Sekar quoted on cyber attacks
Bank Info Security
ECE’s Vyas Sekar was quoted on Bank Info Security about the consequences of a successful cyber attack. The websites of about 200 public and private entities in Belgium were knocked fully or partially offline Tuesday. “If critical infrastructure services are down or disrupted, that can be a serious issue for citizens,” Sekar said. “Imagine some critical government service not being available to citizens for significant amounts of time. For companies also, this is a key issue, since downtime leads to loss of revenue.”
Samaras quoted on Biden’s infrastructure plan
The Washington Post
CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted by The Washington Post in an article on the costs and challenges facing the Biden administration’s ambitious infrastructure plan. He emphasized the enormous time and resources the plan will require, as well as the need to anticipate future challenges like the effects of climate change. “All of those roads were designed for the weather of the 1950s and ’60s,” Samaras said. “We need to ensure that the vehicles on that roadway are zero-emissions, and that the infrastructure is built to last so we’re not on the hook to rebuild it before we planned.”
Presto’s research on air quality featured
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
MechE’s Albert Presto’s research on air quality and asthma was featured by UPMC. The study, in which Presto was a co-author, found that asthma exacerbations rose following a catastrophic Christmas Eve fire two years ago that destroyed pollution controls at the Clairton Coke Works. This story was published by News Wise.
Majidi’s writing on soft robotics featured
Senior Alyssa Brown wins CMWA scholarship
Carnegie Mellon Women's Association
The Carnegie Mellon Women’s Association has awarded a 2021 scholarship to MechE/BME senior Alyssa Brown for her academic accomplishments and commitment to service and leadership.“My time at CMU has been a period of intense personal growth and has ignited my passion for mentoring and advocacy,” Brown said. “I want to work in the medical device industry to make a difference in the lives of patients and to break down barriers for young women to enter the world of STEM.”
Engineering faculty receives CBI funding
Carnegie Bosch Institute
Several College of Engineering faculty have received Carnegie Bosch Institute project funding. Projects were chosen for research at the intersection of modern data-driven AI and classical scientific or engineering approaches. Funded projects include:
- CEE’s Burcu Akinci is the Co-PI on her project, “Hybrid 2D-to-3D Localization in Changing Environments.”
- EPP’s Alex Davis and MechE’s Satbir Singh are working on a project called “Using out-of-sample regularization of physics-informed neural networks to speed up computational fluid dynamics.”
- ECE’s Gauri Joshi is the PI on her project, “Scheduling and Queueing Algorithms for Resource-sharing in Federated Learning.”
- MechE’s Ding Zhao and Conrad Tucker and CyLab’s Eunsuk Kang received funding for their project titled “Safe reinforcement learning integrating physic laws, control theories, and formal methods.”
- Gerald Wang is the PI on his project called “Materials Innovation for Sustainably Degradable Plastic Films.”
Engineering faculty named Provost’s Inclusive Teaching Fellows
Congratulations to EPP’s Daniel Armanios, CEE’s Sarah Christian and David Rounce, and MSE’s Vincent Sokalski on being selected as 2021-2022 Provost’s Inclusive Teaching Fellows at the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation. It is a great honor to be selected to be among the second cohort of leaders to participate in this new program and will provide opportunities to help refine the College’s teaching practices, courses, and mind-set toward inclusion.
EPP’s Nicolas Muller was quoted by CNBC on unhealthy air quality in the United States. More than 135 million Americans live with polluted air, placing their health and lives at risk, according to an American Lung Association report published Wednesday. “Generally, there are two local air pollutants that the U.S., EPA, and other researchers tend to focus on,” explained Muller. “Those are fine particulate matter and tropospheric or ground-level ozone.”
EPP’s Granger Morgan was quoted by Forbes on creating and maintaining reliable power grids. In its 2017 report, the Academies warned that U.S. electrical grids were increasingly “complex and vulnerable,” not just to extreme weather, but also to attack. “We’re adding a lot of stuff at the grid edge,” said Morgan, the lead author of the reports. “If I start building microgrids does that increase my potential vulnerability? The answer is, ‘Yes, of course.’ The more complicated I make it, the more attack surfaces and, hence, the more possibilities of failure.”
Zhao quoted on AI
MechE’s Ding Zhao was quoted on WIRED on AI reinforcement learning, which is being used by BMW to make production more efficient. Reinforcement learning involves an algorithm experimenting and learning, from positive feedback, how to achieve a specific goal. “This is definitely the way to go,” says Zhao, who focuses on AI and digital simulations.
BME/ECE’s Byron Yu was quoted on Axios about his brain-computer interface (BCI) research. Our understanding of what happens in the brain as one learns is super limited right now,” says Yu. But BCI “gives us an amazing window into how this happens.” This work was also featured by Yahoo! News and The Ladders.
Five engineering students named Innovation Scholars
CMU Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship
Five engineering students were named 2023 Innovation Scholars by CMU’s Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship. The Innovation Scholars program fosters innovation and entrepreneurship and seeks to increase the number of successful startup companies initiated by or involving Carnegie Mellon University’s undergraduate students.
Avika Bansal is double majoring in Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. She is also pursuing minors in business administration and innovation and entrepreneurship. Bansal has been a nationally ranked fencer for 10 years, and is the founder of TurnPRO, a mobile app to improve analysis of performance for fencers at all levels.
Miguel Brandao is an aspiring engineer and robotics entrepreneur graduating in 2023. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering paired with a minor in innovation and entrepreneurship. This upcoming summer, Brandao plans to work in Carnegie Mellon’s Interactive Structures Lab, as well as start a company related to his research.
Becky Button is a sophomore studying electrical and computer engineering. She developed an open-source myo electric prosthetic that was much cheaper than existing open source solutions at the time.
Haoyang (Tiger) He studies electrical and computer engineering, with intended minors in robotics and machine learning. His entrepreneurial journey began in high school, where he founded a project focusing on programming education.
Audrey Young is studying mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering and is passionate about sharing knowledge and finding creative solutions to problems that our society faces. Her most recent project is an international tutoring business that she started in May 2020. Through this business, she is working to provide academic support for students regardless of socioeconomic status by working with other current university and high school students.
Zhao’s AI research funded by Rolls-Royce
MechE’s Ding Zhao is working with researchers from Purdue University on a project focused on the integration of artificial intelligence with classical theories for intrusion detection in resource-limited embedded systems. This is funded through a new center supported by Rolls-Royce.
Presto’s research on pollution mentioned
The New York Times
MechE’s Albert Presto and former Ph.D. student Rishabh Shah’s research on pollution inequality was mentioned in The New York Times. One surprising source of pollution that disproportionately affects communities of color, though a smaller source of emissions over all, were restaurants. Presto and Shah found that emissions from commercial kitchens—mostly from their use of cooking oils—were a surprisingly large fraction of particulate air pollution in those cities. More people of color tended to live nearby, and so were more exposed.
ChemE student Jason Folker was named University Athletic Association Men’s Golf Athlete of the Week following his performance earlier this month at the Wynlakes Intercollegiate tournament. Folker was the individual winner at Wynlakes Golf & Country Club in Montgomery, Alabama. He also helped the Tartans place second in the 15-team field tying the school record for the lowest 36-hole tournament score of 570.
Johnson’s robot research featured
MechE’s Aaron Johnson’s robotic research was featured on Inceptive Mind. Johnson and his team looked to nature to find effective ways to add tails to robots.
MechE alumnus awarded fellowship
CMU Mechanical Engineering
MechE alumnus Brian Chang (’13, ’14) earned the prestigious Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. This program invests in the graduate education of immigrants and children of immigrants who are poised to make significant contributions to U.S. society, culture, or their academic field. As a medical student in the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology, Chang will receive up to $90,000 in financial support over two years.
Soska quoted on crypto trading
ECE Ph.D. student Kyle Soska was quoted in a Crypto News article about his crypto trading research. “Our data show really small positions in these markets—likely held by people with not a ton of experience—being disproportionately liquidated” as “really sophisticated people show up and have a significant edge over amateurs,” according to Soska.
Sekar quoted on preventing hacking
ECE/CyLab’s Vyas Sekar was quoted in Business Insider about preventing your phone from being hacked. Staying safe is all about “good digital hygiene,” Sekar said. “Install apps from trustworthy sources and unless you know what you’re doing, you probably don’t want to jailbreak your phone,” he said. “Be careful. Don’t click on attachments you don’t want to open and keep your phone up to date.”
Cranor interviewed on online privacy and security
Digital Privacy News
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was interviewed by Digital Privacy News about online privacy and security. “We want to get companies’ privacy commitments on the record so that we can hold them to these commitments—and also so that we have the ability to call out particularly egregious practices,” Cranor said.
Cranor quoted on online privacy
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted on GovInfoSecurity about online privacy and the Facebook account records breach. ”This breach did not leak passwords or financial account information, but it leaked information that can certainly be of use to identity thieves and make it easier for them to impersonate people and compromise their accounts,” Cranor says. “Organizations should check their password reset processes and make sure that the breached info alone is not enough to reset a password and take over someone’s account. Consumers should be using two-factor authentication whenever it is available. This is just another reason why that is a good idea.”
Weber’s research video featured
MechE’s Doug Weber’s faculty research video was featured by IEEE Spectrum’s “Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos.” In the video, Weber discusses his group’s research on harnessing the nervous system's ability to control not only our bodies, but the machines and prostheses that can enhance our bodies, especially for those with disabilities.
Cai elected to AAP board
Associated Artists of Pittsburgh
CyLab’s Yang Cai has been elected as the Board Member of Associated Artists of Pittsburgh (AAP), the 108-year-old artist professional association in the Pittsburgh area. He will help AAP to develop new creativity education programs, promote young artists, and explore innovation industries.
Siefken appointed to pollution committee
Air Pollution Control Advisory Committee
Scott Institute’s Anna Siefken was appointed to Allegheny County’s Air Pollution Control Advisory Committee. The committee makes recommendations to the Board of Health on air quality management and regarding additions and/or changes to the air quality rules and regulations for Allegheny County.
ANSYS Hall awarded for sustainability
Carnegie Mellon University
CMU's Ansys Hall was awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its energy efficiency and sustainability.
Armanios and Samaras quoted on infrastructure
EPP’s Daniel Armanios and CEE/EPP’s Costa Samaras diagnosed regional infrastructure needs in Public Source. Armanios talked about the lack of equity in infrastructure, while Samaras talked about green infrastructure. “One thing I’m worried about is access to new infrastructure projects, thinking of the most vulnerable communities,” Armanios said.
Tennakoon serves as panel member of NCAAA Accreditation Review
CMU-Africa’s Sarath Tennakoon was a panel member of the NCAAA Accreditation Review, Electrical Engineering-Ph.D. program at King Saud University (KSU), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was quoted in Bloomberg on France’s push to make aviation more sustainable. A French initiative to ban commercial air travel on some domestic routes could prove to be an example for other countries seeking to make flying cleaner. “This policy really has the potential to accelerate all sustainable aviation options,” said Viswanathan. “Among them it could really push electric aviation forward.”
MechE’s Ding Zhao was quoted in WIRED about using simulations for industrial applications. There’s growing interest in using AI to control robots and other industrial machines. This often uses an AI approach called reinforcement learning, which involves an algorithm experimenting and learning, from positive feedback, how to achieve a specific goal. “This is definitely the way to go,” says Zhao. He says simulations are crucial to using AI for industrial applications. “Machine learning is data-hungry, and collecting it in the real world is expensive and risky,” he says.
Kumar awarded 2021 SIGBED Early Career Researcher Award
Association for Computing Machinery
ECE’s Swarun Kumar was selected as the winner for the 2021 SIGBED Early Career Researcher Award. This award recognizes outstanding contributions by early career investigators in the area of embedded, real-time, and cyber-physical systems.
CEE’s Sarah Christian has been named the ASCE Pittsburgh Section 2020 Professor of the Year. An expert in structural engineering and sustainable materials, Christian has a deep commitment to her students and to education. During her five years at CEE, she’s developed many innovative courses that have enhanced the department’s undergraduate curriculum, and had a key role in formulating a distinctive project-course sequence.
CEE’s Burcu Akinci was recently named to the NASEM Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment. This group advises government legislators and private sector organizations about the design, construction, security, impacts, maintenance, and evaluation of buildings and infrastructure systems.
Michalek quoted on electric vehicles
The New York Times
EPP/MechE’s Jeremy Michalek was quoted in The New York Times on electric vehicles and their environmental impact. “Coal tends to be the critical factor,” said Michalek. “If you’ve got electric cars in Pittsburgh that are being plugged in at night and leading nearby coal plants to burn more coal to charge them, then the climate benefits won’t be as great, and you can even get more air pollution.”
Majidi quoted on soft machines
MechE’s Carmel Majidi was quoted on New Atlas about a novel conductive hydrogel. The work was also featured on Tech Crunch. “With its high electrical conductivity and high compliance or ‘squishiness,’ this new composite can have many applications in bioelectronics and beyond,” says Majidi. “Examples include a sticker for the brain that has sensors for signal processing, a wearable energy generation device to power electronics, and stretchable displays.”
Sullivan’s research on wildfires featured
National Science Foundation
MechE/Chemistry’s Ryan Sullivan’s research on wildfires and cloud formation was featured on the National Science Foundation’s The Discovery Files radio feature. The team wanted to find out if the smoke particles’ chemical aging process during their lengthy travel through the earth's atmosphere would alter their effects on clouds. The Discovery Files is distributed nationally by the CBS Radio Network and runs on other radio stations across the country.
CAPD holds annual review meeting
Center of Advanced Process Decision-making
Engineering students in CMU newsletter
MechE students Alexis Sudjianto and Summer Faille were mentioned in The Piper newsletter for their athletic achievements. Sophomore Alexis Sudjianto recorded the women’s golf program’s first hole-in-one, and junior Summer Faille was named the University Athletic Association Softball Player of the Week.
Alumna featured on SWE website
Society of Women Engineers
ChemE alumna Libby Williams Taylor was featured in a Society of Women Engineers article for Women’s History Month. Taylor participated in a yearlong German-American exchange program that included an internship at a German brewery, where she researched yeast. Several years later, she went back to Germany for a six-month master brewery program. She returned to the United States and took a position with Dogfish Head Brewery. She reports that women brewers are a minority, much like women in engineering, though there are four women brewers in her company. While different from her work as a chemical engineer, the background in chemicals has proven most helpful.
Engineering student awarded in mock trial competition
Carnegie Mellon University
CEE/EPP student Brett Gold and his team placed third at this year’s American Mock Trial Association’s (AMTA) Regional Tournament. Gold also won an individual award as an All-Regional Attorney and his team won the Spirit of AMTA award at regionals.
Engineering faculty awarded professorships
CMU’s College of Engineering awarded professorship titles to seven faculty in February and March 2021.
- EPP Department Head Peter Adams was named the Thomas Lord Professorship in Engineering
- MSE Department Head Elizabeth Dickey was named the Wilton and Teddy Hawkins Distinguished Professorship
- ECE’s Carlee Joe-Wong was named the Robert E. Doherty Career Development Professor in Engineering
- ECE’s Pulkit Grover was named the Angel Jordan Career Development Professorship in Electrical and Computer Engineering
- MechE’s Alan McGaughey was named Trustee Professorship in Engineering
- MechE’s Rahul Panat was named the Russell V. Trader Career Development Professorship in Mechanical Engineering
- MechE’s Douglas Weber was named the Akhtar and Bhutta Professorship in Mechanical Engineering
Whitefoot reports on fuel economy
MechE/EPP’s Katie Whitefoot will be speaking about improving the fuel economy of light-duty vehicles for the National Academies committee she serves on. Their report, on which Whitefoot is an author, will be released on March 31. At the request of Congress and the Department of Transportation, the report provides cost and effectiveness estimates for future fuel efficiency technologies and discusses how the current Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards should be updated to reflect new technical, economic, and policy developments.
MechE alumni and current students earned accolades through the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). The NSF GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions. Those recognized include: Charlotte Andreasen, Bolutito Babatunde, Morgan Chen, Matthew Kubala, Regan Kubicek, Saul Schaffer, Guadalupe Quirarte, James Zhang, and James Zhu.
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted on Yahoo about fighting extremist hate. Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh are joining forces in a new research center designed to study and seek ways to halt the proliferation of extremist hate. Cranor said they will seek a deeper understanding of the ways in which extremist hate spreads through various digital vectors and want to develop tools to identify and combat it.
Spirer talks about English language learning
On March 25, INI’s Jennifer Spirer joined Duolingo for a discussion about how accessible, reliable, and secure English language assessment can help graduate programs adapt to trends in international admissions as part of a Council of Graduate Schools webinar.
Ph.D. students featured in newsletter
The National GEM Consortium
MechE Ph.D. students Wendy Flores-Brito and Frank Andújar Lugo were featured in the National GEM Consortium’s newsletter. Flores-Brito is a first year Ph.D. student in Ryan Sullivan’s lab investigating laser homogenization for signal improvement of laser desorption/ionization single particle mass spectrometry. Lugo, a 2020 MechE/EPP alumnus, is a first year Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where he is exploring how smart control strategies can help inform the installation and operation of thermal storage in district and distributed heating and cooling networks.
Hibshi quoted on CMU’s picoCTF competition
CyLab/INI’s Hanan Hibshi was quoted on The CyberWire podcast, Security Magazine, and ELearning Inside on CMU’s cybersecurity competition, picoCTF. This year’s picoCTF started on March 16. “This competition is a great introduction to the world of cybersecurity that young students may not receive otherwise,” says Hibshi, faculty advisor to picoCTF. “And while it serves as an intro for many, even highly-skilled cybersecurity enthusiasts have gained a lot from participating.”
MoonArk, a time capsule on the moon for future explorers to find, was featured in CNN. Tech Spark was involved with fabricating some of the components for this project School of Design’s Mark Baskinger. The project also appeared in Popular Science.
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted on WESA about fighting extremist hate. CMU is collaborating with Pitt to create a center to combat extremist hate. “We have technologists at Carnegie Mellon already who are working on using technology to track the spread of extremism online,” says Cranor. “They’re using machine learning to analyze messages, to try to find evidence of extremist ideas and hate speech in these messages, so there’s a lot that we can do with technology to help us automate detection and then hopefully, eventually, actually curtailing the spread of these extremist ideas.”
Zhang named editor-in-chief of Engineering with Computers
Engineering with Computers
MechE’s Jessica Zhang was named editor-in-chief of Engineering with Computers, an international journal for simulation-based engineering. As the new editor-in-chief, Zhang will emphasize and promote novel cutting-edge research and algorithm-based software development.
Marom receives OpenEye Outstanding Junior Faculty Award
American Chemical Society
MSE’s Noa Marom has been named a recipient of the American Chemical Society’s OpenEye Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. The competitive award is designed to recognize the work of rising faculty members and assist them in gaining visibility within the computational chemistry and modeling community.
Sekar quoted on online hacking
ECE/CyLab’s Vyas Sekar was quoted on Lifewire about possible computer hacking of self-driving cars. “The good news is most of the attacks we have seen are in a lab or controlled conditions,” Sekar said in an email interview. “We haven’t seen large-scale exploits or breaches in the wild just yet.”
Datta to Chair National Academies Workshop on Trustworthy AI
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
ECE’s Anupam Datta will chair a workshop on trustworthy AI organized by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). On March 3 - 4 from 12 - 5 p.m. ET, the National Academies will convene “Assessing and Improving AI Trustworthiness: Current Contexts, Potential Paths,” a public workshop sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and chaired by Datta, to help think through the challenges associated with building trustworthy AI.
Cranor quoted on password security
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted on USA Today on strategies the public can use to keep their passwords secure. “I don’t know anyone who thinks they can keep complex and different passwords memorized,” Cranor said. “If you adopt a password manager, you don’t have to think about coming up with unique and strong passwords anymore and you don’t have to figure out how you are going to remember them.”
Armanios profiled on his life
EPP’s Daniel Armanios was profiled in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A first-generation American, Armanios is the son of African immigrants. Armanios evolved into the highest academically honored undergraduate student in American college and university history. In astonishing succession, Armanios earned four of the major federal and international academic honors: the Goldwater Scholarship in 2004, the Truman Scholarship in 2005, and both the Marshall and Rhodes scholarships in 2007.
Robinson interviewed on Shared Air
MechE Head Allen Robinson was a guest on Shared Air, a podcast created by MechE’s Albert Presto and Rose Eilenberg. The episode, named “Shale gas, revisited,” explores hydraulic fracking, methane leakage, aging infrastructure, air quality, and more.
Fanti and Lucia Receive 2021 Sloan Research Fellowship
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
ECE’s Giulia Fanti and Brandon Lucia are recipients of the 2021 Sloan Research Fellowship. They are among the 128 North American researchers honored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The fellowships, awarded annually since 1955, honor early career scholars whose achievements put them among the very best scientific minds working today. Winners receive a two-year, $75,000 fellowship to further their research.
Engineering faculty named AIMBE Fellows
American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
BME/MSE’s Adam Feinberg, ChemE’s Kathryn Whitehead, BME/ECE’s Byron Yu, and BME’s Conrad Zapanta have been elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows. The College of Fellows is comprised of the top two percent of medical and biological engineers in the country. Feinberg, Whitehead, Yu, and Zapanta join 13 existing AIMBE members from CMU.
Engineering faculty quoted on climate policy
Carnegie Mellon University
President Joe Biden signaled that climate change is a national priority. Faculty were asked: what are the most critical issues that need to be addressed in the next four years?
- ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue talked about carbon dioxide and particle pollution.
- EPP’s Valerie Karplus talked about moving away from fossil fuels.
- CEE/EPP’s Destenie Nock talked about the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.
- CEE/EPP’s Costa Samaras talked about bold changes to tackle climate change.
- MechE’s Ryan Sullivan talked about climate change and fossil fuels.
- Scott Institute’s Anna Siefken talked about the advancement of new technologies.
Engineering faculty and alumni elected to NAE
Carnegie Mellon University
ECE’s Zoltan Cendes and Marija Ilic and alumni Erroll Brown Davis Jr. (ECE ’65) and Kathryn Jackson (EPP ’87, ’90) were elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).
- Cendes’ citation is “for contributions to theory, development and commercialization of electromagnetics simulation software.”
- Ilic’s citation is “for contributions to electric power systems analysis and control.”
- Davis’ citation is “for leadership in research and development of renewable resources integration with the grid, and public education.”
- Jackson’s citation is “for contributions to management of large-scale power system technology, and harmonization of engineering solutions with public policy.”
Samaras quoted on electric vehicles
CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in The New York Times and WIRED on electric vehicles for the US government. “The grid is getting cleaner over time, but it’s still not at zero emissions,” said Samaras. “If we want to fully decarbonize transportation, we need to do everything, and do it at full speed: fewer vehicle miles traveled, electrify nearly the entire passenger fleet, and clean up power plants.”
Cranor quoted on passwords
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted in The Guardian on passwords. “The best password is a random password,” says Cranor. “But people aren’t good at generating random passwords or remembering them.” Almost everything you intuitively believe about passwords is not correct. “If you struggle to remember your passwords,” Cranor says, “write them in a notebook and hide it at home. It’s highly unlikely that a hacker is going to get access to your house.”
CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in Vice on electric vehicles for USPS. President Joe Biden announced he wants the U.S. government to electrify its vehicle fleet as part of his climate and jobs initiatives. “I think locking in another vehicle cycle of mostly gas-powered USPS vehicles would be a huge mistake,” Samaras said.
Carley quoted on online radicalization
CyLab’s Kathleen Carley was quoted on Public Source about online radicalization. Getting sucked into conspiracy theories is a red flag. People who already believe in one conspiracy are more likely to believe in a second, and so on, Carley said. “It’s harder and harder to get you out of the conspiracy mindset, the more conspiracies you believe in.”
MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was mentioned on Enrg.io about the prices of electric vehicles. A Carnegie Mellon University team, led by Viswanathan, first developed a model used to calculate EV battery costs. The model breaks down the individual component costs and subsequently predicts the changes over time.
Majidi lab selected for Soft Matter Most Popular 2020
Soft Matter Most Popular 2020
Research from MechE’s Carmel Majidi’s Soft Machines Lab was selected for inclusion in Soft Matter Most Popular 2020, a themed collection of the Royal Society of Chemistry. The title of the paper is “Network topologies dictate electromechanical coupling in liquid metal–elastomer composites.”
Cranor quoted on online privacy
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted on Dark Reading about maintaining online privacy. It’s no small feat and not very effective to start using a bunch of apps simply because they’re supposed to be good at protecting privacy, says Cranor. “Some of the big-bang-for-the-buck things are using a password manager, using good password habits,” she says. “If they don’t want to be tracked in their browsing plug-in, use an ad blocker—with the caveat that some things on websites break because of it. So if you turn it off, you have to remember to turn it back on.”
CyLab’s Kathleen Carley was quoted on Yahoo about online disinformation and misinformation. Carley said trusted sources and authorities also need to take a page from the trolls and adversaries spreading disinformation and misinformation to better combat them. “One of the reasons some of the disinformation stories’ spread is so big is that there were communities around the disinformation source that were willing to repeat it, and act like megaphones. We need those same kinds of communities that are trusted but around credible sources of information,” Carley said.
Brumley quoted on cybersecurity
ECE/CyLab’s David Brumley was quoted in Dark Reading on getting started in cybersecurity. A perpetually controversial topic, certifications are an element of the professional that are endlessly debated. “When you’re just getting started out with no prior experience, a certification can get you in the door,” says Brumley.
MechE/EPP’s Jeremy Michalek was quoted on Ladders about his research on how ride-sharing apps affect car ownership in cities. “What this suggests to me is that in a city where people have disposable income and fewer children, they don’t mind paying more for a more convenient mode of transportation, and they don’t have to worry about logistics like bringing a car seat,” Michalek hypothesizes.
Whitehead quoted on COVID vaccine
ChemE’s Katie Whitehead was quoted on Healthline about a cluster of allergic reactions tied to one lot of the Moderna COVID vaccine in California. It’s possible nothing is wrong with the Moderna lot. Whitehead said if given the offer of a dose from the lot, she would gladly take it. “Clustering of allergic reactions at a single vaccination site could be caused by other phenomena—for example, the healthcare workers may have all been preexposed to something in their community or work environment that made them more susceptible to an allergic reaction,” said Whitehead. “The difference here is that allergic reactions to the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines constantly make the news, while allergic reactions to influenza, chickenpox, and hepatitis vaccines do not.”
Pileggi’s Pearl Street Technologies featured in Green Tech Media
Greet Tech Media
ECE Head Larry Pileggi’s Pittsburgh-based startup Pearl Street Technologies has raised pre-seed investment for its integrated-circuit modeling technology SUGAR, an advanced software proven to be 200x faster at engineering analysis compared to industry-standard modeling, enabling a more reliable, resilient, and sustainable power grid.
CyLab’s Kathleen Carley was quoted on Yahoo about the social media platform Parler. Parler has faced backlash after it was tied to the insurrection at the US Capitol. Amazon will kick Parler off its web servers, leaving the controversial social network to scramble for a new web host. Carley agreed it likely won’t be the end of the network, but the decision will likely drive apps like Parler to the dark web and encrypted systems. “Probably not the end to Parler,” Carley wrote in an email to Insider. “They just have to find another server space.”
ChemE’s Coty Jen and MechE’s Ryan Sullivan were quoted in Salon about their experiences with wildfires in California. “I remember waking up to a smoke-filled apartment as I had left the window open in my bedroom at night,” Sullivan wrote to Salon about his first month of his Ph.D. program at the University of California - San Diego. A large wildfire had broken out in the San Diego area. Jen told Salon that she remembered the northern California wildfires of October/November 2017 while she lived in Berkeley, California, which she described as “a pretty surreal experience. Everywhere smelled like smoke and it continued for days,” she recalled. “Since I was researching wildfire smoke and how it impacts air pollution, I started collecting measurements of the smoke from our lab.”
Rapid COVID-19 detection with nanoparticle 3D printing
MechE’s Rahul Panat’s biosensing platform for rapid COVID-19 detection was featured in an article in Materials Today. The platform uses the latest advances in materials and manufacturing such as nanoparticle 3D printing to create a device that detects COVID-19 antibodies in seconds. Panat is collaborating with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine on the project.
Michalek interviewed on electric vehicles
MechE/EPP’s Jeremy Michalek was interviewed by Shift Magazine on electric vehicles and public policy during the Biden Administration. “The president-elect has announced actions that include the federal government increasing procurement of EVs, tightening fuel-economy standards that were weakened under the Trump administration and trying to get increased tax credits for EV purchases and funds for increasing public charging infrastructure,” Michalek said.
Gbemi Disu will join Carnegie Mellon University Africa as Executive Director, effective February 1, 2021. She will provide administrative, strategic, and operational leadership and develop and implement strategies to grow CMU-Africa’s global reputation and impact.
Kumar quoted on affordable 5G
ECE’s Swarun Kumar was quoted in Lifewire on why affordable 5G is so important. “You want more people to have access to it [5G], you want people to have better speeds, better connectivity for whatever they are doing. These consumers, once they make that investment, are not going to make another investment for a substantial period of time as well. If networks are being upgraded then older bands need to be retired to make way and make room. It leads to much more exclusion of the consumer base if the products aren’t available in time or at a price where consumers can actually afford it.”
Savvides quoted on facial recognition
CyLab/ECE’s Marios Savvides was quoted in Popular Science on the caveats of facial recognition technology. “The main thing to realize is that facial recognition is not perfect,” says Savvides. “It comes up with a ranked order list of individuals.”
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted on CNET on CyLab’s password strength meter that gives suggestions to help users create more secure passwords. “It’s relevant to what you’re doing, rather than some random tip,” Cranor said.
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted on Yahoo on keeping online accounts secure with passwords. “When you create accounts online, use a different password for every account. That way if your password gets compromised on one account, the attacker will not be able to break into all your other accounts,” Cranor tells Yahoo Life. “Completely random passwords are safest, but they tend to be harder to remember. Write them down in a safe place or use a password manager program.”
California voters approved a privacy-oriented ballot measure in November that creates an incentive for companies to stop pestering Internet users about data-tracking cookies. The cookie pop-ups aren’t limited to Californians’ web browsers, something CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor noticed from personal internet use in Pittsburgh. “Even when you’re not in California, you get a lot of it,” she said.
In the spring, hackers managed to insert malicious code into a software product from an IT provider whose client list includes 300,000 institutions. About 18,000 of them were exposed when they downloaded a legitimate update—the exact thing you’re supposed to do to keep your defenses fresh. The breach has highlighted a weakness shared by large institutions and individuals, and countless breaches like it have many feeling helpless. “There definitely is a sense of resignation,” CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor told Bloomberg. “They say, ‘I have no privacy.’ But they’re still closing their blinds and locking their doors, both literally and digitally.”
Cranor quoted on privacy labels
Apple unveiled new privacy labels in its App Store, which give consumers a detailed look at what personal information apps are collecting and how that data is used. CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor, who has led an effort to build a prototype privacy and security nutrition label for IoT devices, says that such “labels enable consumers to choose products, in this case apps, taking privacy into account.” Cranor also says that the labels may make companies think twice about their practices. “If an organization has to write down their practices, they’re going to have to think more and decide if they feel good about them,” she says.
He quoted on Neuralink
BME Department Head Bin He was quoted in CNBC on Elon Musk’s Neuralink. Musk has served to bring “substantial influence on the industry and its pace” of development with Neuralink, says Bin He. “Multiple companies were formed to develop and commercialize noninvasive and invasive machine interface technology, but so far not at a scale like Neuralink,” He says.
CyLab’s Kathleen Carley’s research on social media bots was mentioned in Forbes. Research shows that social media channels like Twitter and Facebook are regularly targeted by bad actors to deploy automated bots. Carnegie Mellon estimates that bots are involved in up to 20% of the conversations on social media, especially pertaining to elections and other political issues.
He among “Top Influential Engineers”
New rankings place BME Head Bin He at the top from Academic Influence “Top Influential Engineers Today,” based on AI analysis of the number of citations and a scholar’s web presence in the last 10 years.
Mill 19 solar power public monitor available online
The public monitor for Hazelwood Green’s Mill 19, home to CMU’s Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing and Manufacturing Futures Initiative, went live last week, reports Next Pittsburgh. One can, at any given time, see how much energy the country’s largest single-sloped solar array produces via an online solar monitor showing real-time output.
Cranor quoted on privacy
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted in WIRED on Apple’s app privacy labels. Apps in the Mac and iOS App Stores will display mandatory labels that provide a rundown of their privacy policies. Think of it as a sort of “nutrition facts” for apps. “Apple’s approach looks very promising, but it's unclear how much user testing went into it,” says Cranor. “I am cautiously optimistic that these labels will actually turn out to be pretty useful.”
Kishana Taylor on PBS NewsHour
ChemE postdoc Kishana Taylor spoke to PBS NewsHour this weekend discussing strategies to build trust in COVID-19 vaccines among Black communities. In particular, Taylor addresses the need for more broadly available information on how vaccines are developed and tested. “If the situation was presented in a way where we came up with all of the components of the vaccine within the last couple months,” Taylor says, “I think the concerns would be more warranted.”
Robinson quoted on engineering degrees
U.S. News & World Report
MechE Head Allen Robinson was quoted in U.S. News & World Report on what a student can do with a mechanical engineering degree. Robinson notes that “the emergence of data science” has increased the number and variety of job options for mechanical engineers. They can now combine “machine learning” with engineering to address a wide range of formidable technical problems, “from water desalination to gene expression,” says Robinson.
Viswanathan quoted on battery breakthrough
MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was quoted in multiple outlets on a new breakthrough in battery technology. QuantumSpace, a company that Viswanathan has done consulting work for, has announced a major breakthrough in solid-state lithium-ion batteries. “It used to be whether we’ll have lithium-metal batteries; now it’s a question of when we’ll have them,” says Viswanathan. “If lithium metal batteries are successful, this would mean that for mass-market [electric vehicles], for the same weight of the battery pack, you can get about 50 percent additional range for EV or additional battery time in the context of consumer electronics.” Viswanathan was quoted in Fortune, Wired, MIT Technology Review, The Verge, and The Mobilist.
Cranor mentioned on security and privacy
The Wall Street Journal
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was mentioned in The Wall Street Journal on a cybersecurity “nutrition label.” Researchers from CyLab are floating a working prototype of how such a label could look. Discussions for adoption are still in the early stages. But advocates hope device makers will adopt this type of label, or that organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories, an independent safety-testing and certification company, or Consumer Reports will use at least portions of the label in their review processes, says Cranor. Products under consideration for carrying the label could include any smart device that is connected to the internet—including security cameras, refrigerators, speakers, home controllers, doorbells, toothbrushes, thermostats, light switches, smart plugs and much more, she says.
Kumar discussed the future of 5G
ECE’s Swarun Kumar was featured in a TechRepublic article about the future of 5G and his experience with remote teaching. “5G deployments have actually sped up a little bit over the pandemic because people have realized the importance of being connected. Connectivity to rural communities, connectivity to underserved communities has become more important than ever before. And part of what's heartening for me is 5G and the network deployments have really taken off. And I hope more of that happens because we need connectivity badly.”
MechE’s Jessica Zhang was invited to be a judge for Girls International Three Minute Science Competition. This competition is supported by GirlUp, an initiative of the United Nations Foundation. The mission of this competition is to empower girls to become more involved in science and to encourage aspiring scientists to see the value in working on their public speaking skills.
Gueye named Distinguished Member by EAI
Eurpean Alliance for Innovation
CMU-Africa’s Assane Gueye received the Distinguished Member title in 2020 from the European Alliance for Innovation (EAI).
CMU-Africa’s Martin Saint, Andrew Musoke, and Patrick Dushimimana presented research at the 2nd EAI International Conference on Smart Governance for Sustainable Smart Cities on December 3.
CMU-Africa’s Martin Saint and Isaac Coffie presented research at the 12th EAI International Conference on e‐Infrastructure and e‐Services for Developing Countries from December 2 - 4.
Samaras quoted on climate policy
CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted on Gizmodo about climate policy in the U.S. Department of Transportation. “Right now, DOT is largely a car and truck agency,” Samaras said. “We need it to be a clean mobility agency, and it can be. We need to revise the way DOT’s capital spending is given to states, the so-called 80-20 rule, where 80% is spent on highways and 20% is spent on transit.”
Viswanathan interviewed about batteries
MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was interviewed by Bloomberg Green on batteries for electric cars and airplanes. “A lot of my work has been focused on making new batteries with materials that would be very similar to the materials that are used in current lithium-ion batteries,” Viswanathan said. “But then, they would produce more energy for the same cost.”
CMU alumna named 30 under 30
Materials Science and Engineering
MSE/BME alumna Michelle Wolf was named to Forbes’ 2021 30 under 30 list in the category of Food & Drinks. Wolf co-founded New Wave Foods in 2015 to promote healthy and sustainable eating. The company produces a plant-based shrimp alternative made from seaweed, and is in the final stages of a $15 million Series A funding round. Tyson Ventures announced an investment in the company in September 2019. New Wave’s shrimp will launch in restaurants and cafeterias in 2021.
Chi named 2021 Goldsmith Lecturer
IEEE Information Society
ECE’s Yuejie Chi has been named the 2021 Goldsmith Lecturer by the IEEE Information Society. As the recipient, Chi will deliver the Goldsmith Lecture at one of the ITSoc’s Schools of Information Theory. Her lecture will be held for the benefit of students and postdoctoral researchers on a future date in 2021. By highlighting technical achievements of early career women, the ITSoc Goldsmith Lecturer Program helps the award recipients build their professional career and recognition. The lectureship contributes to the public visibility of the researcher and helps increase diversity of IEEE ITSoc and IEEE as a whole, as women are an under-represented group in both. Chi will also serve as a role model and inspiration to diverse students attending the Information Theory Schools.
Samaras quoted on climate policy
CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted on StateImpact Pennsylvania on his hopes for Biden’s climate policy. “If we can figure out a way to do decarbonization in Pennsylvania, especially—a place that has legacy fossil fuel history—we can do it anywhere,” said Samaras.
EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff was quoted in US News on holiday travel during the pandemic. Fischhoff said the lack of a cohesive national pandemic strategy; patchwork and seemingly arbitrary restrictions at the state and local level; and ineffective, politicized, and contradictory public health messaging have sown confusion and mistrust. “It has been a colossal, tragic failure of leadership from the very beginning that we didn’t find the common ground in which we were working to protect the weakest among us. And once you’ve lost that coordination, you’re scrambling to get it back and that’s the tragic mess that we’re in now,” he said.
Donahue named highly cited researcher
Web of Science
ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue was listed as one of Web of Science’s Highly Cited Researchers in the field of Geosciences in the 2020 rankings. This list recognizes the true pioneers in their fields over the last decade, demonstrated by the production of multiple highly-cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in the Web of Science.
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted on Yahoo on the benefits of using a password manager. “Password managers are very effective. I highly recommend them,” says Cranor. “This is the best way to pick strong passwords and it can be really convenient once you learn how to use the tool.”
Engineering faculty awarded professorships
The College of Engineering recently awarded and virtually celebrated several professorships:
- MechE’s Conrad Tucker was awarded the Arthur Hamerschlag Career Development Professorship in Mechanical Engineering. This career development professorship is awarded to support a non-tenured faculty member in MechE.
- MechE’s Jessica Zhang was awarded the George Tallman Ladd and Florence Barrett Ladd Research Professorship in Mechanical Engineering which is awarded to support a senior faculty member in MechE.
- ECE’s Brandon Lucia was awarded the Sathaye Family Foundation Career Development Professorship. Through the Sathaye Family Foundation, ECE alumni Shirish and Archana Sathaye established this professorship in 1993 to support a non-tenured faculty member in ECE.
- ECE’s Anthony Rowe was awarded the Siewiorek and Walker Family Professorship. Daniel Siewiorek and Karon Walker established this professorship in 2014 to support a senior faculty member whose work lies at the intersection of electrical and computer engineering and computer science. Dan Siewiorek has spent nearly five decades as a member of Carnegie Mellon’s faculty and has made outstanding contributions to computer systems design, dependable computing, and the field of human-computer interaction.
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted on Yahoo on holiday scams. “If you get an email or see an advertisement about something with a price that is less than half of what you would expect to pay, you should be suspicious,” Cranor warns Yahoo Life. “Especially if it is being sold by a vendor you are not familiar with.”
Engineering staff receive Andy Awards
Carnegie Mellon University
Two College of Engineering staff members won 2020 Andy Awards. INI’s Jennifer Spirer won the 2020 Commitment to Excellence (Rookie) Andy Award, which honors staff members who take great pride in producing excellent work. III-SV’s Leia Delabahan won the 2020 Andy Award for Spirit, which honors staff members who enhance campus life with their enthusiasm, dedication to the university community, and commitment to exceptional service.
Hendrickson receives 2020 Torrens Award
Civil and Environmental Engineering
CEE’s Chris Hendrickson has been named the recipient of the 2020 Richard R. Torrens Award for outstanding performance as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Transportation Engineering: Part A, Systems. The Richard R. Torrens Award was created to honor the memory of Richard Torrens, who served the Publications Department for 17 years and was manager of professional and technical publications.
CEE faculty researching coronavirus effects
Civil and Environmental Engineering
CEE researchers, including Kelvin Gregory, Kaushik Dayal, Destenie Nock, post-doc Mahnoush Babaei, and Ph.D. student Esteban Londono, are looking into detection and treatment methods as well as socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Gregory and Londono are developing a machine learning approach for simultaneously identifying multiple pathogens in metagenomic data from wastewater samples.
- Dayal and Babaei recently co-authored a new study that explores how pathogens use clever methods to invade cell membranes—namely, deceiving the membrane into thinking the virus is safe.
- Nock is part of a NSF RAPID grant team where she will develop an energy poverty index based on the distance in energy consumption levels to measure the inability of households to obtain sufficient energy services during the pandemic.
Chen and Zhu research device security
Electrical and Computer Engineering
ECE’s Vanessa Chen and Jimmy Zhu have been awarded a National Science Foundation grant to create robust defenses for Internet of Things devices. This project seeks to quickly identify security threats without slowing down the device. Using tiny pieces of hardware, individual devices will be able to suppress malware without sacrificing performance.
ECE Ph.D. student Zinan Lin created a new tool that helps maintain online privacy when companies work together. His advisors are ECE’s Vyas Sekar and Giulia Fanti. “We believe that future organizations will need to flexibly utilize all available data to be able to react to an increasingly data-driven and automated attack landscape,” says Sekar. “In that sense, any tools that facilitate data sharing are going to be essential.”
MSE researchers win best poster
Materials Science and Engineering
MSE Ph.D. student Nisrit Pandey and recent Ph.D. graduate Maxwell Li won first place in The Minerals, Metals, & Materials Society (TMS) poster competition. Pandey and Li, along with their advisors, MSE’s Marc De Graef and Vincent Sokalski, will be formally presented with the award at the Materials Characterization Committee meeting in Orlando, Florida during the TMS Annual Meeting in March 2021.
Kitcher receives best poster
Materials Science and Engineering
MSE Ph.D. student Michael Kitcher’s poster was chosen as best at the 2020 Magnetism & Magnetic Materials Conference. The conference was held virtually this year from November 2 - 6.
Garrison retiring at the end of 2020
Materials Science and Engineering
MSE’s Warren Garrison will be retiring at the end of 2020 after 36 years of teaching and research at CMU. Garrison’s principal research interests are the areas of fracture and deformation, structure-property relationships, and alloy development. Warren taught many classes while at CMU and is particularly well known for teaching Thermodynamics to generations of MSE students in multiple decades. After his retirement at the end of 2020 he will become a Professor Emeritus.
Fischhoff quoted on coronavirus risk
EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff was quoted in HuffPost on coronavirus spread during the holiday season. Fischhoff noted that people may be lax on their health and safety measures if others are, too. “We tend to do what other people are doing both because we want to be like other people and because we think, ‘Maybe they know something, so I’ll go along with it,’” Fischhoff said.
CyLab research on password security was mentioned in Forbes. “If you are going to start creating your own passwords, which I don’t advise, at least take a look at the recent research of this group of Carnegie Mellon scientists,” said Forbes writer Enrique Dans.
Liu named a 40 under 40 finalist
International Facilities Management Association
CEE’s Xuesong (Pine) Liu was honored by the International Facilities Management Association as a 40 under 40 finalist. The program recognizes Liu’s contribution and work at the intersection of information technology, facilities management, and artificial intelligence.
CMU named top energy university
Carnegie Mellon University
CMU was named one of the American Energy Society’s (AES) Ten Energy Elite Universities thanks to the efforts of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. The Ten Energy Elite ranking is part of the AES’s “Top Energy Universities 2020 Report,” which reviews 187 American research universities making significant strides in energy. “There are a number of great programs in this survey, but the ten elites stand apart,” said Eric J. Vettel, president of AES. “These elites benefit from visionary, effective and egalitarian leadership, and this may be their most defining attribute. Carnegie Mellon, in particular, has a solid national reputation for its numerous energy-related programs and a strong energy research portfolio.”
Zhang gives talk at ASME convention
American Society of Mechanical Engineers
MechE’s Jessica Zhang delivered an invited talk as part of the ASME Committee on Computing and Applied Mechanics (CONCAM) Distinguished Lectures on Computational Mechanics at the ASME IMECE 2020 conference in November. In this talk, she presented her latest research on neuron material transport simulation in complex neurite networks using isogeometric analysis and machine learning techniques.
Zhang named Japan Prize nominator
The Japan Prize Foundation
MechE’s Jessica Zhang was recently invited by the Japan Prize Foundation to become the Official Nominator for the prestigious “Japan Prize,” which is awarded to scientists and researchers worldwide whose original and outstanding achievements in science and technology are recognized as having advanced the frontiers of knowledge and served the cause of peace and prosperity for mankind. At present this international prize is often considered one of the most prestigious awards in science and technology fields after the Nobel Prize. The Japan Prize Foundation invites prominent scientists and researchers from around the world who lead their respective fields of science to become the Official Nominators for the “Japan Prize.”
Cylab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted on CNET about how to make passwords stronger and more secure. They have designed a meter that gives tips to strengthen passwords. “It’s relevant to what you’re doing, rather than some random tip,” Cranor said.
Samaras quoted on climate policy
CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in Forbes, Bloomberg, and Scientific American on his advice for climate policy under the Biden administration. “It is the role of government to protect and to invest in this nation for the immediate and long term,” Samaras said. “The goal is to ensure that the country is not just resilient but that it is climate-resilient.”
Cranor op-ed published on privacy
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor published an opinion piece in The Hill on privacy in COVID alert apps. Four U.S. states have launched COVID exposure alert apps, but there are many privacy concerns associated with them. “The short answer is that it really depends on the app—but clearly these four were all designed to be privacy protective,” Cranor wrote. “The details can get dense, but…[the app] allows users to receive a COVID exposure notification if they’ve been near someone who tested positive—without tracking the location or identity of any of the app’s users.”
Samaras quoted on hyperloop safety
CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in The Verge on ensuring safety for passengers on a hyperloop. There are still a lot of safety questions that need to be answered, said Samaras. “A hyperloop vehicle will travel much faster than high-speed rail, maybe even reaching 760 mph,” Samaras said in an email. “Maintaining safety at such high speeds is very important, and all of the unforeseen disasters need to be engineered into the system. An earthquake? The vacuum tube breaks? The train somehow punches through the tube? At such high speeds, these events amplify the danger, and so safety has to be paramount.”
Panat quoted on rapid COVID test
MechE’s Rahul Panat was quoted in MedicalExpo on a rapid COVID test that he and his team developed. The test enables Covid antibodies, the blood-borne protein that attacks the coronavirus, to be detected in 10 seconds. “Micro 3D printing allows you to produce new shapes in devices and new combinations of materials,” Panat said. “The progress we are making today in biomedical devices is inherently tied to the progress in microfabrication.”
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted on Yahoo on how to maintain privacy when shopping online. Cranor says some of the best ways to protect yourself and your personal information is to stick with websites and vendors you’re familiar with, do your research on those you haven’t heard of before and be smart about the way you set up your accounts. “When you create accounts online, use a different password for every account. That way if your password gets compromised on one account, the attacker will not be able to break into all your other accounts," Cranor said. “Completely random passwords are safest, but they tend to be harder to remember. Write them down in a safe place or use a password manager program.”
Carley quoted on correcting misinformation
The Christian Science Monitor
CyLab’s Kathleen Carley was quoted in The Christian Science Monitor on how to debunk misinformation online. It helps to offer credible sources, says Carley. “As opposed to just pointing out that something is wrong, provide an alternative,” she says.
Nock and Samaras partner with Google AI on energy equity
CEE’s Destenie Nock and Costa Samaras are partnering with Google AI researchers to characterize energy equity in the United States as part of the company’s Award for Inclusion Research (AIR) program. With one in three Americans experiencing difficulty paying energy bills, they plan to create a more wholistic measure of individual energy burden by incorporating transportation and heating costs into their assessment, in addition to electricity rates. The team’s ultimate goal is to “explore policy options for increasing energy equity in electricity, heating, and transportation during the transition to a decarbonized energy system under climate change.” They will also utilize data from Google’s Project Sunroof to estimate the possible benefits of community rooftop solar.
Engineering staff nominated for Andy Awards
Carnegie Mellon University
Multiple College of Engineering staff have been nominated for CMU’s Andy Awards. Andy awards are given to those whose work has had a significant impact on the university. Nominations include:
- Commitment to Excellence (Rookie): ECE’s Quinn Hagerty and Nik Nemec, INI’s Jennifer Spirer, MechE’s Amy Carroll
- Commitment to Excellence (Veteran): CEE’s David Vey, Dean’s Office’s Samuel Boyer and Dan Giammetteo, ECE’s Claire Bauerle and Kristen Geiger
- Commitment to Students: Dean’s Office’s: Kurt Larsen, ECE’s Megan Oliver, MechE’s Melissa Brown,
- Spirit: Dean’s Office’s Krista Burns, III’s Leia Delabahan, INI’s Sari Smith
CEE adds new undergrad major
Civil & Environmental Engineering
CEE has announced a new undergraduate program: environmental engineering. The major will be open to current first-year students and future incoming classes.
EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff was quoted in The Hill on election and pandemic anxiety among Americans. “I think that there are plenty of reasons for legitimate concern about disruptions,” said Fischhoff. “Between the pandemic that seems to be surging around the country, without a strong assurance that it’s being well controlled, and then there are people that are worried about some sort of unrest after the election.”
Dickey named AAAS fellow
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Incoming MSE Head Elizabeth Dickey has been named an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow. AAAS Fellows are a distinguished cadre of scientists, engineers, and innovators who have been recognized for their achievements across disciplines, from research, teaching, and technology, to administration in academia, industry, and government, to excellence in communicating and interpreting science to the public.
MechE’s Doug Weber’s research on using the brain to control computers was featured in Wired. In an article published in the Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery, Australian and US researchers describe how two people with paralysis due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) used such a device to send texts and fool around online by brain-control alone.
Whitefoot named to World Economic Forum Global Future Councils
Carnegie Mellon University
MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot has been named to the World Economic Forum’s network of Global Future Councils, where she will serve on the Clean Air council. During the 2020-21 term, which runs from October 2020 to September 2021, members will contribute insight and ideas for the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset initiative to help world leaders and the global public to better understand, address, and prepare for the post-COVID world. The World Economic Forum is providing the Councils a platform for advancing multi-stakeholder collaboration and systems thinking, which are needed more than ever to respond to rapid social and technological change.
Bhagavatula participates in World Academic Summit panel
CMU-Africa Director Vijayakumar Bhagavatula particpated in a panel disussion on “An innovation in ‘excellence’—new concepts from Africa” at the World Academic Summit in September.
Bhagavatula gives ACM ICAIF talk
CMU-Africa Director Vijayakumar Bhagavatula gave an invited talk at the ACM AI in Africa workshop on October 14.
Bhagavatula gives talk at IEEE UEMCON
CMU-Africa Director Vijayakumar Bhagavatula presented a talk on learning from weakly-supervised image datat at the IEEE Annual Ubiquitous Computing, Electronics, and Mobile Communications Conference in October.
Engineering professors named teaching fellows
Carnegie Mellon University
BME’s Rosalyn Abbott, MechE’s Mark Bedillion, and CEE’s Gerald Wang have been named Provost’s Inclusive Teaching Fellows. This is awarded to faculty who are working with the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Education Innovation to develop and disseminate new approaches to inclusive and equitable teaching in their classrooms. It provides a $5,000 fellowship for an academic year.
“There are a lot of folks of every race and every gender and every background, who you might not find in the textbooks, who have made huge contributions to this field,” Wang said. “I want students to see that people in the field look every bit like the diversity that we have in this classroom.”
Fischhoff mentioned on public health
The Philadelphia Inquirer
EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff was mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer on public opinion about a coronavirus vaccine. He believes public health officials should be laying the groundwork for communication now. Once that foundation is laid, Fischhoff said, people will be more receptive to campaigns asking them to get the vaccine.
Banerjee named EWF INI Fellow
CMU Information Networking Institute
INI student Ruchi Banerjee has been named an EWF INI Fellow—a full-tuition information security fellowship awarded jointly by the INI and the Executive Women's Forum on Information Security, Risk Management and Privacy (EWF). “[The EWF INI] fellowship is unbelievable!” she said. “I see this fellowship as a great opportunity to make long-lasting connections with women who are already in the field of security and know what it's like.”
Cranor and Haritos Tsamitis quoted on online privacy
The New York Times
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor and INI Director Dena Haritos Tsamitis were quoted in The New York Times on privacy while working from home. “First of all, turn off your camera when you don’t need it,” said Cranor. When your camera is on, she said, “make sure your computer is facing the wall.”
“We are all responsible for setting boundaries between our personal and professional lives,” Haritos Tsamitis said. “Behave as though you are physically in the office even when working from home.”
CyLab’s Lujo Bauer, Nicolas Christin, and Lorrie Cranor were quoted on Dark Reading on their password research. “It’s not as painful as people think and enforces a password policy that prevents using leaked—or at least common—passwords,” Bauer says. “Emphasize the importance of not reusing passwords and encourage using password managers.”
Bhagavatula to be program committee member
2021 Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision
CMU-Africa Director Vijayakumar Bhagavatula is a program committee member at the 2021 Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision (WACV).
McSharry to be part of AI policy team
The Future Society
CMU-Africa’s Patrick McSharry is part of the team at The Future Society developing Rwanda’s National Artificial Intelligence Policy alongside Rwanda’s Ministry of ICT, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority, and GIZ’s Fair Forward Initiative.
Vernon gives lecture on AI, robotics, and machine learning
International Conference on Robot Ethics and Standards
CMU-Africa’s David Vernon was invited to deliver the lecture: “Africa Embraces AI, Robotics, and Machine Learning” at the International Conference on Robot Ethics and Standards in Taipei, Taiwan.
Bhagavatula quoted on collaboration across universities
Times Higher Education
CMU-Africa’s Vijayakumar Bhagavatula spoke at The World Academic Summit about collaboration possibilities between Western and African universities. “I think some of the things that the Western universities can do is to essentially mentor the senior faculty in those places,” he said. “Obviously, it has to be a two-way flow.”
Armanios quoted on infrastructure
EPP’s Daniel Armanios was quoted in NextCity on structural racism. By establishing a correlation between socio-economic and demographic data and where bridges are sited, researchers Samuel Jones and Daniel Armanios confirm what most of us know anecdotally: structural racism is literally built into our cities. “These are long standing practices that bias one group of people over others,” Armanios said. “We want to try to solve the problem rather than allocate blame.”
Ulissi quoted on AI research
ChemE’s Zack Ulissi was quoted on his AI research with Facebook in multiple outlets, including CNBC, CNET, Engadget, Yahoo, Fortune, VentureBeat, and more. Facebook and Carnegie Mellon University have announced they are trying to use artificial intelligence (AI) to find new “electrocatalysts” that can help to store electricity generated by renewable energy sources. “There are a lot of different ways that we can store the energy,” Ulissi said. “It’s very hard because of the number of electrons in the system.”
Architects win award for Scott Hall
OFFICE 52 Architecture, the architects behind the Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall, received the Green Good Design Award and inclusion in the awards’ European Exhibition for Scott Hall.
Viswanathan quoted on batteries
MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was quoted in the Financial Times on batteries. Viswanathan is developing a battery that will be more energy-efficient and up to 30 percent lighter than standard lithium-ion batteries, as well as enable air taxis to travel longer on one charge. “Air taxis [will also be] cheaper to run because it becomes more energy-efficient if your battery is lighter,” he adds.
Agwu wins technical presentation award
The National GEM Consortium
MechE Ph.D. student Uchechukwu (Uche) Agwu won first place in the Technical Presentation Competition on September 11 at the Annual GEM Conference. Agwu’s presentation placed first in the Ph.D. category. Agwu is a first-year Ph.D. student under MechE Professor Kenji Shimada.
Cranor interviewed on online security
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was interviewed by Tech Republic on various cybersecurity issues, including public communication, passwords, and the future of the field. “One of the things we've observed is that there are a lot of concerns about the security and privacy of IoT devices,” Cranor said. “We still have a big problem with passwords.”