Goldman Sachs Gives

Goldman Sachs Gives recently donated $2 million to assist Carnegie Mellon students whose families have been disproportionately affected by America’s economic recession.

This gift came at the recommendation of Paul Russo (S’86), managing director of Goldman Sachs. It will be used for scholarships based on financial need and academic performance beginning this semester.

“It doesn’t take much to figure out there are a lot of families in pain around the country,” said Russo.

He and his wife, Allison (TPR’88), have a special fondness for the university and believe Carnegie Mellon students are high academic achievers across the board.

“You have a tremendous opportunity. Take advantage of it while you’re here,” Paul Russo urged this year’s scholarship awardees during a recent visit to campus where the Russos met the students. “You’re investing in yourself and there’s no better investment.”

Goldman Sachs Gives is a donor-advised fund through which participating managing directors of the firm recommend grants to qualified charitable organizations.


Student-Faculty Ties

A decade after graduation, Matt Bomer (A'00) – star of the USA Network's hit series White Collar – can still rely on his former Carnegie Mellon professor, Don Wadsworth.

When a White Collar episode required Bomer to disguise his character by speaking with French and Italian accents, he called Wadsworth for a refresher.

“The great thing about Don is I got a lifetime teacher with my four years of training,” said Bomer. “I know when I call on him for something I'm going to have that history of trust. And I know I'm going to have fun."

Wadsworth – a professor of voice and speech at CMU – has coached the voice work for actors on and off Broadway, in feature films, TV, regional theater and video games. He’s coached Oscar-nominated stars and even appears in a few films himself. Now with southwestern Pennsylvania’s burgeoning reputation as a great location for movie and television productions, he’s been getting even more requests for both coaching and acting.

Still, with all of that going on, Wadsworth makes time for his students – current and former.
“I remember Don taking time with me even before class and after class,” recalled Bomer. “He always brings 100 percent commitment to everything he does.”

Read more about Don Wadsworth and Matt Bomer on cmu.edu.


Honoring Prof. Joel Tarr

One of Carnegie Mellon’s greatest assets is its world-renowned faculty. With a student-faculty ratio of 10:1, faculty members are extremely accessible and take a genuine interest in their students’ work.

So it’s no surprise when some alumni choose to give back to the university in honor of the professors who have inspired them.

For Rachel Maines (HS’83), attending Carnegie Mellon was a life-changing opportunity. But if it weren’t for the support from Joel Tarr, Carnegie Mellon’s Richard S. Caliguiri University Professor of History & Policy, it may not have been possible.

Prof. Tarr helped Maines secure a fellowship that made it possible for her to attend graduate school at CMU. And she’s still grateful today. To show her appreciation, she gave $50,000 to endow a fellowship for Carnegie Mellon students – and she named it in honor of Prof. Tarr.

Terry F. Yosie (HS’75, ’81) is also thankful he had the opportunity to study at a top-tier university. While attending graduate school at CMU, Yosie was able to build relationships that have been sustained for over 30 years.

One particularly meaningful relationship was with his advisor, Prof. Tarr. In fact, it’s is one of the reasons Yosie pledged a gift of $25,000 to the fellowship Maines established and named in honor of Pro. Tarr.

“I have a very personal motivation and that’s my respect and admiration for Joel Tarr, who has probably been the single most influential person in my intellectual development,” Yosie explained.

Learn more about supporting faculty >>


Lighting Our Library

Made out of almost all aluminum and glass – Hunt Library certainly stands out on the Carnegie Mellon Pittsburgh campus.

When Roy and Rachel Hunt made a generous gift in 1961 to open Hunt Library, Roy Hunt was a prominent figure in the aluminum industry. Over the past 50 years, Hunt Library has continued to evolve and remains a centerpiece of learning and student interaction at Carnegie Mellon.

Now as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hunt Library’s opening, the Hunt Foundation made another gift to campus – a permanent exterior lighting system.

Remember the Pausch Bridge? Cindy Limauro, a professor of lighting design at CMU, Christopher Popowich of C&C Lighting, LCC, and CMU students designed lighting for the bridge in 2009. Now they’ve designed the library lighting to complement it.

The color-changing capability of the lights showcases the energy of campus activity throughout the night and allows different looks to be created for holidays or special campus events, such as Commencement, Homecoming and Carnival.

Since opening in 1961, Hunt Library has continued to evolve, remaining a centerpiece of learning and student interaction at CMU today.

On Nov. 20 Carnegie Mellon recognized the Hunt family’s contributions to the university with a celebration event. The event also honored and acknowledged the importance of Hunt Library in today’s Carnegie Mellon experience, as well as debuted the new exterior lighting of the library.


d’Arte Magazine

Fashion. Design. Culture. d’Arte Magazine covers it all and more.

d’Arte was founded by a group of Carnegie Mellon students in 2009. Since then, their mission has been to foster appreciation for various forms of art at Carnegie Mellon University and in the greater Pittsburgh community.

In order to instill appreciation in others, the students themselves express just how much they value their Carnegie Mellon education, drawing attention to a new ranking.

It wasn’t long ago Unigo.com named Carnegie Mellon the number 1 on their list of “New Ivies.” In the most recent issue, Anh Bui and Efi Turkson – both third year English majors in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences – wrote an article on the Ivy League.

The article explains how Carnegie Mellon students, faculty and alumni are on same playing field as any Ivy League university. And we do it with billions less in our endowment.

“Our past and current accomplishments prove that we don’t need an Ivy League title to know we are here to do great things,” wrote Bui and Turkson.

Read the full article online on pages 38 – 40.


The Nightmare Story: A Dream Come True.

The Nightmare Story” stood out among the 1200 other performances at the 2010 New York International Fringe Festival. In fact, it won the coveted honor of Best Overall Production.
It’s the fifth original show by PigPen – a theatre company formed by seven Carnegie Mellon seniors in the School of Drama.

The story centers on the only son of a woman tormented by nightmares – and he’s the key to her salvation.

And the story-telling has people talking. The unique blend of shadow-puppets, dark humor and strong acting is both haunting and engaging.

PigPen members include: Arya Shahi, Ben Ferguson, Dan Weschler, Ryan Melia, Curtis Gillen, Alex Falberg and Matt Nuernberger.

The group created their ensemble in 2008 for a performance in the School of Drama’s “Playground: A Festival of Independent Student Work.” Since then, they’ve performed regionally at playhouses in New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Martha’s Vineyard.


Homecoming 2010

It’s that time of year again – and there’s a lot going on at CMU’s Pittsburgh campus. Don’t miss out!
  • Scotch ‘n’ Soda Production: The Rocky Horror Show
  • Homecoming Kick-Off BBQ
  • Alumni Awards Ceremony & Reception
  • President’s Address & Student Life Panel
  • Carnegie Clan’s Annual Homecoming Chili Cook-Off
And that’s just the beginning. Check out the complete Homecoming schedule online for a full listing of events, plus the dates, times and locations.

Visit the Homecoming site for more on hotels, travel to campus and parking. Online registration is closed, but you’re still welcome to attend. Just check in at the Registration & Welcome Area in Wean Commons at the University Center.

Wondering about reunions? All reunions are now celebrated during Spring Carnival & Reunion Weekend. Learn more >>

Hope to see you this weekend!


Hong Kong, Taipei, & Shanghai

A special thanks to all of our alumni and friends for joining us in Hong Kong, Taipei and Shanghai to celebrate the Inspire Innovation campaign. Your participation made these events a great success.

Learn more and view photos from each event:
Hong Kong

We’re currently planning events for the Los Angeles and Boston areas in 2011. Stay tuned for more on future Inspire Innovation events.


A Nobel Winner

Eighteen. That’s the number of Carnegie Mellon University Nobel Prize winners, after the recent addition of Dale Mortensen.

Mortensen (TPR’67) was awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, along with two of his fellow economists. The trio created labor models that explain the effects of regulation and economic policy upon unemployment, job vacancies and wages.

Listen to a telephone interview with Dale Mortensen >>

Learn more about Carnegie Mellon’s Nobel Laureates >>


Sci-Fi Saves Lives

When disaster strikes, lives are at stake. And it’s not just those of the victims; it’s the lives of the search and rescue team, too.

But what if you could eliminate that risk?

That’s exactly what Pei Zhang – a researcher at Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley – is working on with the creation of SensorFly “swarmbots.” Part of a mobile-controlled flying sensor network, these little robots have life-saving applications. They can:
  • Monitor change in dangerous environments (i.e. earthquakes and fires)
  • Communicate with each other through onboard radios to avoid being damaged
  • Help keep rescuers safe and victims alive until they can be reached
SensorFly is less expensive to place and deploy than traditional static sensor networks. Plus, they are resilient in a dynamic environment such as disaster scenario or even outer space.

To add a Sci-Fi twist, these ‘bots could potentially even help humans find a habitable planet in the far reaches of the galaxy. Zhang’s work was even featured on Discovery’s Sci Fi Science to show how that vision could become reality.

Watch a clip from Sci Fi Science>>
Read more about SensorFly >>


Rationalizing Bribes

You wouldn’t accept a bribe…. Or would you?

A new Carnegie Mellon study uncovers how some doctors rationalize the acceptance of gifts from pharmaceutical companies.

It’s not blatant bribery. In fact, most physicians rationalize the acceptance of gifts subconsciously.

According to Sunita Sah, the study’s lead author (and physician herself) who is completing her Ph.D. at the Tepper School, “This finding suggests that even justifications that people don’t accept at a conscious level can nonetheless help them to rationalize behavior that they otherwise might find unacceptable.”

The study divided physicians into three groups.
  1. Group one was first asked about the sacrifices they had to make in order to get their medical education, followed by a series of questions regarding the acceptability of receiving gifts from pharmaceutical companies.
  2. Group two was also asked about their sacrifices, and then asked to consider whether such sacrifices and hardships could justify taking gifts.
  3. Group three – the control group – was simply asked about the acceptability of receiving gifts without questions related to the sacrifices they made while getting their medical education.
How did it turn out?

Reminding physicians of their medical training and the hardships they endured more than doubled their willingness to accept gifts from 21.7 percent to 47.5 percent. Furthermore, prompting them with a possible rationalization for accepting gifts increased their willingness to 60.3 percent.

The results were surprising, because when asked if their educational burdens justified accepting gifts, most physicians said it did not.

Bottom line:

“Given how easy it is for doctors to rationalize accepting gifts, which from other research, we know influences their prescribing behavior, the inescapable conclusion is that gifts should simply be prohibited,” explained George Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Economics and Psychology, and co-author of the study.

This study was funded by CMU’s internal departmental research funds and was published in the Journal of American Medical Association.

Read additional coverage in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and the Pittsburgh Business Times.


The “New Ivies”

Unigo.com recently compiled a list of the top 10 “New Ivies.” And Carnegie Mellon’s at the top.

It’s not about endowment size or alumni dollars. Unigo.com ranks colleges and universities based on what student have to say about their experiences. The goal is to find out what students consider to be the best educations in America.

As one student sums it up: “Carnegie Mellon … it’s a place where you walk in smart, you walk out smarter.”


Campaign Event Testimonials

Since October 2008, we've connected with thousands of alumni, parents, students and friends around the world at our Inspire Innovation campaign events.

To date, events have been held throughout the U.S., Singapore and India. Three more are scheduled for the Asia-Pacific region this fall.

See the reactions of past event attendees >>


Save the Date: Carnegie Mellon in the Asia-Pacific Region

Join Carnegie Mellon University President Jared L. Cohon, fellow alumni, parents and friends for a series of special events coming to the Asia-Pacific region this fall.

Connect with the global Carnegie Mellon community and hear the latest university news and updates about breakthrough initiatives that our students and faculty are leading around the world.

Please mark your calendar today.

Hong Kong: Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Taipei: Thursday, October 7, 2010

Shanghai: Saturday, October 9, 2010


An Animated Dream

Molly Walter (CS’12) loves problem-solving and programming, but she also has a passion for design. When Walter reached a crossroads between technology and the arts, she didn’t want to sacrifice either. And at Carnegie Mellon, she didn’t have to. Walter is following her passions with intensity, creating her own path along the way.

Read more about Walter’s story and learn how you can help support students like her.


Graduation in Silicon Valley

Carnegie Mellon University’s Silicon Valley campus held its eighth annual graduation ceremony on Sunday, August 8. Eighty-one students gathered at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California to receive their master’s degree in software engineering and software management.

Scott Dietzen (S’84, ’88, CS’92) – a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and veteran of WebLogic and Zimbra – was there to address the graduates.

“As a Carnegie Mellon alum myself, I can say that my education and network have served me well,” Dietzen said. He encouraged the new grads to take advantage of the unique benefits available to CMU alumni as they strive to become leaders in their industry. Dietzen also shared his top 10 list, counting down industry trends where the graduates are now positioned to excel.

Pradeep K. Khosla, dean of the College of Engineering, and Martin Griss, director of the Silicon Valley campus also addressed the graduates, family and friends.

This year’s ceremony marked a milestone for the Silicon Valley campus. They graduated their 500th student and now have more than 5,000 Carnegie Mellon alums in the San Francisco Bay Area.


What do hip-hop and engineering have in common?

Kai Roberts.

It was his passion for hip-hop music that led Roberts to Carnegie Mellon. This fall, he’ll be a freshman engineering student.

Hip-hop to engineering – it’s a bit of a leap. For Roberts, the journey began in high school.

As a high school student, Roberts participated in the Arts Greenhouse (AG) – a hip-hop education outreach program that serves Pittsburgh teens. The AG is sponsored by Carnegie Mellon’s Center for the Arts in Society.

The AG offers students music technology classes at CMU and the opportunity to record at the School of Music. It was his involvement with the AG that opened Roberts’ eyes to all that Carnegie Mellon University has to offer.

Feeling a connection to the university, Roberts applied to CMU. He was thrilled when he received an acceptance letter, accompanied by a full-tuition grant.

Roberts is thankful for his experience with the AG. Not only did he learn about Carnegie Mellon through the program, he also learned about himself and discovered his passion for music. Read more about Roberts’ story on cmu.edu. >>


Smart Grid

With the demand for smart alternative energy sources on the rise, Carnegie Mellon is doing its part. In addition to using green alternatives wherever possible, a new program will equip students with the technical skills required to address the world’s energy needs.

Teaming up with the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), Carnegie Mellon will host a new Smart Grid Research Center. The new partnership – called the Energy Research Initiative (ERI) – matches energy-related companies with university researchers.

The goal? To efficiently generate and distribute renewable energy resources.

CMU researchers will focus on systems engineering and technologies to enable and optimize smart grids. According to the College of Engineering’s dean, Pradeep Khosla, the new initiative is designed to develop reliable, affordable, secure, clean and efficient energy systems. It will also help provide students with the expertise and skills needed to move this technology to the marketplace.

Wondering how this might affect you? Marija Ilic, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and engineering and public policy explains:

“Smart Grids are needed to enhance sustainability, which is a careful tradeoff between reliability (lights staying on), short-and-long term efficiency (cost of electricity), greenhouse gas emissions reduction (a cleaner world), and financially sound innovation and deployment of unconventional technologies that will help create employment opportunities,” Ilic said.

“For these objectives to co-exist, it is critical to engage in multidisciplinary engineering systems of smart grids.”


Inspiring Innovation


Although they were born in the same hospital in Multan, Pakistan, Sarah Bhutta (S’89) and Afzaal Akhtar (E’84, ’86) didn’t meet until they were both students at Carnegie Mellon. They’re now married – and look back fondly on their Carnegie Mellon days.

When the couple recently returned to campus, they were impressed to see how the atmosphere has evolved to create a more integrated, eclectic feeling inside and outside the classroom.

Read more about Bhutta and Akhtar’s story and find out why the decided to fund a fellowship and support the SURG program.

Chemical Equation

Russell Crockett (E’87) was an average high school student, with aptitude for math and science. One summer he took classes in the Carnegie Mellon Action Project (CMAP) and discovered that with determination and a little hard work, he was capable of great things.

Crockett went on to graduate from Carnegie Mellon and is now senior vice president for TPC Group in Texas.

He hasn’t forgotten his CMAP days.

Read more about Crockett’s story and find out how he continues to support his alma mater.

Check out the Inspire Innovation section in the Carnegie Mellon Today magazine or at carnegiemellontoday.com each month for more stories like these.


Prof. Ganger goes to Washington

From the classroom to Congress, Professor Gregory Ganger is sharing his cloud computing expertise. He recently testified about the pros and cons in Washington.

If you’re not familiar with the term, cloud computing is a way for computer users to share software, databases and other services that are provided or managed by other parties over the Web. It revolves around the Internet, as opposed to personal computing, where all data storage and processing occurs within the user’s computer and uses software loaded onto that computer.
Like most technology, there are both benefits and risks to cloud computing.

On the plus side, it has the potential to provide large efficiency improvements for federal information technology (IT) functions.

Among the challenges: moving federal IT “to the cloud” will require significant technical training for IT staff and explicit information sharing across a broad swath of federal agencies.

To find out more about what Granger had to say, watch the webcast or read his written testimony.

Ganger is head of Carnegie Mellon’s Parallel Data Lab and a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.



While the world watches to see who will take home the world cup, Carnegie Mellon robots are in the midst of their own championship – RoboCub 2010.

This year, two Carnegie Mellon teams joined more than 500 other teams – and about 3,000 participants – at the the RoboCub world championship in Singapore June 19-25. Using a new algorithm that helps predict a ball’s behavior based on physics, Carnegie Mellon’s robot soccer teams are hoping to out-dribble their opponents.

The CMDragons are small-sized robots focused on out maneuvering their opponents and finding creative solutions to game situations. These robots move on wheels and are less than six inches high.

Carnegie Mellon also has a standard platform team that consists of 22-inch-tall humanoid robots. These robots move on two legs and are able to kick the ball, mimicking human motions.
Carnegie Mellon is always competitive in this tournament. After winning in 2006 and 2007, and finishing second in 2008, the team experienced a computer glitch that cost them the quarterfinals win last year.

So what’s the point of soccer playing robots?

According to the RoboCup website, the ultimate goal of the competition is to develop a team of autonomous humanoid robots that can win against the human world champion team in soccer.

Read more at cmu.edu >>


Volunteer Forum

Seventy volunteers recently gathered on the Pittsburgh campus for a weekend of idea sharing and unique programming. And they definitely got the inside scoop.

Volunteers were treated to a “behind the scenes” tour of Purnell Center for the Arts, Kresge Recital Hall, Stever House, and Gates & Hillman Centers. Then President Cohon gave them the lowdown on the latest developments and happenings at Carnegie Mellon, including:
  • All new appointments and senior management hires
  • The latest and largest grants to the university
  • A recap of how we stack up in terms of the number of start-up companies generated per research dollar (AUTM ranked us 2 out of 154 universities in the 2008 fiscal year)
Another highlight was the special presentation of “Community Collage” by 10 current students, who danced, sang and shared their personal campus experiences, revealing a whole new aspect of diversity at Carnegie Mellon.

The weekend also included workshops, which provided volunteers with new tools, ideas and resources. Additionally, our faculty shared their latest research on the mechanical changes in cells with advanced aging, as well as how they simulate the universe on a supercomputer.

The activities didn’t end there. Volunteers also saw a special lighting of the Pausch Bridge and still had time to network with other volunteers, current students, the Alumni Association Board, faculty and staff.

A special thanks to everybody who was able to attend this year’s Volunteer Forum. For those who couldn’t make it, we hope to see you June 3-5, 2011 at next year’s forum.


President Obama Pays CMU a Visit

President Barack Obama made it back to Carnegie Mellon’s Pittsburgh campus this week.

This time he addressed the economy, health care, education and clean energy. Watch the video to hear what he had to say. A full transcript of his speech is also available.

It’s no coincidence Obama chose to deliver this speech Carnegie Mellon. President Jared Cohon weighed in on the significance of the location.

"Another aspect of the significance of his speech for us is the fact that it's here in Pittsburgh and at Carnegie Mellon," Cohon said.

"Why Pittsburgh? I think it's the same reason why he chose Pittsburgh to host the G-20. We are, as you heard him say, one of the leading models of an older industrial city, which has transformed its economy. Why Carnegie Mellon? I think it's because we're a major actor, and he knows that, in that transformation and in continuing that transformation."

Relive Obama’s 2008 visit. Watch his address and the panel discussion.


Research Cafe

When you walk into a café and place your order, do you ever stop and wonder what led you to that decision?

Many factors can influence the decisions you make while standing at the counter. And researchers in Carnegie Mellon’s Social and Decision Sciences Department want to know what they are. So they set out to learn more about how people live and make decisions. Enter the Research Café.

So what exactly is a research café?

It’s part coffee shop, part research lab. Visitors can earn money or gift cards by participating in a study while they sip their coffee or enjoy their lunch. It’s quick, easy and – according to some – it’s fun.

Studies range from consumer spending and saving, to health behaviors (i.e. dieting & smoking), to the cause of happiness.

Learn more about the Social and Decision Sciences Department’s Center for Behavioral Decision Research, the Research Café and other projects.


Iron Man 2

If you’re among the millions who’ve seen Iron Man 2, you probably noticed the Grand Prix race car and Expo scenes (both featured in the trailer), along with Tony Stark’s ‘Hall of Armor.’

Those scenes and more were the work of Carnegie Mellon alum and talented set designer, Andrew Birdzell (CFA’06).

So how does one land a gig like that?

Birdzell believes in the saying, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

In this case, when the rare opportunity to design elaborate, one-of-a-kind sets came a-knocking, Birdzell was ready for it. And he credits Carnegie Mellon for preparing him for the opportunity.

After working 12-hour days on the big budget Marvel Entertainment film for five months, Birdzell got to enjoy the movie – plot twists and all – along with the rest of the public. With fans eager for information, security was tight on set. Birdzell and his colleagues were only privy to the tiniest bits of the script that were absolutely necessary for their set creations.

Other alumni who had a hand in the making the Iron Man 2 movie a success:
  • Kenneth West (TPR’80), executive vice president and CFO of Marvel Entertainment
  • William Law (CFA’06), a fellow set-designer
  • Tricia Yoo (CFA’01), a set-costumer
Watch video on the School of Drama’s design program >>


Power On

What do Ph.D. students Billy Epting, Steve Rose and Eric Hittinger all have in common?

They’re all stars – EPA STAR fellowship awardees, that is.

This prestigious award given by the Environmental Protection Agency supports graduate-level candidates in environmental studies.

Epting is concerned about the unsustainable way humanity is meeting energy demands. So he’s working on advancements in proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells, as well as advanced batteries, which could someday mean a transportation sector with zero tailpipe emissions and a low lifecycle impact.

Rose is focused on wind power. He’s researching possible ways to smooth out the short-term variations in wind power without using energy storage.

Hittinger is working on integrating renewable energy. Simply put, he’s trying to figure out what technologies and policies are needed to increase the amount of renewable energy in our electric grid.

Speaking of Carnegie Mellon’s EPA fame, the university was recently named Conference Champion in EPA’s College & University Green Power Challenge.

And, earlier this year, Carnegie Mellon also made the list of the EPA’s top 50 purchasers of green power.

Pictured above: Billy Epting, a Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon.



It’s that time of year again – Carnegie Mellon’s 113th Commencement ceremony is just around the corner.

So what’s in store for the graduates and their families on Sunday, May 16 in Gesling Stadium?

This year more than 3,700 undergraduate and graduate students will parade onto the field, eagerly awaiting their degrees to be conferred.

Ian G. Rawson, managing director of Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) in Deschapelles, Haiti, will address more than 3,700 students as their keynote speaker. A longtime member of the Carnegie Mellon community, Rawson and his staff have worked literally non-stop since the earthquake to care for thousands of survivors. Rawson’s story will hopefully instill one final lesson of dedication and leadership for this year’s graduates as they head out to make their impact on the world.

Find out more about Ian Rawson >>

Honorary Degrees:
This year, Carnegie Mellon will award honorary degrees to:
  • Gordon Bell, Doctor of Science and Technology.
  • Robert H. Dennard, Doctor of Science and Technology.
  • Barbara Luderowski, Doctor of Fine Arts.
  • James H. Simons, Doctor of Business Practice.
Find out more about our 2010 Honorary Degree recipients >>

And don’t forget to Tweet it up! Whether you’ll be on campus for the occasion or not, join the conversation on Twitter. Use #cmugrad to report on the day’s happenings and reminisce about all the good times.


Keep track of your health

Keeping track of your personal health records (PHRs) can be painstaking task. But soon that could all change.

Researchers in Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz College -- along with UPMC, Google Health and dbMotion -- are developing technology that will give patients the ability to access their PHRs and add critical health information to the electronic records maintained by hospitals and physicians.

This would keep all records in one place, granting both patients and health care providers access to the most up-to-date information. Another bonus is the ability to share information bi-directionally. Simply put – health care providers will be able to share information securely with patients through the PHR and vice versa.

In the past, researchers have had difficulty aggregating data from a wide range of systems and making it coherent for users. Leave it to Carnegie Mellon and its partners have overcome this obstacle. The team has created a flexible, service-oriented architecture (SOA) platform that shares and organizes patient information in a meaningful way, regardless of what system or format the data came from.

Six graduate students studying information systems began work on this project last fall under the guidance of Prof. Rema Padman. Now it’s expected to launch for patients as early as this spring.

Read more about this project on the home page >>


Spring Carnival with a Twist

Starting this year, we’re doing Spring Carnival just a little bit different. We heard feedback from alumni about their reunion weekend experiences and as a result, April 15-17 marks the first Spring Carnival and Reunion Weekend.

We’ll be celebrating all reunions, 1st through the Platinum classes, during Carnival weekend when Carnegie Mellon’s Pittsburgh campus is the place to be.

Also new to Carnival this year, the launch of the Loyal Scot program. Visit the University Center or stop by the alumni association tents at Buggy or Midway to learn more.

Alumni and students are also welcome to attend the first Spring Carnival Alumni Golf Outing on Sunday, April 18. In addition to 18 holes of golf, this outing includes a shuttle from campus, breakfast, a snack at the turn, a cart and a closing banquet.

And let’s not forget about our regularly scheduled programming. There’s Booth, Buggy and so much more. Check the schedule of events and follow all of the action on Twitter using hashtag #cmucarnival.

Wondering if any of your friends are planning to return? Be sure to check out the “I’m Attending Spring Carnival 2010” list and add your own name.

Can’t wait until April 15? Watch Scotty’s First Carnival and experience Carnegie Mellon’s 2009 Spring Carnival through the eyes of Scotty, the university’s official mascot.



The Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic will grace New York City’s Carnegie Hall with their presence on Thursday, April 8 at 8 pm.

Led by Maestro Ronald Zollman and featuring alum & rising opera star, Liam Bonner (A’03), this event serves as the capstone of a College of Fine Arts weekend in NYC.

Bonner will perform in Mahler's "Lieder eines Farhrende Gesellen." The concert will also include a New York premiere performance of Jacob Druckman’s “Demos” and Stravinsky’s vibrant and fanciful “Petrouchka.”

Can’t make it to New York? Catch a preview concert in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, April 6 at 8 pm. The concert will be held in Oakland’s Carnegie Music Hall.

Need tickets?

Carnegie Hall in New York City
$15 and $25 tickets are available
http://www.carnegiehall.org or 212-247-7800

Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh
$5 tickets are available


Inspire Innovation: India and Singapore

A special thanks to all of our alumni and friends for joining us in India and Singapore to celebrate the Inspire Innovation campaign.

Your participation made these events a great success. Learn more and relive the good times using the following links.
Stay tuned for more on future Inspire Innovation events.


Save the Date: Carnegie Mellon in Washington D.C.

We’ve been traveling the globe and just wrapped up a series of Inspire Innovation events in India and Singapore. Now it’s back to the U.S. to celebrate the next campaign event with a reception and panel discussion in Washington, D.C.

Date: Tuesday, April 27
Time: 6:30 – 9:30 pm
Location: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center

Hear how today’s innovations are impacting business, technology and society as we know it from Carnegie Mellon alumni and faculty, including:
  • Phil Bronner (SCS'92), General Partner, Novak Biddle Venture Partners
  • Eric Giler (TPR'77), President and CEO, WiTricity Corporation
  • Priya Narasimham, Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Director of CyLab Mobility Research Center in

Don’t miss this opportunity to expand your network of contacts in the D.C. area, as well as reconnect with alumni, parents, friends and students.

Space is limited, so please register by April 20. Visit the Inspire Innovation site for more information.


On Tap: Skinput

The line between science and science fiction continues to blur at Carnegie Mellon.

This time it’s with the creation of Skinput – a new system that enables you to use your own body as a touchpad.

Developed by Chris Harrison, a third-year Ph.D. student in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, in conjunction with Microsoft’s Dan Morris and Desney Tan, the possibilities are plentiful.

A pico projector attached to an armband is used to display the screen on your arm or palm. You can then navigate the system by taping on the projected screen. Biosensors make it possible for the location of these “skin taps” to be recognized based on bone and soft tissue variations.
For Harrison, the current version of Skinput is just the beginning.

In a world of smeared screens, cracked glass and miniature buttons, enter a device the size of a small stack of coins, worn on your wrist or bicep with the same capabilities of an iPhone.

That’s just what Harrison has in mind for the future.


Flip for Our Students

In the age of reality television, anybody can become a star. Now, with innovations like the Flip video camcorder, anybody can be a videographer, too.

The Flip video camera is a portable device that makes shooting high quality footage easy for anybody. And, as are many of today’s great innovations, it was created by Carnegie Mellon alum Jonathan Kaplan (TPR ’90).

But there’s more to the Flip cam than just the opportunity to capture your favorite people or events on video. The university is part of the Flip for Good program. That means for each Carnegie Mellon Flip video camcorder sold, $10 will support student initiatives at the university.

Now you can show your Tartan pride and Flip for Good when you sport any of the five Carnegie Mellon camera designs. Visit www.cmu.edu/multiamedia/flip for more info.


What’s just around the corner?

You never know – until now, that is.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon are working on a camera network that gives people the illusion of seeing through buildings.

Aside from making people feel like superheroes, what’s the purpose?

This technology could help prevent auto accidents. Drivers can use a windshield display to see pedestrians, cyclists and oncoming traffic around corners.

The research team would also like to use this technology to help with search and rescue efforts disasters. Robots with cameras could be sent into the disaster site and send footage back to search and rescue teams to help them locate victims.

The “see-through” views are possible with the consolidation of several video angles into one perceptually coherent view. The trick, say the researchers, is making the footage seem perceptually plausible without being too realistic.

Professor Yaswer Sheikh clarified, "We couldn't have people running into walls."

Sheikh is collaborating with Professor Takeo Kande, and grad students Ankur Datta and Peter Barnum on this project. Read more on the homepage and watch videos.


Google’s Broadband Network

Google is planning to construct an ultra-high speed broadband network in one or more locations across the country. The City of Pittsburgh hopes to be one of those target areas.

So who better to assist Pittsburgh in their effort to gain Google’s recognition than Carnegie Mellon.

The university will employ its expertise in technology and innovative research to demonstrate the benefits of selecting Pittsburgh to Google.

Google plans to deploy and test fiber optic networks that will deliver Internet services at a speed of 1 gigabit per second.

Translation: Internet service that’s more than 100 times faster than what’s currently available to most Americans.

Google will select “testbed” communities and pay for the construction and operation of the networks, so consumers will be charged competitive rates for the service.

For more on this project, read the release.


Sister Act

And the stars keep on shining.

Nominated in the ‘Best Actress in a Musical or Entertainment’ category, Patina Miller (A’06) is up for a 2010 Laurence Olivier Award for her part in “Sister Act: A Divine Musical Comedy" at the London Palladium. Miller plays the role of Deloris Van Cartier – made famous by Whoopi Goldberg in the “Sister Act” movies.

Read about Miller’s Carnegie Mellon experience, watch a video of her first meeting with Goldberg, and find out more about the Olivier Awards.


Save the Date: Singapore & India

It’s time to save the date again. And this time for an international adventure.

Don’t miss your chance to network and interact with fellow members of the Carnegie Mellon community, and celebrate the “Inspire Innovation” campaign in Singapore and India.

When: March 3, 2010
Where: Singapore

When: March 6, 2010
Where: Mumbai

When: March 10, 2010
Where: Bangalore

When: March 13, 2010
Where: New Delhi

Mark your calendars and visit the campaign website for the most up-to-date information.

Can’t make it to one of these cities? The next campaign event will be in Washington, D.C., on April 27, 2010.


Start Spreadin’ the News

They want to be a part of it — New York, New York — and they are. Alums from the School of Music perform on stage in major opera companies, musical theater productions and with world-class ensembles around the globe.

Coming soon:
  • Liam Bonner (A’03) makes his Metropolitan Opera debut in the February production of "Carmen."
  • Jeffrey Behrens (A’03) makes his debut with the Met in its March 2010 production of Shostakovich's The Nose (Die Nase).
Already stealing the show:
  • Graham Fenton (A'05) is singing the Frankie Valli role in "Jersey Boys."
  • Patricia Phillips (A'85) is starring as Carlotta in "The Phantom of the Opera."
  • Christiane Noll (A'90) has received accolades for her performance in the revival of "Ragtime," which opened in November 2009 and closed with a final performance on January 10, 2010.
  • Catherine Walker (A'01) is a member of the Ragtime cast.
And it’s not just School of Music alumni making their mark on stage. Many School of Drama alums are also performing on Broadway. One dramat — Kyle Beltran (A'09) — is in Pittsburgh this week as star of the Broadway musical "In the Heights," which is touring nationally.


Green Power

Carnegie Mellon ranks No. 41 on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Top 50 List of green power purchasers. The list includes an array of organizations from Fortune 500 companies, to local, state and federal governments, to colleges and universities.

As for how we stack up against our own kind, Carnegie Mellon ranks second on the EPA’s top 20 college and university list.

Each year, the university purchases nearly 87 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power. That’s comparable to the amount of electricity needed to power more than 8,000 average American homes per year. Or the equivalent of avoiding carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of nearly 12,000 passenger vehicles per year. It’s also enough green power to meet 75 certificates (RECs) from Community Energy.

This increased purchase also qualifies Carnegie Mellon for the EPA’s Green Power Leadership Club, a distinction given to organizations that have significantly exceeded the EPA’s minimum purchase requirements.

Find out more about Carnegie Mellon’s commitment to protecting our environment, and learn about some of our accomplishments in wind power, green buildings, and clean water.


Crossing Academic Boundaries

Once again, Carnegie Mellon proves to be a truly interdisciplinary place.

Usually given to economists and social policy experts, Jessie B. Ramey (HS ’91, ’03, ’09) won the National Academy of Social Insurance’s (NASI) John Heinz Dissertation Award for her work as a historian.

Ramey’s dissertation -- “A Childcare Crisis: Poor Black and White Families and Orphanages in Pittsburgh, 1878-1929” -- examines the role of orphanages as vehicles of child care. She looked at how orphanages affect everything from the family and social welfare to gender and religion.

Honored for her unique perspective, Ramey thinks it speaks volumes of Carnegie Mellon’s excellence in interdisciplinary education.

For more read the release or visit the Department of History’s website.


Wire Less

We live in a wireless world. Yet we’re not completely wire-free. Eventually batteries run low and we’re forced to plug in for power.

But what if we didn’t have to reach for the wires to recharge?

According to College of Engineering alum Eric Giler (E’77), the reality of wirelessly charging technology is just around the corner.

Giler – who’s the CEO of WiTricity Corp – is developing safe, efficient, wireless electric power. In layman’s terms that’s the ability to transfer power over a distanced without relying on wires.

Using magnetic resonance, WiTricity’s technology can transfer energy a full room’s distance. So conceivably your cell phone could be charging in your pocket as you relax in your den. The applications are endless.

Giler and his wife, Kim (HS’78) have been generously committed to Carnegie Mellon, supporting students through the Giler Family Scholarship as part of the Holleran Scholarship Challenge, as well establishing the Giler Humanities Lecture Series.


A New Approach to Resolutions

It’s a new year and for many that means new resolutions. Making the list of self improvements is easy – the hard part is sticking to them.

In a recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article three social and decision science professors at Carnegie Mellon explain why most people go wrong when they rely on their “willpower” – the strength and determination to keep impulses and actions in check.

Professors George Loewenstein, Carey Morewedge and Golnaz Tabibnia found that the most common New Year’s resolutions involve more than willpower – they tap the “habit system” part of the brain. The habit system encompasses any learned skill.

It’s slow to develop, but once it does, it’s even more difficult to overcome. For most of our resolutions – say, losing 10 pounds – it’s as much about breaking a bad habit (poor food choices) as it is sticking to a new plan.

Three psychological tendencies make it even harder – read more about them in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article.

The good news?

New Year’s resolutions aren’t a lost cause once you understand how your brain handles the changes. According to Loewenstein, Morewedge and Tabibnia, there are several tactics you can use.

Instead of quitting a bad habit cold turkey or starting a new one full-force, try setting small, achievable goals for yourself. Also, your social group is influential, so consider surrounding yourself with a supportive network. Finally, altering your environment can both alleviate temptation and supply motivation.

Happy New Year!