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News Clips - August 13, 2010

From August 6 to August 12, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 496 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Answers to your questions about college theater programs
The New York Times – Arts Beat Blog | August 11
This week, Mary Anna Dennard, the author of “I Got In!: The Ultimate College Audition Guide for Acting and Musical Theater,” answered readers’ questions about auditioning, getting the right head shot and other topics. Below are answers to selected questions. […] My former student Hunter Ryan Herdlicka graduated from Carnegie Mellon in May, signed with an agent at his senior showcase, booked his second audition and landed a Broadway role. He is currently co-starring with Bernadette Peters in “A Little Night Music” in the role of Henrick. This is a Cinderella story, to be sure, but he will tell you that he would never have been prepared to perform on a Broadway stage without the training he received at Carnegie Mellon.


Turning the world into a sensor network
Network World | August 11
Try to imagine a "world littered with trillions" of wireless sensors. Now try to imagine the problems getting even a few thousand of them to work together in any kind of intelligible way so you can know if that interstate bridge is near collapse or the natural gas pipe behind a housing development has a crack in it or how dropping your AC temperature by 3 degrees during peak demand will clobber your electric bill. Those are the problems that a new research project at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is going to explore. It has, as most such government-industry-academia joint efforts do, the cumbersome name of Pennsylvania Smart Infrastructure Incubator (PSII). The basic idea: Bring together some smart people, give them state of the art facilities and communications, and ask them to wrestle with how to build and run really big sensor networks that can deliver useable information.


Ball tracking technology headed for the NFL
International Business Times | August 10
It's been said that football is a game of inches. If that is the case, then pretty soon technology will help determine those inches exactly. The idea behind ball tracking technology is not new. It's been commonly used in golf and tennis. Recent controversies at the World Cup caused an outcry for a goal line technology to be implemented for all future soccer events. Football could be the next logical step. Dr. Priya Narasimhan is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and founder of YinzCam, a mobile live streaming technology for sporting events. Along with a team of 15 researchers, Narasimhan designed a ball-tracking technology.


Study puts deep freeze on organs
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | August 11
Yoed Rabin regularly plunges organs and blood vessels to temperatures hundreds of degrees below zero. One might call him Carnegie Mellon University's version of Mr. Freeze. But the mechanical engineering professor turns tissues and cells colder than ice to improve humanity's quality of life, not harm it -- as Batman's nemesis does. "We're trying to improve the technology of storing tissues for later use -- either for research or, more importantly, for transplantation," Rabin said.


Virtual walkers lead the way for robots
NewScientist | August 6
Chris Atkeson, a robotics researcher at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, says that such bespoke control systems require expertise to design. "It's an art," he says. "You essentially need a Michelangelo to do it, and there aren't that many Michelangelos." He says that the new strategies could spur the development of controllers capable of adapting to different robotic forms. For now, de Lasa is encouraged by the fact that different research groups are converging on similar methods to achieve realistic walking. "It gives us confidence that we're on the right path."

Education for Leadership

DIY balloons glow to show air quality | August 9
The idea of showing air quality by emitting glowing colors is fairly old. In fact, in 2007, Pairs launched hot air balloons above the city that would show citizens the level of cleanliness of the air they were breathing in. Even air filters have started to sport glowing colors to indicate the level of pollutants in the air. But having such a cool air quality monitor can be as simple as a weekend DIY project. Eric Paulos, an instructor at Carnegie Mellon University's Living Environments Lab, and his students Stacey Kuznetsov, George Davis, and Jian Cheung have put out step-by-step instructions on how to craft balloons that change color based on the local air quality.

Arts and Humanities

5 ways to use your brain to make healthy food choices
Third Age | August 11
George Loewenstein, Professor of Economics and Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, has pioneered important and fascinating behavioral economics research on diet and health choices, including a NY Times Op-Ed. You can learn more about his work including a webcast and paper available online in which he discusses factors contributing to obesity, including the posting of calorie charts (these are lengthy but well worth your time if you want to explore the topic further).


Auto regulation: Slamming the brakes on the car industry
The Fiscal Times | August 11
Professor Paul Fischbeck of Carnegie Mellon, who specializes in risk assessment, called Transportation Secretary LaHood’s advice early on to leave the car in the garage and walk poor advice. “Walking a mile is 19 times or 1,900 percent more dangerous than driving a mile in a recalled Toyota,” Fischbeck said. The cost/benefit appeal of the big new safety bill is questionable. The timing of the bill is certainly is not good. The recovery of the auto industry is important to the country’s economic health; costly new regulations will not help. But maybe Congress isn’t so foolish after all. The continuing bad publicity about Toyota has given GM, aka Government Motors, a real leg up. GM posted a 5 percent increase in July sales, while Toyota’s sales fell 3 percent.

Information Technology

Problems found with private browsing model
PC Magazine | August 9
A group of researchers from Stanford University and Carnegie Mellon University has published a paper which analyzes the current approach to private web browsing and offers some suggestions. As the researchers—Gaurav Aggarwal, Elie Burzstein and Dan Boneh of Stanford and Collin Jackson of CMU—say up front, implementing private browsing correctly is not easy. They define two goals of private browsing: to protect against a local attacker, another user on the same computer, accessing browsing history data of any kind; and to protect against a remote web attacker from linking private mode activities to those conducted in conventional browsing.,2817,2367570,00.asp


Study puts deep freeze on organs
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | August 11
Yoed Rabin regularly plunges organs and blood vessels to temperatures hundreds of degrees below zero. One might call him Carnegie Mellon University's version of Mr. Freeze. But the mechanical engineering professor turns tissues and cells colder than ice to improve humanity's quality of life, not harm it -- as Batman's nemesis does. "We're trying to improve the technology of storing tissues for later use -- either for research or, more importantly, for transplantation," Rabin said.


Carnegie Mellon tries crowdsourcing to develop optimal electric car formula
Campus Technology | August 9
Carnegie Mellon University has turned to crowdsourcing to develop new ideas for managing power in electric cars. Researchers at the Pittsburgh institution have announced a contest to find the most efficient methods, and the grand prize will be an electric car. The contest is a project of ChargeCar, a university-sponsored community effort for making electrical vehicle travel practical and affordable. That project, in turn, comes out of the Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment (CREATE) Lab, a community effort to further human-robot interaction.

Regional Impact

CMU's accelerator program preps student-led startups
Pittsburgh Business Times | August 6
A pilot program at Carnegie Mellon University aims to spin out companies faster by linking academics to the marketplace. CMU's Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship debuted The Accelerator in June with five companies led by students who finished their first year at Tepper Graduate School of Business and expect to graduate in 2011. CMU also has a financial stake in the companies: It is paying the students a small stipend, which will convert to equity. Will this three-month boot camp give them a leg up to launch? The Business Times aims to find out in a monthly series by following the five companies until their student-led entrepreneurs graduate in 2011.


Five Minutes with Art Boni, executive director of the Donald H. Jones Center for entrepreneurship at CMU
Pittsburgh Business Times | August 6
The Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University launched an accelerator program for potential spinout companies in June on a pilot basis. It’s designed to pave the way for would-be entrepreneurs who have finished the first of their two years at the Tepper Graduate School of Business to develop their own companies. Many of the students turned down highly paid internships to participate. CMU is paying them stipends, which will be treated as a convertible note, giving the school an equity stake in the company.


MSIT celebrates Achievers' Day
The Hindu | August 9
IIT Hyderabad's Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) division celebrated Achievers' Day to felicitate the batch of 2010 which saw all the students being placed. Addressing the gathering of students and industry professionals, Raj Reddy, Chairman, Consortium of Institutes of Higher Learning (CIHL) & IIIT Hyderabad, said the progress MSIT programme had made over the last years was amazing. “This year's 100 per cent placements is a reflection of the talent that is being nurtured by this innovate programme,” he said. […] The MSIT is a two- year post graduate programme offered by a consortium of universities in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, USA with the support of State government of Andhra Pradesh.


Carnegie Mellon University’s iSTEP internship program makes a mark in Bangladesh
Al Bawaba | August 9
"iSTEP is all about transcending boundaries, crossing cultures and bringing different people together," said M. Bernardine Dias, Ph.D., assistant research professor in Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science and founder and director of TechBridgeWorld. "It's not an easy task to address real-world challenges in a 10-week summer internship, but the iSTEP logo of a footprint is symbolic of taking a step toward making a difference." Launched by the TechBridgeWorld research group in 2009, iSTEP - short for innovative Student Technology ExPerience - is a 10-week internship program that allows students and recent alumni to work in developing communities on innovative technology projects. TechBridgeWorld works to pioneer research in the field of ICTD (Information and Communication Technologies for Development). Using a multidisciplinary approach, the iSTEP team consists of students from different areas of study – from public policy and management to business administration and computer science and information systems. Each student has a specific role and is responsible for a different aspect of the project. Brian Manalastas, a senior business administration student in Qatar, is the team's documentation lead.


Carnegie concludes its summer preview
Gulf Times | August 8
The Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMUQ) has concluded its three-week Summer College Preview Programme (SCPP) with a festive closing ceremony. A total of 27 high-school seniors and 13 juniors participated in the programme this year, an official said. “The SCPP gives high-school students exposure to a college-level experience and gives them the opportunity to explore an academic area of interest, while learning how to prepare for the highly competitive college admissions process,” CMUQ pre-college programmes manager Bruce Volstad said. A participant, Mohamed Dauleh said: “This programme is a good experience. It taught me how to handle pressure and prepare for the next step in high school. In my high school, we learn critical thinking, while at SCPP we are given the problem and need to figure out how to apply what we learned to get to the solution,” Dauleh, a student at Qatar Leadership Academy, earned the “most improved student” award for improving his SAT total score.