Carnegie Mellon University

The Piper

CMU Community News

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November 29, 2012

News Briefs

CMU-Alert Test Friday, Nov. 30

A test of the university’s Emergency Notification Service, CMU-Alert, will be held at 4:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 30. All members of the Carnegie Mellon community are encouraged to register for the CMU-Alert service, which sends voice and/or text messages to registered phones in the event of a campus emergency. These messages provide brief details about the nature of the emergency and direct you to more information and timely updates at

You can register for the CMU-Alert service online at (when you click on this link, you will need to login with your username and password to access this page). Your contact information will be treated confidentially. You will be contacted by the CMU-Alert system only if there is an incident/event that threatens public safety or during tests of the system in the spring and fall semesters.

Alert information also will be posted in a special area at the top of and directing users to more information at These sites will be updated regularly in case of emergency.

Spring Term Tuition Benefits Requests Due Dec. 3

Carnegie Mellon enables its staff and faculty to further their education, enhance their skills and pursue career development through the Tuition Benefits program. Employees can use the Tuition Benefits Module of HR Connection to initiate tuition benefits requests for themselves or their dependent children. They also can track the status of the request and view a summary of their tuition benefits through HR Connection.

Tuition reimbursement requests received in HR Connection by Dec. 3 will be processed and taxed in December 2012. Requests received in HR Connection after Dec. 3 will be processed and taxed in January 2013. Please note that the tuition reimbursement check will not be mailed to the institution until your application is processed. For more information visit

ORIC and OSP Move to WQED Building

The Office of Research Integrity and Compliance (ORIC) and the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) have moved from Warner Hall to the nearby WQED building at 4802 Fifth Avenue. The move provides much needed space and will accommodate anticipated future growth. The ORIC is on the first floor and the OSP is on the second floor of the building.

While the walkway from the rear of the Morewood parking lot to WQED is being renovated, visitors to the ORIC and/or OSP should take the short walk through the Morewood parking lot to Devonshire Street. Take Devonshire to Fifth Avenue. Turn left on Fifth and left again into the WQED visitors’ parking lot. Walk to the rear of the lot and use the speakerphone at the back entrance to contact administrative assistant Darlene Kapcin.  Please note that on-site visitor parking for the ORIC and OSP is not available.

Disabled visitors should enter through the front door of the building and proceed to the WQED receptionist for directions.  There is a disabled parking spot in the WQED visitors’ lot, which is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

All phone numbers for ORIC and OSP staff remain the same.  All documents and paperwork for the offices should be dropped off with Kapcin in the reception area adjacent to our entrance at the rear of the WQED building.  Send mail to the offices at: WQED Building, 5000 Forbes Avenue.

Questions should be directed to Kapcin at 412-268-8746.

Roberts Road and Sidewalk Closed During Construction Project

Two separate sections of sidewalk along Roberts Road will be removed, closing the sidewalk and center door along the road to Roberts Hall through Dec. 26. The center door will be available for emergency exit only.  Detour signs will be posted at the south and north ends of the sidewalk.
Robert Roads will be closed on weekends throughout December. The schedule for closings is as follows:

  • 7 a.m. - noon,  Dec. 1; 
  • 7 a.m., Saturday to 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8-9, Dec. 15 - 16, and if necessary Dec. 22 - 23.

The contractor will trench across Roberts Road for a new duct bank and steel plating will be installed for weekday traffic.

"Capture the Flag" Teams Finish One-Two in CSAW Finals

Two teams of Carnegie Mellon University undergraduates finished first and second in the finals of the Cybersecurity Awareness Week (CSAW) Capture the Flag competition Nov. 15-17 at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, billed as the world’s largest student hacking contest.

The PPP1 team — senior computer science majors Alex Reece, John Davis and Tyler Nighswander and sophomore electrical and computer engineering major Maxime Serrano — was the top finisher. PPP2, which includes sophomore computer science majors George Hotz, Robbie Harwood and Ryan Goulden and senior ECE major Garrett Barboza, placed second.

It was the fourth consecutive CSAW win for CMU teams from the Plaid Parliament of Pwning security research group. PPP is ranked number one in the world among Capture the Flag teams for the second year in a row, noted David Brumley, team adviser and an assistant professor of ECE.

Capture the Flag is a test of computer security skills in which teams mount attacks on vulnerable applications and solve offense challenges to earn the most points, or "flags." For more information, see the CSAW website.

Dietrich College Debuts Humanities Video

Over the past decade, the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences has strengthened its standing in the humanities. Faculty and students within the departments of English, History, Modern Languages and Philosophy focus on teaching and learning deep intellectual knowledge as well as developing useful, practical skills. Often, they cross disciplines to solve real-world problems.

A new video aims to capture the excellence of Dietrich College’s humanities. Starring in the film are professors Caroline Acker, Kenya C. Dworkin, Timothy J. Haggerty, David Kaufer, Kathy M. Newman, Richard Scheines, and Joe W. Trotter; current Global Studies senior Ema Woodward and alumnus Zach Harris (DC’07). Check out the video at

Startup Adds Footprint in Silicon Valley

Neon, the Carnegie Mellon startup that uses cognitive neuroscience to improve online video clicks, has added a footprint at the Silicon Valley campus to take advantage of business opportunities and to work with students in Carnegie Mellon's Master of Entertainment Industry Management program in Los Angeles. While Neon moves to the West Coast, Michael J. Tarr, Neon co-founder and senior technical adviser, remains in Pittsburgh.

"We are excited to be the first startup from CMU's Pittsburgh campus to take the opportunity to move to Silicon Valley," said Sophie Lebrecht, Neon CEO and co-founder. "This move puts us where we can work face-to-face to build partnerships, collaborations and a strong customer base with video publishers and platforms. And, by having Michael in Pittsburgh, we will benefit from remaining strongly connected to its rich scientific community." Read the full story. 

Solar-Powered Boating Team Awarded Grant from Constellation Energy

Carnegie Mellon students have received a $40,000 grant from Constellation Energy for their research under way to develop a competitive solar-powered 18-foot-long racing boat. The team was one of 10 programs selected nationwide to receive the "E2 Energy to Educate" grant, which comes from the Constellation Energy family of retail electricity and natural gas suppliers. The grant is designed to "enhance student understanding of the science and technology needed to address energy issues, and reach and inspire students to think differently about energy."

"We are elated with this grant as we research to improve the technologies that go into our boats, and we are working toward competing in the DONG Solar Challenge in the Netherlands in 2014, one of the premier solar boat races in the world," said CMU Solar Splash team leader Nathaniel Krasnoff, a junior mechanical engineering major from San Diego. "This is the largest grant our team has ever received, and we are so grateful for the opportunity to continue our work toward developing cutting-edge, renewable energy technology."

CMU's Solar Splash team competes in intercollegiate regattas that promote energy conservation while giving students hands-on engineering experience in a competitive setting. More than 30 students from the Mechanical, Chemical, Materials Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering departments, in addition to the School of Design, the School of Architecture and the Tepper School of Business collaborate and compete at the annual Solar Splash competition, which involves various sprint and endurance races for fiberglass and carbon fiber boats. Read the full story.

Graduate Student Service and Teaching Award Nominations Open

The Graduate Student Service and Teaching Award nominations are now open and will be due on Friday, Feb. 8. The committees greatly appreciate support in soliciting and submitting nominations of graduate students who have excelled in teaching or service so that their efforts can be recognized by the university community.  Nomination information can be found at Awards will be presented on Thursday, April 4, at the "Innovation with Impact: Graduate Student Celebration of Research, Teaching and Service" during Graduate Student Appreciation Week. Recipients also will be recognized at the Celebration of Education on Tuesday, April 30.

Friedman Summer Internships Available

Milton and Cynthia Friedman Summer Internships are available to all Carnegie Mellon undergraduate and graduate students from any course of study who would value first-hand policy experience in Washington, D.C. Placement assistance is available as are
 grants of up to $2,500. The application deadline is Feb. 22, 2013. 

Information Sessions will be held at 5 p.m., Nov. 29 in Porter Hall A18 and at 5 p.m., Jan. 17, 2013, in the Dowd Room, University Center.  For more information about the internships, see Questions? Contact Internship Coordinator Jen Layman at or 412-268-1605.

Pittsburgh Parking Authority Seeks Your Feedback

The Pittsburgh Parking Authority is interested in your feedback on the new multi-space pay by license plate meters. Visit the Oakland Transportation Management Association website to take the survey. The new system has been installed in Oakland, the South Side and North Shore, with installation downtown slated in a few weeks. For more information, please contact Anthony Boule at 412-560-2514 or