Carnegie Mellon University

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August 28, 2014

Personal Mention

Randal E. Bryant, who finished a decade of service as dean of the School of Computer Science on June 30, has begun a temporary assignment in the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to provide analysis and advice on Big Data. Bryant, who is on sabbatical from his position as University Professor of Computer Science, expects to spend 10-12 months in the OSTP's Technology and Innovation Division, where he is working as an adviser to Thomas Kalil, deputy director of policy. In his role as assistant director for information technology research and development, Bryant's areas of focus will include the application of data-driven approaches to areas such as health and education. He also will address privacy concerns that arise from the large-scale collection of data, both by fostering innovation in technical methods to preserve privacy and by identifying procedural methods to ensure privacy concerns are addressed in any proposed use of Big Data. "My plan is to work on initiatives involving the application of large-scale information sources to enable more efficient and effective government operations," Bryant said, "as well as ways in which the federal government can foster the use of Big Data in society." Read more.

Carnegie Mellon President Subra Suresh has been named to the board of directors at Battelle, the world's leading independent research and development organization, which serves government and commercial customers in the areas of national security, energy, health and the environment. "We're thrilled to welcome Dr. Suresh to our Board of Directors," said Battelle President and CEO Jeff Wadsworth. "Battelle will surely benefit from the experiences he brings from the National Science Foundation, his perspective as a university president and his stature as a scientist." Battelle Board Chairman John Welch said, "The role of the board of directors is to bring perspectives from a wide variety of experiences to benefit Battelle's long-term success. Dr. Suresh brings his broad set of technical skills, demonstrated leadership and experience from working in government, academia and with industry leaders from all over the world. We are honored to have him as our newest member." Read more.

Engineering Professor Adam Feinberg has received a grant from the Human Frontier Science Program to support research on cellular synchronization in the heart, the failure of which can lead to irregular heartbeat, or worse, sudden cardiac arrest. The three-year, $750,000 award will be split with collaborator Peter van der Meer, a cardiology professor at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Feinberg’s research group has developed tiny mechanical biosensors — about the diameter of a human hair in length — that can be integrated in bio-engineered heart tissue to measure the mechanical interactions between cells. When the cells pull on each other as the tissue forms, they also pull on the sensors, causing them to stretch. How much the sensors stretch says a lot about how the cells synchronize. “We’re trying to understand the way heart muscle cells mechanically connect and how that affects them becoming electrically synchronized,” said Feinberg, who holds joint appointments in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Carnegie Mellon. “How heart muscle cells interact with each other underlies everything they do, because if they’re not connected, they can’t work together to contract and pump blood.” Read more.

Gunhee Kim
, who completed his Ph.D. in computer science last year and is now a post-doctoral researcher at Disney Research Pittsburgh, is the recipient of the 2014 SIGKDD Dissertation Award. The award, presented by the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, recognizes outstanding work done by graduate students in the areas of data science, machine learning and data mining. Kim’s thesis, “Reconstruction and Applications of Web Photo Storylines,” addressed the ever-growing online volume of user-generated images and videos. Mladen Kolar, who earned his Ph.D. in machine learning and is now an assistant professor of econometrics and statistics at the University of Chicago, received an honorable mention. Both Kim and Kolar were advised by Eric Xing, professor of machine learning.

The Tepper School of Business presented three alumni and four student awards at its recent Tepper School Welcome and Awards program this week at Carnegie Music Hall. Alumni recipients were:

  • Marc A. Onetto (MSIA'75), principal at Leadership From the Mind and the Heart, LLC, received the Alumni Achievement Award.
  • John E. McCue (MSIA'87), vice chairman and U.S. Energy and Resource leader at Deloitte, LLP, earned the Alumni Service Award.
  • Daniel Jester (MBA'09), equity research analyst for Citigroup, Inc., received the Recent Alumni Award.

Student award winners were:

  • Amanda Olar (MBA'15) received the McGowan Fellowship Award for her dedication to ethical leadership, community building and public service.
  • Monique Hutcherson (MBA'15) earned the Arjun V. Gokhale Spirit Award for her academic excellence, enthusiasm, dedication to teamwork and ability to bring diverse people together.
  • Naveen Gupta (MBA'14) received the Part-Time MBA Academic Achievement Award as the part-time MBA student with the highest grade-point average at the end of the second academic year.
  • Tyler Deschamps (MBA'15) earned the Henry Ford II Scholarship Award as the full-time MBA student with the highest grade-point average at the end of the first academic year.