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News Clips - February 5, 2010

From January 28 to February 4, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 372 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


DARPA develops 4-legged robot to haul equipment over rugged terrain
Defense Industry Daily | February 2
Looking like a robotic mule, the Legged Squad Support System (LS3) being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will carry 400 pounds of equipment for US soldiers and Marines over rugged terrain inaccessible by vehicle – terrain like the mountains of Afghanistan. [...] Boston Dynamics’ partners on the LS3 program include Bell Helicopter, AAI Corp., Carnegie Mellon University, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Woodward HRT.


The networked grid 100: Movers and shakers of the smart grid
Greentech Grid | February 1
The smart grid market continues to grow faster than a young Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -- if not in market size (yet), at least in the number of movers and shakers that are entering the space. That's worth something, right? As such, we've compiled a list of 100 people who are influencing this market on a daily basis, be it through innovating, regulating, evangelizing, planning, deploying, benchmarking, architecting, standardizing, investing, developing, etc. [...] Marija Ilic, Professor, Carnegie Mellon University. Marija Ilic, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon, also serves as Director of the university's new Electric Energy Systems Group. Marija is helping to spread the good news about smart grids to students: suddenly, power engineers are cool again! Move over, Stanford and MIT, because nestled in the hills of Pittsburgh's East End is Carnegie Mellon.

Education for Leadership

Smart.Mirror helps shoppers select the perfect clothes
Invention and Technology News | January 29
It's safe to say that most men don't find pleasure in shopping for clothes. Many guys must be dragged kicking and screaming by their significant other when it's time to update their wardrobes. However, thanks to a group of graduate students from Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College, fashion conscious Pittsburgh men no longer have to be left to their own devices – or the mercy of a sales person who doesn't know their tastes – to choose that perfect ensemble. They can let a Smart.Mirror guide them through the sometimes harrowing process of shopping for clothes.


The nifty 50
The New York Times Magazine Blog | January 29
Bomer, who recently sold a script he wrote about a young Nashville songwriter to the CW, could be speaking about himself. Now 32, the Los Angeles resident grew up in Spring, Tex. (His dad is the former Dallas Cowboy John Bomer.) After receiving a B.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University, he moved to New York, where he did obligatory stints in soaps and musical theater, and had supporting roles in movies like “Flightplan” before landing his own TV shows, “Traveler” and then “Chuck."

Arts and Humanities

Can happiness make you healthier physically?
Huffington Post | January 28
A couple of researchers in the field -- Carnegie Mellon psychologist Sheldon Cohen and Yerkes Primate Research Center Psychobiology director Mark Wilson -- talked to me about why science remains confounded by the unseen tie that binds happiness and health. For one, happiness is a devil to define. Parts per million, micrograms, watts per square meter, light years -- these are like warm blankets of sense to scientists, who require quantification for their inquiry. It's incredibly difficult to measure 10cc of happiness, and if we could, we'd all be shooting it up and really wouldn't care whether it made us healthier at all.


Contestational cartographies
Pittsburgh City Paper | February 3
Such bias was a subtext of last week's Contestational Cartographies Symposium, at Carnegie Mellon. Carnegie Mellon's Miller Gallery and Studio for Creative Inquiry hosted a series of talks by artists and scholars who question the means we use to abstract our notions of the space we inhabit. (The symposium was linked to the gallery's Experimental Geographies exhibit, which closed Jan. 31.) One symposium contributor, the artist and 1992 Carnegie Mellon grad Lize Mogel, calls her practice "radical, critical, counter-cartography."

Information Technology

No flash in the pan
Genome Daily Web | February Issue
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Intel Labs Pittsburgh recently demonstrated the energy efficiency of flash memory with an experimental cluster architecture called FAWN, or Fast Array of Wimpy Nodes. David Anderson, an assistant professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon, and his colleagues built a 21-node cluster capable of up to 100 times as many queries as an HDD-based cluster — all while consuming less energy than a 100-watt light bulb. Each node is comprised of an embedded single-core 500 MHz AMD Geode LX processor board and a 4 GB compact flash card. "If you have thousands of genomes and you wanted to scan them all, then you might start looking at flash," Anderson says.


Eat like a foodie -- without leaving home
CNN Living/O Magazine | January 29
Then I talked to Christopher Weber, research assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, who recently cowrote a study on the carbon footprint of e-tailing and found that it's surprisingly modest -- if you buy direct from the producer.


Brains behind the bots foresee an amazing future
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 3
So claimed a panel of expert roboticists Thursday at the Hillman Center Auditorium at Carnegie Mellon University who offered bold analyses of robots' role in our lives and even bolder predictions about the future of robotics. Discussion moderator Corey S. Powell, Discover magazine editor in chief, said panel members are pioneers in robotics who have been "imagining the impossible" and making it happen. The panel included Rodney Brooks of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Javier Movellan of the University of California San Diego, Robin Murphy of Texas A&M, and William "Red" Whittaker of CMU.


Business news briefs: Carnegie Mellon researchers receive $2 million in Google grants
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 3
Carnegie Mellon professors cleaned up Tuesday when Google announced the first recipients of its Focused Research Awards, grants given to areas of research of interest to Google and the research community. Carnegie Mellon faculty received $2 million ($1.5 million upfront) of the $5.7 million given in total. William Cohen, Christos Faloutsos, Garth Gibson and Tom Mitchell received $1.5 million ($1 million upfront) in machine learning research for "Worldly Knowledge: Extracting Facts in Context." David G. Andersen and Mor Harchol-Balter received $100,000 in energy efficiency research for "Energy Efficient and Proportional Datacenter Computing." Lorrie Cranor received $400,000 in privacy research for "Privacy Nudges: The Empowerment and Guidance of Users in Taking Control of Their Privacy on the Web."


Newsmaker: David Dzombak
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | February 4
Doctorate in civil and environmental engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1986; master's in civil and environmental engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 1981, bachelor's in mathematics, St. Vincent College, and bachelor's in civil and environmental engineering, Carnegie Mellon, both in 1980.


Al Resala students win Carnegie Mellon-Q contest
The Peninsula | February 2
A team of students from Al Resala Secondary School captured first place in the second Ibtikar Qatar competition held at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (Carnegie Mellon-Q), recently. Ibtikar Qatar is an information systems innovation competition that encourages high school seniors and juniors to get involved with solving a real-world problem using information technology, while at the same time raising their interest in the dynamic field of information systems.


Why are Toyota gas pedals sticking? It's complicated
Associated Press/The Japan Times | January 30
"This is very unusual and happens on a very rare circumstance, and a whole bunch of things have to happen simultaneously," said Raj Rajkumar, head of Carnegie Mellon University's automotive research lab. It's like lots of unlikely lottery hits happening at the same time, but with millions of Toyotas, they do happen.


'Block the sun, control global warming'
IANS/Times of India | January 30
Research and field-testing on what they call "geo-engineering" of the earth's atmosphere  to limit risk of climate change must begin quickly, say scientists from the University of Calgary in Canada, and the University of Michigan and Carnegie Mellon University in the US. Studies on geo-engineering or solar radiation management (SRM) should be undertaken collectively with government funding, rather that unilaterally by nations, argue the scientists.