Carnegie Mellon University
Skip navigation and jump directly to page content

8 1/2 x 11 Newsletter - September 11, 2008

September 11, 2008
Vol. 19 No. 10

In this issue:

$200K Innovation Grant Aims To Foster Entrepreneurship

Carnegie Mellon's Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation (CTTEC) has received a $200,000 Keystone Innovation Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to assist in helping faculty and students create new technologies and business opportunities. The grant marks the third consecutive year that the CTTEC has been awarded the maximum grant from the DCED. In 2006, the CTTEC was awarded $250,000, followed by $200,000 in 2007. This year's grant is one of 23 grants awarded to Pennsylvania colleges and universities totaling $3.5 million.

Over the last three years, during which time the university began to offer enhanced services to support its growing entrepreneurial activities, 32 spin-off companies have been created with university-related technology, including 14 in Fiscal Year 2006, eight in FY 2007 and 10 in FY 2008. Over the past 15 years, the university's technology transfer operation has helped to spin out nearly 200 companies.

"Carnegie Mellon's Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation has enabled many successes in transferring university developed technology to commercial enterprise; including a substantial amount to new small, medium and large regional companies, thereby supporting economic growth in Pennsylvania," said CTTEC Director Robert Wooldridge.

For more information on the CTTEC, visit

Robotics Institute Adapts Research for New Autonomous Mining Trucks

CAT TruckResearchers at the Robotics Institute are working with colleagues at Caterpillar Inc. to develop autonomous versions of large haul trucks used in mining operations. This is the first major project resulting from a three-year master agreement for sponsored research signed last year by Carnegie Mellon and Caterpillar, the world's leading manufacturer of construction, mining and other heavy equipment.

The Robotics Institute will be adapting more than a decade's worth of its research into self-driving vehicles for use with Caterpillar's two largest haul trucks, each with payload capacities of 240 tons or more. The Carnegie Mellon team will be adapting software architectures that it originally developed for the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's (DARPA) autonomous vehicle program and the $2 million DARPA Urban Challenge robot race, which the Tartan Racing team won in November.

For more:

Statewide Poll on Same-Sex Marriage Comes to Carnegie Mellon

Carnegie Mellon is one of four host sites for the statewide "Deliberative Poll® on the Issue of Marriage in America," presented by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Program for Deliberative Democracy (SPPDD). The SPPDD, housed at Carnegie Mellon, is collaborating with Chatham University's Pennsylvania Center for Women, Politics and Public Policy in sponsoring the Sept. 27 event. The discussion will focus on same-sex marriage.

For such hot-button social issues that require an educated and aware public in order to reach a representative opinion, deliberative polling can be a Robert Cavalieruseful strategy. For this poll, participants selected from voter registration records from the counties surrounding the four sites will read background materials on the historical, religious and societal aspects of marriage. On the day of the poll, the participants gather in small, moderated groups to discuss and deliberate the topic amongst themselves and with experts and then respond to a survey. The post-survey results will be tabulated by the evening of the event.

"The deliberative poll will set a much better stage for discussion than the current sound bite-ridden, bumper-sticker battlefield," said Robert Cavalier, a teaching professor of philosophy at Carnegie Mellon and an SPPDD co-director.

For more:

School of Music Brings Together Students, Professional Quartets

Parker String QuartetThe School of Music has created a new Quartet-in-Residence Program to feature different chamber music ensembles on a yearly basis, beginning with the Parker String Quartet in the 2008-2009 academic year. For a week during the fall and spring semesters, the quartet will work closely with Carnegie Mellon students, presenting master classes, coaching chamber music sessions and reading student composer compositions. The capstone of these engagements will be a recital performance by the quartet at the close of each week.

"Offering the residency to different quartets each year gives our students the opportunity to experience a diverse array of ensembles," said Noel Zahler, head of the School of Music. "By the time a student in the class of 2012 graduates, he or she will have had the tremendous experience of studying with, at minimum, four professional quartets."

For more:

News Briefs

  • A memorial symposium to remember Elizabeth W. Jones will be held at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 15, in Rangos Ballroom, University Center. Jones, an accomplished geneticist and pioneer of lab-based undergraduate education in the biological sciences, was head of the Biological Sciences Department. She died June 11. To RSVP by Sept. 20, visit
  • PC Magazine and The Princeton Review have ranked Carnegie Mellon among the top 20 wired colleges of 2008. The list will be available in the magazine's October issue, at newsstands Sept. 16, and is currently online at
  • Training to join the Sexual Assault Advisors begins Oct. 1. Advisors provide non-judgmental support, resource information and referrals to all members of the campus community. For more:

Personal Mention

  • First-year student Lucas Gaviotis Whitestone created The New York Times' crossword puzzle that was published Wednesday, Sept. 10 as part of Teen Puzzlemaker Week. Whitestone is a computer science student from New York City.
  • Lisa Brown, a first-year graduate student at the Entertainment Technology Center, is one of four recipients of the first Randy Pausch Scholarship established by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Brown plans to use her background in art, computer science, theater and animation to create games for interactive museum exhibits.
  • Mechanical Engineering Professor Paul Steif has received the Archie Higdon Distinguished Educator Award from the Mechanics Division of the American Society for Engineering Education. The award is given annually for distinguished and outstanding contributions to engineering mechanics education. The award will be presented at the Mechanics Division Banquet at the society's annual conference.
  • Judy Zang, fellowship advisor in the Fellowships and Scholarships Office since 2002, has been named director of National Scholarships for the University of Pittsburgh's Honors College. Zang helped to increase the pool of applicants and the number of recipients of prestigious scholarships, most notably the Fulbright and Goldwater awards.
  • Carnegie Mellon has named Yu-Li Wang to head its growing Biomedical Engineering Department. Wang, whose appointment began Aug. 1, succeeds Todd Przybycien who has returned to the faculty after serving five years as department head. For more:
  • David Drombrosky, executive director of Carnegie Mellon's Center for Arts Management and Technology (CAMT), has been named one of the 25 Most Powerful People in the Non-Profit Arts by influential blogger Barry Hessenius of the Western States Arts Federation. Drombrosky is recognized as one of "the best and brightest of the next generation of arts leadership. Smart, savvy, insightful with new ideas to address old problems." For more, visit

Calendar Highlights

  • Tuesday, Sept. 16: Managing Conflict. 9 a.m.-noon, Connan Room, University Center (UC). Freida Williams presents the five general styles of conflict management. To register:
  • Wednesday, Sept. 17: "The Numerati" book signing. 9:30 a.m., 3305 Newell-Simon Hall. Business Week Magazine senior writer Steve Baker discusses his book on how mathematical experts are tracking digital footprints. For more:
  • Wednesday, Sept. 17: Philharmonic Concert. 8 p.m., Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland. Steven Smith is the guest conductor. $5 general admission, $4 senior citizen admission, free for Carnegie Mellon Students with ID. 
  • Thursday, Sept. 18: Annual Nash Lecture. 4:30 p.m., McConomy Auditorium, UC. Darrell Duffie of Stanford University presents a lecture titled "Dark Markets." For more:
  • Thursday, Sept. 18: University Lecture Series. 4:30 p.m., Adamson Wing, 136A Baker Hall. Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, lectures on the rhetoric of the 2008 presidential campaign.
  • For more news and events, visit