September 24, 2020
U.S. Secretary of Energy Visits Carnegie Mellon
By Virginia Delaney and Daniella Greeman
On September 21 and 22, the CMU President’s office, the Vice President for Research, and the Scott Institute hosted a senior level campus visit with Department of Energy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette and others, including Undersecretary Paul Dabbar, White House CTO Michael Kratsios, AITO Director Cheryl Ingstad, Assistant Secretary Steve Winberg, and NETL Director Brian Anderson.
The days' events on September 21 focused on Undersecretary Dabbar's interests in AI strategy in energy sciences as well as the DoE’s lead role in the administration’s concentration on Quantum information sciences and its supporting role in the “AI Innovation for the American People” initiative. President Jahanian welcomed the visitors and a number of faculty met with the Undersecretary Dabbar to give brief presentations about their research. In addition, a leadership roundtable that included Michael McQuade, Vice President for Research, Martial Hebert, Dean, School of Computer Science, William Sanders, Dean, College of Engineering, Rebecca Doerge, Dean, Mellon College of Science and Jay Whitacre, Director, Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation provided an opportunity for an engaging discussion of CMU’s approach to AI and goal of creating interdisciplinary research that integrates the compute and hardware levels to data, machine learning, autonomy and human augmentation applications.
On September 22, Secretary Brouillette and CTO Kratsios were presented with a discussion on robotics and autonomy as well as an Innovation Showcase about the DARPA Sub-terrain (Sub-T) Challenge with Team Explorer, Matt Travers, Sebastian Scherer. Burcu Akinci, Mario Bergés, and Steve Smith talked about the NASA Habitats Optimized for Missions of Exploration. National Energy Technology Laboratory Director, Brian Anderson and Scott Institute directors Anna Siefken and Jay Whitacre provided an update on the CMU and NETL Collaboration on AI and ML in Energy (Fossil Research). CMU Vice President for Research Michael McQuade moderated a fireside chat with Secretary Brouillette and CTO Michael Kratsios on the topic of AI innovation, clean energy and economic development. The visit coucluded with an ARGO car showcase followed by a luncheon and discussion of women in AI with AITO Director, Cheryl Ingstad and Margaret Lentz (CIT98).