Smart Parking

How great is it when a parking space opens up at the exact moment you arrive?

Most call it luck. But soon that lucky break could become a regular occurrence.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon are developing “smart parking” technology. Sensors will be used to detect whether a space is occupied or open and then relay that information to circling drivers hunting for a spot.

This technology will be tested this in San Francisco, starting with about 6,000 metered parking spaces in March. The research team already has the website and iPhone application finished, so drivers will be able to use these tools to find out where parking spaces are available.

Other cities are also expressing interest in “smart parking” technology. Port Authority of Allegheny County already has partnered with Carnegie Mellon and is hoping to launch a similar project in Pittsburgh soon.

Read more in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.


Brain Change

Carnegie Mellon researchers Timothy Keller and Marcel Just have uncovered the first evidence that the brain can rewire itself.

The researchers witnessed that through intensive instruction to improve reading skills in young children, the brain can physically rewire itself, creating new white matter that improves communication within the brain.

Translation: Reading instruction for children can actually trigger brain development that bumps poor readers up to good reader status.

Keller and Just used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) – a new brain imaging technique – to scan the brain of 72 children, ages 8-10, before and after a six-month remedial reading instruction program.

Previous DTI studies revealed compromised white matter in the brains of both children and adults who have difficulty with reading. But Keller and Just’s recent research found that 100 hours of intensive reading training increased the quality of the compromised white matter to normal levels, which directly correlated with improved reading skills.

The researchers also monitored a control group to prove the changes in white matter could not be attributed to naturally occurring maturation, as the brain development was only evident in the children who received the reading instruction.

For more, watch a video, check out an article about it in the Los Angeles Times, or visit Carnegie Mellon’s Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging online.


Meeting of the Minds

Don’t miss “Meeting of the Minds: Rebuilding America” on CNBC tonight at 8 p.m. EST. The hour-long special, hosted by CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo, was taped on campus, giving Carnegie Mellon students the opportunity to intern for the show.

So what does a CNBC intern get to do?

Student interns assisted in the control room, escorted VIPs and ushered audience members, many of whom were Pittsburgh manufacturing and business leaders, as well as Carnegie Mellon students, faculty and staff. The experience provided students with a better understanding of the media – especially how the broadcasting industry works.

Photo: President Jared L. Cohon and Maria Bartiromo


Google Wave

Technology is changing so rapidly, it’s hard to keep up. But that doesn’t stop our students, professors and alumni from being at the forefront of the latest online trends and creations.

Heard of the new Google Wave?

Alum Seth Covitz (CS’96) is a developer at Google working on this new online tool that combines live conversation with documentation. It's one of the most talked about tech developments in years — with some speculating Wave will eventually replace email.

Wave users can add richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps and more to their conversations. It's as simple as copying-and-pasting a link or dragging-and-dropping a file. It's also possible to edit any part of a wave at any time, bring new participants into an existing wave, and playback the wave to see what's already been said.

And that’s not all. Users can also add extensions into their conversation, such as Complety Robot who runs a Google search API and replaces every "???" in your text with a suggested word.

Right now people can sign up for a Google Wave invitation or get one from a friend who was among the first to wave. Covitz promises more invites will be coming soon.


The Pausch Bridge Dedication

As part of the 2009 homecoming festivities, the Carnegie Mellon community celebrated the dedication of the Randy Pausch Bridge. Featuring comments from President Cohon and Randy’s family, the ceremony was a moving tribute to the life and legacy of the late Carnegie Mellon professor.

Randy’s work was about bridging the gap between technology and the arts, so it’s only fitting that the bridge would literally join together a fine arts building and the new Gates & Hillman Centers of Computer Science.

The bridge features more than 7,000 programmable (and environmentally friendly) LED lights. The lighting sequences are designed to represent six different visual metaphors from Randy’s book, including:
• Fun with Crayons
• Outer Space
• Make the Most of Each Day
• Be the First Penguin
• The Elevator in Randy’s Room
• Disney and the Circus

The show runs for about 15 minutes and repeats on a loop during the evening. Check out Carnegie Mellon on Flickr to see photos from the event or visit the university’s YouTube channel to watch the video.

Credits: Mack Scogin, Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects; C & C Lighting LLC: Cindy Limauro and Christopher Popovich; Color Kinetics, now part of Philips


Leading Innovation: New York and Beyond

More than 400 alumni and friends gathered on November 5 for an inside look at how the Carnegie Mellon community is making an impact on key areas of importance to New York and the world, including energy, information systems, arts and entertainment, and the financial/investment industry.

The event featured a panel discussion about drivers of the new economy, and how New York and Carnegie Mellon are poised to lead the way in energy, information systems, arts and entertainment, and the financial/investment industry.

Check out Carnegie Mellon on Flickr to see photos from the New York Inspire Innovation campaign event and more.


Aspiring Design

Every day many students are pursuing a one-of-a-kind education at Carnegie Mellon thanks to the help of generous scholarships.

Take Nicholas Abele (A’12).

After one visit to the Pittsburgh campus, Abele was so impressed with the School of Design’s facilities and community atmosphere, he bumped Carnegie Mellon up to the top of his college list.

Abele knew attending Carnegie Mellon wouldn’t be possible without some financial help. And in these tough economic times, he wasn’t alone. For Abele, being awarded a Shapira scholarship to attend Carnegie Mellon made the difference. Now he is enthusiastically pursuing a degree in communication design.

Keenly aware of his good fortune, Abele would like to pay it forward in any way possible. He’s grateful the Shapiras took a chance on him and hopes to someday sponsor a scholarship for another deserving student.


Come On Back

It’s homecoming at Carnegie Mellon’s Pittsburgh campus this weekend. The festivities will begin on Thursday, October 29 and continue through Sunday, November 1.

What don’t you want to miss?

The Alumni Awards
Friday, October 30
University Center, Rangos Hall
5:30 p.m.

Among this year’s alumni award honorees is robotics pioneer William “Red” L. Whittaker (E’75,’79). Whittaker has developed unmanned robots to work in dangerous sites, rugged terrains, both on- and off-road. And now he has plans to land and operate a robot on the moon.

The Pausch Bridge Dedication
Friday, October 30
Purnell Center for the Arts, Main Entrance
7:30 p.m.

President Jared L. Cohon will preside over the dedication of the Randy Pausch Memorial Bridge – a 230-foot-long pedestrian bridge connects the Purnell Center for the Arts with the new Gates Center for Computer Science. A great reminder to the campus community of the impact alumnus and professor Randy Pausch had on Carnegie Mellon and the world.

Scotch ‘n’ Soda Presents “The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Saturday, October 31
University Center, McConomy Auditorium
7 p.m.

A wildly warm-hearted theatrical experience complete with a love story, a play-within-a-play, and an unfinished Dickens mystery. Get tickets and view other show times on the Scotch ‘n’ Soda website.

For more homecoming events, find the complete schedule and a campus map online.

It’s not too late to come and explore changes to the campus landscape, reconnect with classmates and friends, enjoy familiar traditions -- and perhaps even start a few new ones.

If you haven’t already registered, registration is available on-site.

Hope to see you here!


Pres. Cohon Leads Energy Study

Carnegie Mellon President Jared Cohon led a study that found energy pollution is responsible for at least 18,000 deaths in the U.S. every year.

If that’s not enough, the study also revealed about $120 billion per year is spent on health costs as a result of burning fossil fuels.

So what’s the down and dirty?

The study – which was ordered by Congress in 2005 – measured the cost of a kilowatt-hour (or gallon) of gas or diesel fuel that isn’t included in the price.

They found that coal plants cost an average 3.2 cents per kilowatt-hour in damages (with the worst plants reaching up to 12 cents), while gas averages 0.16 cents per kilowatt-hour. Simply put: oil and coal caused equal damage, but coal burning resulted in the highest external costs.

Additionally, air pollutants emitted by power plants and vehicles – such as small soot particles, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide – are responsible for thousands of premature deaths each year.

The study was conducted by the National Academy of Sciences and titled “Hidden Costs of Energy.” Read more about it in the New York Times or the USA Today.


Nobel Notes

While many of the bronze replica Nobel Prizes are on display, only a few universities have the honor of displaying a gold Nobel Prize Medal. Carnegie Mellon is one of them.

Through a generous bequest from the late Professor John A. Pople, the medal he received for winning the 1998 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was presented to the university by Pople’s children.

A former professor, Pople was affiliated with Carnegie Mellon and the Mellon Institute for more than 30 years. Pople developed the computational methods that made the theoretical study of molecules possible at a time when people were just beginning to use computers to solve complex scientific problems.

The program Pople developed – called GAUSSIAN – was first published in 1970 and is still used today to study molecules.

And the Nobel Prize accolades don’t end there.

Oliver Eaton Williamson (TPR’63) shares this year’s Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. While earning his Ph.D. in economics at Carnegie Mellon, Williamson conducted research under the instruction of several academic pioneers, who were revolutionizing the principles of accepted economic theory in the 1960s.

Ada Yonath, a post-doctoral fellow at the Mellon Institute in 1969, was named one of three winners of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Yonath was able to generate X-ray crystallographic images of the ribosome structure as early as the 1970s – a task the Nobel committee had then considered “impossible.”

Williamson and Yonath join 16 other Nobel Prize winners with ties to Carnegie Mellon. Check out “Commentary: Nobel award recognizes U.S. dominance” by Carnegie Mellon Professor Kiron Skinner on CNN.


A Good Excuse for Sleeping In

Bringing you a somewhat oldie-but-goodie today as we gear up for cold and flu season.

You could stock up on vitamin C or get in line for a flu shot -- but the answer to staying healthy this season may be right at home.

A Carnegie Mellon study found a correlation between hours slept at night and likeliness of getting sick.

Simply put: Those who get 7 or fewer hours of sleep at night are nearly 3 times more likely than those who slept 8 or more hours.

Sheldon Cohen
is a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon and the lead author of this study - which was published in the Jan. 12, 2009 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Read more about the study or listen to an interview with Cohen on iTunes U.


Our Top 10 Memories of Last Week

10. Watching BOSS and spin-off Plextronics on CBS Evening News segment answering the question “G-20: Why Pittsburgh?” with “Carnegie Mellon” (Watch video)

9. Bill Gates dropping in for a visit to dedicate the new Gates & Hillman Centers (
Watch video)

8. Australian Prime Minister Rudd also dropping in for a visit just before President Obama kicked off the G-20 Summit (
Watch video)

7. President Cohon’s commentary on CNN.com offering a lesson to world leaders about transformation (
Read story)

6. The Carnegie Mellon and Atlantic Council conference welcoming U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Daniel Rooney and top minds to talk about the future of the G-20 and reading the report that was released in conjunction (
Read story)

5. President Cohon joining Newsweek's Howard Fineman, University of Pittsburgh's Mark Nordenberg and UPMC's Jeffrey Romoff to discuss the role universities and medicine have played in transforming Pittsburgh (
Watch video)

4. Reading Fineman’s piece on Professor Priya Narasimhan and her wireless football and Yinz Cam projects – the personification of Pittsburgh’s innovative nature (
Read story)

3. Non-stop listening of the iTunes U podcasts featuring CMU’s many experts on a range of issues explored at the G-20 Summit (
Listen to podcasts)

2. Professor Gregory Lehane directing a concert for First Lady Obama and G-20 spouses at Pittsburgh’s CAPA school – featuring Yo-Yo Ma, Sara Bareilles and Trisha Yearwood, as well as some very excited CAPA students (
Read story)

1. Throughout it all – continuing to work alongside the incredible students, alumni, faculty and staff advancing everything from the arts to science to technology, shaping a better future for the world

For more details on the week of Sept. 21-25 at Carnegie Mellon, visit www.cmu.edu.


Only at Carnegie Mellon: Sept. 21-25

The story of Pittsburgh's transformation from an industrial town to an international center of knowledge is mirrored in Carnegie Mellon University's own story — from our founding as a school for Pittsburgh's workers to our position today as a top-tier, global university pioneering innovations in both the arts and technology.

The week of Sept. 21-25 exemplifies the role Carnegie Mellon is playing in shaping the future — spanning the disciplines.

The week begins with the dedication of a new home for one of the world's best schools of computer science: the Gates and Hillman Centers. The university will be welcoming back to campus Bill Gates — co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and chairman of Microsoft Corp. — as he presents the ceremony's keynote address on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney will kick-off a day-long conference organized by Carnegie Mellon and the Atlantic Council — where top minds from policy, business and academic sectors will be exploring the economic and social forces at work in the post-economic crisis world.

A one-of-a-kind experience, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will present a special keynote address to the Carnegie Mellon community on Thursday, followed by an interactive panel of policy experts. The events builds on Carnegie Mellon's identity as a global university — our Heinz College program in Australia is one of a dozen degree programs offered outside the United States.

The week will conclude with Carnegie Mellon Professor Gregory Lehane directing First Lady Michelle Obama's concert for the spouses of G-20 leaders — a responsibility undertaken at the special request of the White House. The honor brings Lehane together with Yo-Yo Ma, students at the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, and other internationally celebrated musicians.

Whether it's opening the door to the next-generation of technologies, joining world leaders in examining the future of the world economy or shaping an exceptional musical experience, Carnegie Mellon students, faculty, alumni and friends are the ones paving the way.

Green Chemistry

Inevitably, hazardous chemicals make their way into our air and water supply. And the health effects on humans are troublesome.

So what can we do about it?

Carnegie Mellon Professor Terry Collins – a pioneer in the field of green chemistry – has a solution. Collins invented TAML® catalysts that combine with hydrogen peroxide to destroy many of the hazardous chemicals that would otherwise contaminate water supplies for years.

These catalysts can decontaminate water infected by specific drugs, pesticides and other pollutants. They can also be used to clean industrial wastewaters, remove sulfur from fuels, or destroy dangerous pollutants like chemical warfare agents.

Not only do these TAML® (that’s short for tetra-amido macrocyclic ligand) catalysts combat chemicals in our water supply, they also have great potential to provide cleaner, safer industrial practices.

Collins, who is now the director of Carnegie Mellon’s Institute for Green Science, developed the first university course for green chemistry in 1992. Since then he’s become internationally recognized for his work in creating these environmentally friendly and less toxic chemicals.

Visit Carnegie Mellon’s Brag Book to share Collins’ innovations in green chemistry with your friends.


Little Brags, Big Ideas

At Carnegie Mellon, we don’t just imagine the future, we create it.

From environmental sustainability to autonomous vehicles and interactive art, Carnegie Mellon is shaping the world – one innovation at a time.

Check out a sampling of these big ideas at www.cmu.edu/brag. You can even submit your own by using #cmubrag in your Twitter updates.

Like what you see?

Share these sparks of genius with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or email, follow more innovations on our homepage, or learn more about our areas of excellence.


Save the Date: Carnegie Mellon in NYC

Carnegie Mellon is making an impact on key areas important to New York and the world, such as the arts, finance, green technologies and computing.

What to find out how?

Join us in New York City for a reception followed by panel discussion on the drivers of the new economy and how New York and Carnegie Mellon are poised to lead the way.

When: Thursday, November 5, 2009 from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Where: Espace – 635 West 42nd Street (between 11th-12th Avenue), New York, NY 10036
Who: All alumni are invited

Not able to attend? The next campaign event will be held in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area on April 27, 2010.



The pogo stick – once simply a child’s toy – has evolved into high-performance equipment with an array of possibilities. Arguably the most extreme of these new sticks is the “BowGo” developed at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute by project scientist Ben Brown.

Pogo athletes from around the world are in Pittsburgh this week for the annual Pogopalooza. But it’s not all fun and games. The technology being advanced through BowGo could be used to build running – and hopping – robots that cover long distances and rough terrain, accomplishing sometimes life-saving tasks.

Want to know more? Watch a video or listen to an iTunes Podcast.


Crying Wolf?

You’re sitting in front of your computer browsing the Internet when a security warning pops up. What to do?

You could take the time to read the message and make sure you fully understand the warning before proceeding.

It’s more likely you barely the notice the warning as your reflexes hastily click until the box disappears.

According to computer science researchers at Carnegie Mellon, pop-up warnings aren’t as effective as they could – or should – be.

Carnegie Mellon professor Lorrie Cranor, along with a team of graduate students, observed the Internet habits of more than 400 people. What they found is people simply encounter too many security warnings in harmless situations. As a result, they automatically ignore all warnings, leaving them vulnerable to a cyberattack.

What to do?

Cantor, who is the director of the CyLab Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory (CUPS), thinks using different colored security warnings for different threat levels could help. But the best solution may actually be to limit – or even completely do away with – pop-up security warnings.

It would cost more money and take more work for those who develop web browsers, but ultimately a more intelligent browser that automatically protects Internet users, instead of simply warning them, might just be the best solution yet.

The team authored the paper “Crying Wolf: An Empirical Study of SSL Warning Effectiveness” and Josh Sunshine (CS’10) will present it next week at the USENIX 2009 Security Symposium.


A Wi-Fi World

It’s everywhere. From reading email in coffee shops to watching YouTube on the couch, there’s no doubt WiFi has permeated our lives. At 35,000 feet, it's even starting to convert airline seats to remote offices.

This technological innovation saw its early days here at Carnegie Mellon. Fifteen years ago, Wireless Andrew was started as a research network to support Carnegie Mellon’s wireless research initiative.

Originally used only by wireless research team, Wireless Andrew provided coverage in seven campus buildings in 1994. But as the demand for anytime, anywhere high speed Internet grew, so did Wireless Andrew’s reach.

By 1999, the network was expanded to serve all 65 residential, academic and administrative buildings on the Pittsburgh campus – reaching a total floor area of approximately 3-million-square-feet plus outside areas.

It was Alex Hills, a distinguished professor and founding director of Carnegie Mellon's Information Networking Institute, who began the wireless research initiative that ultimately helped lay the foundation for today's Wi-Fi computing environment — a wireless network that connects laptops and PDAs to the Internet.

Over the coming decades, the Wireless Andrew infrastructure created at Carnegie Mellon will continue to be the research seedling that helped pave the way for wireless networking for everything.


Real-World Experience. In Tanzania.

Each year, hundreds of Carnegie Mellon students participate in summer internships around the globe. One striking example includes six Carnegie Mellon students and recent alumni from the university’s Pittsburgh and Doha campuses who are taking part in the innovative iSTEP internship program.

iSTEP – innovative Student Technology ExPerience – is a unique internship program launched this summer by Carnegie Mellon’s TechBridgeWorld Research Group.

So what makes this program different from a traditional 9-5 office job?

For starters, the location puts true meaning in the phrase “real-world experience.” Five interns are based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania while one intern is supporting the project from Pittsburgh. All are applying the knowledge and skills they acquired in the classroom in order to do some creative problem-solving in an unfamiliar setting.

The team is working closely with local partners in developing communities and contributed technical expertise by inventing new tools and customizing existing technology. Their three projects include literacy tools for primary school students, a mobile phone application for social workers and Braille tutor for visually-impaired students.

To learn more about the interns’ day-to-day experiences, follow them on Twitter, visit their Facebook page or read their blog.


Keepon Assists Autism Research

Keepon is only five inches tall and has no arms or legs. Yet his simple figure doesn’t keep him from dancing – with the help of Marek Michalowski, that is.

Michalowski, a Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute working at a robotics lab in Japan, was told to “do something” with the little yellow robot. So he turned on the music and put the little guy to a good cause.

Keepon’s dance-oriented play is helping children with autism and other development disorders.


Michalowski studies how children interact socially through Keepon’s “eyes” (a camera) and “ears” (a microphone). When a child approaches Keepon and interacts with him, Keepon is able to respond to the child with lifelike movements. His range of motion includes turning side to side, rocking side to side, nodding front to back, and bobbing up and down. All while researchers and parents are watching and listening to the child behind the scenes.

Since 2003, Keepon has been used to study behaviors such as eye contact, joint attention, touching, emotion and imitation in children of different ages and levels of social development.

Michalowski is the co-founder of BeatBots LLC, a company dedicated to the development of “robotic characters that defy entrenched notions of robots as impersonal mechanical tools.”

For more of Keepon’s moves, check out “Keepon Auditioning” or “Keepon: Friend or Foe” on YouTube or watch Keepon and Michalowski on the Today Show.


Solutions for an Energy Dependent Society

You’ve probably heard of light emitting diodes (LEDs) – but have you ever considered using them?

Solid-state lighting provides an environmentally friendly option with an added bonus: it’s cheaper in the long run.

A study conducted by Engineering and Public Policy researchers at Carnegie Mellon found that LED technology efficiently converts electricity to visible light, which reduces the emission of greenhouse gases. In addition, solid-state lighting is mercury free, unlike traditional fluorescent tubes. Every year, more than 500 million fluorescent tubes are discarded in the U.S., releasing about four tons of mercury into the environment.

Carnegie Mellon Professor M. Granger Morgan, Ines Margarida Lima De Azevedo (E’09) and Fritz Morgan (MS’96) recognize that despite the benefits of LEDs, consumers are likely to stick with what they know. Therefore, smart policy systems will be needed to help people transition to more sustainable illumination systems. The team also recommends the development of nationwide illumination standards for new residential and commercial construction projects.

The study was published in the March 2009 edition of IEEE Spectrum Magazine. Read the press release for more information.


Impact, Innovation & Imagination

More than 400 alumni, students, faculty and friends gathered in the Silicon Valley June 20 for a day of impact, innovation and imagination.

The day began an innovation showcase presented by Silicon Valley faculty members. Attendees were able to participate in four presentations that explored new technologies, new thinking and new ways to collaborate. The result? Seeing tomorrow’s breakthroughs today.

Next it was on to a panel discussion regarding the dramatic impact arts and technology has on virtually every aspect of our lives. As the gap between art and technology narrows, it’s apparent that the hybrid combination will continue to be a part in the evolution of our culture.

The evening concluded with Lydia Ayers’ “Graffiti: Lucky Calligraphy” performed by Elizabeth Osorio (A’10).

Check out pictures of the event on our Inspire Innovation website. Watch the panel on YouTube or download the audio or video version on iTunes U.


What Did You Hear?

Ever wonder why you automatically react differently to different sounds?

Richard Randall does. That’s why the Carnegie Mellon professor of music theory is researching how the human brain interprets sound.

With the help of scientists from Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh, Randall is exploring the cognitive effects that different sounds have on the brain. More specifically, he’s using the latest brain-imaging technology to research how and where the relationship between music and language takes place.

Randall’s research is supported by the Berkman Faculty Development Fund, which is made possible by a gift in memory of Sybeil Altman Berkman (A’31).


Gates Returns

Bill Gates is no stranger to the university. He delivered the lecture “Bill Gates Unplugged: On Software, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Giving Back” in Feb. '08 and he visited Carnegie Mellon in Qatar to give the keynote address at the Third International Conference on Information and Communications Technologies and Development (ICTD2009) in April.

Now Gates is planning to swing by Carnegie Mellon’s Pittsburgh campus on Sept. 22 to dedicate the Gates Center for Computer Science. The center was made possible by a lead gift of $20 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Computer Tutor

From the invention of the wheel to autonomous vehicles; from drawing on cave walls to tweeting in 140 characters or less – technology changes everything.

Now computer science and psychology researchers from Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh are using technology to evolve education. They founded the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center (PSLC) where they’re identifying which instructional conditions lead to the most effective learning.

The goal: foster robust learning – i.e. knowledge is retained, transferred to new situations or used to accelerate future learning.


Researchers use computerized tutors that record data as students learn, detecting what is being learned as well as what learning skills are being used. This database enables the programs to intervene at appropriate times, either prompting students to ask for help or encouraging them work through it on their own.

Currently these programs are helping middle school, high school, and college students with their math, science, and second language across the country.

Learn more by downloading an interview with Carnegie Mellon’s Ken Koedinger, Director of the PSLC, on iTunes U.


A Unique Major

Ever wonder what a bagpiping degree entails?

Well, at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Music – where the world’s first bagpiping degree was instituted in 1990 – the major incorporates studio performance with the history and culture of bagpiping.

This year, Nick Hudson (A’09) graduated from Carnegie Mellon, armed with a degree in bagpiping. He’s only the third to graduate since the program was established – and the only bagpiping graduate in the nation this year.

Catch Hudson on NBC’s Today Show on Monday, June 1 or watch him explain a few bagpiping basics on Carnegie Mellon’s YouTube channel.


Hats Off to the Graduates

Per usual, the bagpipers were a-piping as the graduates processed onto the field to mark the beginning of Carnegie Mellon's 112th Commencement ceremony.

This year the grads were joined by keynote speaker Eric Schmidt, chairman of the board and CEO of Google Inc. During his speech, Schmidt touched on the opportunities this generation of graduates will have as a result of new technologies - many of which were invented by Carnegie Mellon people.

He also encouraged the new grads to throw out their life plan and take advantage of opportunities as they arise, stating that "you cannot plan innovation; you cannot plan invention. All you can do is try very hard to be in the right place and be ready."

And there's no doubt that this year's graduates are already on their way to becoming some of the greatest innovators of all time.

Schmidt was also one of five people to receive an honorary degree at the ceremony. The other recipients were Thomas Detre, M.D., Keith Lockhart (MFA'83), Phylicia Rashad and Harold Shapiro.

President Cohon and student speaker Allison Lukacsy (A'09) also left a few inspirational words for the class of 2009.

And Scotty made her Commencement debut, scurrying onto the field to cheer on the graduates. After comedian and canine enthusiast Bill Cosby spoke at Commencement in 2007, he was inspired to give the university its first live mascot.

Be sure to check out a GigaPan image of the event. Don't forget to zoom-in, tag yourself and share your story. You can also watch our Commencement 2009 playlist on YouTube or download Schmidt's speech on iTunes U.


Little Brother

What does a propaganda-spitting robot have to tell us about activism and the art of subversion?

Ask Carnegie Mellon alumnus and professor Richard Pell, who developed "Little Brother" -- a robot that distributes subversive literature to the public.

The professor of art combines engineering, science and activism to spark dialogue on contemporary issues, and his works have been exhibited worldwide.

Pell's current project is to create the world's first comprehensive map of genetically modified flora and fauna in order to raise awareness of genetic modification.

To support this project, Pell received a 2009 Creative Capital Award to form a new Center for Post-Natural Studies and a new media fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation, which recognizes the most relevant and talented artists in the U.S.

And Pell's not the only one at Carnegie Mellon being recognized of his work at the intersection of arts and technology. Golan Levin , associate professor in the School of Art and Grisha Coleman, a fellow in the Studio for Creative Inquiry were also recipients of the Creative Capital Award.


Randy's Legacy Lives On

It’s almost been a year since the beloved Carnegie Mellon professor and alumnus Randy Pausch passed away. Yet his legacy is still shining bright. From a walk-on in Star Trek – which we wrote about last week – to “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Randy’s impact endures.

On May 12, "Oprah" will feature a segment on Randy, which will include an interview with his wife, Jai Pausch. Randy first appeared on “Oprah” with Dr. Mehmet Oz in October 2007 where he inspired viewers with an abbreviated version of his “Last Lecture.”

Now, as Dr. Oz gets ready to host his own show, Oprah is preparing a fitting sendoff – an episode dedicated to his most memorable moments. The May 12 show will highlight some of Dr. Oz’s interviews with inspirational people. And Randy is being showcased as one of the heroes who continues to inspire Dr. Oz today.

In the Pittsburgh region, you can catch “Oprah” at 4 p.m. daily on WTAE-TV.

** UPDATE: Jai told viewers on Tuesday that she and the kids are doing a lot better after having some time to grieve. And they’re keeping Randy’s legacy alive by doing things they know he would have loved – like taking a family trip to Walt Disney World.



Ever wonder who got more face time: Captain Kirk or Spock? We know it wasn’t Chekov…

PittPatt – a spin-off company of Carnegie Mellon – has an answer. The company’s “Face Mining” technology can detect Captain Kirk’s face from the front and slightly tilted. Soon, it will be able to detect faces from other angles. It then records every scene featuring Kirk and let’s a user navigate all three seasons of Star Trek by not only a favorite episode (the Trouble with Tribbles anyone?) but also a favorite character.

The implications of this technology for other uses – such as security monitoring – are huge.

Face Mining works by combining the algorithms used in face detection, face tracking and face recognition to extract all visible face tracks and group images of the same person together.

PittPatt – Pittsburgh Pattern Recognition – is operated by alumni Henry Schneiderman (E’90, CS’00), Michael Nechyba (CS’98) and Michael Sipe (E’99).


Replacing Ads with Art

Every day, Americans are bombarded with thousands of advertising messages, leaving most wanting less. And with the help of Lamar Outdoor Advertising, students in Carnegie Mellon’s School of Art are sparing Pittsburghers a few ad messages every day.


By replacing ads with their art on billboards around the city.

This project is in its third year and is part of the School of Art's contextual practice curriculum -- giving students the opportunity to create artwork that engages and interacts with the local Pittsburgh community. For more information on the billboards and artists or a map of billboard locations, visit the project’s website.

And check out this story about the project’s first year projects.


Just About a Dream Come True

When Randy Pausch listed his childhood dreams in front of a packed auditorium on September 18, 2007, being Captain Kirk was among them.

After giving his now-famous “Last Lecture,” which inspired millions world-wide to achieve their own childhood dreams, Randy received an email from JJ Abrams – director of the new Star Trek movie – inviting him to appear in the film.

A life-long Trekker, Randy and his wife flew to LA, where a custom-made Star Trek uniform, his own station on the bridge, and a line of dialogue were waiting.

He may not have been Captain Kirk, but he was acting alongside him. His wife, Jai even told USA Today that he was so excited he allowed them to put gel in his hair for the movie – something he wouldn’t even allow at their wedding.

After filming, Randy wrote in is blog, “Don’t blink or you’ll miss me, but at some point a guy walked across the bridge and says ‘Captain, we have a visual!’” Star Trek will be in theaters May 8.

Photo: An uplifting note Randy received in 2007 says “To Randy -- I don’t believe in the no-win scenario -- My best, Bill Shatner.”


Moving 4th Into Engineering

Getting 30-some fourth graders interested in engineering may seem like a challenge. But as it turns out, it’s a piece of cake. Literally.

This April marked the 15th annual Moving 4th Into Engineering Program, where students from a variety of Pittsburgh area schools were invited to Carnegie Mellon for a day of engineering activities. The interactive agenda included hands-on experiments and exercises, as well as a rocket-building competition complete with a rocket-shaped cake as the grand prize.

Even though the demand for their skills is increasing, fewer engineers graduate from American colleges each year. So the program aims to invigorate interest in math, science and engineering at an early age and encourage students to seek out future study in those areas.

The program is a result of a collaborative effort between the College of Engineering, Institute for Complex Engineered Systems (ICES), the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineerin and Chemical Engineering, the Center for University Outreach, and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance (PITA).

Each year, faculty, staff and students from the ICES volunteer to lead the program and work with the students throughout their day of engineering. The program was a success again this year. And the much coveted rocket cake inspired some great innovations.


Keepon On Today

Don't miss the appearance of Carnegie Mellon's famous dancing robot, Keepon, on NBC's Today Show on Wednesday, April 15th, during the 8 a.m. hour.

Keepon and Robotics Institute graduate student Marek Michalowski will help kickoff the network's three-day series on autism.

Michalowski hopes to demonstrate through his "beatbot" research project how Keepon's dance-oriented play may help children with autism.

The bright yellow robot with star status is just one example of how Carnegie Mellon is improving health and human wellness in innovative ways. Check out some other ways in which Carnegie Mellon researchers are paving the way to a healthier tomorrow: Health and Wellness Multimedia.


Ones to Watch

Don’t miss Carnegie Mellon’s alumni on the big screen this spring.

Patrick Wilson (A’95) plays the paunchy Dan Dreiberg (aka Nite Owl II) in Watchmen, which was released in March. The mystery adventure film – based on the Watchmen comic book series – is set in an alternate 1985 America where the “Doomsday Clock” permanently displays five minutes to midnight and costumed crime-fighters roam the streets.

Directed by Greg Mottola (A’86), Adventureland was released in April. This semi-autobiographical comedy hilariously details the highs and lows of Mottola’s experiences working at an amusement park in the mid ’80s. And it was filmed at Kennywood in Pittsburgh.

Star Trek – starring Zachary Quinto (A’99) as Spock – will be released in May. It’s set in the early days of the original Star Trek saga and revolves around the initial meeting of Spock and Captain Kirk. After graduating from Starfleet Academy, the two are sent on their first space mission.


Prerna Singh

Students like Prerna Singh give new meaning to Carnegie Mellon’s reputation as an incubator of ideas.

A first-year student who’s double majoring in business and mechanical engineering, Prerna arrived at Carnegie Mellon having already created one nonprofit. Now she’s hard at work on another -- “Carnegie Kitchen.”

Organized through the university’s Students in Free Enterprise, the organization aims to provide an important service to the Pittsburgh community. Carnegie Kitchen will turn any unused food from campus or nearby restaurants into nourishing meals for Pittsburgh’s homeless shelters and soup kitchens. At the same time, they hope to provide free training to men and women looking for work in the culinary industry. Students hope the Kitchen will be up and running this fall.

The recipient of an Andrew Carnegie Society Legacy Scholarship, Prerna values the ways in which Carnegie Mellon gives her the freedom and flexibility to pursue her passions.


Educational Entertainment

Looking for a mentally stimulating diversion? Check out Sporcle.com. Created by Carnegie Mellon alum Matt Ramme (CS’97), this site is home to entertaining and educational quizzes with an array of topics and difficulty levels.


Not So Science-Fiction

It may be called science-fiction. But at Carnegie Mellon, students and faculty are turning futuristic technology into a reality.

Currently a group of 10 Ph.D. students – working in Carnegie Mellon’s CyLab – are developing cameras that are able to identify people by iris recognition (Minority Report, anyone?). In an instant, these cameras zoom in on a person’s eyes, take a picture and reveal they’re identity.

Iris recognition is one of several biometric identification technologies researchers at Carnegie Mellon are working on. Some are designed to operate under co-operative scenarios and can recognize a person based on their face, iris, fingerprint or palm prints. Others work under un-cooperative scenarios by using surveillance data to recognize a person.

And remember when Tom Cruise’s character ‘flipped through’ digital files with no mouse or keyboard? The Entertainment Technology Center is now developing a ‘3-D Toolkit’ for the Microsoft Surface Table that will allow users to customize their own gestures for use on the multi-touch surface.

Seen I, Robot? Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science is already home to Tank, the roboceptionist. Ask Tank a question by typing on a keyboard and expect a verbal response.


Global Education Never Sleeps

What is the cost of teaching a group of international students to manage a construction project together?

For civil and environmental engineering associate professor Lucio Soibelman, the cost is sometimes sleep.

When project deadlines approach, according to Soibelman, that’s when the cultural barriers come down and the 2 a.m. Skype sessions begin.

Soibelman teaches International Collaborative Construction Management (ICCM), a course in which students manage a construction project from remote locations (including Brazil, Turkey, Israel and the U.S).

Managing time differences, juggling deadlines and learning cross-cultural collaboration have made the course challenging — and popular — among students. Carnegie Mellon researchers are also studying how the course changes students’ cultural perceptions.

A slew of novel global courses such as ICCM were originally supported through a gift to the President’s Discretionary Fund.


Smart People Making Even Smarter Phones

In order to think really big, sometimes you start by reinventing on the smallest scale possible.

Take the idea of “shape-shifting smartphones.” This month, InformationWeek mentioned a collaborative research project between Carnegie Mellon and Pittsburgh’s Intel Lab. (Sidenote: Carnegie Mellon’s Collaborative Innovation Center (CIC), which houses the Intel lab, is the only place you'll also find Google, Apple and a Microsoft sponsored lab — under the same roof.)

While “shape-shifting” may bring to mind sci-fi flicks, this team will have you thinking instead of a phone made of materials that get bigger or smaller depending on what you want to do with it.

Need your phone to fit in your ear? Need the same phone, minutes later, to be large enough to surf the Web? These shape-shifting phones, dubbed by some as “tiny terminators,” will always come up with the answer you are looking for in the shape that fits.

InformationWeek cites the work of Intel Pittsburgh’s senior researcher and Carnegie Mellon adjunct staff Jason Campbell. According to Campbell, the science to make these smartphones a reality is still three to five years away.

Contemplating the size of future reincarnations of your BlackBerry or iPhone? Watch Campbell explain these futuristic phones.


Ship Together. Save Together.

Wouldn’t it be great if your time spent on Facebook could simultaneously save money and the environment?

Well, it’s possible thanks to Carnegie Mellon doctoral student, Ram Ravischandran. He developed a new Facebook app for online shoppers that reduces excess packaging and saves users money.

The app – ShipTogether.com – unites neighbors so they can easily reach the $25 minimum for free shipping at Amazon without making that extra, unnecessary purchase before check-out. It also cuts down on packaging materials, such as styrofoam peanuts, that ultimately end up in landfills.

Check out this innovative way to reduce your carbon footprint on Facebook or at shiptogether.com.


Something to Smile About

The Smiley :-) was created by Carnegie Mellon research professor Scott Fahlman on September 19, 1982. It was the beginning of emoticons in email ... ;-) :-( :-o

26 years later Carnegie Mellon gave its second annual Smiley Award, which recognizes innovation in technology-assisted person-to-person communication. The award - sponsored by Yahoo!, Inc. - is open to all undergraduate and graduate students at the university.

So what prized innovation won the 2009 Smiley Award?

This year's winner was Grafitter - a technology that makes it easy to collect information about yourself over time and depict it in graph form on Twitter. Grafitter is the creation of Ian Li, a doctoral student in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute.

With help from Grafitter, you could record your weight, the amount of exercise you get and the food you eat by sending simple Twitter messages with special tags. Later, you can see all of these items in graph form and, optionally, share them with your community of friends on Twitter. Watch the demo to see how Grafitter works.

Li is no stranger to the Smiley Awards. Last year, he won an honorable mention for his web-based Moodjam application that tracks people's emotional states.

This year's Honorable Mention award went to a trio of undergrads - Ilya Brin, Dan Eisenberg and Kevin Li - for their creation of EyeTable.

Every wonder how a first date is going?

EyeTable is an intelligent restaurant table that uses headsets and sensing technology based on the Wii game controller to determine how well people are responding to one another on dates by analyzing their gestures and speech patterns.

Want real time updates of other impressive innovations? Catch up with Carnegie Mellon on Twitter.


It's A Whole New World... For Sports, That Is.

Want to see an instant replay of the game-winning goal? Or know for sure if the ball was in the end zone?

Carnegie Mellon engineering faculty, Priya Narasimhan and Rajeev Gandi, and their students are developing new applications for technology in sports. And Pittsburgh sports fans are reaping the benefits.

"Yinz Cam" is a unique large-scale mobile wireless video service designed to enhance the fans' experience at games. Users can obtain mobile video, real-time action replays, game-time information, statistics and player bios right from their arena seats.

With the Yinz Cam, spectators can download a widget onto their cell phones prior to the game. Then, while they're inside the arena, they can replay their favorite player scoring a goal, a fight that broke out or any other action on the ice from a variety of camera views.

Narasimhan was inspired by her students' passion for the Pens, so she made the project part of her capstone course on embedded systems design in the fall of '07.

But Penguins aren't the only team in town that could benefit from new technology developed by Narasimhan and a team of Carnegie Mellon students.

Narasimhan and a team of 15 sports-crazy students have developed what they call a "smart football." By installing a mini GPS unit and accelerometer inside, they can plot the football's progress and landing, even when it's under a pile of players.

In addition, they've also created a "smart glove" embedded with 15 sensors in the figures and palm, which can help determine if a receiver has control of the ball during critical plays.

Not only will this real-time feedback help referees with tough calls, but it could also be used to train athletes and scout new players.

Not enough?

Narasimhan and her students are also dedicated to expanding into "smart shoes" - which would be able to analyze a kicker's position on the ball, and uniforms that could analyze blocks.

Narasimhan, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, wasn't always into sports. She was raised in India and Africa and thought little of sports until she came to the Steel City in 2001.

That's when she started watching the Steelers ... and the rest is history.


Prof. Lave Goes to Washington

Carnegie Mellon Professor Lester B. Lave is stretching his environmental impact beyond the classroom -- all the way to Congress.

He recently testified at a U.S. Senate Committee hearing on Energy and Natural Resources in Washington, D.C. regarding an amendment that requires retail sellers of electricity to obtain certain percentages of their electric supply from renewable energy sources.

After outlining both the challenges and feasibility of implementing a renewable electricity standard, Lave urged the Senate Committee to allow alternative technologies to compete in order to achieve the goals of reducing carbon-dioxide emissions.

According to Lave, allowing technologies to compete is likely to discover even better ways to meet America's energy need -- in addition to improving environmental quality, increasing energy security and sustainability, and lowering electricity prices.

Lave told the committee:
    My greatest concern for electricity generation is abating carbon-dioxide emissions. Without controls, we will run out of atmosphere before we run out of fossil fuels. The world has used only 6 percent of the 5,000 billion tons of fossil fuels. Burning any appreciable fraction of the coal, oil and natural gas resources will send atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations to far greater levels than humans have experienced and lead to major global climate change. Global climate change, not our stock of fossil fuels, limits how much electricity we can generate from these fuels.
The committee proposed that renewable energy should account for 4 percent of the U.S. electricity production by 2011. Industry analysts think that goal can be reached and possibly surpassed, since renewable energy already accounts for nearly 3 percent of the country's electricity production.

In order to help regions with limited wind and solar resources meet the legislative goals at a lower cost, Lave recommended that committee members tighten the definition of efficiency and eliminate the limit on energy contributions.

Lave is the Harry B. and James H. Higgins Professor of Economics and Finance and professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon and also co-directs the university's Electricity Industry Center.


Save the Date: Carnegie Mellon in the Bay Area

If you couldn't make it to Pittsburgh for the October kick-off event...

Then celebrate the launch of "Inspire Innovation: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University" in the San Francisco Bay Area this summer.

When: Saturday, June 20, 2009
Where: Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California
Who: All alumni are invited

Carnegie Mellon is hosting a number of interactive events focused on innovations that impact our everyday lives. This multi-faceted event will feature:
  • An educational panel of renowned experts focusing on challenging issues of the day
  • Exhibits showcasing our cutting edge research
  • Student performances
  • Special programs that highlight how Carnegie Mellon is changing the world
So mark your calendar for the evening of June 20 and stay tuned for more details.

Not able to visit the Bay Area? The next campaign celebration will be in New York City on September 24, 2009. Or visit the Alumni website to find a Carnegie Mellon event near you.


High Oil Prices a Good Thing?

We all knew it would happen – gas prices are on the rise again. It’s worthwhile to consider the upside, says Professor Lester Lave at Carnegie Mellon. His take on the high cost of oil is just one part of a piece featured on the “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” that aired last summer – also featuring Lave Carnegie Mellon’s Deb Lange, executive director of the Steinbrenner Institute, Professor of Architecture Volker Hartkopf, and alumnus Vinod Khosla (E ’78), who is working on alternative energy solutions.

Almost a year later, it’s still highly relevant: High Oil Costs May Advance Conservation Research.

Long before it became a popular topic for debate among the United Nations, Carnegie Mellon researchers were already working on ways to conserve energy. The university has several LEED certified buildings, green roofs, windmill and solar power, and an array of electric and natural gas vehicles. And the high cost of oil is part of what drives this research and development by stimulating the need for more environmentally friendly solutions.

Be sure to check out the NewsHour piece. It's worth the 8 minutes.


Pay It Forward

Ten years ago, Michael Stevens (CS ’07) was an inspired high school student with big dreams. Now – just two years after he graduated from Carnegie Mellon – Stevens is supporting the dreams of another eager student by funding a Legacy Scholarship.


For Stevens, it is just a matter of “setting priorities, wanting to make an impact and understanding the importance of supporting the next generation of students.”

He’s also appreciative of the Carnegie Mellon grant and additional sponsored scholarship he received while attending the university.

But his Carnegie Mellon experience began before undergrad.

As a high school student, Stevens knew Carnegie Mellon was a unique place – and he wanted to be a part of it. So he enrolled in the Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Program during the summers between his sophomore and junior years.

But that wasn’t enough. He began taking one regular class at Carnegie Mellon during his junior year, splitting his time between his high school and the university. By his senior year, he was taking two classes at Carnegie Mellon each term.

For Stevens, the pre-college program was a wonderful opportunity, which ultimately led to his full-time enrollment at Carnegie Mellon with advanced standing.

As an undergraduate student in the School of Computer Science, Stevens recognized the generosity of Carnegie Mellon donors and wanted to do his part. So he worked as a student Telefund Caller and volunteered with the Senior Gift Committee.

Stevens is now a member of the Andrew Carnegie Society and the G.O.L.D. Society, but he notes that, “You do not need to give a million dollars to make a difference. You just need to make an effort by getting involved, personally and/or financially and by staying connected to your university.”


NFL Films presents: Randy Pausch

"Here we go, Steelers. Here we go."

Excitement is building in Pittsburgh, as the Steelers prepare for their final game of the season -- Super Bowl XLIII. But they'll have to share the "NFL Films Presents" spotlight with another Pittsburgher -- Randy Pausch.

Pausch -- Carnegie Mellon's beloved professor and alumnus -- touched the lives of people around the world with his one-of-a-kind lecture at the university in Sept. '07. And now, his inspiring words are reaching a new audience -- football fans.


The National Football League (NFL) is making great use of the memorable messages from Pausch's last lecture, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams."

"NFL Films Presents" -- television's longest running sports series that creates programming for ESPN, the NFL Network and NFL.com -- recently produced a segment featuring Randy Pausch. The video focuses on Pausch's last lecture and his dream to play pro football, capturing a unique perspective.

The segment already aired in December and will likely air several more times over the coming months.

Pausch made a tremendous impact on the global society before he died of complications from pancreatic cancer in July 2008. And his legacy continues today.

Pausch's role in increasing public support for pancreatic cancer research made great strides in the health and wellness category. In the fall, the U.S. Senate honored Pausch for his efforts.

In 1999, Pausch co-founded the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), formally combining next generation computing with artistic inquiry at Carnegie Mellon.

Great innovations are developed at the ETC, including Alice -- Pausch's main research project. Now Sun Microsystems, Inc. is teaming up with Carnegie Mellon to support the continuing development of the project.


Practice What You Preach

There's nobody better to learn from than the experts. And students at Carnegie Mellon interested in recording an album don't have to look far to learn from the pros. In just over a year, faculty members in the School of Music have released nine recordings of classic, contemporary and original compositions.

Talk about expertise.

A member of Boston Brass, Lance LaDuke released "Latin Nights" -- a recording of Latin classical and jazz repertoire for brass quintet with Latin percussion. The CD features guest appearances by vocalist Talita Real and Steve Gadd on drum set.

In addition to being an adjunct professor of euphonium at Carnegie Mellon, LaDuke is also the principal solo euphoniumist with the River City Brass Band -- which includes 12 other faculty and alumni members.

Another group of talented faculty comprises the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass, which recently released a new holiday album titled "A Song of Christmas." All music on the CD was either composed or arranged by group members and Carnegie Mellon trumpet faculty members Neal Berntsen and George Vosburgh.

While "A Song of Christmas" was a group effort, Stephen Schultz, associate professor in music history, does it alone.

By over-dubbing, Schultz performs all five flute parts in his recently released recording of "Boismortier: Six Concertos for Five Flutes." On his recording, Schultz - who is also head of the Carnegie Mellon Baroque Ensemble - performs the baroque works of one of the first composers to make a living without the assistance of wealthy patrons.

Also recently released was a recording of the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale's "Pittsburgh on Parade" concert, which features David Pellow as a bass player. The concert commemorated Pittsburgh's 250th birthday, as well as the birthday of Mister Rogers. Pellow is the director of jazz studies at Carnegie Mellon.

The list doesn't end there.

In July 2008, pianist Enrique Graf released a compilation of Bach, Mendelssohn and Mussorgsky. Graf is an artist lecturer and artist-in-residence at Carnegie Mellon, as well as a first-prize winner of the William Kapell International Piano Competition.

Original compositions by Marilyn Taft Thomas -- which were performed by members of the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble, as well as an array of faculty and alumni soloists -- were released in a two-CD set on the Carnegie Mellon record label in April.

A featured violinist on Thomas' recording, Andrés Cárdenas also released another record this year.

Cárdenas -- Dorothy Richard Starling & Alexander Speyer Jr. University Professor of Violin - released the CD "Brahms and Mendelssohn Violin Concertos" in November 2007. Aside from teaching at Carnegie Mellon, the Grammy-nominated artist is also the concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Also released in the fall of '07 was "Sacred Songs and Interludes: The Music of Nancy Galbraith" by the Pittsburgh Camerata. The CD features a number of Carnegie Mellon faculty, alumni and graduate students. The work of Galbraith, professor of composition, is also featured on the CD "Nancy Galbraith: Cuarteto Latinoamericano."

Riccardo Schulz, recording engineer for the School of Music ties it together. He served as technical producer or lead engineer on six of these faculty recordings.

And those are just some of the recent faculty accomplishments in the School of Music, where the professors believe in practicing what they preach.