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April 28, 2016

Personal Mention

Tom MitchellTom Mitchell, the Fredkin University Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), joining the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists and civic leaders. Mitchell founded the world’s first Machine Learning Department at CMU’s School of Computer Science in 2006 and led the department until earlier this year. His research focuses on statistical learning algorithms for understanding natural language text and on understanding how the human brain represents information. His work has been featured in The New York Times and on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” The AAAS is one of the country’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing — and opportunities available to — the nation and the world. Find out more.

Lorrie CranorLorrie Faith Cranor, professor of computer science and engineering and public policy, spoke at a White House event last Thursday (April 21) titled “Opportunities & Challenges: Open police data and ensuring the safety and security of victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault.” Cranor, who is on leave from CMU while serving as chief technologist for the Federal Trade Commission, spoke about re-identifying de-identifyed records on a panel called “Balancing Transparency & Privacy.” Cranor directs the CyLab Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory and is co-director of Carnegie Mellon's privacy engineering master's degree program. Look for her remarks on the FTC website.

Dennis TrumbleDennis Trumble, assistant research professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department, won the Top Presentation Award at the Design of Medical Devices Conference last week in Minneapolis. Trumble’s talk was titled "A Muscle-powered Counterpulsation Device for Tether-free Cardiac Support." Short-term use of left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) has been shown to reverse the effects of congestive heart failure, a devastating condition that will ultimately afflict one in every five Americans. But, when used for permanent support, LVAD therapy has been limited by serious complications caused by intravenous lines and blood contacting surfaces. Therefore, Trumble plans to assemble and test a muscle-powered, non-blood-contacting LVAD system that avoids these problems and could potentially represent a major advance in the treatment of congestive heart failure.

justine CassellSamantha FinkelsteinJustine Cassell (left), associate dean for Technology Strategy and Impact in the School of Computer Science, and Samantha Finkelstein (right), a doctoral student in Human-Computer Interaction, were recently featured in a Q&A in the Huffington Post about their “virtual peer” technology, which builds self-esteem in children while teaching them to speak mainstream English. “Together, they have spearheaded a linguistic project that could be a game-changing tool for educators working to teach mainstream English — and perhaps even foreign languages — in our nation’s neediest schools,” writes Monica Gray. Read the Q&A

Remi Adam CompernolleAssistant Professor of Second Language Acquisition and French and Francophone Studies Rémi Adam van Compernolle co-edited “Authenticity, Language and Interaction in Second Language Contexts” with Janice McGregor, assistant professor of German at Kansas State University. The book addresses basic questions of what comprises authentic languages, who is deemed an authentic speaker and how authenticity is achieved. Joan Kelly Hall, professor of applied linguistics at Penn State University reviewed the book. She wrote, “Second language teachers and researchers of second language acquisition will find [this book] an indispensable resource.” The book is published by Multilingual Matters. Read more.

David ThompsonThe Pittsburgh Technology Council (PTC) has named the SEI’s David Thompson CIO of the Year for organizations under 1,000 employees. In making its award, the PTC cited Thompson’s efforts to improve access for all SEI staff to business-critical information and for the development and deployment of improved reporting and analytics capabilities. All winners were selected based on criteria related to planning and deployment of strategy, future goals, management philosophy, corporate culture and service to the community. “It’s an honor to be recognized by the PTC,” Thompson said. “But the true recognition goes to the incredible professionals on my staff. They are knowledgeable and talented, and I’m proud of the work they do every day to provide technology-enabled solutions for the extraordinary people at the SEI.” Find out more.

Daniel MaturanaThe team of Daniel Maturana (left) Sankalp Aroraand Sankalp Arora (right), both Ph.D. students in the Robotics Institute, was one of just eight teams nationwide to win a 2016 Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship. Each winning team receives $100,000 and will be mentored by Qualcomm engineers. The research proposal by Arora and Maturana, “Semantic Exploration Through UAVs,” was selected from among 129 proposals from 18 schools. Their research focuses on exploration path planning and computer vision algorithms that will allow drones to intelligently seek and categorize objects such as cars, buildings and people. This capability would be useful for applications such as search and rescue, planetary exploration and finding and disposing of unexploded ordnance. The Qualcomm fellowship program is unusual because it requires pairs of students to submit proposals. The company says this approach reflects its core values of innovation, execution and partnership.

Eileen WuEileen Wu, the Carnegie Mellon Student Employee of the Year, was named the Pennsylvania State Student Employee of the Year by the National Student Employment Association. She was presented with both awards at the Student Employee Appreciation Lunch on April 6. Wu works as a Community Adviser for Student Life and was nominated by Bryan Koval. Wu, a materials science & engineering major from Cupertino, Calif., will earn her bachelor’s degree this May.