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September 19, 2013

Personal Mention

The College of Engineering has named Gary Fedder to the new position of associate dean for Research. Fedder also will continue as director of the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems (ICES). Fedder is the Howard M. Wilkoff Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a professor of robotics with courtesy appointments in the departments of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. He played a key role in CMU becoming a part of the U.S. Department of Defense's new National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII). His personal research interests are in the multidisciplinary area of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) with a primary focus on design, fabrication and control aspects of sensor and actuator-based systems. Read the full announcement.

Psychology Professor Marlene Behrmann has been appointed co-director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), effective Jan. 1, 2014. She succeeds Michael J. Tarr, who is stepping down to become head of CMU's Psychology Department. "Marlene Behrmann is a highly accomplished scientist, and with her leadership, vision and dedication, I know the CNBC will continue to make crucial discoveries that impact real-world problems," said Dietrich College Dean John Lehoczky. Behrmann is widely considered to be one of the foremost experts in the cognitive neuroscience of visual perception. Her research combines behavioral investigations and brain imaging techniques with both normal and impaired individuals to identify the areas of the brain that are responsible for visual perception. Read the full announcement.

Eric Nyberg, professor in the Language Technologies Institute, will accept the Boston University (BU) Computer Science Distinguished Alumnus Award and present a lecture, “Automatic Optimization of Intelligent Information Systems,” on Sept. 27 at BU. Nyberg earned his bachelor’s degree at BU in 1983, before earning a Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon in 1992. Nyberg pioneered the Open Advancement of Question Answering (OAQA), an architecture and methodology that supported the Watson system developed by IBM to play human champions on the TV game show “Jeopardy!” He and members of his research team received the Allen Newell Award for Research Excellence in 2011 for their contributions to Watson. “Prof. Nyberg's remarkable career in exploring machine intelligence, most recently in the context of the Jeopardy-champion Watson project, is a great example of the excitement of studying computer science. We're proud of his accomplishments and look forward to being inspired by his Distinguished Alumnus Lecture,” said Mark Crovella, chair of Boston University’s Computer Science Department. Computer Science Professor Manuela Veloso is a past BU Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.

Kelvin Gregory, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, will discuss water management strategies for hydraulic fracturing at the 7th National Conference on Environmental Chemistry, Sept. 19-25 in Guiyang, China. Gregory is an invited speaker at the conference's workshop aimed at better understanding the reuse of hydraulic fracturing fluids and water management strategies for development of China's vast unconventional oil and gas resources. A global expert in studying water management from shale gas development, Gregory has several research projects through the U.S. Department of Energy that aim to develop economic strategies for water reuse and management, while reducing the environmental footprint of hydraulic fracturing. Read more.

Eric Werner, chief architect of the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute’s Emerging Technology Center, wrote a blog post published Monday that described his team’s research to create a software library that can exploit the heterogeneous parallel computers of the future and allow developers to create systems that are more efficient in terms of computation and power consumption. Read “Architecting Systems of the Future” at

In 2012-13, Steve Awodey, professor of philosophy, organized a special year devoted to the topic "Univalent Foundations of Mathematics" for the Institute for Advanced Study's School of Mathematics. The research program was centered on developing new foundations of mathematics that are well suited to the use of computerized proof assistants as an aid in formalizing mathematics. Awodey wrote about the year for the institute's newsletter, which can be found at

In a new paper published in Science, CMU's Alex John London and Jay D. Aronson and Pitt's Lisa S. Parker argued that international structures are needed to promote more equal access to forensic identification technologies, ensure their fair and efficient use, and provide uniform protections to participants following large-scale conflict and disaster. London, the lead author and professor of philosophy, also spoke with NPR about how after disasters, DNA identification is helpful but often too pricey. London also directs the university's Center for Ethics and Policy. Aronson is associate professor of science, technology, and society within the Department of History and director of the Center for Human Rights Science, and Parker is associate professor of human genetics at Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health. Read more at

Four outstanding alumni have been honored as inaugural recipients of Tepper School Alumni Awards in recognition of their success in business and contributions to the Tepper School community. The awards were presented on Sunday, Sept. 8, at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Music Hall during the school’s annual Welcome and Awards Reception for students. And the winners are:

  • Alumni Achievement Award:  James Swartz (MSIA’66) is founding partner of Accel Partners and has served as director of more than 50 successful companies and has been closely involved with the emergence of numerous industry-pioneering firms.
  • Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement or Service: Patrick Macedo (MBA’03) is a marketing manager at Heinz Brazil, having moved back to his native county in 2011 to help develop a recent acquisition into one of the company’s strongest and fastest growing businesses.
  • Tepper Alumni Service Awards: Jon Kinol (MSIA’92) and Geoff Entress (MSIA’88): In his 18 years at Deutsche Bank, Kinol rose to become the head of rates trading for North America, one of the organization’s most profitable divisions. Entress is an accomplished venture capitalist and angel investor based in the Pacific Northwest and is actively involved in the field of information technologies.

Carnegie Mellon computer scientists and Turing Award recipients Manuel Blum, Edmund Clarke, Raj Reddy and Dana S. Scott are among 40 of the world’s most distinguished computer scientists and mathematicians who are expected to participate in the newly established Heidelberg Laureate Forum, Sept. 22-27 at Heidelberg University. More than a third of all of the recipients of the Fields Medal, Abel Prize and Turing Award — the most prestigious awards in mathematics and computer science — have confirmed their attendance at the forum. Other Turing laureates among the participants include Leslie Valiant, formerly a CMU visiting assistant professor who now is at Harvard University, and CMU alumni Edward Feigenbaum, Shafi Goldwasser and Ivan Sutherland. Reddy and Clarke will present talks. Reddy will discuss, “Who Invented the Computer: Babbage, Atanasoff, Zuse, Turing or von Neumann?” while Clarke’s topic is “Model Checking and the Curse of Dimensionality.” Both will be presented Sept. 23 and will be live-streamed on the forum’s website,

The Siebel Scholars Foundation has named five Carnegie Mellon graduate students — Jason Richard Koenig, Anuj Kumar, Gabriela Marcu, Ishan Misra, Mrinmaya Sachan — to the 2014 class of Siebel Scholars. The Siebel Scholars program recognizes the most talented students at the world's leading graduate schools of business, bioengineering and computer science. They are chosen based on outstanding academic achievement and demonstrated leadership. On average, Siebel Scholars rank in the top 5 percent of their class, many within the top 1 percent. Each receives a $35,000 award for their final year of study. Read about the recipients.