Carnegie Mellon University

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May 06, 2021

News Briefs

Faculty Design National Institute for AI in Construction

Carnegie Mellon University's Pingbo Tang and Burcu Akinci are part of a team that is designing the future National Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Construction, in coordination with researchers from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and over 40 industry partners.

Akinci, professor of civil and environmental engineering (CEE) and associate dean for research, and Tang, associate professor of CEE, are currently helping develop the groundwork for the institute, which will investigate and develop ways to integrate rapidly evolving machine learning and AI technology into modern construction work.

"This National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes Planning award supports research and coordination activities to build collaborations among AI researchers, construction researchers, and industry partners, with the aim of forming an Institute for AI in Construction," the researchers wrote in their summary. "This research will identify AI problems in the construction domain that can serve as model problems, uncover novel conceptual challenges to AI research from construction applications, and identify likely dataset needs to support future research on AI in construction." Read more

Algorithm Uses Online Ads to Identify Human Traffickers

Ads peddling the victims of human trafficking hide among millions of escort listings online. While identifying similar ads could be the key to taking down a human trafficking organization, the sheer volume of listings makes the task a daunting one for law enforcement.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon and McGill University hope to simplify that task by adapting an algorithm first used to spot anomalies in data, like typos in patient information at hospitals or errant figures in accounting, to identify similarities across escort ads. The algorithm scans and clusters similarities in text and could help law enforcement direct their investigations and better identify human traffickers and their victims, said Christos Faloutsos, the Fredkin Professor in Artificial Intelligence in CMU's School of Computer Science, who led the team.

"Our algorithm can put the millions of advertisements together and highlight the common parts," Faloutsos said. "If they have a lot of things in common, it's not guaranteed, but it's highly likely that it is something suspicious."

The team calls the algorithm InfoShield and presented a paper on their findings at the recent IEEE International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE). Catalina Vajiac, a Ph.D. student in the Computer Science Department was a lead author.

Find out more about InfoShield.

Duolingo Named to Time Magazine's List of 100 Most Influential Companies

Duolingo's little green owl found itself among prestigious company this week when Time Magazine named the Carnegie Mellon University spinoff and Pittsburgh startup to its 2021 list of the 100 most influential companies.

The language learning app appeared on the list alongside tech heavyweights Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter; electronic vehicle competitors Tesla, GM and VW; entertainment powerhouses Disney, Sony, Nintendo and Netflix; COVID-19 vaccine heroes Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson; and other apps like Strava, Headspace, Clubhouse and Bumble.

Duolingo co-founder and CEO Luis von Ahn, a CMU alumnus and faculty member, said the company was honored by the mention.

"This is a testament to our incredible team and the impact we've had in bringing high-quality, accessible education to over 500 million people worldwide. We believe that education has the power to reduce economic inequality and will continue to do our part to help build a more equitable world," von Ahn said.

Read more

You’re Invited: Virtual Meeting of the Minds Is May 10-12

The Office of Undergraduate Research invites you to join the 400+ students from across the globe who will share their work virtually through poster sessions, oral presentations, prototype demonstrations and performances. Celebrate the extraordinary undergraduate research and creative inquiry taking place in every discipline across Carnegie Mellon University.

While the pandemic may have altered the ways the university community has been able to engage with one another over the past year, it certainly did not slow down our researchers! Students and faculty have persevered through the challenges to keep expanding their fields and inventing new ways to advance their research. 

Be part of a true Carnegie Mellon tradition and show your support of our undergraduates and their faculty mentors by actively joining the event, posting comments and engaging with students. They have worked hard over the past year and they want to hear from our Tartan community across the world.  

Virtual presentations will be available to preview Monday, May 10 through Tuesday, May 11.  The main event starts at 9 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 12, when all of the virtual presentations will be available to view, as well as live oral presentations for the following groups:

  • Biomedical Engineering Design Course
  • BXA (Intercollege Degree Programs) Capstone
  • College of Engineering Honors Thesis
  • Computer Science Research Practicum
  • Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences Honors Thesis
  • School of Computer Science Honors Thesis
  • Statistics and Data Science Thesis

Attendees can view all poster and pre-recorded presentations through the link below starting at 10 a.m. EDT on Monday, May 10. Those who would like to view the live sessions on May 12, or would like to comment or ask questions on the presentations, must register using their email address; simply click on the comment icon on any presentation, or on the “live presentations” icon on the top of the symposium page, and you will be asked to register.

Begin viewing Virtual Meeting of the Minds May 10-12.

Women’s and Men’s Golf Teams Headed to Nationals Next Week

The Carnegie Mellon University women's and men’s golf teams have been selected to compete in the 2021 NCAA Division III Golf Championships. The Tartans will play May 11-14 at their respective tournament sites.

The women’s berth marks the Tartans second national championship appearance in program history. CMU finished fifth in 2018. The team is ranked fifth in the country and has two players ranked in the top 10: freshman Denise Pan and sophomore Alexis Sudjianto. The four-round tournament will be held at Forest Akers Golf Courses in Lansing, Michigan.

The 11th ranked men's team will make its fourth national championship appearance when it competes in Wheeling, West Virginia, at the Oglebay Resort and Conference Center. The Tartans previously made the championship field in 2009, 2017 and 2019. The team is led by senior Jason Li, the nation’s third ranked Division III player.

Read more about the women's and men's NCAA selections on the CMU Athletics website.


Tartan Ambassador Program Is Seeking Applicants

Are you a student who is looking for a summer job? If the idea of getting paid to talk about your CMU student experience interests you, you may want to consider applying to become a Tartan Ambassador.

Marketing and Communications is looking to hire a diverse group of current undergraduate CMU students that represent different schools, programs, years and experiences at CMU. Each paid position will virtually welcome, connect and engage visitors (primarily prospective undergraduate students) through written communication and events including virtual tours and panels.

This position is virtual (remote work) from any location within the United States. An application is available through Handshake for the following positions: Lead Tartan Ambassador (#4714160), Host Tartan Ambassador (# 4714149), and Tartan Ambassador (#4714104).

For more information about Handshake, please see the Career & Professional Development Center’s website. Please note, selection for the position will be on a rolling basis as applications are submitted, and training for selected candidates will begin Monday, May 17.

Read more about the Tartan Ambassador Program.