David Danks and Alex John London (far right) recently contributed an op-ed to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette calling for more oversight of self-driving cars. In “Self-driving, but not self-regulating,” Danks and London argued that the current U.S. system of regulation for passenger vehicle safety is not adequate for autonomous vehicles, which operate both as car and driver. They wrote, “Self-driving cars have to determine their own contexts of operation, and we simply do not know how to design, develop or implement regulatory standards for ensuring that autonomous cars can perform these high-level decision making tasks safely and reliably.” Danks is the head of the Department of Philosophy and the L.L. Thurstone Professor of Philosophy and Psychology in the Dietrich College, and London is a professor of philosophy and director of the college’s Center for Ethics and Policy. Read the op-ed.
The first-place winner of the Three Minute Thesis Competition was Diane Nelson (far left), a Ph.D. candiate in biomedical engineering, with her presentation, “Drug Delivery to the Lungs using Perfluorocarbon Emulsions.” The contest’s second-place winner, Surya Aggarwal (left), a Ph.D. student in biological sciences, also won the People’s Choice Award for his presentation, “Intercepting Bacterial Communication to Limit Antibiotic Resistance.” The Three Minute Thesis Competition requires competitors to explain their thesis in terms a general audience would understand in less than three minutes. Third place went to Ania Jaroszewicz, a Ph.D. student in social and decision sciences, for her presentation “How the Psychology of Poverty Affects Behavior and Financial Outcomes.” The Alumni Choice Award went to Sudipto Mandal, a Ph.D. candidate in materials science and engineering, for “Improving performance of aerospace materials using Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME).”
This year’s Graduate Student Teaching Award will be presented to Doru Thom Popovici, (far right) a fifth-year Ph.D. student working with Professor Franz Franchetti. Popovici’s interests are in high-performance computing, automatic code generation, compilers and computer architecture. Popovici received a bachelor’s degree from the Polytechnic University in Timisoara, Romania, and a master’s degree from CMU. The Graduate Student Service Award will be presented to Travis Carless. Carless is a doctoral student in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at CMU and a 2015 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program recipient. He received his bachelor's degree in computer and systems engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a master's degree in industrial engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. Carless’ current research centers on evaluating the environmental and economic competitiveness of small modular reactors, generation II and generation III+ nuclear power plants.