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Biomedical Engineering

Starting on February 1, 2018, Bin He will succeed Yu-li Wang as the next Head of the Department of BME. Bin He is currently the Distinguished McKnight University Professor of BME and the Medtronic-Bakken Endowed Chair for Engineering in Medicine at the University of Minnesota, and has earned many awards, including the IEEE Technical Field Award in BME and the Academic Career Achievement Award and Distinguished Service Award from the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.

“He has made significant contributions to biomedical imaging… and to brain-computer interface technology,” says Dean James H. Garrett Jr. “His pioneering work has transformed electroencephalography into an important dynamic, three-dimensional neuroimaging modality for noninvasive brain research and management of brain disorders.”

Chemical Engineering

In 2011, the Dow Chemical Company launched a program called the University Partnership Initiative (UPI) to advance research in process development, energy, transportation, and consumer applications.

As part of this program, Dow invested in CMU’s Department of ChemE. Thus began the five-year project funded by Dow that supported nine graduate ChemE students from 2011 to 2016, allowing them to gain an industrial perspective on their research. Braulio Brunaud and Sreekanth Rajagopalan, two ChemE Ph.D. students working in supply chain optimization under Dow’s UPI, currently work directly with Dow engineers, ensuring a two-way exchange of ideas as well as an opportunity for the students to develop industry contacts.

This year, as the project came to an end, Dow has taken steps to continue interactions between industry and research at CMU. Dow has chosen CMU as one of the very first universities with which to renew the UPI.

Civil & Environmental Engineering

In March 2017, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) Americas President & CEO Paul Browning unveiled the initial results of a CMU index measuring carbon dioxide emis­sions from the U.S. electrical power generation sector. The Carnegie Mellon Power Sector Carbon Index, developed by researchers including CEE Professor Costa Samaras and EPP Professor Inês Azevedo, provides a comprehensive picture of the environmental impact of electricity production in the U.S and will measure the environmental impact of the U.S. power grid during the previous 12 months and over an extended period back to 1990. The CMU index will also provide a sum­mary of how much electricity generation is from coal, natural gas, nuclear, and renewables.

The Index’s initial findings showed that U.S. power producers had cut carbon dioxide emissions intensity by 24 percent since 2005. In June 2017, CMU and MHPS announced the release of the first quarterly Power Sector Carbon Index measurement update of the carbon dioxide emissions intensity from the U.S. electrical power generation sector. In comparing the first quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2016, the index found that the U.S. power plant emissions averaged 955 lbs. of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour (CO2/ MWh) in the first quarter of 2017, which was up less than 1 percent from the same time frame in 2016.

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Carnegie Mellon University’s Cleotilde (Coty) Gon­zalez, Christian Lebiere and Lujo Bauer are part of a team that has received a $6.2 million Multi­disciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grant from the Department of Defense to prevent cyberattacks. The project, “Realizing Cyber Inception: Towards a Science of Personalized Deception for Cyber Defense,” will develop deception tactics based on theories from cognitive science, computational game theory and computer systems engineering. These new tactics are expected to leap ahead of attackers by moving towards active defense, where new cyber environments will make it impossible for attackers to determine what is real and what is de­ceptive. This new approach to cybersecurity is called “Cyber Inception.”

Bauer, an associate professor of ECE, will collab­orate with colleagues from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. “We want to be able to trap the adversary in a system that looks entirely real, but is in fact engi­neered to let us observe the adversary’s behavior,” says Bauer.

Engineering & Public Policy

If you want to do sensing or communications without wires—think a cell phone or a radar system—you need something called spectrum, which is, according to EPP Professor Jon Peha, “a range of frequencies of electromagnetic waves.” However, the United States is currently experiencing a spectrum shortage, in which wireless service providers or companies with new products can’t access or afford the spectrum they need.

Peha is working to enhance wireless service by ending this spectrum scarcity. According to Peha, fundamental technical problems are not causing the spectrum shortage, but rather the ways we limit access to spectrum, and the ways we protect systems from interfering with each other—methods that have hardly changed since the 1920s. According to Peha, we need a paradigm shift—and Peha is approaching this problem from several angles to develop this new paradigm.

“For 80 years, people developing wireless systems really didn’t have to think about this,” he says. “But we are in a new era, or we are entering a new era, where thinking about spectrum efficiency will really be fundamental to anyone involved in wireless products, wireless service, and wireless technology.”

Materials Science & Engineering

Researchers from MSE and MechE recently won the Pennsylvania State University Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D) Modeling Challenge for Additive Manufacturing, sponsored by America Makes and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The challenge’s objective was to identify the current accuracy of computational models for simulating the thermal and microstructural response of a material during the additive manufacturing process, with the goal of utilizing these tools as a means for accelerating the qualification of additive manufacturing for critical applications.

The team—which included Professors Chris Pistorius (MSE), Anthony Rollett (MSE), and Shi-Chune Yao (MechE), as well as Patcharapit Promoppatum (MechE Ph.D. student)—was able to accurately represent the complex motion of a heat source through the build of their material, and won the 1st place title.

Mechanical Engineering

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the term for everyday objects that now have internet capabilities: think smart watches, Fitbits, and smartphones. Engineers who work on mechanical systems now need to understand how mechanical and cyber systems interact and operate together. To help engineering students bridge the gap, MechE Professor Kenji Shimada and his co-instructor, Tomotake Furuhata, have debuted a new MechE course, “Robotic Systems and IoT.” The course provides graduate students and upper-level undergraduates with an overview of how robotic systems are integrated into a larger framework called the Internet of Robotic Things.

“The purpose of this class is to discuss the big trends in robotic systems and the internet of things and to provide two tangible examples: self-driving cars and factory robots,” says Shimada.