Carnegie Mellon University

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October 23, 2014

Personal Mention

Forrest Shull, assistant director of empirical research in the SEI Software Solutions Division, was elected to a two-year term (2015-17) on the Board of Governors of the IEEE Computer Society. The IEEE Computer Society is the computing professional's single, unmatched source for technology information, inspiration and collaboration. By making the most up-to-date and advanced information in the computing world easily accessible, it is the source that computing professionals trust to provide high quality, state-of-the-art information on an on-demand basis. Read more about the recent election. Learn more about the IEEE Computer Society.

Alex Hills, distinguished service professor in engineering and public policy and electrical and computer engineering, has been invited to speak at the Frontiers of Engineering event, sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering, Oct. 26-29 in Irvine, Calif.  Hills will speak about Carnegie Mellon's Technology Consulting in the Global Community program, for which he is senior adviser. The program's director is Joseph Mertz, associate teaching professor in the Heinz and Dietrich colleges. Technology Consulting in the Global Community is a collaborative partnership between Carnegie Mellon students and faculty and governmental and non-governmental organizations throughout the world. A select group of Carnegie Mellon students travel abroad each summer to enhance their own technical, management and communication skills while developing locally sustainable uses for information and communications technology. Learn more about the program.

Everyday thinking — like reading this sentence to deciding which shirt to wear — requires an astounding range of brain activity, yet cognition seems to happen seamlessly. In “Unifying the Mind: Cognitive Representation as Graphical Models,” CMU's David Danks outlines a new cognitive architecture that explains two aspects of the human thought process: the ability to pay attention to only things that matter; and to use many different types of cognition to learn and reason about our world. Head of the Philosophy Department, Danks argues that by representing learning and reasoning with graphical models, both of these cognitive features can be naturally explained. Widely used in machine learning, graphical models are probability models that use graphs to show the relevance structure between different factors. “We move between cognitive processes that seem to share information readily. By making sense of how this happens, and using graphical models to represent it, we can think about cognition in new ways, such as understanding it as different shared processes that work together,” Danks said. Learn more.

Carnegie Mellon's Information Networking Institute (INI) and the Alta Associates Executive Women's Forum (EWF) on Information Security, Risk Management and Privacy have awarded a fellowship to Hana Habib, a first-year graduate student in the INI's Information Technology-Information Security program. The fellowship provides Habib with full tuition and the opportunity to be mentored by an EWF member who is engaged in a senior capacity in the information security field. Habib intends to work in the government and tech sectors to help society transition from today's cyber landscape that's fraught with privacy and information security problems to a future that better manages privacy and security concerns. "With more and more data breaches revealed every day in the news, it is clear privacy and security problems appear in many different contexts. I find these challenges very interesting and would like to spend my career tackling them," says Habib, who attends Carnegie Mellon in Silicon Valley. Learn more.

Carl Kingsford, associate professor in the Lane Center for Computational Biology, is one of 14 recipients of a Moore Investigators in Data-Driven Discovery Award. The five-year, $1.5 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation will support Kingsford's efforts to develop efficient new methods for searching the massive amounts of DNA and RNA sequencing data now available worldwide. Many insights into the most basic and important processes of life are awaiting discovery within that data. The databases are of such scale, however, that existing search methods are inadequate to fully explore them. Kingsford directs a computational biology group that works on understanding protein interactions, gene expression, chromatic structure and viral evolution. His team collaborates across disciplines to create efficient computational methods that can deal with diverse and high-throughput datasets. Learn more.