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February 12, 2015

Personal Mention

Jonathan CaulkinsJonathan Caulkins, the H. Guyford Stever Professor of Operations Research and Public Policy at the H. John Heinz III College, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional distinctions an engineer can receive. Caulkins was cited "for seminal contributions to the analysis, modeling and engineering of drug policy in the United States and abroad." "We are extremely proud of Jonathan Caulkins and his election to the National Academy of Engineering," said Heinz College Dean Ramayya Krishnan. "Jon's work has been a shining example of the quality, in-depth research on societal problems we devote ourselves to here at Heinz College." Caulkins' primary research interest is modeling the effectiveness of interventions related to drugs, crime, violence, delinquency and prevention. In addition to an extensive list of professional journal articles, Caulkins has co-authored 10 books, most recently "Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know" and "Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know." He is the 50th from CMU to be elected to the NAE. Learn more.

Steve KloehnSteve Kloehn, associate vice president for news and public affairs at the University of Chicago, has been named vice president for Marketing and Communications. In this new position, he will lead efforts to expand the global visibility of CMU and to strategically highlight the university's role in transforming lives and shaping the world through innovative, top-tier academics and world-renowned research. "Steve brings to this role extensive experience in spearheading strategic integrated communications and marketing campaigns that have raised national and global visibility," said CMU President Subra Suresh. "His reputation as a hands-on, innovative leader and communicator make him a perfect fit for this new role and CMU." Kloehn will oversee the university's Marketing and Communications Division, which includes media relations, internal communications, publications, integrated marketing, digital strategy and creative services. Learn more.

Donna HarschCarnegie Mellon has selected Donna Harsch to head its History Department, effective July 1. Harsch, a political and social historian of modern Germany, succeeds Caroline Acker, who has led the department since 2011 and is retiring from CMU. "Professor Harsch will be an excellent successor to Caroline Acker, who did a terrific job of quite selflessly leading the department for the last four years of her career at Carnegie Mellon," said Richard Scheines, dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. "Donna's work on Germany is first rate, and she has proved to be a versatile and wide-ranging scholar of the 20th century. I am excited to work with her, in particular on a passion of mine that she shares: to feature history prominently in interdisciplinary projects spanning the Dietrich College as well as the rest of Carnegie Mellon," Scheines said. Learn more.

Joel Tarr wrote an article for New America on the Pittsburgh region’s historical identification with energy resources and environmental degradation and what that means for the future. Tarr, the Richard S. Caliguiri University Professor of History and Policy, wrote, "Does the history of energy development in the state have any implications for the present natural gas boom? I believe that there are a number of analogies between then and now that are worth exploring. The echo between past and present shows that concerns about the environmental impacts of natural gas development today could have been anticipated by looking at Pittsburgh’s history." Read "Learning from Pittsburgh’s Energy History from Westinghouse to Marcellus."

Scott WeingartEffective Feb. 16, Scott Weingart will join CMU and the Dietrich College as the university's first digital humanities specialist. Weingart is part of the team that CMU is forming to train its humanities Ph.D. students in digital scholarship and technology-enhanced learning (TEL), and to support research in these areas. His hire follows a five-year, $2 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to transform graduate education in the humanities. In his new role, Weingart, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in information science and history of science at Indiana University, will support digital humanities research at CMU, fostering collaboration across campus. He will teach a weeklong summer workshop that all humanities Ph.D. students and interested faculty will take to become fundamentally literate in digital humanities. He also will serve as an internal consultant, teaching faculty how to use computational techniques in their research. Learn more.

Pulkit Grover’s work on the concept of “information friction” and its impact on energy required for communication and computation systems was published in the February issue of IEEE Transactions on Information Theory. The assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering says although communication networks are consuming increasing amounts of energy — even a noticeable fraction of the world's energy — energy consumption in modern networks is underestimated by traditional fundamental theory (classical Shannon theory). Grover says this is because it ignores energy consumption in circuitry at the transmitter and the receiver, focusing only on over-the-air transmit energy. Grover’s work provides the first steps toward a new theory of total energy minimization, in which both transmit and circuit energy components are incorporated. He says the related experimental work shows that the strategies derived from this work can reduce the energy in many modern networks by a factor of 10 or more.  Read the IEEE piece.