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News Clips - June 18

From June 11 to June 17, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 732 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


US companies slam China's innovation policies
Associated Press/New York Times | June 15
U.S. business groups on Tuesday criticized China's government for recent proposals that could discriminate against U.S. software, computer and clean energy companies. […] Still, Lee Branstetter, an economics professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said China's indigenous innovation policies may not turn out to be as harmful as U.S. companies allege. Some may even benefit foreign companies. To begin with, the government procurement policies aren't yet formally in place. After being modified in April, they ''may prove to be less discriminatory than once feared,'' Branstetter said before the ITC.


A new physics-based algorithm gives footballing bots the power of prediction
Popular Science | June 15
It can be very difficult to coax every individual on a soccer squad into stepping up the level of play all at the same time (just ask Australia's World Cup team). But at the RoboCup, the American team is doing just that, using a new physics-based algorithm that helps their footballing 'bots not only execute plays but to anticipate where the action on the field is likely to unfold next. Developed at Carnegie Mellon University's Computer Science Department, the team of American robots was designed to compete in the RoboCup, an annual tournament for soccer bots that aims to develop autonomous humanoid robots that can defeat the best human players by 2050. The current crop of robots are nowhere near that goal, playing on a very tiny pitch that they roll, rather than run, up and down.


Fixing without touching
The Wall Street Journal | June 15
"Red," the play by John Logan that won six Tony Awards on Sunday, focuses on Mark Rothko's troubled commission to create paintings for the Four Seasons restaurant in New York, but there's a less well-known commission that's created a different set of problems: a group of five large-scale murals painted by Rothko (1903-1970) in the early '60s and originally installed in the top-floor dining room of the Harvard University health clinic. Their colors aren't what they once were, as a large amount of direct sunlight has faded them; there is no way to bring faded colors back to life, and you don't repaint someone else's painting. "Obscuring the original and replacing it with a substitute?" said Paul Whitmore, director of the Art Conservation Research Center at Carnegie Mellon University. "That violates the ethics of the conservation field." The murals, which also suffered food stains, graffiti and bumps from chairs and tables, were taken down more than 30 years ago and kept in storage, awaiting . . . it's difficult to know what. A miracle, maybe.


Kinect: video game gamechanger or just a misspelled word?
American Public Media – Future Tense with John Moe | June 15
We’ve been hearing about Microsoft’s Project Natal for about a year now. The idea is to have a video game controller without the controller itself. Cameras are set up that monitor your body so you’re free to participate in the game without pushing any buttons. If you’re running track, really run. If the game wants you to pick something up, reach out into near space and pretend to do so. It’s a neat concept but many of us have been wondering how it would actually work in the real world. Monday, Microsoft brought the reality incrementally closer as they presented the project, now renamed Kinect for Xbox 360, and demonstrated several games that will be available when it launches on November 4th. […] We talk to Dean Takahashi from the floor of the conference to get his reaction. Dean writes about gaming for Venture Beat and has written two books about the Xbox. We also check in with Chris Klug from Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center about what Kinect might mean for gamers and non-gamers alike.


Speakers see threats to the concept of shared governance
The Chronicle of Higher Education | June 13
This article reports on a panel discussion at the annual meeting of the American Association of University Professors. Mark S. Schneider, a former commissioner of the U.S. Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics, said that that emerging technologies will make many present-day faculty roles obsolete. One example he cited was online courses like those developed by Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative.

Education for Leadership

Students team up with 'Alice' to bring their stories to life
Sanford News | June 17
What will writing look like in the future? Students who just completed the sixth grade in Ada Spinney's class might have an idea — they wrote stories this year and brought them to life with computer technology. […] For Spinney, the technological angle of the project came first. Last summer she read "The Last Lecture," the popular and inspiring best-selling book by the late Randy Pausch, a computer professor at Carnegie Mellon. In the book, Pausch details his and his students' and colleagues' development of a program called Alice that would use storytelling to teach the fundamentals of computer programming.

Arts and Humanities

Kubideh kitchen
Pittsburgh City Paper | June 17
Like its music and literature, a culture's food harbors a strand of its DNA. Take kubideh, a street-vendor staple in Iran, as served at East Liberty's new Conflict Kitchen. It's basically a hamburger: ground meat wrapped in leavened flatbread. But look --and taste -- closer. The spongily satisfying homemade barbari, for instance, announces the importance of fresh bread in Persian culture: Nuun Juun-eh, they say in Farsi. "Bread is life." […] Conflict Kitchen launched its sidewalk take-out window in May. It's an offshoot of The Waffle Shop, the Carnegie Mellon University art-school project that itself became a community fixture. The two-year-old Waffle Shop blends neighborhood diner with streaming-video talk show. Conflict Kitchen (funded by the Sprout Fund) brings to Pittsburgh unfamiliar cuisine from countries with which the U.S. is at odds, in hopes of inspiring conversations.

Information Technology

Corporate boards weak on security, but improving
InformationWeek | June 16
More than half of Fortune 1000 companies lack a full-time chief information security officer, only 38% have a chief security officer, and just 20% have a chief privacy officer. As a result, a majority of companies are failing to adequately assess and manage the risks that information security and privacy issues pose to their business. Those findings come from "Governance of Enterprise Security," a new study released yesterday by Carnegie Mellon University's CyLab. The report is based on a survey of 66 board directors or senior executives who work at Fortune 1000 companies. Nearly half of respondents work at critical infrastructure companies. CyLab conducted a similar survey in 2008.


IEEE’s council on EDA to present four achievement awards during DAC
Chip Design Magazine | June/July 2010
This year’s A. Richard Newton Technical Impact Award, awarded jointly by CEDA and the ACM Special Interest Group on Design Automation (SigDA), will be given to Dr. Randal E. Bryant, Dean and University Professor of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. The award recognizes Dr. Bryant for developing Reduced Ordered Binary Decision Diagrams. Dr. Bryant will be given the Phil Kaufman Award, presented by CEDA and the Electronic Design Automation Consortium, during the session.


Scientists develop tech to track carbon dioxide
Associated Press/ | June 14
Scientists have developed a method for detecting and tracking carbon dioxide deep underground, giving the federal government an important tool as people look for ways to keep carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from crowding the atmosphere. Scientists working with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory used colorless, nontoxic liquids called perflourocarbon tracers to essentially fingerprint carbon dioxide that was injected into a coal seam in northwestern New Mexico. […] Sean McCoy, manager of the Carbon Capture and Sequestration Regulatory Project at Carnegie Mellon University, wasn't involved in the study but said it appears from the findings that the tracer technology will improve scientists' ability to characterize places where they're thinking of storing CO2 over long periods of time.

Regional Impact

Knock on Wood: Tradition runs strong with Dad's Day Run Blog | June 11
Astria Suparak of Carnegie Mellon University juried and curated “After the Pedestal, the sixth Annual of Smaller Sculpture from the Region,” which opens at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Sculpture Center, 1834 East 123rd St., Cleveland. The show includes sculptures ranging in size from 1.25 inches to 3 feet high, an installation and a performance piece. It closes July 31.


Homewood's Cafe 524 blends community with sustainability and coffee
Pop City | June 16
A collaboration of community leaders is aspiring to create a bright, sustainable place for business development and coffee in a former Homewood post office. More than just a coffee shop, Café 524 hopes to spur the rebirth of the Homewood business district and serve as a catalyst for sustainability and community activities. The cafe will be located at 524 N. Homewood Ave. […] "It's very much a collaborative effort that grew organically out of dialogue and community meetings," says John Folan, director of Carnegie Mellon's UDBS, a studio of interdisciplinary architecture students who are working on the design. UDBS's mission is to develop climate appropriate building technologies for neighborhoods in Allegheny County.


CMU robot soccer team has a big leg up on competition
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | June 14
The U.S. men's soccer team might be considered underdogs in the World Cup, but a robot soccer team from Carnegie Mellon University is confident it can take first at this month's RoboCup 2010 world championship in Singapore. The CMDragons, a team of five wheeled robots standing less than 6 inches tall in the shape of cylinders, will look to claim its third championship in five years competing against opponents from such countries as Brazil, Iran and Thailand at the world's largest robotics and artificial intelligence event.


Award for a brilliant copper trick | June 17
The 2010 Gutenberg Lecture Award was today bestowed upon the Polish-American scientist Professor Dr Krzysztof Matyjaszewski for his ground-breaking developments in polymer production and processing. Matyjaszewski is one of the world’s most highly regarded chemists. He both teaches and pursues research at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA. The Gutenberg Lecture Award, worth a total of € 10,000, has been conferred on Matyjaszewski primarily because of his development of a new process for the synthesis of polymers, allowing synthetic materials to be tailor-made for specific uses. Matyjaszewski was able to control a large number of hitherto uncontrolled polymerizations by using copper catalyst systems. The resultant materials have a vast range of applications - as surface finishes and adhesives, in printing dyes and cosmetics, and they are even employed in the fields of medicine and pharmacy, being used, for example, as coatings for stents. "Professor Matyjaszewski's process has not only revolutionized polymer synthesis but has had considerable influence on other fields of research.


56 CMUQ pupils on dean’s list
Gulf Times | June 16
After excelling in the classroom during the spring 2010 term, 56 students of Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar have earned the academic distinction of being placed on the dean’s list. Only top-ranking students are named to the dean’s list each semester. The qualifications are the same in Doha as they are on Carnegie Mellon’s home campus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US. Senior Business Administration students given these top honours are: Tarik Abou Galala, Al-Hanoof al-Emadi, Fatima al-Fakhri, Abdulla al-Kuwari, Buthayna al-Madhadi, Saad al-Matwi, Shuaa al-Nasr, Eatidal al-Qatami, Mohamed Arsalan Arif, Harold Yew Jin Huang, Hadi Murtada and Eman Tag. Junior Business Administration students are: Maryam al-Kuwari, Mai al-Naemi, Zeyad al-Mudhaf, Maryam Alsemaitt, Nofe al-Suwaidi, Aeshah Anani, Jummana Kahlout, Laila Khan, Hala Khashabi, Yara Saeed and Samya Sharab. Junior Information Systems students are: Amna al-Hitmi, Shashank Jariwala and Douaa Dalle.


Give Pittsburgh a chance
Forever Young News | June 15
Half a century ago, Pittsburgh's sky was painted gray from dawn to dusk with the smoke from its steel mills. The industries that have replaced these plants are higher education, tourism and technology. Its neighbourhoods are bustling. And the air is clean. […] Pittsburgh's two large universities, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh, are neighbours. The U of P pays homage to ethnic community groups by turning some classrooms into German, Czech, Polish, and Italian-inspired period rooms. Paid for and designed by the groups they represent, these are open to visitors any time they’re not in use. Stained glass, authentic inlaid or carved furniture, and iconic figures representing the country of origin are on view.


Digital bytes
The Hindu Businessline | June 14
Any conference that is named “Thinking Digital” would make you expect two days of “nerdy” stuff — programming, algorithms, design patterns, solution architecture, etc, but this one wasn't. Honest. Your correspondent attended the introduction to origami pre-conference workshop by Robert Lang. You need oodles of patience; meticulous attention to detail – when and how to fold; getting the alignment perfect; and being gentle yet firm with the sheet in hand. One error, and it multiplies and ruins the final outcome. Yes, the devil is in the details. Lang also gave a talk in the main conference on origami and science (folding space telescopes), engineering (how airbags in cars fold), and medicine (foldable stents). […] Luis Von Ahn, Computer Science Professor at Carnegie Mellon University and founder of reCAPTCHA, spoke about the idea behind reCAPTCHA ( – reducing spam and at the same time helping digitise books.