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8 1/2 x 11 Newsletter - April 28, 2011

April 28, 2011
Vol. 21, No. 41

In this issue:

Calendar Highlights

Picks of the Week:

  • Thursday, April 28: Technology Talk. 6:30 - 8 p.m., McConomy Auditorium. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will host a town hall meeting featuring Post-Gazette Executive Editor David Shribman and a panel of leading analysts of contemporary technology to examine the impact of science and technology on our culture and our future. Panelists include Justine Cassell, director of CMU's Human-Computer Interaction Institute; Rich Jaroslovsky, technology and digital media columnist for Bloomberg News; Walt Mossberg, personal technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal; and Tom Petzinger, executive vice president of Knopp Biosciences. Admission and parking are free. For more information about the event, visit Register by emailing or call 412-263-3850.
  • Thursday, April 28: Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic and Choirs, the final major ensemble performance of the season. 8 p.m. Carnegie Music Hall. Led by Music Director Ronald Zollman, the program will feature "Métaboles" by Dutilleux, "Variations on a Theme" by Haydn, "Schicksalslied" by Brahms and "Daphnis et Chloé," 2nd suite by Ravel. The cost is $5 for general admission, $4 for seniors, free for Carnegie Mellon faculty, staff and students.
  • Sunday, May 1: Circulo Juvenil Presentation on "Greening the Earth." 4 p.m., Porter Hall 125C. Every semester, El Circulo Juvenil de Cultura organizes 10-week workshops for Spanish-speaking children in the Pittsburgh area to bring them together to learn new skills while providing an outlet for expression in Spanish. With the help of student volunteers, this semester the class focused on "Greening the Earth," and the students will present what they learned in song and dance. The program is co-directed by Department of Modern Languages faculty members Mariana Achugar, Kenya Dworkin and Felipe Gomez. For more information on Circulo Juvenil, read this recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article:
  • Wednesday, May 4: Meeting of the Minds undergraduate research symposium. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., UC. More than 400 undergraduates representing every discipline on campus will present their research as posters, oral presentations, visual arts or performances. For more:

Featured Events:

  • Friday, April 29: Adamson Award Ceremony. 8 p.m., Baker Hall Adamson Auditorium, Baker Hall 136. The public event features author Wang Ping, followed by a presentation of the annual Adamson Awards for student writing.
  • Friday, April 29: The Buhl Lecture. Scott Aaronson, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will speak on "Quantum Computing and the Limits of the Efficiently Computable." 4:30 p.m., Mellon Institute Auditorium. In his talk, he'll discuss what can and can't be feasibly computed according to physical law. He'll argue that this is a fundamental question, not only for mathematics and computer science, but also for physics. Read more by downloading the page 5 article in the April Piper at
  • Friday, April 29: MEGA: CMU 2011 Senior Art Exhibition Reception. 6 - 8 p.m. Miller Gallery. Seniors graduating with Bachelor of Fine Arts and Interdisciplinary Art degrees present culminating work in "MEGA," the 2011 Senior Exhibition organized by the School of Art. The exhibition is free and open to the public and will run until May 14. "MEGA," an acronym for "Massive Ego Graphical Amalgamation," symbolizes this group of seniors' interconnected artistic endeavors and identities as a community. For more:
  • Saturday, April 30: DEA's Second National Take Back Initiative. 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., CMU Police Station located at 300 S. Craig St. (entrance on the Filmore Street side of the building). Carnegie Mellon's Police Department will participate in the Initiative to promote and facilitate the safe disposal of legal unused or expired, controlled, non-controlled, and over the counter medications. Medications will be collected in pill, gel, cream, patch and liquid form. Syringes will not be collected. This program is totally anonymous. For more information visit
  • Saturday, April 30: "Script to Screen: The Final Pitch." Three finalists in the Steeltown Film Factory competition will vie for $30,000 to help create his or her short film. The competition, which attracted 125 screenplays, will culminate with School of Drama students performing stage readings of the three scripts at 11 a.m., at the Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theatre in Carnegie Mellon's Purnell Center. The readings will be judged by "Ghost Whisperer" executive director and Donora, Pa., native Kim Moses, television producer Ian Sander and casting director Nancy Mosser. The finalists are Yulin Kuang (H'12), a creative writing major with a concentration in film; Christopher Dimond (MFA'07) and Philip Beard, an Aspinwall, Pa., novelist and attorney. Tickets for the reading are $5 for students and $10 for general admission. For more information or to register online, visit
  • Monday, May 2: Office Depot kickoff event. 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., Rangos Ballroom, UC. CMU's preferred supplier for office supplies will have vendors on hand to demonstrate some of the most popular products available from Office Depot, and members of the Office Depot team will talk about the program, demonstrate the website and distribute copies of the latest Office Depot catalog. All staff and faculty are invited to attend, enjoy refreshments, and enter to win door prizes. For more information, contact Justin Sullivan in Procurement Services at 412-268-4344 or
  • Monday, May 2: Music Extension Recital. 5 p.m., Kresge Recital Hall, College of Fine Arts Building. Hear talented musicians from across the university in this free, public recital. For more:
  • Wednesday, May 4: "Reading for Class: 21st Century Perspective on Social Class." 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Baker Hall 255 (B) Swank Room. Graduate students in English Professor Kathy M. Newman's "Class Class" organized this colloquium that includes a keynote address by Sherry Linkon, professor of English and American Studies at Youngstown State University and co-editor of "New Working-Class Studies" and the blog at the Center for Working Class Studies; a poetry reading by Jim Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English at CMU; and numerous student talks on topics such as Gender, Sexuality, Race (Identity) and Class, Reading the Canon and Social Class and Policy/Politics and Class. Members of the campus community are invited to attend any or all sessions. For a complete schedule, visit
  • Saturday, May 7: Doble Tango. Latin jazz guitar and piano duo of Argentine musicians JE Cucchiarelli and Fede Díaz will perform. The duo are guests of James Ferla, artist lecturer in guitar. 8 p.m. Kresge Theatre, College of Fine Arts. Free. For more information about Doble Tango, visit
  • Sunday May 8: Parking will be restricted on several streets on and around campus due to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Schenley Park.
  • May 10 — 15: Cap and Gown Distribution. McKenna/Peter/Wright Room, University Center. For details and a schedule, visit
  • Sunday, May 15: Commencement Ceremony. Guests are asked to be seated in Gesling Stadium by 10 a.m. Procession of graduates will begin at 10:15 a.m. The ceremony will start at 11 a.m. and is scheduled to run through 12:30 p.m. Read more about the honorary degree recipients later in this newsletter.
(If you have an event you'd like to publicize on the university's online public event calendar, complete the event form at Your information will be sent to the Internal Communications team for posting on the calendar.)

Carnegie Mellon Showcases Eight Honorary Degree Recipients

Alumnus Aron Ralston (E'97), whose amazing and heroic story of survival is the subject of the film "127 Hours," will be the keynote speaker at Carnegie Mellon's 114th commencement, Sunday, May 15. Pinned by a half-ton boulder in a Utah canyon for nearly a week, Ralston had to choose between his hand and his life. He chose survival — amputating his own limb, rappelling 65 feet and hiking seven miles to rescue.

This year's eight honorary degree recipients showcase the extraordinary accomplishments of Carnegie Mellon alumni and the global reach of the university through its research and education partnerships.

  • Craig R. Barrett, retired chief executive officer and chairman of the board of the Intel Corporation. Barrett will receive an honorary Doctor of Science and Technology degree and speak at the Heinz College diploma ceremony.
  • School of Drama graduates will enjoy the comments of legendary Hollywood producer Steven Bochco (CFA 1966), who will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree and speak at the drama diploma ceremony.
  • Chip Ganassi, owner of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Inc. will receive an honorary Doctor of Science and Technology degree. Ganassi has been a fixture in the auto racing industry for more than 25 years and is considered to be one of the most successful as well as innovative owners the sport has anywhere in the world. 
  • Richard (Rick) Rashid, senior vice president for Microsoft Research, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science and Technology degree. He will be the keynote speaker at the doctor's hooding ceremony and the School of Computer Science diploma ceremony.
  • Dr. David Servan-Schreiber (CS'89,'90), clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and an adjunct professor of general oncology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Diagnosed with brain cancer at age 31, Servan-Schreiber authored the international best-seller "Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life," which promotes an integrative approach to prevent and treat cancer.
  • Rafael Rangel Sostmann has been president of the Tecnológico de Monterrey System since 1985 and will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree. The vast Tecnológico de Monterrey System is a private, non-profit institution with four educational and research arms.
  • The honorary Doctor of Business Practice degree recognizes the accomplishments of David S. Steiner (CIT '51), who has a long and distinguished history as a real estate developer and is chairman of Steiner Equities Group, LLC.
  • Oliver Williamson (TPR '63), the Edgar F. Kaiser Professor Emeritus of Business, Economics, and Law at the University of California, Berkeley, was the 2009 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences. He will receive the honorary Doctor of Economics and Organization degree. He is speaker for the Tepper School of Business master's degree diploma ceremony on Saturday, May 14.

Nearly 4,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees will be conferred at this year's commencement.

For more information on Ralston, visit

For a schedule of events taking place during commencement weekend, visit

Carnegie Mellon Qatar To Celebrate Graduation May 2

Her Excellency Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani will give the keynote address at Carnegie Mellon Qatar's graduation on May 2. Her Excellency is chair of Qatar's National Foundation of Museums, which opened the Museum of Islamic Art in 2008. She also chairs Reach Out To Asia (ROTA), a Qatari charity founded by her father, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar.

The graduation ceremony, which begins at noon Pittsburgh time, will be livestreamed at mms:// as well as in the Pittsburgh campus' Doha Room. Refreshments will be provided.

Carnegie Mellon Qatar's class of 2011 comprises students receiving degrees in computer science, information technology and business administration.

Senior Celebration, an event that consists of awards, accolades and remembrances for seniors and their parents, will precede graduation on May 1. The Qatar Foundation will honor all of the graduating seniors of Education City by hosting the Senior Convocation on May 3. At this event, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, wife of the Emir of Qatar, will give her charge to the graduates.

In related news, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar announces a record number of applicants for the 2011-2012 incoming class. The numbers reached 670, a 26 percent increase over last year. The number of international applicants grew 71 percent. The growth reflects Education City's prestigious reputation and a greater awareness of Carnegie Mellon's presence in the region. This year's applicant pool included prospective students from 64 nations and 230 Qatari nationals — the highest number in university history.

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National Weather Service Designates CMU a "StormReady University"

The National Weather Service has designated Carnegie Mellon a "StormReady University" in recognition of the procedures established by the Environmental Health & Safety Department (EH&S) to protect individuals and the campus infrastructure during weather emergencies. CMU joins California University of Pennsylvania and Penn State as the third university in Pennsylvania to earn the distinction. CMU is the 70th "StormReady University" in the United States.

To receive the "StormReady" designation, CMU met six guidelines: a fully staffed communications center capable of issuing weather warnings; four ways to receive weather warnings; at least three ways to monitor local weather conditions; three ways to alert the campus community of severe weather conditions; a plan for building occupants to follow in the event of severe weather; and personnel to attend weather training classes and advanced emergency management training.

In addition, CMU must allow annual inspections of its emergency plans by the National Weather Service, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and state and local emergency responders.

"The StormReady designation affirms Carnegie Mellon University's dedication to protecting all of those in our campus community," said Madelyn Miller, director of EH&S.

Representatives from the National Weather Service will officially grant the "StormReady" certification to President Jared L. Cohon at 9 a.m., Friday, April 29 in the President's Dining Room in the University Center.

For more on the EH&S Department, severe weather procedures and training, go to

Creator of Spore and The Sims To Receive CMU's Randy Pausch Prize

The Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) will present its Randy Pausch Prize to Will Wright, the gaming industry legend who created The Sims®, Spore® and other breakthrough video games, in recognition of his success in mixing artistry with technology.

Wright will receive the Pausch Prize, named for the late co-founder of the ETC and famed author of "The Last Lecture," at the Pittsburgh Technology Council's Design, Art & Technology Awards (DATA) event April 28. He also will participate in the ETC's first Building Virtual Worlds Spring Festival, April 29, at the ETC-Pittsburgh headquarters.

Wright's work shares another tie with Pausch: the educational software package known as Alice. Pausch spearheaded the development of Alice, which teaches the principles of computer programming by enabling even novices to create 3-D computer animations. The latest version, Alice3, incorporates animated characters and scenes from The Sims2 that were donated by Electronic Arts. Carnegie Mellon makes Alice available as a free download at

The ETC initiated the Pausch Prize following Pausch's death from pancreatic cancer in 2008. The first recipient was Ed Catmull, president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios.

For more:

Engineering Students Weigh Costs of Energy Supply Accidents

The national cost of energy supply accidents over the past decade are estimated to exceed $50 billion, mostly from oil spills and electric power outages. But a lack of critical data on the full scope of energy supply accidents make it impossible to quantify all the costs.

The newly released report "Learning from Energy Supply Catastrophes" was based on a comprehensive analysis of accidents in the production and delivery of energy in the U.S. in the wake of the massive BP Gulf oil spill and gas pipeline explosions in Pennsylvania, California and Texas by students in CMU's departments of Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) and Social and Decision Sciences (SDS). Edward S. Rubin, the Alumni Chair Professor of Environmental Engineering and Science and a professor of Engineering and Public Policy and Mechanical Engineering, served as the study's principal faculty adviser.

The report found that the U.S. lacks a clear and complete picture of the human, environmental and economic risks of producing and delivering oil, natural gas, coal, electricity and other forms of energy. The study also strongly recommends that the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a branch of the Energy Department, compile and publish factual information on the consequences of accidents in each energy supply industry. Key data would include the annual number of fatalities, injuries, barrels of oil spilled and various other measures relevant to each industry.

For more:

CMU Mathematicians, Research Scientists Resolve Materials Research Problem

From the nanoscale wiring of a computer to the macroscale beams of steel in buildings and bridges, most materials are aggregates of crystals. The underlying theories that govern how these polycrystalline structures evolve to form the final end product have been of immense interest to materials scientists for years, but fully understanding the process — called coarsening — is exceedingly complex.

Now, new research from a team of Carnegie Mellon mathematicians and materials scientists has shed some light on how these polycrystalline structures evolve. This finding, reported in the April 1 issue of "Physical Review B" as an Editor's Selection, represents an enormous step forward in reducing the complexity of what scientists and engineers know about materials systems. It also provides new insights into developing the predictive theories needed to precisely engineer a material.

"We've developed a completely new theory to describe how the grain boundary network evolves into an ideal distribution over time. Quantifying this and understanding how it happens leads to predictability of the process and is a step toward developing strategies for influencing these characteristics in predictable ways," said David Kinderlehrer, Alumni Professor of Mathematical Sciences, professor of Materials Science and Engineering and a member of CMU's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC). For more:

News Briefs

  • Want to help at commencement? University Events is looking for extra university staff to assist at the welcome area, help pass out programs, usher guests to their seats and perform various other tasks. If you would like to help, send email to
  • Beginning Monday, May 16, CMU Postal Services will permanently change their retail window hours to 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. The student package pickup window hours will remain unchanged from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and Saturdays from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. when regular semester classes are in session. When regular semester classes are not in session, the student package pickup window is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and is closed on Saturdays.
  • The new Taleo job posting and applicant tracking system will go live on May 10. The Talent Management System (TMS) will be unavailable from April 29 to May 2 for system updates required for this implementation. Taleo, which replaces the current system, Kenexa, will add enhanced functionality to TMS, making the hiring process quicker and easier. See for more information about the system, implementation timeline, and what hiring managers may need to do in anticipation of the transition. Contact your HR Manager with questions about the transition to the new system.
  • A small spring section of Building Virtual Worlds, the Entertainment Technology Center's signature project class each fall, will hold a "BVW Festival" at the ETC on Friday, April 29. Project teams, which include students from a joint master's degree program with the University of Madeira, have been assigned rooms where they will create interactive experiences. VIPs from the entertainment industry will tour the rooms in the afternoon, with additional tours scheduled at 7 p.m. Contact course instructor Chris Klug at for more information.
  • Elections for at-large Staff Council representatives will take place through May 6. Cast ballots and read candidate bios online at Email with questions.
  • The Summer Center for Climate, Energy and Environmental Decision-Making (SUCCEED) is a five-day program for rising 10th graders designed to expand their understanding of energy, the environment and how those relate to climate change. The program will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 pm., Monday through Friday, Aug. 1-5 on the CMU campus. Trips to off-campus locations are planned. All participants attend the program for free, and free lunches are provided every day. SUCCEED is open to all rising 10th graders who are in the process of deciding whether to pursue math or science degrees after high school graduation. The application deadline is May 2. For more information and an application, go to Contact Steve Gradeck at or 412-268-2670 with questions.
  • The orange-coated sidewalk at the Kraus Campo Terrace above Posner Hall is scheduled to be recoated through May 6. The walkway will be closed in sections during the work, and there will be no access into this area at times. If you have questions, contact Kyle Tomer at or 412-268-6332.
  • Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley will have its second annual Disaster Management Initiative Workshop/Mobile Command Center Rally jointly with CalEMA and the California Fire Chiefs Association May 22—23. The two-day event will include more than 30 emergency vehicles, workshops, panel discussions and training exercises. Find out more here:

Personal Mention

  • New Staff Council officers were elected for 2011-2012 at the general body meeting on April 21. Elected Vice Chair was Jeffrey Harris, chemical safety technician with the Environmental Health & Safety Department. Kaycee Palko, coordinator of Student Activities in the Student Activities Office, was elected treasurer. Elected secretary was Jamie Brandon, document services specialist and VA certifying official in the University Registrar's Office. Current Vice Chair Adam Rauf will succeed Joe Imbimbo as chair. Rauf is an administrative assistant II at the Software Engineering Institute.
  • Geoffrey Hitch, an assistant teaching professor in the Tepper School of Business, will direct "Gift To America," a one-hour dramatic interpretation of the genesis and creation of the emotionally evocative "Millvale Murals" by Croatian artist Maxo Vanka. The play was written by CMU Professor Emeritus David Demarest and is a production of the Society To Preserve the Murals. Performances will take place 8 p.m., Wednesday, May 4; 8 p.m., Friday, May 6; and 8:30 p.m., Saturday May 7; at St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church, 24 Maryland Ave., Millvale, Pa. 15209. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. A benefit performance will take place at 8 p.m., Thursday, May 5. Tickets for all performances are available at or by calling 412-394-3353.
  • Lee Branstetter, associate professor of economics at Heinz College with a joint appointment in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences, has been selected to join the staff of the President's Council of Economic Advisers next year. Branstetter's research interests include international economics, industrial organization and economic growth in East Asia, with a particular focus on China and Japan. He has served as a consultant to the World Bank and the Advanced Technology Program of the U.S. Department of Commerce and was a visiting fellow of the Research Institute of Economy, Trade, and Industry in Japan.
  • Rome, Italy's La Settimana della Cultura (Culture Week) featured a talk by Franco Sciannameo, director of the BXA Intercollege Degree programs, and Don Marinelli, ETC executive producer. The topic of discussion was the animated work BALLI PLASTICI, created by ETC students last year as a "re-imagining" of the 1918 marionette ballet by Italian Futurist artist Fortunato Depero.
  • Doug Cooper’s short animated fantasy “Pinburgh” won honorable mention at the Los Angeles New Wave International Festival. The film will be shown at 10 p.m., Sunday May 8 as part of the festival’s Graffiti Block (Experimental, Animation, Music Videos), at the Hayworth Theater, 2511 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. Tickets are $11. Cooper, the Andrew Mellon Professor of Architecture, animated his local landscapes as a big pinball machine in his first short film. For more information on the festival visit
  • Janet M. Feindel, associate professor of drama, presented a paper on "Vocal Health and Safety" and a workshop on "Integration of Voice/Alexander/Text" at the Pacific Voice and Speech, Bio Engineering Conference at Santa Clara, Calif., April 21—23.
  • Madeleine Barnes, a junior BHA student majoring in creative writing and fine arts, recently won the Women's Press Club of Pittsburgh's Gertrude Gordon Writing Contest, funded by the Pittsburgh Foundation. Barnes won the $1,000 prize for writing a deadline news feature story based on information gathered from a one-hour interview with the TypewriterGirls, a literary and performance art troupe in Pittsburgh. The contestants then had to write a news article within two hours. The entries were judged by three local journalists.