Carnegie Mellon University

The Piper

CMU Community News

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June 26, 2014

News Briefs

Building Evacuation Tests To Occur July 3

Gates HillmanTo comply with the City of Pittsburgh's All Hazards Plan, Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) will conduct building evacuations of four CMU high-rise buildings on Thursday, July 3.

The evacuation schedule and buildings affected are:

  • Mellon Institute, 9 a.m.;
  • Gates/Hillman centers, 10 a.m.;
  • Wean Hall, 11 a.m.; and
  • Hamerschlag Hall, 1 p.m. 

An evacuation announcement will be made over the building's public address system, followed by the sounding of the fire alarm. At that time, occupants should quickly leave the building via the nearest exit and move to the building's designated assembly area. (See the list of assembly areas.)

Failure to leave a building when the fire alarm sounds is a violation of a Pittsburgh ordinance and can result in a fine and court appearance.

Questions about the evacuations should be directed to Richard Caruso at 412-951-3089 or 

Learn more about EHS.

Update Your Mobile Phone Info for CMU-Alert

Many CMU-Alert text message subscribers did not receive their text message during the test of the system in late April. It is believed that many of these failures were a result of the new CMU–Alert service provider, e2Campus, needing mobile phone carrier information in addition to phone numbers.

Therefore, please take a few minutes to review and, if necessary, update your mobile telephone information by going to and following the directions listed.

Please update your information by Friday, July 11. A re-test of the system will be conducted later this summer.

If you are not a subscriber to the CMU-Alert system, please register for the service today. CMU-Alert sends voice and/or text messages to your registered phone in the event of a campus emergency. Registration information is available at

Deliberative Democracy Program Partners with City in New Police Chief Search

Carnegie Mellon's Program for Deliberative Democracy (PDD) has partnered with the City of Pittsburgh to convene a series of public forums that will provide residents with the opportunity to be involved in the process of selecting a new chief of police. The PDD uses deliberative polling and other forms of democratic deliberation to collect information on what a representative sample of people from a community thinks about an issue once they have had time to become informed about it and discuss it among themselves and with experts.

The City of Pittsburgh will conduct the public forums in conjunction with Public Safety Councils in all six of Pittsburgh's policing zones in June and July. By participating in the forum, residents are encouraged to share their ideas about how to improve policing in Pittsburgh, identify their priorities and suggest the qualities they believe are essential in the new chief of police. The first meeting takes place in Zone 2 at 6 p.m., Thursday, June 26 at Teamsters Local 249 in Lawrenceville.

Learn more.

CMWA Names New Officers

The Carnegie Mellon Women’s Association has announced its new officers for the 2014-2015 academic year. They are:

  • Honorary President: Mary Suresh;
  • President: Alexa Hansen, corporate development director, Tepper School;
  • 1st VP Programs: Kaycee Palko, coordinator, Student Activities;
  • 2nd VP Programs: Rita Ciccariello, senior financial administrator, Student Activities;
  • VP Membership: Lisa Georgi, individual gift officer, University Advancement; and
  • Treasurer: Pattye Doane, senior administrator, CFA Dean’s Office.

The CMWA thanks the outgoing board members — Pattye Stragar, Krista Campbell and Patricia Schaller — for their years of volunteer service.  

Learn more about the CMWA.

Machine Learning Method Creates Video Trailers

Smartphones, GoPro cameras and Google Glass are making it easy for anyone to shoot video anywhere. But, they do not make it any easier to watch the tedious videos that can result. Carnegie Mellon computer scientists, however, have invented a video highlighting technique that can automatically pick out the good parts.

Called LiveLight, this method constantly evaluates action in the video, looking for visual novelty and ignoring repetitive or eventless sequences, to create a summary that enables a viewer to get the gist of what happened. What it produces is a miniature video trailer. Although not yet comparable to a professionally edited video, it can help people quickly review a long video of an event, a security camera feed, or video from a police cruiser's windshield camera.

Learn more about LiveLight and watch the video

New Programming Library Created for Developing Interactive Web Pages

Researchers at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute in collaboration with Adobe Research have created a new open-source JavaScript library that makes it easier for developers to create interactive Web applications.

The library, ConstraintJS, incorporates constraints that specify relationships between elements on interactive websites. Constraints can perform such tasks as automatically adjusting page elements as users interact with them, or displaying dynamic data from other sites.

ConstraintJS works by updating and managing how constraints can cause a component to automatically adjust depending on the status of other components of a Web page. It also helps developers specify and track the various ways that a page's status might change — for instance, how a button might act or change color when pressed.

ConstraintJS also allows programmers to write "templated" code, which has a nearly identical syntax and learning curve as HTML, but adds features to make these pages more dynamic.

Learn more.

Researchers Study Cost of Energy Storage in Remote Wind Farms

In a paper in "Energy Policy," Carnegie Mellon researchers quantify how cheap energy storage must be in order for it to be economical to use devices such as batteries and compressed-air-energy-storage at remote wind farms. The best wind resources are often located in areas that are far away from where people live and use electricity. However, the transmission costs, which are the overall cost of building and maintaining transmission lines to these resources, are expensive.

Wind farms could elect to make a large investment in infrastructure, but, because wind does not blow constantly, even the best wind resources in the Midwest are not able to operate to full capacity all the time; many only produce about half the energy they could per year, on average. Farms are forced to make a choice: do they invest in infrastructure that allows them to transmit all of the energy they could produce given ideal conditions, or do they opt for cheaper lines and risk potentially losing some of their product on high yield days?

Inês Azevedo, associate professor of engineering and public policy, said the costs associated with storage are so high that it often makes more sense to invest in wind resources that are closer to communities until the cost of storing energy can be reduced.

Learn more about the research.

Summer Camps Offered

Carnegie Mellon’s Department of Athletics offers several summer sports camps for kids. Camps include boys and girls soccer and boys basketball. Also offered is a fitness camp for boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 14.  For more information and to register your child, go to

Carnival To Remain on Morewood Lot in 2015

The Spring Carnival committee has announced that Carnival 2015 will be held on the Morewood parking lot, thus postponing Spring Carnival's move to the College of Fine Arts (CFA) parking lot, CFA lawn and Mall area (between Baker, Porter, Doherty and Hamerschlag halls) to 2016. A delay in construction of the Tepper Quadrangle will enable the Morewood parking lot to be available next spring. Read the full announcement.

Children's School Has Openings for 2014-15

Carnegie Mellon’s Children's School has half-day morning and afternoon pre-school places and full-day kindergarten places available for the upcoming school year. Visit the school’s website for more information about the program and to download an application, or contact Maggie Rosenblum at 412-268-2199 or Scholarship funding is available.

Libraries Leading ORCID Initiative @ CMU

Publishers and funding agencies are increasingly requiring researchers to have an ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor Identification) identifier. The University Libraries are leading an initiative to acquire ORCID IDs for all CMU researchers. 

Two pilot ORCID acquisition projects are planned. The first will acquire ORCIDs for selected CMU researchers in Qatar this summer. The second will acquire ORCIDs for all researchers in the College of Engineering during the 2014 fall semester. ORCIDs will be acquired for other CMU researchers at a later date.

Learn more.

Senior Citizens Needed for Dalcroze Eurhythmics Classes

Annabelle Joseph, director of the School of Music Dalcroze Training Center, is recruiting 15 active senior citizens to participate in classes in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, a method that engages brain and body in response to music.

Physical, mental, social and emotional well-being are essential as we age. All four are integrated in the fun-filled Dalcroze Eurhythmics classes as participants experience the joy of music.

Classes will be held from 3 – 4:30 p.m., July 1, 2, 8, and 9 in Margaret Morrison 119. For more information and to register contact Joseph at

Staff Council Offers Tickets to Hershey Park

Staff Council is offering discount tickets to Hershey Park this summer. Purchase your tickets via using promo code 85214. If you purchase tickets before July 6, you will receive an extra savings on the regular 1-day pass and tickets can be used ALL summer long.

Purchases made before July 6

  • Regular 1-day pass (ages 9-54) - $39.95
  • Regular 1-day pass (ages 9-54) - $46.95 (rate for purchases beginning July 7)
  • Jr/Sr 1-day pass (ages 3-8; 55-69) - $34.95
  • Senior+ 1-day pass (ages 70+) - $22.95
  • Regular 2-day pass (ages 9-54) - $78.20
  • Jr/Sr 2-day pass (ages 3-8; 55-69) - $57.50

The gate rate for regular passes is $60.80 and the Jr./Sr. rate is $38.30. Each ticket is subject to a $.75 processing fee. If you have any questions, please contact Sharon Cavlovich at or Nicole Stenger at For more information on Hershey Park, visit

Cedar Point Tickets Available, Too

Staff Council also is offering discounted tickets to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. You can access the discounted ticket offers at The user name is CARNEGIEMU and the password is cmu2014. The user name and password are case sensitive.

Ticket prices are:

  • Ride & Refresh: $49.99 (not available at the gate)
  • Cedar Point: $45 ($14.99 off the gate price)
  • Soak City: $28 ($5 off the gate price)
  • Ride & Slide: $79.99 ($8 off the gate price)

If you have any questions, please contact Sharon Cavlovich at or Nicole Stenger at