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.