Carnegie Mellon University

Lectures & Events

Department of Statistics & Data Science Seminar: Combining Statistics and Cognitive Science to Understand How Students Learn Statistics 

Monday, Nov. 18, 4 to 5 p.m., Scaife Hall 125

Alex Reinhart is an assistant teaching professor of statistics & data science at Carnegie Mellon University, where he also received his Ph.D. in statistics in 2018. He is the author of "Statistics Done Wrong," a popular book on common ways scientists misuse statistics, and helps lead the TeachStat Research Group on the student learning of statistics. He also works on applications of spatio-temporal point processes to fields such as crime and wildfire prediction.

In this talk, Reinhart will discuss fundamental research his group has pursued on why students struggle to understand statistical concepts. Using think-aloud interviews, cognitive task analysis and other tools from cognitive learning research, they have examined how students solve problems and what misconceptions they experience. In their introductory course, they are using pre- and post-tests to measure how prevalent these misconceptions are and whether they are adequately addressed in the course. Reinhart will also present preliminary results from a study of students in a mathematical statistics course, comparing the problem-solving strategies used by students to those used by expert graduate students.

Professors Who Believe

Monday, Nov. 18, 5 to 6 p.m., Gates Hillman Centers 4405

Christian professors talk about why faith makes a difference. Three CMU faculty members will describe the difference that faith makes in their day-to-day lives, including their research and teaching. Q&A will follow. Snacks and beverages provided. "Professors Who Believe: is a part of Spirituality Development Month, which occurs annually in November.

Sponsored by InterVarsity Pittsburgh Faculty Ministry


Monday, Nov. 18, 5 to 9 p.m., Rangos Ballroom, Cohon University Center

"True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. To find one feal friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing."

Take a break from your studies and enjoy an all-you-care-to-eat Thanksgiving Dinner. Bring your friends! Pay with a dinner block or $11.59 per person.

Sponsored by Spiritual & Religious Life, Dining Services, and Partners Allied in Civic Engagement (PACE) 

The Exchange Grand Opening Celebration

Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2 to 4 p.m., Posner Hall First Floor

Join Dining Services as we celebrate the grand opening of newly renovated Exchange! Explore the new space, enjoy samples from the menu and get an airbrush tattoo or a custom caricature. Cast your vote as we name two of our signature sandwiches and share what you love about The Exchange!

Adamson Visiting Writer: Irina Reyn

Tuesday, Nov, 19, 4:30 to 6 p.m., Baker Hall 260 (The Glad) 

Irina Reyn will discuss her most recent novel, "Mother Country."

Sponsored by the English Department

Michael Horowitz: "Power, Ethics and International Competition in an Age of Artificial Intelligence"

Tuesday, Nov. 19, 4:45 to 5:45 p.m., Margaret Morrison 103

Michael C. Horowitz is a professor of political science and the associate director of Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania. He recently received the 2017 Karl Deutsch Award from the International Studies Association, presented annually to a scholar under age 40 who is judged to have made the most significant contribution to the study of international relations and peace research. Professor Horowitz is the co-author of the book, "Why Leaders Fight," and his award-winning first book, "The Diffusion of Military Power: Causes and Consequences for International Politics." His research interests include technology and global politics, military innovation, the role of leaders in international politics and forecasting.

Sponsored by the Center for International Relations and Politics

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Artist Lecture: Tschabalala Self

Tuesday, Nov. 19, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Kresge Theater

Painter Tschabalala Self's work explores the emotional, physical and psychological impact of the black female body as icon in contemporary culture and examines the intersectionality of race, gender and sexuality. Correcting misconceptions propagated within and projected upon the black body, Self aims to create a space where they are free of the othering gaze. Her work has been exhibited at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, MoMA PS1, and in recent solo exhibitions at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the Frye Museum in Seattle.

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Innovation Roundtable 2019: How Information Fuels Innovation

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 10 to 11:30 a.m., Connan Room, Cohon University Center

Presented by Carnegie Mellon University Libraries and the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), the Innovation Roundtable brings together students, faculty and researchers to discuss how the resources and services provided by these units fuel innovation, problem-solving and collaboration.

The first panel discussion will feature Matthew Marsteller, principal librarian, and Shayan Gupta, a junior in the College of Engineering and CEO of Audition Technology. The will discuss Marsteller’s patent searching consultation for Gupta’s startup in preparation for the submission of a provisional patent last August.

For the second panel, Ritwik Gupta, machine learning research scientist at SEI, and Daniel Costa, technical team lead, CERT Division, will interview students Nicholas Miller, Mary Grace Kozuch and Sandra Sajeev about their experience in the SEI Internship Program, highlighting the opportunities and rewards students can earn through the program.

Light refreshments will be available.

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The Future of Energy is Distributed

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Bosch Spark Conference Room, Scott Hall 5201

Join the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University for a Distinguished Lecture by CMU alumnus and Bloom Energy Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations Mark Mesler (TPR 2001). Mesler's talk is titled, "The Future of Energy is Distributed." This event is in conjunction with the Tepper School of Business' Technology, Sustainability and Business Forum.

Bloom Energy’s mission is to make clean, reliable and affordable energy for everyone in the world. The company’s product, the Bloom Energy Server, delivers highly reliable and resilient, "Always-On" electric power that is clean and sustainable. Bloom’s customers include 25 of the Fortune 100 companies and leaders in cloud services and data centers, health care, retail, financial services and many other industries.

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Exceptionalism and the New Mainstream: Explaining Viktor Orbán’s Illiberal Regime in Hungary 

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 4:30 to 6 p.m., Simmons A, Tepper Building

Thirty years after the democratic transition in 1989, hybrid political cultures have taken root in the European semiperipheries. This talk analyzes how former “model pupil” Hungary became under prime minister Viktor Orbán the most visible and conceptually refined example of the rejection of liberal democracy, and provides some insights on how to tackle this regional challenge. Presented by Stefano Bottoni, Ph.D. in history at the University of Bologna, senior lecturer at the University of Florence and previously senior fellow at the Institute of History of Research Centre for the Humanities at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2009-2019).

Sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University Departments of History & English, Classrooms Without Borders, and The Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.

Veg-olution Themed Dinner

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 5 to 9 p.m., Schatz Dining Room

November is National Vegan Month! As we highlight plant-forward food options, we’ll celebrate with a vegan-themed dinner in Schatz! Our chefs will highlight a variety of vegan options as we continue to bring plants to the center of the plate! 

We’ll be on hand with information regarding vegan and plant-forward-based diet.

Artist Talk and Workshop: Morgan Overton 

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 6:30 p.m., Hunt Library, IDeATe Studio A (first floor) 

November is Native American Heritage Month. Alexa Woloshyn's North American Indigenous Music Seminar (School of Music) is hosting individuals from our local indigenous community to learn about and celebrate Native American cultures and diverse artistic practices. Join us for an artist talk and workshop with local black indigenous artist Morgan Overton.

Proudly from Pittsburgh, Morgan Overton holds a degree in psychology with a minor in studio art from the University of Pittsburgh. She believes empowerment and resistance come in many forms. Art being one, a platform of social change and powerful narratives. Her work widely uplifts the leaders of freedom movements who came before us, but also unsung everyday heroes of today who carry forth such legacies. The common theme in her work is to uplift excellence that has been silenced for too long. Through her work in social justice on and off the canvas, Morgan strives to represent the seven generations of black and indigenous greatness before and after her, unapologetically.

Food will be provided. Sponsored by the Center for the Arts in Society.

RSVP by Monday, Nov. 18 at 12 p.m.

Paws to Relax

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 7 to 8 p.m., Mindfulness Room, First floor of West Wing  

Join us for therapy dogs in the Mindfulness Room. Volunteers from Animal Friends' Therapets program visit us each week. Be sure to practice some gratitude and thank them for their time.

November Democratic Debate Watch Party

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 8 p.m., Simmons Auditorium Side A, Tepper Building

Join Roosevelt at CMU, Sustainable Earth, Swing Left, Students with Warren and Tartans for Bernie for our November Democratic Debate Watch Party. There will be free food, snacks and fun political banter, so come stop by!

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CNBC Colloquium: A Distributional Code for Value in Dopamine-Based Reinforcement Learning

Thursday, Nov. 21, 4 to 5 p.m., Social Room, Mellon Institute

Matthew Botvinick, director of neuroscience at DeepMind will present "A Distributional Code for Value in Dopamine-Based Reinforcement Learning." Twenty years ago, a link was discovered between the neurotransmitter dopamine and the computational framework of reinforcement learning. Since then, it has become well established that dopamine release reflects a reward prediction error, a surprise signal that drives learning of reward predictions and shapes future behavior. According to the now canonical theory, reward predictions are represented as a single scalar quantity, which supports learning about the expectation, or mean, of stochastic outcomes. Botvinick will present recent work in which there is a proposed novel account of dopamine-based reinforcement learning, and adduced experimental results which point to a significant modification of the standard reward prediction error theory. Inspired by recent artificial intelligence research on distributional reinforcement learning, he hypothesized that the brain represents possible future rewards not as a single mean, but instead as a probability distribution, effectively representing multiple future outcomes simultaneously and in parallel. This idea leads immediately to a set of empirical predictions, which he tested using single-unit recordings from mouse ventral tegmental area. His findings provide strong evidence for a neural realization of distributional reinforcement learning.

Guided Meditation 

Thursday, Nov. 21, 6 to 7 p.m., Mindfulness Room, First floor of West Wing

This guided meditation includes both a practice in formless meditation and a metta meditation. All are welcome.

Salon: A Night of Music and Spoken Words

Thursday, Nov. 21, 8 to 10 p.m., 1060 Morewood Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Please join us for Salon: A Night of Music and Spoken Words, a night honoring James Baldwin, Billy Strayhorn, Bayard Rustin and Miles Davis. Performances by Kenny Peagler, James Johnson, Tracey Turner, c.lee hill, and Zanetta Wingfield. 

Sponsored by the Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion

Gender Redesigner: Film Screening and Q&A with fAe gibson

Friday, Nov, 22, 6 to 8 p.m., Margaret Morrison Hall, Room 103

Join the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion for a screening of "Gender Redesigner" and Q&A with fAe gibson. Dinner will be provided.

RSVP by Monday, Nov. 18

Salon: A Night of Music and Spoken Words

Friday, Nov. 22, 8 to 10 p.m., 1060 Morewood Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 

Please join us for Salon: A Night of Music and Spoken Words, a night honoring James Baldwin, Billy Strayhorn, Bayard Rustin and Miles Davis. Performances by Kenny Peagler, James Johnson, Tracey Turner, c.lee hill, and Zanetta Wingfield.

Sponsored by the Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion

Ask Me Anything Day

Monday, Nov. 25

Are you curious about faiths and worldviews different from your own? Do you wish others would ask you about your worldview? Participate in Ask Me Anything Day! Individuals across campus will wear buttons to encourage others to ask them about their faith, religion, spirituality, values, and worldview. To request a button, contact Mandy Best. Ask Me Anything Day is a part of Spirituality Development Month, which occurs annually in November.

Grand Challenge Seminar Series Presents A Conversation with Todd Stern

Tuesday, Nov. 26, 12 to 1:30 p.m., Simmons Auditorium, Tepper Building

Todd Stern, the Obama era U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change and one of the key architects of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, will visit CMU to talk about global action on climate, the significance and effectiveness of international climate policy and teh place of the United States in it during the Obama and Trump eras. Lunch will be provided.

Check the Dietrich College calendar for more upcoming events.