Carnegie Mellon University

The Piper

CMU Community News

Piper Logo
September 27, 2012

Personal Mention

Franco Sciannameo, director and associate teaching professor of the BXA Intercollege Degree Programs, has been named associate dean for Interdisciplinary Initiatives in the College of Fine Arts (CFA). In addition to serving as associate dean, Sciannameo will continue to teach interdisciplinary courses in music, cinema, culture and seminars dedicated to the works of Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges and Umberto Eco. "Franco has a distinguished history at Carnegie Mellon as a College of Fine Arts Distinguished Scholar in Multidisciplinary Studies," CFA Dean Dan Martin said. "His experience with and understanding of the synergies among various areas of study will be of great benefit to CFA going forward." In his role within CFA, Sciannameo said he hopes to "aggressively foster an interdisciplinary curriculum" that will address the relationship between arts, culture, society and politics. "Such a curriculum," he said, "will promote active engagement with the world of ideas, stressing the role of the learner in actively shaping his/her own education and future career." Read the full story.

The IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC) has recognized a 2002 paper on usable programming systems co-authored by Brad A. Myers, professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, and two of his students, as the joint winner of the Most Influential Paper of the last decade. The paper, titled "Using HCI Techniques To Design a More Usable Programming System," describes the Computer Science Department Ph.D. thesis work of John Pane, who is now a senior scientist at RAND Corp. in Pittsburgh, where he studies the use of technology in education. The other co-author, Leah (Miller) O’Brien, was an undergraduate computer science major who now works in pharmaceutical IT. The widely cited article focuses on the process used to develop a programming system for children. Basing their work on studies of the way people think about solving problems, they were able to design a language and system that was easier to learn. The award will be presented at the VL/HCC Symposium in Innsbruck, Austria, Sept. 30-Oct. 4. Read the full story.

Chemical Engineering Professor Erik Ydstie has won the 2011 Best Paper Prize from Computers & Chemical Engineering for the paper "Silicon solar cell production." Ydstie and his co-authors will be recognized at a formal reception organized by Elsevier at the annual American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE Meeting Oct. 30 in Pittsburgh.

Quality of Life Technology Director and Buhl University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science Daniel P. Siewiorek presented "Virtual Coaches in Healthcare:  A Vision of the Future" to special guests of the National Science Foundation on Sept. 20 as part of the Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) Directorate’s Distinguished Lecture Series held in Arlington, Va. With health care costs rising astronomically and the number of aging increasing, there are not enough economic or human resources in the way of caregivers to meet society’s needs. A confluence of technologies including miniature electronics, digital communications, human-computer interaction, robotics, and machine learning makes possible the creation of intelligent assistants that monitor and communicate with users, understand their needs and goals, and compensate for diminished capabilities as we age or suffer a disability. Siewiorek’s talk highlighted the research challenges in creating virtual coaches that monitor user activities providing reminders and advice to reach personal and caregiver goals. Learn more about Siewiorek's vision for future virtual coaches in IEEE Spectrum’s September cover story, "Generation Smartphone."

Lorrie Safar has been named Director of Staffing & Development for Campus Affairs. “Lorrie has guided many of our joint professional development opportunities, while serving as a critical and valued collaborator with legal affairs, human resources, finance and others in and outside of the campus,” said Vice President for Campus Affairs Michael Murphy. “The vision that we all share for the university and for our students is founded upon our most treasured values, and Lorrie's commitment to ensuring our success through recruitment, training and professional best practice is critical to those ends.  I am very pleased to recognize Lorrie's profound contributions and to formalize her important leadership role with this appointment.

Elizabeth Ann (Beth) Whiteman has been promoted to Director of Accreditation and Strategic Initiatives for Campus Affairs. Vice President for Campus Affairs Michael Murphy said Whiteman orchestrated the university’s 2008 Middle States re-accreditation review “with precisely the right vision and bearing, explicitly using the accreditation platform to assist individuals throughout the campus in refining strategic plans, better articulating outcomes and metrics, and adding transparency and clarity to our administrative and academic initiatives on many levels.” Murphy added that Whiteman has been recognized on a regional and national level “for her expertise and commitment to the highest ideals of our profession.” Whiteman joined CMU in 2006.