Carnegie Mellon University

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September 25, 2014

Personal Mention

Manuel Blum, professor of computer science, and four Ph.D. students in computer science — Anvesh Komuravelli, Soon Ho Kong, Danai Koutra and Sahil Singla — are among the world’s top students and most distinguished researchers attending the Heidelberg Laureate Forum this week, Sept. 21-26, in Heidelberg, Germany. Building on the successful model of the annual Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates, the Heidelberg Laureate Forum brings together students and early-career researchers with winners of the Turing Award and Nevanlinna Prize in computer science, as well as the Abel Prize and Fields Medal in mathematics. Formal lectures occur each morning with the remainder of the day set aside for students and researchers to meet informally with the laureates. This past Monday, Blum, a Turing Award laureate, presented a lecture on his latest research, "Toward a Theory of Humanly Computable Protocols.” The CMU students are part of an American delegation of 20 students sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Oak Ridge Associated Universities. Approximately 200 students and early-career researchers from around the world are attending the weeklong meeting.

Bob Iannucci has stepped down as director of CMU's Silicon Valley campus to return to teaching and research in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at CMU-SV. Iannucci came to Carnegie Mellon in 2012 as the director of the Cylab Mobility Research Center, which he continues to lead, and was named director of CMU-SV in fall 2013. Steven Rosenberg will serve as interim campus manager while the College of Engineering administration reviews the needs of the campus and prepares to open a search. Rosenberg, previously the associate director for the campus, earned his master's degree and Ph.D. in psychology from Carnegie Mellon. He joined the Silicon Valley campus in September 2009 after working for many years at HP Labs, creating research science centers in China, Israel and in the U.S. at Stanford, UC Berkeley and MIT.

Professor Robert Strauss of the Heinz College and Heinz College alumna Yunni Deng, fiscal analyst at the International Monetary Fund, are presenting a paper, titled "The Fiscal Implications of Pennsylvania's Aging Population," tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 26) at the Lehigh University Symposium on Fiscal Challenges Facing Pennsylvania at Lehigh's Rauch Business Center.

The Carnegie Mellon Leadership and Negotiation Academy for Women was featured on "Our Region's Business" last Sunday, Sept. 21 on WPXI-TV. Co-director Leanne Meyer and Academy alumna Maureen Cahill, senior vice president of Total Rewards for Highmark Health, joined the Allegheny Conference on Community Development's Bill Flanagan for the segment. If you missed it, the segment will soon be posted on the show's website.

English Professor David Shumway, who recently authored “Rock Star: The Making of Musical Icons from Elvis to Springsteen,”  marked Bruce Springsteen's 65th birthday with op-eds in USA Today and In USA Today, Shumway writes,"At age 65, Bruce Springsteen remains what Eric Alterman called him in 2001, an 'icon in American culture.' His reaching this milestone is an occasion to reflect on how stardom in America has changed over the course of his lifetime. In 1949, it was much more glamorous and lucrative to be a movie star than a popular singer. … By 1975, when Springsteen became a star … rock stars had replaced movie stars at the top of the celebrity pyramid. By the time Springsteen had risen to fame, rock stars had transformed the very nature of stardom itself." In, Shumway writes: "At 65, Springsteen’s status as a cultural icon is not in doubt. His politics have become clearly aligned with the left. Yet he is beloved by many who do not share such views — perhaps most prominently by Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. Springsteen’s significance to people in many walks of life was illuminated by how often he was cited in the brief biographies of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks in The New York Times. Moved by this, Springsteen produced his 2002 album, 'The Rising,' a widely praised commemoration of 9/11. The fact that a rock singer could play this role and that a rock ‘n’ roll album was accepted as an appropriate commemoration demonstrate the cultural legitimacy both have achieved."

Professor of Art James Duesing, director of the Center for the Arts in Society, has authored a new eComic book published by Klaus eBooks, a project of the Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery in New York. The book uses 3-D generated images to “tell the story of a group of characters who hang out looking for opportunities to exploit each other while complaining about their lack of fame.” Art In America’s August issue included an article that featured a page from Duesing’s book.

Heinz College faculty member Karen Clay, associate professor of economics, program chair for the Master of Public Management program and an energy expert for CMU’s Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, was a distinguished panelist on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Energy Forum this past Tuesday. The panel discussed energy related issues and how it is transforming the local economy. See video highlights of the forum at

Diego Pafundo, a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Biological Sciences, has received a $60,000 Career-Starter Research Grant from the Knights Templar Eye Foundation to investigate a new treatment strategy for amblyopia, commonly referred to as “lazy eye,” the most common cause of vision problems in children. In children with amblyopia, the neural pathways between one eye and the brain do not develop properly, resulting in impaired vision in the eye. This causes the brain to disregard signals from the affected eye, so the child’s two eyes don’t work together. Recent discoveries made by Pafundo’s adviser, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Sandra J. Kuhlman, and colleagues have helped to identify the neuronal circuitry that underlies amblyopia. Pafundo will target this circuitry to develop a non-invasive strategy to reverse the permanent vision effects of untreated amblyopia. Under the grant, Pafundo will coax the mature, less malleable neurons to revert to the earlier, more plastic state in which they exist during early development. He will then see if the neurons become more responsive, giving them the ability to properly rewire the brain’s visual circuitry, leading to improved vision. Learn more.