grace and has been validated by the US Department of Transportation as an accurate indicator of fatigue.


US assists tertiary IT training in Vietnam
VietNamNet Bridge | June 19
The Carnegie Mellon University (Carnegie Mellon) of the US will coordinate with the freshly debuted Software Engineering Group (SEG) of Vietnam in tertiary-level information technology training programs.


Boost for young entrepreneurs
Gulf Times | June 18
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar has hosted scores of young entrepreneurs in a bid to encourage them to take on challenges in achieving their professional goals. An event, attended by the UK-based entrepreneur and specialist in technology transfer, commercialization and incubation Doug Richard, was organized to celebrate the official launch of the second year of the institution’s “Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program”.


Hive hopes
The Engineer | June 16
Also in the US is one of the most science fiction-like swarm projects. At Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Seth Goldstein is directing the Claytronics project, which he describes as not so much swarm robotics as 'programmable matter'. He aims to develop robots in the 100micron scale that will be able to self-assemble into tools, 3D models, or even 'moving statues', which will assist in communication.