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8 1/2 x 11 Newsletter - March 10, 2011

March 10, 2011
Vol. 21, No. 34

In this issue:

Calendar Highlights

Picks of the Week:

  • Tuesday, March 15: School of Design Lecture. Cheryl Heller will discuss "Language, Design and Social Innovation." Heller's design practice helps corporations address social and environmental issues, mentors social innovators and entrepreneurs, and brings design-based solutions to the developing world. 5 p.m., Breed Hall, Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall (MMCH). For more: and
  • Thursday, March 17: International Film Festival Opening Night features "The Arrivals," a French film that tells the story of two social workers in Paris who consistently encounter individuals seeking asylum in France. 7:15 p.m., Melwood Screening Room, Melwood Avenue, Oakland.  For more see and read the news item below.
  • Friday, March 18: Collage Concert. 8 p.m., Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. More than 300 musicians will perform on multiple stages at this third annual concert, a dramatic event combining theatrical lighting, performance and six genres of music. Tickets are available online at and are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for students. For more information, call the School of Music concert line at 412-268-2383, and go to

Featured Events:

  • Friday, March 11: Heinz College part-time program information session.  Noon - 1 p.m., online. CMU employees with three-plus years of work experience are eligible to apply for admission to the MPM and the MSIT programs. CMU employees who qualify for tuition remission benefits can apply for funding to pursue either degree. For more information or to RSVP, go to
  • Tuesday, March 15: "Twenty Years After Unification: The Sources of Germany's Foreign Policy Conduct," a talk by Sebastian Harnisch, professor of international relations and director of the Institute of Political Science at the University of Heidelberg. 4:30 p.m., Steinberg Room, Baker Hall A53. Addressing concerns about Berlin's conduct in Afghanistan and the Euro zone crisis, he challenges the argument that a "normalization of German Foreign Policy" is currently under way. Sponsored by the Center for International Relations and Politics and the Modern Languages Department.
  • Tuesday, March 15: School of Art Lecture. 5 p.m., Kresge Theater. Adam Zaretsky works in the world of bio art and pulls from art history, philosophy, science and pop culture to raise questions about the notion of categories.  For more:
  • Wednesday, March 16: The Human-Computer Interaction Institute will host a seminar featuring Vincent Aleven, assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon, titled "Toward a Framework for the Analysis and Design of Educational Games." 4 p.m., Newell Simon Hall 1305. For more:
  • Wednesday, March 16: Celebrating Service Leadership: Journeys in Making a Difference. 6:30 - 10 p.m., Connan and McKenna/Peter/Wright rooms, UC.  Juliet Kosarzycki of Yellow Zone International and a Peace Corps volunteer in Albania from 2006-2008 will speak on "Empowering Young Women To Lead Change — A Peace Corps Experience." Following her talk breakout sessions will engage students in discussions about women in service leadership, campus and community service, domestic service and global service.  A networking event will follow the breakout sessions. Students should register through their TartanTRAK account. Sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Education, the Career and Professional Development Center, the Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Outreach, and the Student Activities Office. Contact Gerry Marnell at for help with TartanTrak.
  • March 17-18: The Carnegie Mellon University Bookstore will have a 25 percent off clearance sale.
  • March 17-19: Wats:ON? The Jill Watson Festival Across the Arts in honor of the life of Jill Watson, an alumna, adjunct faculty member and acclaimed Pittsburgh architect who died in the TWA Flight 800 crash July 17, 1996. Read more about the festival later in this newsletter.
  • Thursday, March 17: University Lecture Series. Stephen S. Hall will discuss the "Science of Wisdom." Hall, an award-winning author, teaches science and explanatory journalism at Columbia University. 4:30 p.m., Porter Hall 100 (Gregg Hall).  Read more:
  • Thursday, March 17: English Department Literary & Cultural Studies Colloquium, along with the Creative Writing Program present Mark McGurl, professor of English at UCLA. 4:30 p.m., Adamson Wing, Baker Hall 136.
  • Friday, March 18: Annual Bill Brown Bike Ride in memory of the late CMU Biology Professor who died in 2007. 7 a.m., Doha Golf Club, Doha, Qatar. Organized by Carnegie Mellon Qatar. For more:
  • Friday, March 18: Mechanical Engineering Department Distinguished Speaker Seminar. David M. Kelley, founder and chairman of IDEO, a professor at Stanford University, and a California-based entrepreneur, educator, designer, and venture capitalist, will lead "A Conversation About Design." He'll focus on the importance of fostering the creative side of the engineer. Noon - 1 p.m., Doherty Hall 2315.
  • Friday, March 18: CAUSE Lecture Series: "The Lost Vernacular of a Vanishing Tribe." Richard Purcell, a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy and an assistant professor of English, will speak. 5 - 6:30 p.m., Steinberg Auditorium, Baker Hall A-53.
  • Monday, March 21: Dickson Prize Lecture. World-renowned chemist David Tirrell, this year's recipient of CMU's Dickson Prize in Science, will give a talk titled "Reinterpreting the Genetic Code." 4:30 p.m., Mellon Institute Auditorium. Read more:
  • Tuesday, March 22: The Journeys of Indira Nair. The vice provost for education emeritus will discuss her life's journeys in a talk titled "Teachers All Around Me: My Life of Learning." 4:30 p.m., Porter Hall 100 (Gregg Hall). Read more:
  • Tuesday, March 22: Human-Computer Interaction Institute Seminar. Amy Franceschini, founder of Futurefarmers, will present a talk titled "Excursions into Domains of Familiarity and Surprise." 5 p.m., Rashid Auditorium, Gates Hillman Center. She will discuss the arc of work she has created as an individual artist and within the art collective, Futurefarmers. For more:
  • Thursday, March 24: "The Health of the Nation," a talk by Governor Howard Dean. 12:15 p.m., Hamburg Hall 1000.  Governor Dean, former Democratic National Committee Chairman, presidential candidate, six-term Governor of Vermont and physician, currently works as an independent consultant focusing on the areas of health care, early childhood development, alternative energy and the expansion of grassroots politics around the world.  The lecture is co-sponsored by the Center for International Relations and Politics, the Heinz College, the Humanities Scholars Program and the University Lecture Series. For more:
  • Friday, March 25: Open Forum with President Jared L. Cohon, sponsored by Staff Council. President Cohon will provide an update on the university and answer questions from the audience. 12:30 - 1:30 p.m., Scaife Hall 125. Open to the university community. 

(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.)

Inspire Innovation Campaign Update

Inspire Innovation WeAs of Feb. 28, 2011, Carnegie Mellon's Inspire Innovation campaign had reached $695.7 million toward the $1 billion goal. Since Jan. 31, 2011, the campaign raised $4,252,336. For the latest news and progress, visit

CMU, Shrinivas Dempo Announce $3 Million Gift for Professorship

Shrinivas V. Dempo, chairman of the Dempo Group of Companies in Goa, India, has made a $3 million gift to endow a professorship at the Tepper School of Business. Dempo earned a graduate degree in industrial administration from CMU in 1998.

The gift will be used to endow the Vasantrao Dempo Reflective Chair, named in honor of Shrinivas Dempo's grandfather. The reflective chair formally links faculty at Carnegie Mellon and at leading universities in India. Thus, there will be two Vasantrao Dempo Professors at all times — one at Carnegie Mellon and one in India. The selected Carnegie Mellon faculty member will be appointed to the chair for a tenure of four years, which can be renewed for one additional four-year term, after which a different faculty member will be chosen. The Indian scholar who partners with the chair will be a senior, tenured faculty member of an Indian university.

The partnership continues Carnegie Mellon's important connections to India. More than 30 percent of Carnegie Mellon students are from outside the U.S., and the majority of those students are from India. In addition, the largest concentration of CMU alumni outside of the U.S. lives in India.

Read more:

Two Faculty, Two Alumni Named Among Top 10 Young Researchers in AI

Andre PlatzerIEEE Intelligent Systems magazine, which recognizes 10 outstanding young researchers in artificial intelligence (AI) every two years, has included two CMU faculty members and two Ph.D. computer science graduates in its latest "AI's 10 to Watch" list.
The 2011 list includes André Platzer, assistant professor of computer science in the School of Computer Science, and Daniel B. Neill, assistant professor of information systems in the Heinz College. Neill, who earned his master's degree and Ph.D. in computer science at CMU, also has courtesy appointments in the Machine Learning Department and the Robotics Institute. Platzer was cited for his pioneering work in developing methods for verifying the performance of cyberphysical systems, such as collision avoidance systems, while Neill was recognized for his use of machine learning techniques for early identification of events such as disease outbreaks, crime hot spots and network intrusion.
Daniel NeillAlso on the list are Jure Leskovec, who earned his Ph.D. in computational and statistical learning at CMU in 2008 and is now an assistant professor of computer science at Stanford University, and Vincent Conitzer, who earned his master's degree (2003) and Ph.D. (2006) in computer science at CMU and is now an assistant professor of computer science and economics at Duke University.

Read more:

Pictured are André Platzer (top) and Daniel B. Neill.

CMU Partners With Singapore Management University To Create Living Analytics Research Center

Carnegie Mellon and Singapore Management University have teamed up to establish the Living Analytics Research Center (LARC), which will develop new techniques to acquire data on consumer and social behavior and pioneer new approaches to analyze such data to develop applications and methods that will benefit consumers, businesses and society.

The collaboration has received a five-year, $20 million grant from the National Research Foundation in Singapore. With SMU and CMU committed to cash and in-kind contributions, and third party funding, the $47 million center will establish Singapore as one of the world's pre-eminent centers of excellence in computational social science.

The living analytics research program is distinctive in that it combines the key technologies of Big Data (large scale data mining, statistical machine learning, and computational tools for the analysis of dynamic social networks) with analytics focused on consumer behavior and social media. The pervasive use of social and digital media has created rapidly expanding streams of data that provide more complete information about people's behaviors as they live, consume and interact. This data can be used to eventually develop new types of practical applications for individual consumers, business service providers and public sector service providers.

The center will be physically anchored at SMU's School of Information Systems in Singapore and at CMU's Heinz College iLab in Pittsburgh.

Read more:

President Cohon Addresses State Assembly in India

Jared CohonDuring a recent trip to India, Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon was invited by The Honorable Dilip Walse-Pital, speaker of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, to address the Assembly of The State of Maharashtra on Friday, March 4. He spoke about the fast pace of technological change, the importance of technology in improving higher education and about the many connections between Carnegie Mellon and India. 

President Cohon said Carnegie Mellon and India are partnering to improve the "knowledge economy." He noted the university's new memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Shiv Nadar Foundation to make CMU's world-class undergraduate programs in mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering more available to Indian students. And he recognized the existing partnership in providing graduate-level education through a successful Advanced Software Engineering program, in which students take courses at the Sri Sivasubramaniya Nadar campus in Chennai and Carnegie Mellon's Pittsburgh campus.

Cohon said using technology to improve higher education has been an active area of research at CMU for 20 years. "Our Carnegie Learning math tutors for middle school students and our Open Learning Initiative for college courses are already having a major impact," he said. "I believe we will see transformative advances in the use of technology in education in the next few years, and Carnegie Mellon will play a major role.

"At this time of rapid technological change, education is essential if we are to seize the opportunities. We have common challenges in this regard, even if the scale of the challenge differs if you are in the United States or India or in Maharashtra or Pennsylvania. By recognizing our common interests and by working together, we can all be successful," Cohon said.

You can download President Cohon's entire speech at

CMU Project Uses Cell Phones, Facebook To Map and Monitor Potholes

PotholeDatabaseA new Carnegie Mellon project allows anyone with a GPS-linked cell phone camera and a Facebook account to take an active role in monitoring the constantly changing pothole environment.

The Road Damage Assessment System (RODAS) Project (, headed by Robert Strauss, economics and public policy professor at the Heinz College, and Takeo Kanade, professor of robotics and computer science, enables anyone to click a photo of a pothole and upload it via Facebook. The system then links the photo to a pinpoint on its online map, creating a public repository of road conditions independent of any government agency. Todd Eichel, a recent graduate of CMU's Masters of Information Systems Program, implemented the system.

The hope is that community members will continue to keep an eye on "their" potholes, updating the site when the hole is repaired, or when the repair fails, or if it simply goes unrepaired.

Read more:

Pictured is a screenshot of the Road Damage Assessment System Project website.

Watson Festival All About Speed; Students Needed for Time-Lapse Video

Speed is the theme of this year's Jill Watson Festival Across the Arts, also known as wats:ON? The festival, March 17-19, will examine speed in relation to creative work across a range of interdisciplinary events. Events include a high-speed camera photo booth, an exhibit of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony stretched to 24 hours by Scandinavian artist Leif Inge, a collaborative dance-video project and a time-lapse video project featuring CMU students that will be choreographed, shot and edited on campus.

The time-lapse video will be produced Thursday, March 17, and presented that evening as part of Jeff Lieberman's presentation. Lieberman is an MIT scientist, multimedia artist, musician, videographer and host of the Discovery Channel series "Time Warp," which employs high-speed photographic technologies to see beyond the limits of normal human perception.

Students who would like to be in the video should meet at 9 a.m., March 17 at the front of the main entrance to the College of Fine Arts Building — inside the Great Hall in case of rain. Students should wear jeans, and bring the following plain solid color shirts: white, black and as many solid color shirts they have available. T-shirts should be plain or with as little graphics/text as possible. To register for the video, go to

Festival curators are Assistant Professor Pablo Garcia, the Lucian and Rita Caste Chair in Architecture, and Spike Wolff, an adjunct assistant professor of architecture. 

International Film Festival Focuses on Immigration Issues

Last year an estimated 214 million people worldwide left their native countries to live elsewhere. Each person has a story to tell, and this year's International Film Festival will bring some of those stories to life — from their initial motivations to migrate to the socio-cultural and personal identity conflicts faced upon entering their new countries they call home. 

"Faces of Migration," March 17 - April 10, will include 15 award-winning independent films hand-picked by Jolanta Lion, festival director and assistant director of CMU's Humanities Center.

"Each film tells a brilliant story that will provoke thought, emotion and discussion, so to capitalize on that, we have worked to create an interactive atmosphere at each screening," Lion said. "Several of the directors will be present to introduce their films and answer questions. We'll have expert panels discussing the issues following certain screenings. For Neukölln Unlimited, a documentary that showcases break dancing as a part of the story, the CMU break dancing club will perform. Each event will enforce the message of the film."

The festival's opening night, Thursday, March 17, features a 7:15 p.m. screening of "The Arrivals" at the Melwood Screening Room, followed by a reception. This French film tells the story of two social workers in Paris who consistently encounter individuals seeking asylum in France.

Opening night general admission tickets to the film and reception are $15 and $10 for students. General admission tickets for all other screenings are $7 and $4 for students. A full-access festival pass can be purchased for $40 ($20 for students).

For tickets, film descriptions and a complete schedule, visit

For more:

Ethicists Outline Ways To Improve Estimates in New Drug Trials

In the latest issue of the journal PLoS Medicine, ethics experts Alex John London, associate professor of philosophy at Carnegie Mellon, and Jonathan Kimmelman, associate professor at McGill University's Biomedical Ethics Unit and Department of Social Studies of Medicine, argue that the reason the impact of new drugs are often overestimated may be related to the way researchers predict outcomes of their work in the early stages of drug development.

"We do a fairly good job of predicting the success of interventions that make it to later stages of clinical research," said London, who also directs CMU's Center for Ethics and Policy. "But when it comes to the leap from animal studies to the first trials in humans, there are serious problems."
The researchers suggest that the interpretation of pre-clinical results may suffer from a kind of myopia, in which a narrow focus on the data about the performance of a new drug in pre-clinical studies produces overly optimistic predictions.

Read more:

CMU-Sponsored "Girls of Steel" To Compete in Robotics Competition

An all-girl robotics team sponsored by Carnegie Mellon's Field Robotics Center (FRC) and the PghTech Women Network will compete in a FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) regional event March 11-12 at the Petersen Events Center in Oakland.

The rookie team, the Girls of Steel, includes 24 students in grades 9 through 12 from 11 Pittsburgh area high schools and a home school student. The program is intended to nurture interest among girls in robotics and in technological careers in general.

Weekly training classes have been ongoing since October and the "building season" began this past January at the FRC, led by George Kantor, systems scientist. Also helping are Balajee Kannan, research engineer; M. Bernardine Dias, assistant research professor; Chuck Whittaker, robotics field and test engineer; David Wettergreen, associate research professor; William "Red" Whittaker, FRC director; and several graduate and undergraduate students.

The team built two robots, "Crush" and "Squirt," for this year's FIRST competition, titled LOGO MOTION. Crush is designed to hang inflated plastic shapes onto a grid, for which the team will receive points during each match. Squirt is a small electro-mechanical minibot, which will race on a vertical pole to earn points.

For more information contact Patti Rote at 412-576-9742, and go to

News Briefs

  • The Institute of Complex Engineered Systems (ICES), originally established by National Science Foundation funding as the Engineering Design Research Center, will celebrate its 25th anniversary April 6-7 with a series of events recognizing the work of its expert faculty members, the success of its graduates and its tremendous growth. Registration and agenda information is online at
  • The Office of Technology for Education (OTE) is upgrading Blackboard from version 8 to version 9.1. Summer courses will be delivered using the new system. Blackboard has overhauled its user interface to design a more intuitive and efficient experience by, for example, incorporating drag and drop functionality and more contextualized menus. Instructors are invited to attend a Blackboard 9.1 workshop in which OTE will provide an overview of the new features and tools and answer questions. Workshops are 9 - 10 a.m. and 1 - 2 p.m., Wednesday, March 16 and 9 - 10 a.m. and 3:30 - 4:30 p.m., Thursday, March 17 and will be held in 102 Cyert Hall. RSVP via email to For more on the upgrade go to
  • Nominations are being accepted through April 6 for the Division of Student Affairs' Senior Leadership Recognition Awards. The honor is designed to acknowledge the top 10 percent of graduating seniors whose unique contributions in academics and research, the arts, athletics, community service or community engagement have made unparalleled impact on the university community. To review nomination categories and criteria and submit a nomination visit A reception will take place 4:30 - 6:30 p.m., Friday, May 13 in Rangos Hall, University Center. For more information contact Lenny Chan at
  • Cluster reservations and software requests are now being accepted for the fall 2011 semester. The reservation request deadline is Wednesday, March 16. To make your reservation requests and for information, go to For information on software requests and deadlines, go to Any questions can be directed to
  • Both the men's and women's tennis teams, ranked eighth nationally, recently finished fourth at the 2011 Division III ITA National Team Indoor Championships. After defeating the No. 7 ranked Cal Lutheran University Kingsmen in the quarterfinals, the men lost in the semifinals to Emory University, the eventual national champion. The women also won their quarterfinal match topping No. 7 ranked Gustavus Adolphus College before losing to Emory in the semifinals. Emory went on to win the women's national championship as well.
  • The Children's Learn To Swim Program has two upcoming sessions. Session 1 is 5 - 5:30 p.m. or 5:30 - 6 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays, March 28, 30 and April 4, 6. Session 2 will take place 5 - 5:30 p.m. or 5:30 - 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, March 29, 31 and April 5, 7. For questions or a registration form contact Sara Gauntner at or 412-268-7030.
  • The Leonard Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Outreach is seeking nominations for the Gelfand Student Award for Educational Outreach & Service Learning. The center will award three students $250 each on Monday, April 25 for their participation in service learning courses and educational outreach activities that positively impacts individuals or organizations in the community. Students can nominate themselves by submitting their resume of activities that summarize their outreach and service work, a personal statement and two supporting letters to Judith Hallinen at Nominations are due by March 28. For more, go to
  • The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is offering CMU students, faculty and staff discounted tickets for performances in April and May. Shows include "Mamma Mia" (April 19-24 at Heinz Hall); "One Night of Queen" (April 20 at the Byham Theater); "Hairspray" (May 5-15 at the Byham); and "West Side Story" (May 17-22 at the Benedum Center). For a complete list of shows available and to order tickets, go to and login using the promo code CMU to receive the discounts. You can also call 412-471-6930 or email for more information.
  • The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust also is offering three discounted dinner and show packages for the university community. Enjoy dinner at Lidia's Restaurant before "Shrek" on Thursday, March 17; "Mamma Mia" on Thursday, April 21; and "West Side Story" on Thursday, May 19. For more information and/or to order the package, go to
  • Registered for the Pittsburgh Marathon? Join the CMU Running for Laptops Charity Team and support the purchase of laptops for disadvantaged college-bound students from local foster and group homes. The Running for Laptops charity was founded by Ken Lambert, who graduated from CMU with a degree in electrical and computer engineering in 1995. Send email to to join the team.

Personal Mention

  • "Rock Prodigy," an iPhone/iPad app developed by Roger Dannenberg, associate research professor of computer science and art, has won the 2011 Appy Award for Education. The Appy Awards honor mobile apps in a number of categories. As Dannenberg describes it, Rock Prodigy is "basically Guitar Hero for real guitars." Unlike the popular Guitar Hero video game, Rock Prodigy enables players to use real instruments and thus learn how to play guitar and learn songs. Players can compete with other users to achieve the high score for a song, or they can use the app to practice at various skill levels. Read more:     
  • Edward S. Rubin, the Alumni Professor of Environmental Engineering and Science and a professor of engineering and public policy and mechanical engineering, is helping to guide California's policy on the long-term geologic storage of carbon dioxide to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Rubin is a member of the California Carbon Capture and Storage Review Panel, which recommended that California agencies recognize regulated carbon capture and storage as a measure that can safely and effectively reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and other facilities in the state. "If done right, carbon capture and storage can be a valuable and cost-effective addition to the set of measures available to California and the nation to deal with the urgency of the climate change problem," Rubin said.  Read more:
  • The Infosys Science Foundation has announced the appointment of Pradeep Khosla, dean of the College of Engineering, as the 2011 jury chair for the esteemed Infosys Prize for Engineering and Computer Science. Khosla, the Philip and Marsha Dowd University Professor at CMU, takes over this role from Subra Suresh, who was appointed the Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) by the United States Senate. Previously a jury member Khosla will soon select a panel of jury members who will help evaluate applications received in the category. Read more:
  • Jack Mostow, a research professor in the School of Computer Science, plays the Duke of Plaza-Toro in the Pittsburgh Savoyards' production of Gilbert & Sullivan's comic operetta "Gondoliers," March 11-20 at the ACFL & Music Hall in Carnegie, Pa. For show times and ticket information, go to
  • Bachelor of Humanities and Arts senior M. Callen presents "44 Sunsets," a series of video sunsets that were recorded during the summer from sites throughout Pittsburgh where the videos are now being broadcast such as Caliban Books, Kelly-Strayhorn Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Marketplace, Coca Café and more. The project borrows its name from the classic children's story "The Little Prince," whose title character lives on an asteroid planet that is so small that he is able to watch the sun set 44 times in the course of a day. For more:
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