Jen and Sullivan quoted on wildfires

ChemE’s Coty Jen and MechE’s Ryan Sullivan were quoted in Salon about their experiences with wildfires in California. “I remember waking up to a smoke-filled apartment as I had left the window open in my bedroom at night,” Sullivan wrote to Salon about his first month of his Ph.D. program at the University of California - San Diego. A large wildfire had broken out in the San Diego area. Jen told Salon that she remembered the northern California wildfires of October/November 2017 while she lived in Berkeley, California, which she described as “a pretty surreal experience. Everywhere smelled like smoke and it continued for days,” she recalled. “Since I was researching wildfire smoke and how it impacts air pollution, I started collecting measurements of the smoke from our lab.”

Rapid COVID-19 detection with nanoparticle 3D printing
Materials Today

MechE’s Rahul Panat’s biosensing platform for rapid COVID-19 detection was featured in an article in Materials Today. The platform uses the latest advances in materials and manufacturing such as nanoparticle 3D printing to create a device that detects COVID-19 antibodies in seconds. Panat is collaborating with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine on the project.

Michalek interviewed on electric vehicles
Shift Magazine

MechE/EPP’s Jeremy Michalek was interviewed by Shift Magazine on electric vehicles and public policy during the Biden Administration. “The president-elect has announced actions that include the federal government increasing procurement of EVs, tightening fuel-economy standards that were weakened under the Trump administration and trying to get increased tax credits for EV purchases and funds for increasing public charging infrastructure,” Michalek said.

Gbemi Disu named executive director of CMU-Africa

Gbemi Disu will join Carnegie Mellon University Africa as Executive Director, effective February 1, 2021. She will provide administrative, strategic, and operational leadership and develop and implement strategies to grow CMU-Africa’s global reputation and impact.

Kumar quoted on affordable 5G

ECE’s Swarun Kumar was quoted in Lifewire on why affordable 5G is so important. “You want more people to have access to it [5G], you want people to have better speeds, better connectivity for whatever they are doing. These consumers, once they make that investment, are not going to make another investment for a substantial period of time as well. If networks are being upgraded then older bands need to be retired to make way and make room. It leads to much more exclusion of the consumer base if the products aren’t available in time or at a price where consumers can actually afford it.”

Savvides quoted on facial recognition
Popular Science

CyLab/ECE’s Marios Savvides was quoted in Popular Science on the caveats of facial recognition technology. “The main thing to realize is that facial recognition is not perfect,” says Savvides. “It comes up with a ranked order list of individuals.” 

Cranor quoted on password security

CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted on CNET on CyLab’s password strength meter that gives suggestions to help users create more secure passwords. “It’s relevant to what you’re doing, rather than some random tip,” Cranor said.

Cranor quoted on online passwords

CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted on Yahoo on keeping online accounts secure with passwords. “When you create accounts online, use a different password for every account. That way if your password gets compromised on one account, the attacker will not be able to break into all your other accounts,” Cranor tells Yahoo Life. “Completely random passwords are safest, but they tend to be harder to remember. Write them down in a safe place or use a password manager program.”



Cranor quoted on Internet cookies

California voters approved a privacy-oriented ballot measure in November that creates an incentive for companies to stop pestering Internet users about data-tracking cookies. The cookie pop-ups aren’t limited to Californians’ web browsers, something CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor noticed from personal internet use in Pittsburgh. “Even when you’re not in California, you get a lot of it,” she said.

Cranor quoted about privacy and security for nonexperts

In the spring, hackers managed to insert malicious code into a software product from an IT provider whose client list includes 300,000 institutions. About 18,000 of them were exposed when they downloaded a legitimate update—the exact thing you’re supposed to do to keep your defenses fresh. The breach has highlighted a weakness shared by large institutions and individuals, and countless breaches like it have many feeling helpless. “There definitely is a sense of resignation,” CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor told Bloomberg. “They say, ‘I have no privacy.’ But they’re still closing their blinds and locking their doors, both literally and digitally.”

Cranor quoted on privacy labels
Consumer Reports

Apple unveiled new privacy labels in its App Store, which give consumers a detailed look at what personal information apps are collecting and how that data is used. CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor, who has led an effort to build a prototype privacy and security nutrition label for IoT devices, says that such “labels enable consumers to choose products, in this case apps, taking privacy into account.” Cranor also says that the labels may make companies think twice about their practices. “If an organization has to write down their practices, they’re going to have to think more and decide if they feel good about them,” she says.

He quoted on Neuralink

BME Department Head Bin He was quoted in CNBC on Elon Musk’s Neuralink. Musk has served to bring “substantial influence on the industry and its pace” of development with Neuralink, says Bin He. “Multiple companies were formed to develop and commercialize noninvasive and invasive machine interface technology, but so far not at a scale like Neuralink,” He says.

Carley cited on social media bots

CyLab’s Kathleen Carley’s research on social media bots was mentioned in Forbes. Research shows that social media channels like Twitter and Facebook are regularly targeted by bad actors to deploy automated bots. Carnegie Mellon estimates that bots are involved in up to 20% of the conversations on social media, especially pertaining to elections and other political issues.

He among “Top Influential Engineers”
Academic Influence

New rankings place BME Head Bin He at the top from Academic Influence “Top Influential Engineers Today,” based on AI analysis of the number of citations and a scholar’s web presence in the last 10 years.

Mill 19 solar power public monitor available online
Next Pittsburgh

The public monitor for Hazelwood Green’s Mill 19, home to CMU’s Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing and Manufacturing Futures Initiative, went live last week, reports Next Pittsburgh. One can, at any given time, see how much energy the country’s largest single-sloped solar array produces via an online solar monitor showing real-time output.

Cranor quoted on privacy

CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted in WIRED on Apple’s app privacy labels. Apps in the Mac and iOS App Stores will display mandatory labels that provide a rundown of their privacy policies. Think of it as a sort of “nutrition facts” for apps. “Apple’s approach looks very promising, but it's unclear how much user testing went into it,” says Cranor. “I am cautiously optimistic that these labels will actually turn out to be pretty useful.” 

Kishana Taylor on PBS NewsHour
PBS NewsHour

ChemE postdoc Kishana Taylor spoke to PBS NewsHour this weekend discussing strategies to build trust in COVID-19 vaccines among Black communities. In particular, Taylor addresses the need for more broadly available information on how vaccines are developed and tested. “If the situation was presented in a way where we came up with all of the components of the vaccine within the last couple months,” Taylor says, “I think the concerns would be more warranted.”

Robinson quoted on engineering degrees
U.S. News & World Report

MechE Head Allen Robinson was quoted in U.S. News & World Report on what a student can do with a mechanical engineering degree. Robinson notes that “the emergence of data science” has increased the number and variety of job options for mechanical engineers. They can now combine “machine learning” with engineering to address a wide range of formidable technical problems, “from water desalination to gene expression,” says Robinson.

Viswanathan quoted on battery breakthrough
Multiple outlets

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was quoted in multiple outlets on a new breakthrough in battery technology. QuantumSpace, a company that Viswanathan has done consulting work for, has announced a major breakthrough in solid-state lithium-ion batteries. “It used to be whether we’ll have lithium-metal batteries; now it’s a question of when we’ll have them,” says Viswanathan. “If lithium metal batteries are successful, this would mean that for mass-market [electric vehicles], for the same weight of the battery pack, you can get about 50 percent additional range for EV or additional battery time in the context of consumer electronics.” Viswanathan was quoted in Fortune, Wired, MIT Technology Review, The Verge, and The Mobilist.

Cranor mentioned on security and privacy
The Wall Street Journal

CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was mentioned in The Wall Street Journal on a cybersecurity “nutrition label.” Researchers from CyLab are floating a working prototype of how such a label could look. Discussions for adoption are still in the early stages. But advocates hope device makers will adopt this type of label, or that organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories, an independent safety-testing and certification company, or Consumer Reports will use at least portions of the label in their review processes, says Cranor. Products under consideration for carrying the label could include any smart device that is connected to the internet—including security cameras, refrigerators, speakers, home controllers, doorbells, toothbrushes, thermostats, light switches, smart plugs and much more, she says.

Kumar discussed the future of 5G

ECE’s Swarun Kumar was featured in a TechRepublic article about the future of 5G and his experience with remote teaching. “5G deployments have actually sped up a little bit over the pandemic because people have realized the importance of being connected. Connectivity to rural communities, connectivity to underserved communities has become more important than ever before. And part of what's heartening for me is 5G and the network deployments have really taken off. And I hope more of that happens because we need connectivity badly.”

Zhang named GirlUp competition judge

MechE’s Jessica Zhang was invited to be a judge for Girls International Three Minute Science Competition. This competition is supported by GirlUp, an initiative of the United Nations Foundation. The mission of this competition is to empower girls to become more involved in science and to encourage aspiring scientists to see the value in working on their public speaking skills.

Gueye named Distinguished Member by EAI
Eurpean Alliance for Innovation

CMU-Africa’s Assane Gueye received the Distinguished Member title in 2020 from the European Alliance for Innovation (EAI).

Saint, Musoke, and Dushimimana present research at EAI SmartGov 2020

CMU-Africa’s Martin Saint, Andrew Musoke, and Patrick Dushimimana presented research at the 2nd EAI International Conference on Smart Governance for Sustainable Smart Cities on December 3.

Saint and Coffie present at EAI Africomm 2020

CMU-Africa’s Martin Saint and Isaac Coffie presented research at the 12th EAI International Conference on e‐Infrastructure and e‐Services for Developing Countries from December 2 - 4.

Samaras quoted on climate policy

CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted on Gizmodo about climate policy in the U.S. Department of Transportation. “Right now, DOT is largely a car and truck agency,” Samaras said. “We need it to be a clean mobility agency, and it can be. We need to revise the way DOT’s capital spending is given to states, the so-called 80-20 rule, where 80% is spent on highways and 20% is spent on transit.”

Viswanathan interviewed about batteries
Bloomberg Green

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was interviewed by Bloomberg Green on batteries for electric cars and airplanes. “A lot of my work has been focused on making new batteries with materials that would be very similar to the materials that are used in current lithium-ion batteries,” Viswanathan said. “But then, they would produce more energy for the same cost.”

CMU alumna named 30 under 30
Materials Science and Engineering

MSE/BME alumna Michelle Wolf was named to Forbes’ 2021 30 under 30 list in the category of Food & Drinks. Wolf co-founded New Wave Foods in 2015 to promote healthy and sustainable eating. The company produces a plant-based shrimp alternative made from seaweed, and is in the final stages of a $15 million Series A funding round. Tyson Ventures announced an investment in the company in September 2019. New Wave’s shrimp will launch in restaurants and cafeterias in 2021.

Chi named 2021 Goldsmith Lecturer
IEEE Information Society

ECE’s Yuejie Chi has been named the 2021 Goldsmith Lecturer by the IEEE Information Society. As the recipient, Chi will deliver the Goldsmith Lecture at one of the ITSoc’s Schools of Information Theory. Her lecture will be held for the benefit of students and postdoctoral researchers on a future date in 2021. By highlighting technical achievements of early career women, the ITSoc Goldsmith Lecturer Program helps the award recipients build their professional career and recognition. The lectureship contributes to the public visibility of the researcher and helps increase diversity of IEEE ITSoc and IEEE as a whole, as women are an under-represented group in both. Chi will also serve as a role model and inspiration to diverse students attending the Information Theory Schools.

Samaras quoted on climate policy
StateImpact Pennsylvania

CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted on StateImpact Pennsylvania on his hopes for Biden’s climate policy. “If we can figure out a way to do decarbonization in Pennsylvania, especially—a place that has legacy fossil fuel history—we can do it anywhere,” said Samaras.

Fischhoff quoted on pandemic holiday travel
US News

EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff was quoted in US News on holiday travel during the pandemic. Fischhoff said the lack of a cohesive national pandemic strategy; patchwork and seemingly arbitrary restrictions at the state and local level; and ineffective, politicized, and contradictory public health messaging have sown confusion and mistrust. “It has been a colossal, tragic failure of leadership from the very beginning that we didn’t find the common ground in which we were working to protect the weakest among us. And once you’ve lost that coordination, you’re scrambling to get it back and that’s the tragic mess that we’re in now,” he said.

Donahue named highly cited researcher
Web of Science

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue was listed as one of Web of Science’s Highly Cited Researchers in the field of Geosciences in the 2020 rankings. This list recognizes the true pioneers in their fields over the last decade, demonstrated by the production of multiple highly-cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in the Web of Science.

Cranor quoted on password managers

CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted on Yahoo on the benefits of using a password manager. “Password managers are very effective. I highly recommend them,” says Cranor. “This is the best way to pick strong passwords and it can be really convenient once you learn how to use the tool.”


Engineering faculty awarded professorships

The College of Engineering recently awarded and virtually celebrated several professorships:

  • MechE’s Conrad Tucker was awarded the Arthur Hamerschlag Career Development Professorship in Mechanical Engineering. This career development professorship is awarded to support a non-tenured faculty member in MechE. 
  • MechE’s Jessica Zhang was awarded the George Tallman Ladd and Florence Barrett Ladd Research Professorship in Mechanical Engineering which is awarded to support a senior faculty member in MechE.
  • ECE’s Brandon Lucia was awarded the Sathaye Family Foundation Career Development Professorship. Through the Sathaye Family Foundation, ECE alumni Shirish and Archana Sathaye established this professorship in 1993 to support a non-tenured faculty member in ECE.
  • ECE’s Anthony Rowe was awarded the Siewiorek and Walker Family Professorship. Daniel Siewiorek and Karon Walker established this professorship in 2014 to support a senior faculty member whose work lies at the intersection of electrical and computer engineering and computer science. Dan Siewiorek has spent nearly five decades as a member of Carnegie Mellon’s faculty and has made outstanding contributions to computer systems design, dependable computing, and the field of human-computer interaction.

Cranor quoted on online scams

CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted on Yahoo on holiday scams. “If you get an email or see an advertisement about something with a price that is less than half of what you would expect to pay, you should be suspicious,” Cranor warns Yahoo Life. “Especially if it is being sold by a vendor you are not familiar with.”

Engineering staff receive Andy Awards
Carnegie Mellon University

Two College of Engineering staff members won 2020 Andy Awards. INI’s Jennifer Spirer won the 2020 Commitment to Excellence (Rookie) Andy Award, which honors staff members who take great pride in producing excellent work. III-SV’s Leia Delabahan won the 2020 Andy Award for Spirit, which honors staff members who enhance campus life with their enthusiasm, dedication to the university community, and commitment to exceptional service.

Hendrickson receives 2020 Torrens Award
Civil and Environmental Engineering

CEE’s Chris Hendrickson has been named the recipient of the 2020 Richard R. Torrens Award for outstanding performance as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Transportation Engineering: Part A, Systems. The Richard R. Torrens Award was created to honor the memory of Richard Torrens, who served the Publications Department for 17 years and was manager of professional and technical publications.

CEE faculty researching coronavirus effects
Civil and Environmental Engineering

CEE researchers, including Kelvin Gregory, Kaushik Dayal, Destenie Nock, post-doc Mahnoush Babaei, and Ph.D. student Esteban Londono, are looking into detection and treatment methods as well as socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Gregory and Londono are developing a machine learning approach for simultaneously identifying multiple pathogens in metagenomic data from wastewater samples.
  • Dayal and Babaei recently co-authored a new study that explores how pathogens use clever methods to invade cell membranes—namely, deceiving the membrane into thinking the virus is safe.
  • Nock is part of a NSF RAPID grant team where she will develop an energy poverty index based on the distance in energy consumption levels to measure the inability of households to obtain sufficient energy services during the pandemic.

Chen and Zhu research device security
Electrical and Computer Engineering

ECE’s Vanessa Chen and Jimmy Zhu have been awarded a National Science Foundation grant to create robust defenses for Internet of Things devices. This project seeks to quickly identify security threats without slowing down the device. Using tiny pieces of hardware, individual devices will be able to suppress malware without sacrificing performance.

Fanti, Sekar, and Lin quoted on privacy research

ECE Ph.D. student Zinan Lin created a new tool that helps maintain online privacy when companies work together. His advisors are ECE’s Vyas Sekar and Giulia Fanti. “We believe that future organizations will need to flexibly utilize all available data to be able to react to an increasingly data-driven and automated attack landscape,” says Sekar. “In that sense, any tools that facilitate data sharing are going to be essential.”

MSE researchers win best poster
Materials Science and Engineering

MSE Ph.D. student Nisrit Pandey and recent Ph.D. graduate Maxwell Li won first place in The Minerals, Metals, & Materials Society (TMS) poster competition. Pandey and Li, along with their advisors, MSE’s Marc De Graef and Vincent Sokalski, will be formally presented with the award at the Materials Characterization Committee meeting in Orlando, Florida during the TMS Annual Meeting in March 2021.

Kitcher receives best poster
Materials Science and Engineering

MSE Ph.D. student Michael Kitcher’s poster was chosen as best at the 2020 Magnetism & Magnetic Materials Conference. The conference was held virtually this year from November 2 - 6.

Garrison retiring at the end of 2020
Materials Science and Engineering

MSE’s Warren Garrison will be retiring at the end of 2020 after 36 years of teaching and research at CMU. Garrison’s principal research interests are the areas of fracture and deformation, structure-property relationships, and alloy development. Warren taught many classes while at CMU and is particularly well known for teaching Thermodynamics to generations of MSE students in multiple decades. After his retirement at the end of 2020 he will become a Professor Emeritus.

Fischhoff quoted on coronavirus risk

EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff was quoted in HuffPost on coronavirus spread during the holiday season. Fischhoff noted that people may be lax on their health and safety measures if others are, too. “We tend to do what other people are doing both because we want to be like other people and because we think, ‘Maybe they know something, so I’ll go along with it,’” Fischhoff said.

CyLab mentioned on password security

CyLab research on password security was mentioned in Forbes. “If you are going to start creating your own passwords, which I don’t advise, at least take a look at the recent research of this group of Carnegie Mellon scientists,” said Forbes writer Enrique Dans.

Liu named a 40 under 40 finalist
International Facilities Management Association

CEE’s Xuesong (Pine) Liu was honored by the International Facilities Management Association as a 40 under 40 finalist. The program recognizes Liu’s contribution and work at the intersection of information technology, facilities management, and artificial intelligence.

CMU named top energy university
Carnegie Mellon University

CMU was named one of the American Energy Society’s (AES) Ten Energy Elite Universities thanks to the efforts of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. The Ten Energy Elite ranking is part of the AES’s “Top Energy Universities 2020 Report,” which reviews 187 American research universities making significant strides in energy. “There are a number of great programs in this survey, but the ten elites stand apart,” said Eric J. Vettel, president of AES. “These elites benefit from visionary, effective and egalitarian leadership, and this may be their most defining attribute. Carnegie Mellon, in particular, has a solid national reputation for its numerous energy-related programs and a strong energy research portfolio.”

Zhang gives talk at ASME convention
American Society of Mechanical Engineers

MechE’s Jessica Zhang delivered an invited talk as part of the ASME Committee on Computing and Applied Mechanics (CONCAM) Distinguished Lectures on Computational Mechanics at the ASME IMECE 2020 conference in November. In this talk, she presented her latest research on neuron material transport simulation in complex neurite networks using isogeometric analysis and machine learning techniques.

Zhang named Japan Prize nominator
The Japan Prize Foundation

MechE’s Jessica Zhang was recently invited by the Japan Prize Foundation to become the Official Nominator for the prestigious “Japan Prize,” which is awarded to scientists and researchers worldwide whose original and outstanding achievements in science and technology are recognized as having advanced the frontiers of knowledge and served the cause of peace and prosperity for mankind. At present this international prize is often considered one of the most prestigious awards in science and technology fields after the Nobel Prize. The Japan Prize Foundation invites prominent scientists and researchers from around the world who lead their respective fields of science to become the Official Nominators for the “Japan Prize.”

Cranor quoted on password security

Cylab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted on CNET about how to make passwords stronger and more secure. They have designed a meter that gives tips to strengthen passwords. “It’s relevant to what you’re doing, rather than some random tip,” Cranor said.

Samaras quoted on climate policy
Multiple outlets

CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in Forbes, Bloomberg, and Scientific American on his advice for climate policy under the Biden administration. “It is the role of government to protect and to invest in this nation for the immediate and long term,” Samaras said. “The goal is to ensure that the country is not just resilient but that it is climate-resilient.”

Cranor op-ed published on privacy
The Hill

CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor published an opinion piece in The Hill on privacy in COVID alert apps. Four U.S. states have launched COVID exposure alert apps, but there are many privacy concerns associated with them. “The short answer is that it really depends on the app—but clearly these four were all designed to be privacy protective,” Cranor wrote. “The details can get dense, but…[the app] allows users to receive a COVID exposure notification if they’ve been near someone who tested positive—without tracking the location or identity of any of the app’s users.”

Samaras quoted on hyperloop safety
The Verge

CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in The Verge on ensuring safety for passengers on a hyperloop. There are still a lot of safety questions that need to be answered, said Samaras. “A hyperloop vehicle will travel much faster than high-speed rail, maybe even reaching 760 mph,” Samaras said in an email. “Maintaining safety at such high speeds is very important, and all of the unforeseen disasters need to be engineered into the system. An earthquake? The vacuum tube breaks? The train somehow punches through the tube? At such high speeds, these events amplify the danger, and so safety has to be paramount.”

Panat quoted on rapid COVID test

MechE’s Rahul Panat was quoted in MedicalExpo on a rapid COVID test that he and his team developed. The test enables Covid antibodies, the blood-borne protein that attacks the coronavirus, to be detected in 10 seconds. “Micro 3D printing allows you to produce new shapes in devices and new combinations of materials,” Panat said. “The progress we are making today in biomedical devices is inherently tied to the progress in microfabrication.”

Cranor quoted on password security

CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted on Yahoo on how to maintain privacy when shopping online. Cranor says some of the best ways to protect yourself and your personal information is to stick with websites and vendors you’re familiar with, do your research on those you haven’t heard of before and be smart about the way you set up your accounts. “When you create accounts online, use a different password for every account. That way if your password gets compromised on one account, the attacker will not be able to break into all your other accounts," Cranor said. “Completely random passwords are safest, but they tend to be harder to remember. Write them down in a safe place or use a password manager program.”

Carley quoted on correcting misinformation
The Christian Science Monitor

CyLab’s Kathleen Carley was quoted in The Christian Science Monitor on how to debunk misinformation online. It helps to offer credible sources, says Carley. “As opposed to just pointing out that something is wrong, provide an alternative,” she says.

Nock and Samaras partner with Google AI on energy equity

CEE’s Destenie Nock and Costa Samaras are partnering with Google AI researchers to characterize energy equity in the United States as part of the company’s Award for Inclusion Research (AIR) program. With one in three Americans experiencing difficulty paying energy bills, they plan to create a more wholistic measure of individual energy burden by incorporating transportation and heating costs into their assessment, in addition to electricity rates. The team’s ultimate goal is to “explore policy options for increasing energy equity in electricity, heating, and transportation during the transition to a decarbonized energy system under climate change.” They will also utilize data from Google’s Project Sunroof to estimate the possible benefits of community rooftop solar.

Engineering staff nominated for Andy Awards
Carnegie Mellon University

Multiple College of Engineering staff have been nominated for CMU’s Andy Awards. Andy awards are given to those whose work has had a significant impact on the university. Nominations include:

  • Commitment to Excellence (Rookie): ECE’s Quinn Hagerty and Nik Nemec, INI’s Jennifer Spirer, MechE’s Amy Carroll
  • Commitment to Excellence (Veteran): CEE’s David Vey, Deans Offices Samuel Boyer and Dan Giammetteo, ECE’s Claire Bauerle and Kristen Geiger
  • Commitment to Students: Deans Offices: Kurt Larsen, ECE’s Megan Oliver, MechE’s Melissa Brown,
  • Spirit: Deans Offices Krista Burns, III’s Leia Delabahan, INIs Sari Smith

CEE adds new undergrad major
Civil & Environmental Engineering

CEE has announced a new undergraduate program: environmental engineering. The major will be open to current first-year students and future incoming classes.

Fischhoff quoted on pandemic/election anxiety
The Hill

EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff was quoted in The Hill on election and pandemic anxiety among Americans. “I think that there are plenty of reasons for legitimate concern about disruptions,” said Fischhoff. “Between the pandemic that seems to be surging around the country, without a strong assurance that it’s being well controlled, and then there are people that are worried about some sort of unrest after the election.”

Dickey named AAAS fellow
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Incoming MSE Head Elizabeth Dickey has been named an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow. AAAS Fellows are a distinguished cadre of scientists, engineers, and innovators who have been recognized for their achievements across disciplines, from research, teaching, and technology, to administration in academia, industry, and government, to excellence in communicating and interpreting science to the public.


Weber’s brain research featured

MechE’s Doug Weber’s research on using the brain to control computers was featured in Wired. In an article published in the Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery, Australian and US researchers describe how two people with paralysis due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) used such a device to send texts and fool around online by brain-control alone.

Whitefoot named to World Economic Forum Global Future Councils
Carnegie Mellon University

MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot has been named to the World Economic Forum’s network of Global Future Councils, where she will serve on the Clean Air council. During the 2020-21 term, which runs from October 2020 to September 2021, members will contribute insight and ideas for the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset initiative to help world leaders and the global public to better understand, address, and prepare for the post-COVID world. The World Economic Forum is providing the Councils a platform for advancing multi-stakeholder collaboration and systems thinking, which are needed more than ever to respond to rapid social and technological change.

Bhagavatula participates in World Academic Summit panel

CMU-Africa Director Vijayakumar Bhagavatula particpated in a panel disussion on “An innovation in ‘excellence’—new concepts from Africa” at the World Academic Summit in September.

Bhagavatula gives ACM ICAIF talk

CMU-Africa Director Vijayakumar Bhagavatula gave an invited talk at the ACM AI in Africa workshop on October 14.

Bhagavatula gives talk at IEEE UEMCON

CMU-Africa Director Vijayakumar Bhagavatula presented a talk  on learning from weakly-supervised image datat at the IEEE Annual Ubiquitous Computing, Electronics, and Mobile Communications Conference in October.

Engineering professors named teaching fellows
Carnegie Mellon University

BME’s Rosalyn Abbott, MechE’s Mark Bedillion, and CEE’s Gerald Wang have been named Provost’s Inclusive Teaching Fellows. This is awarded to faculty who are working with the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Education Innovation to develop and disseminate new approaches to inclusive and equitable teaching in their classrooms. It provides a $5,000 fellowship for an academic year.

“There are a lot of folks of every race and every gender and every background, who you might not find in the textbooks, who have made huge contributions to this field,” Wang said. “I want students to see that people in the field look every bit like the diversity that we have in this classroom.”

Fischhoff mentioned on public health
The Philadelphia Inquirer

EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff was mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer on public opinion about a coronavirus vaccine. He believes public health officials should be laying the groundwork for communication now. Once that foundation is laid, Fischhoff said, people will be more receptive to campaigns asking them to get the vaccine.

Banerjee named EWF INI Fellow
CMU Information Networking Institute

INI student Ruchi Banerjee has been named an EWF INI Fellow—a full-tuition information security fellowship awarded jointly by the INI and the Executive Women's Forum on Information Security, Risk Management and Privacy (EWF). “[The EWF INI] fellowship is unbelievable!” she said. “I see this fellowship as a great opportunity to make long-lasting connections with women who are already in the field of security and know what it's like.”

Cranor and Haritos Tsamitis quoted on online privacy
The New York Times

CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor and INI Director Dena Haritos Tsamitis were quoted in The New York Times on privacy while working from home. “First of all, turn off your camera when you don’t need it,” said Cranor. When your camera is on, she said, “make sure your computer is facing the wall.”

“We are all responsible for setting boundaries between our personal and professional lives,” Haritos Tsamitis said. “Behave as though you are physically in the office even when working from home.”

Bauer, Cranor, and Christin quoted on password security
Dark Reading

CyLab’s Lujo Bauer, Nicolas Christin, and Lorrie Cranor were quoted on Dark Reading on their password research. “It’s not as painful as people think and enforces a password policy that prevents using leaked—or at least common—passwords,” Bauer says. “Emphasize the importance of not reusing passwords and encourage using password managers.”

Bhagavatula to be program committee member
2021 Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision

CMU-Africa Director Vijayakumar Bhagavatula is a program committee member at the 2021 Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision (WACV).

McSharry to be part of AI policy team
The Future Society

CMU-Africa’s Patrick McSharry is part of the team at The Future Society developing Rwanda’s National Artificial Intelligence Policy alongside Rwanda’s Ministry of ICT, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority, and GIZ’s Fair Forward Initiative.

Vernon gives lecture on AI, robotics, and machine learning
International Conference on Robot Ethics and Standards

CMU-Africa’s David Vernon was invited to deliver the lecture: “Africa Embraces AI, Robotics, and Machine Learning” at the International Conference on Robot Ethics and Standards in Taipei, Taiwan.

Bhagavatula quoted on collaboration across universities
Times Higher Education

CMU-Africa’s Vijayakumar Bhagavatula spoke at The World Academic Summit about collaboration possibilities between Western and African universities. “I think some of the things that the Western universities can do is to essentially mentor the senior faculty in those places,” he said. “Obviously, it has to be a two-way flow.”

Armanios quoted on infrastructure

EPP’s Daniel Armanios was quoted in NextCity on structural racism. By establishing a correlation between socio-economic and demographic data and where bridges are sited, researchers Samuel Jones and Daniel Armanios confirm what most of us know anecdotally: structural racism is literally built into our cities. “These are long standing practices that bias one group of people over others,” Armanios said. “We want to try to solve the problem rather than allocate blame.”

Ulissi quoted on AI research
Multiple outlets

ChemE’s Zack Ulissi was quoted on his AI research with Facebook in multiple outlets, including CNBC, CNET, Engadget, Yahoo, Fortune, VentureBeat, and more. Facebook and Carnegie Mellon University have announced they are trying to use artificial intelligence (AI) to find new “electrocatalysts” that can help to store electricity generated by renewable energy sources. “There are a lot of different ways that we can store the energy,” Ulissi said. “It’s very hard because of the number of electrons in the system.”

Architects win award for Scott Hall
Good Design

OFFICE 52 Architecture, the architects behind the Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall, received the Green Good Design Award and inclusion in the awards’ European Exhibition for Scott Hall.

Viswanathan quoted on batteries
Financial Times

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was quoted in the Financial Times on batteries. Viswanathan is developing a battery that will be more energy-efficient and up to 30 percent lighter than standard lithium-ion batteries, as well as enable air taxis to travel longer on one charge. “Air taxis [will also be] cheaper to run because it becomes more energy-efficient if your battery is lighter,” he adds.

Agwu wins technical presentation award
The National GEM Consortium

MechE Ph.D. student Uchechukwu (Uche) Agwu won first place in the Technical Presentation Competition on September 11 at the Annual GEM Conference. Agwu’s presentation placed first in the Ph.D. category. Agwu is a first-year Ph.D. student under MechE Professor Kenji Shimada.

Cranor interviewed on online security
Tech Republic

CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was interviewed by Tech Republic on various cybersecurity issues, including public communication, passwords, and the future of the field. “One of the things we've observed is that there are a lot of concerns about the security and privacy of IoT devices,” Cranor said. “We still have a big problem with passwords.”

Robinson recognized for aerosol research
American Association for Aerosol Research

MechE Head Allen Robinson has been awarded the AAAR David Sinclair award, which recognizes sustained excellence in aerosol research and technology by an established scientist still active in his or her career. The individual’s research must have a lasting impact in aerosol science. The award memorializes David Sinclair, one of aerosol science’s great innovators, known for his knowledge, ingenuity, and energy.

Donahue is founding editor in chief of Environmental Science: Atmospheres

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue is the founding editor in chief of Environmental Science: Atmospheres, a gold open access journal committed to bringing the wider environmental science and climate change communities together in a fresh, open approach. Environmental Science: Atmospheres covers the full breadth of atmospheric science and links fundamental and applied research. As a gold open access journal, all the content is freely accessible. “We are creating a forum to share the newest developments and advances in our understanding of the atmosphere with an audience including environmental engineers, chemists, physicists, and policy makers. We are providing a space where we can talk together and open collaborations between our communities,” Donahue said.

Fischhoff quoted on evidence for mask-wearing

EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff was quoted in Nature on evidence for masking-wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic. “People looking at the evidence are understanding it differently. It’s legitimately confusing,” Fischhoff said. “How good does the evidence need to be? It’s a vital question.”

Wasserman elected IFIP 2020 Fellow

The International Federation of Information Processing (IFIP) is the leading multinational, apolitical organization in IT, and recently announced its newly elected 2020 Fellows, bringing the total to 30. It is their most prestigious technical distinction, given in recognition of outstanding contributions in the field of information processing. III’s Tony Wasserman was among those elected this year, in recognition of outstanding contributions in the field of information processing, plus service to IFIP.

Majidi quoted in Soft Robotics podcast
Soft Robotics Podcast

MechE’s Carmel Majidi was interviewed for Soft Robotics Podcast on science and life. He talked about equations he finds important and provided some advice.

Kumar 5G commentary featured in TechTarget

ECE’s Swarun Kumar was quoted in TechTarget on the benefits of deploying 5G on manufacturing floors. “Service providers can help with a cost-benefit analysis,” he said. And he advised businesses to evaluate all facets of the technology, including the number of devices they would need and the required latency, not just higher speed. “Think about what your current network infrastructure is giving you in terms of those metrics and what 5G’s achievable metrics are. That is the calculation,” he added.

Cranor quoted on online safety
Ed Tech

CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted in Ed Tech on online safety for at-home learning. She says parents should teach kids how to pick a good password or use a password management tool, define “personal information” and teach kids not to share it online without asking a parent first, offer an age-appropriate definition of phishing attacks and scams, and let kids know that they can talk about things they see online that make them uncomfortable.

Samaras quoted on Walmart’s environmental actions

CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in Axios’ newsletter, Generate, on what Walmart is doing to help the Earth. Samaras says Walmart’s pledge to meet their goal without using offsets—that is, helping fund forest or clean energy projects elsewhere—is noteworthy. “[D]ecarbonizing the electricity used in their 11,500 stores and all of the vehicles in their fleets are visible actions that change the dynamic and hopefully encourage their competitors to do the same,” he says.

Samaras quoted on Tesla

CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in on CNBC on Elon Musk’s plans for Tesla. Tesla is seeking to reduce or completely avoid the use of some expensive materials used in lithium-ion battery production today, including cobalt. “If Tesla can make a cheap, reliable battery with little or no cobalt, it will really improve the ability of EVs to scale up,” Samaras said. “Most cobalt is from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the mining has long generated human rights and child labor concerns.”

Samaras quoted on car pollution
Inside Climate News

CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in Inside Climate News on decreasing pollution from gas cars. California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order on Wednesday that bans the sale of new gasoline-powered cars and trucks as of 2035. Considering the importance of the state for the U.S. market, Newsom’s order “is a signal that the age of the gasoline car has an expiration date,” Samaras said. “To reach our climate goals, we need to scale up the amount of electric vehicles available, ensure these are affordable for everyone, and also expand public transportation, walking, and biking, and housing initiatives to reduce the total miles traveled,” he said.

Samaras quoted on pandemic pollution
VOA News

CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in VOA News on the environmental impact of decreased driving during the pandemic.“A pandemic is the worst possible way to reduce the emissions and improve the environment,” Samaras said. “A lot of folks are saying, why can’t we have this all the time, we don’t need a pandemic to make this a reality.”


Chamanzar quoted on optical biointerfaces
Atoms Talk

ECE’s Maysam Chamanzar was quoted on Atoms Talk on an optical platform his team invented. This optical platform that will likely become the new standard in optical biointerfaces. “We were using Parylene C as a biocompatible insulation coating for electrical implantable devices, when I noticed that this polymer is optically transparent. I became curious about its optical properties and did some basic measurements,” said Chamanzar. “I found that Parylene C has exceptional optical properties. This was the onset of thinking about Parylene photonics as a new research direction.”

Garrett selected for NAC membership
CMU Civil and Environmental Engineering

Provost and CEE′s James H. Garrett, Jr. has been selected for membership into the National Academy of Construction (NAC). Election to the NAC is conferred to individuals who have made significant contributions to the effectiveness of the engineering and construction industry over a period of multiple years. Members are recognized as industry leaders by their peers and selection to the NAC is typically not the first highly esteemed national honor for inductees.

Fischhoff quoted on communication during the pandemic

EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff was quoted on Fitbit’s blog about communicating with those you interact with during the pandemic. If you chose to exercise with someone else, be sure to talk about how you plan to stay safe during your workouts. “Recognize that people do things for different reasons,” says Fischhoff, whose areas of expertise include decision-making, risk analysis, and communication. “Expect some misunderstanding. People [tend] to overestimate how well they communicate, especially with new topics. In a personal relationship, that means being alert to signs of talking past one another and ready to clarify what you mean. Your friend may take the cue to do the same.”

Engineering students named ACS scholars
Carnegie Mellon University

Ten CMU College of Engineering students were selected as Andrew Carnegie Scholars by the university. They are Charlotte (Charlie) Andreasen (MechE/EPP), Seema Kamath (MechE), Stefanie McMillan (MSE/BME), Jessica Meng (ECE), Valentina Ortiz de Zárate (CEE), Ryan Rusali (CEE/EPP), Sanjana Shah (ChemE/BME), Nicole Shi (MSE/EPP), Ishita Sinha (ECE), and Saeed Syed (ChemE). 

ACS Scholars are undergraduate seniors who embody Carnegie Mellon’s high standards of academic excellence, volunteerism, leadership, and involvement in student organizations, athletics, or the arts. They are selected each year by their deans and department heads to represent their class in service and leadership. Each scholar receives a monetary award—made possible by the generosity of ACS members—to support their academic and personal growth.

Cranor quoted on preventing hackers

CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted in WTAE on how to prevent hackers in online classrooms. “There are features that let them set up a password,” said Cranor. “There is a way they can set up a classroom so the teacher has to let in each person into the classroom. There is a number of different security features they can use.”

Mendoza and Ni to participate in Berkeley workshop
U.C. Berkeley Department of Mechanical Engineering

MechE Ph.D. students Edgar Mendoza and Longchang Ni have been selected to participate in the ME Rising Stars workshop organized by UC Berkeley. The Rising Stars in Mechanical Engineering workshop supports senior graduate students and postdocs who are considering careers in academia. The purpose of the workshop is for participants to gain career skills, connect with a cohort of peers, and engage with mentors.

Ulissi recognized for outstanding research
American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)

ChemE’s Zachary Ulissi was named one of AIChE’s 35 Under 35 for his work on the development and application of high-throughput simulation methods, active learning methods, and machine learning models for surface science and catalysis. This award recognizes 35 outstanding AIChE members under the age of 35 who have made significant contributions to the field of Chemical Engineering and AIChE.

Nock and Harper receive Block Center grant

CEE/EPP’s Destenie Nock and CEE’s Corey Harper have received a grant from the Block Center for Technology and Society to explore how autonomous vehicle (AV) transportation systems could lead to greater workforce resilience. In light of the recent global pandemic, Nock and Harper will break down the socioeconomic conditions and demographics for essential worker populations across sectors. Their team will then create a cost-benefit analysis and a list of policy recommendations outlining how AVs could help alleviate the effects of disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic and provide a more equitable means of transportation.

Robinson published on EPA
Lancaster Online

MechE Head Allen Robinson published an op-ed on Lancaster Online about the EPA’s denial of science and the effect it has on Pennsylvanian methane pollution. “This denial of science and failure of leadership at the federal level make strong, swift and decisive action on methane rules at the state level all the more imperative,” Robinson and his co-author wrote.


Norby interviewed on childhood robotics experience
Twin Cities PBS

MechE Ph.D. student Joe Norby was interviewed by Twin Cities PBS about his experience building robots as a kid. He now works in the Robomechanics Lab at CMU.

Rollett delivered award lecture
International Association of Advanced Materials

MSE’s Tony Rollett delivered the International Association of Advanced Materials (IAAM) Award Lecture in the Advanced Materials Lecture Series 2020 on August 14. IAAM Award Lecture is a prestigious and coveted lecture that is delivered by a selected few individuals. The Executive Board of IAAM recognizes worthy and deserving researchers to commend their years of hard work and perseverance. These honourable individuals are shortlisted to deliver the coveted IAAM Award Lecture.

Viswanathan recognized for innovation
Mechanical Engineering

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan has been named one of MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35. Viswanathan is recognized for his work to develop a new type of battery that could make electric vehicles (EVs) cheaper and more energy efficient. His research also explores computational material design and data-driven material discovery. “It is a great honor and I’m very pleased to join an incredible cohort of past winners who have revolutionized electric mobility among many other things,” said Viswanathan.

Ilic recognized for outstanding engineering career
Electrical and Computer Engineering

ECE’s Marija Ilic ;has been invited to join the prestigious Academy of Europe for her outstanding contributions in control and design of large-scale systems. The object of The Academy of Europe is the advancement and propagation of excellence in scholarship in the humanities, law, the economic, social, and political sciences, mathematics, medicine, and all branches of natural and technological sciences anywhere in the world for the public benefit and for the advancement of the education of the public of all ages in the aforesaid subjects in Europe.

In addition to being accepted into The Academy of Europe, Ilic has also received the 2020 IEEE PES Outstanding Power Engineering Educator Award for contributions to mentorship and education on modeling and control in power engineering. Award recipients are selected through a comprehensive nomination and evaluation process.

Wang named IAMBE fellow
International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering

BME’s Yu-li Wang has been elected to the 2020 Class of Fellows of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE). The IAMBE Fellows are nominated by current Fellows, evaluated by the Membership Committee, and elected by all active Fellows. The election to the Academy represents recognition of distinguished contributions to and leadership in the field of medical and biological engineering at an international level.

Zapanta named BMES fellow
Biomedical Engineering Society

BME’s Conrad Zapanta has been elected a Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society. Fellow status is awarded to members who demonstrate outstanding achievements in the field of biomedical engineering, and who also have a record of membership and participation in the Society.

Engineering Ph.D. students receive Steinbrenner Fellowships
Steinbrenner Institute

CEE/EPP Ph.D. student Andrew Jones Jr. and EPP Ph.D. student Sarah Troise were awarded Steinbrenner Doctoral Fellowships to advance environmental research. The graduate fellowship program provides support to exceptional, second-year Carnegie Mellon students who work on cutting-edge environmental research. Researchers receive funds and present their findings during a poster session at the annual Steinbrenner Institute Environmental Colloquium, held during the spring semester.

Johnson mentioned on remote robotic course

MechE’s Aaron Johnson was mentioned in VentureBeat on how his robotics course adjusted to online class during the coronavirus pandemic. Johnson’s bio-inspired robot design course had to go fully remote, he told IEEE Spectrum. But none of the teams drastically altered their projects or opted for simulated designs. To get around the logistical challenges, students dropped off and shipped parts to their collaborators, bought simple tools like soldering irons, and had Johnson 3D-print parts and mail them. Each team even managed to put together demo videos from their remote locations.

Kumar, Rowe, and students featured on radar research

ECE’s Swarun Kumar, Anthony Rowe, Akarsh Prabhakara, and Vaibhav Singh’s research on using radar to track tire wear was featured in Gizmodo. They partnered with Bridgestone to experiment with using various technologies as a way to autonomously monitor tire wear. Laser-based systems already exist, and are incredibly precise, but the technology is sensitive, difficult to deploy on a moving vehicle where the tires are spinning at high speed, and can be easily fooled by debris that builds up in a tire’s grooves. The eventual solution turned out to be a much older technology—radar—which allows the new Osprey system to detect more than just a loss of tire tread depth. This story was also published in Gizmodo UK.

Webler quoted on razor blade materials

MSE’s Bryan Webler was quoted in Wired on razor blade materials. Webler says the MIT study is a good example of identifying why a material performs the way it does. “The identification of a failure mechanism opens up new opportunities to engineer blade material composition or processing to create microstructures that will resist this type of failure,” he said. This could be done by reducing microscopic rough edges on the blade edge or thinking about ways to form a more uniform microstructure, he adds.

Jayan and Barati Farimani featured on norovirus project
Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance

MechE’s Reeja Jayan and Amir Barati Farimani were featured in the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance newsletter on their Norovirus Sensor project. Their norovirus project used polymers to detect norovirus, then the data is analyzed by an algorithm. Now, they are adapting the project for the novel coronavirus.

Cai quoted on COVID-19 spread
The Seattle Times

CyLab’s Yang Cai was quoted in the Seattle Times on coronavirus spread while traveling. “Airports are major hubs for pandemic viral spreading,” Cai said. “It is critical to avoid packed areas with restrictions of space capacity.”

Narasimhan featured on her company
Pittsburgh Business Times

ECE’s Priya Narasimhan was featured in the Pittsburgh Business Times on her company, YinzCam. YinzCam was founded to provide on-demand replays to fans sitting in venues, and it already has custom apps that provide mobile ticketing, interactive in-venue maps, contactless payments and mobile food ordering capabilities. Michelle Andres, senior vice president, Ravens Media, said, “if you can dream it, she and her team are going to make it happen.” The Baltimore Ravens have been a client for more than a decade.

Cranor quoted on online privacy
Kansas Reflector

CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted in the Kansas Reflector about online privacy when registering to vote. Her hunch is the operators of ksvotes.org only want to use the information to support the site, but the privacy policy is written too broadly to be sure. “They didn’t make me completely convinced that the data wouldn’t be used for reasons that the users don’t want,” Cranor said.

Datta featured on AI
Venture Beat

ECE’s Anapam Datta was featured in VentureBeat on his AI company, Truera. Truera focuses on classification and regression models, as well as deep neural networks, like convolutional neural networks. The Truera platform can detect and help mitigate problems that occur in AI models, like bias imbalances, changes in data distribution that can impact predictions, and stability over time. Datta said customers are using this feature more as a result of anomalies brought on by COVID-19.

Presto on reduced pollution

MechE’s Albert Presto was quoted by WESA in an article discussing the impact of less traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic. Presto found that less driving led to decreases in carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions, as well as reduced fine particulate matter, small particles that can lead to serious health problems. While this research specifically addresses the effects of life during the pandemic, Presto also says that “this is what a potential future atmosphere could look like” in the Pittsburgh region if half of all vehicles became electric cars.

MechE alum Thomas Healy featured in Forbes

MechE alum Thomas Healy was featured in a Forbes article about his company, Hyliion, and its place in the “electric-powered big rig revolution.” Named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2017, Healy, 28, has developed an “e-axle” (electrified axle) powered by lithium batteries, his solution for electrifying long-haul trucks. While other companies are building new trucks from the ground-up, Healy decided to develop technology that could be added to old trucks or incorporated into new ones. “The goal was to be able to allow them to still buy the truck they already know and love and have it with a brand-new power train that will really revolutionize their logistics,” he said.

Presto quoted on pollution

MechE’s Albert Presto was quoted in WESA on pollution during the coronavirus pandemic. The original research was done by Presto and MechE Head Allen Robinson. In a recent paper, a Carnegie Mellon University research group documented a drop in air pollutants. Their work showed that less driving meant lower concentrations of emissions such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Presto said more surprising was the decrease in fine particulate matter, which are really small particles that can cause big health problems. “That was the same whether we were in a high-traffic place or a low-traffic place,” he said.

Viswanathan quoted on batteries
Clean Technica

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was quoted in Clean Technica on soft solid electrolytes in batteries. Soft solid electrolytes could protect batteries from dendrite formation, a dangerous lithium spike that can cause the battery to fail. “In 2017, when the conventional wisdom was that you need a hard electrolyte, we proposed that a new dendrite suppression mechanism is possible with a soft solid electrolyte,” Viswanathan said. “It is amazing to find a material realization of this approach with PIM composites.”

Yagan mentioned on coronavirus model
IEEE Spectrum

ECE’s Osman Yagan was mentioned in IEEE Spectrum on his coronavirus model. His model seeks to show coronavirus spread with various preventative public health measures in place. He expects to see early results from the modeling in the next few months.

Majidi on new biopolymer for soft robots
Chemical & Engineering News

MechE’s Carmel Majidi was quoted in Chemical & Engineering News about a new protein-based biopolymer found in squid that researchers are using in soft robots. Majidi was not involved in the study. The material has impressive self-healing capabilities and can be molded into parts and films via heat or water. Another advantage is that it can be broken down and reused. “This is a very compelling example of using synthetic biology to engineer new classes of materials,” said Majidi.

Fischhoff quoted on coronavirus information

EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff was quoted in PBS on the public’s understanding of pandemics and risk. Nowadays, the main fear is the coronavirus, and people are grappling with how to put social distancing into practice on a daily basis. “If you think about the decisions people are making in their lives, much of our population has become intuitive epidemiologists,” Fischhoff said.

Fischhoff interviewed on spreading information
WHO Bulletin

EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff was interviewed for the Worth Health Organization Bulletin on crafting messages to the public about the pandemic. “It’s amazing how few messages are empirically tested, however great the health, economic, and political stakes,” he said. “There has been an appreciation of the need to communicate effectively during pandemics for some time and efforts have been made to prepare.”


Cranor and Habib published on private browsing
Fast Company

CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor and Ph.D. student Hana Habib were published in Fast Company on misconceptions about private online browsing, commonly known as “incognito mode.” “Our research has found that many people who use private browsing have misconceptions about what protection they’re gaining,” they wrote. “It isn’t a comprehensive privacy shield.”

Savvides mentioned on facial recognition

ECE/CyLab’s Marios Savvides was mentioned in CNN on facial recognition’s struggle with identifying faces wearing masks. He said a person who’s wearing a mask can be essentially invisible to a facial-recognition system, as it doesn't even detect a face in the first place. He thinks the region of the face that includes the eyes and eyebrows tends to change the least over time, which makes it a good part of the face to use when trying to identify a person whose mouth and nose are hidden.

Brumley interviewed about DevSecOps
Tech Republic

ECE/CyLab’s David Brumley was interviewed in Tech Republic about DevSecOps, an application from his company, ForAllSecure. “Well, in a nutshell, DevSecOps is about building a great application while empowering everyone with the mindset that security is everyone’s responsibility,” Brumley said. “It takes lessons that we’ve learned about how to build, deploy, and run apps over 40 years of research and practice and builds in this idea that security shouldn’t be a step at the end."

Viswanathan published on electric vehicle batteries
The Conversation

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan and Ph.D. students Alexander Bills and Shashank Sripad published an article in The Conversation on their electric vehicle battery research. “Forecasting when that price crossover will occur requires models that account for the cost variables,” they wrote. “Our group at Carnegie Mellon University has developed a model of battery costs that accounts for all aspects of EV battery manufacturing.”

Sripad quoted on self-driving cars

MechE’s Shashank Sripad was quoted in WIRED on electric self-driving cars. “A bunch of commentators used to suggest the first automatic vehicles might have to be gas hybrids,” says Sripad. “But we believe that, if we want to do electric vehicles, autonomy will be compatible with it.”

Donahue quoted on COVID-19 spread
KDKA CBS Pittsburgh

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue was quoted in KDKA on coronavirus spread. There is evidence for inside transmission. “Those particles, they can float around literally for days,” says Donahue. “The more fresh air you get in a room, the more diluted those (virus) particles are going to be.”

Rubin receives ASME Award
Mechanical Engineering

EPP/MechE’s Ed Rubin has received the Dixy Lee Ray Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in recognition of his career contributions in the field of environmental engineering. The award honors individuals who have helped develop technologies in the field of environmental protection that serve and aid humanity. Since joining Carnegie Mellon in 1969, Rubin has pioneered the field of Energy and the Environment, co-founding the Department of Engineering and Public Policy and authoring over more than publications.

CMU wins additive manufacturing award
America Makes

In a partnership with the University of Utah and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, CMU was named one of the awardees in America Makes and the Air Force Research Laboratory’s additive manufacturing challenge titled “Mirco-scale Structure-to-Properties.” MSE’s Tony Rollett represents CMU on this project. The team collaborated to advance the accuracy of modeling and simulation for AM metals. In particular, the challenge aimed to improve the accuracy of model predictions for metal AM, using INCONEL® nickel-chromium alloy 625 (IN625).

“Going into the AFRL AM Modeling Challenge Series, we knew that the outcomes would potentially lead to significantly improved predictability and accuracy of models and simulations, and the qualification of AM process and materials,” said America Makes Executive Director John Wilczynski. “The awardees certainly made solid contributions. They improved our understanding of the micro- and macro-structure level variability that was needed to advance the accuracy of modeling and simulation for AM metal. We thank all those who participated and extend our congratulations to the awardees.”

MechE faculty featured on research during the pandemic
Mechanical Engineering

MechE’s Kenji Shimada, Burak Ozdoganlar, and Sarah Bergbreiter and Ph.D. students Erica Martelly, Lisha White, Teresa Kent, and Regan Kubicek were quoted on research they’ve done during the coronavirus pandemic. While most university research was abruptly halted when the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the country last spring, a few Carnegie Mellon laboratories were able to continue their work or re-shape their focus to aid in the fight against the coronavirus.

MechE faculty featured on adjusting to online learning in the fall
Mechanical Engineering

MechE’s Allen Robinson, Burak Kara, Kate Whitefoot, Satbir Singh, Maarten de Boer, and Ding Zhao were quoted on how they are adapting their classes for the fall 2020 semester. As the department prepares for a hybrid model of education during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is energized for a vibrant, new academic year. Faculty, instructors, staff, and teaching assistants have been transforming their courses and instructional activities during the summer to make them more engaging, accessible, and relevant to students regardless of their physical location. “One of our main goals this semester is to maintain a high level of hands-on learning experiences for students, because this is at the core of being a mechanical engineer,” MechE Head Allen Robinson. “I’m confident that we will have a productive, impactful semester while keeping students safe.” 

MechE faculty featured on adapting to online classes
Mechanical Engineering

MechE’s Allen Robinson, Aaron Johnson, Vickie Webster-Wood, Rebecca Taylor, and Philip LeDuc were featured on adjusting to online classes during the coronavirus pandemic. “With a curriculum that emphasizes hands-on project work, moving to remote teaching and learning this semester posed several challenges,” said MechE Head Allen Robinson. “But we did what engineers do best: reassess, recalibrate, and transform the challenges into opportunities.”  

Joshi wins Crystal Award
Society of Cryobiology

MechE Ph.D. student Purva Joshi won The Peter Steponkus Crystal Award at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Society for Cryobiology. The Crystal Award is the highest student award of the Society for Cryobiology, awarded to the winner of the student competition during its annual meeting (Cryo 2020). Joshi will receive the Peter L. Steponkus Crystal Award Plaque and an honorarium.

Samaras quoted on telecommuting, energy, and COVID-19
Scientific American

CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in a Scientific American article about a recent study analyzing the impact of teleworking on energy use during COVID-19. According to Samaras, researchers must consider several factors to work out the emissions impact of teleworking, including the type of commute (public transportation or solo driving), how far they travel, changes in commercial and residential energy use, and the type of power sources used. Though more time and data are required to gain a clearer picture of teleworking’s impact on transportation emissions, telework could “play a big role, because transportation is now the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions—and it’s growing,” said Samaras.

Fanti published on digital currency

CyLab’s Giulia Fanti and her collaborators were published in Brookings on digital currency. “Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) give rise to a host of challenging technical goals and design questions,” they wrote. “In this paper, we enumerate the fundamental technical design challenges facing CBDC designers, with a particular focus on performance, privacy, and security.”

Holm quoted on college and career
US News

MSE’s Liz Holm was quoted in US News on what a material engineering is and what to do with a materials engineering degree. Holm describes materials engineering as “modern-day alchemy.” Materials engineers can produce materials with “amazing properties,” she says.

Zhang quoted on smart city infrastructure
Cities Today

ECE/CMU-SV’s Pei Zhang was featured in Cities Today for his research on using taxis for smart infrastructure. “Placing sensors all over a city with high density would be expensive and difficult to maintain, but managed fleets like taxis are everywhere and go everywhere in a city,” Zhang said. 

Cohen-Karni and Chamanzar featured on neural communication
Science Daily

BME/MSE’s Tzahi Cohen-Karni and ECE’s Maysam Chamanzar were featured in Science Daily for their new technology that enhances scientists’ ability to communicate with neural cells using light. “This method can be used in a whole gamut of applications, from designing non-invasive therapeutics to basic scientific studies," said Chamanzar.

Harper quoted on vehicle safety

CEE post-doc Corey Harper was quoted in Forbes on vehicle safety. Harper says his analysis suggests the combination of vehicle crash avoidance technologies reduces crash frequency by about 3.5%. “If vehicle crash avoidance technologies were deployed throughout the light-duty vehicle fleet, we could see crash prevention cost savings of up to $264 billion, assuming all relevant crashes are prevented,” he says.

Jen and Sullivan quoted on coronavirus
Shared Air Podcast

ChemE’s Coty Jen and MechE’s Ryan Sullivan appeared on MechE’s Albert Presto’s podcast, Shared Air, on the role of masks in the coronavirus pandemic. They also discussed how coronavirus spreads. “We’re taking a lot of clues about how other viruses are spread,” Jen said. “There’s a lot of evidence coming out that...really strongly points to airborne transmission.”

Apt on his historic family home
The Wall Street Journal

EPP’s Jay Apt was interviewed for a story in The Wall Street Journal featuring his family’s historic home in Pittsburgh, which is on the market for the first time since it was built for his family in the 1950s. Apt, who was a NASA astronaut, completing four space missions and two spacewalks, grew up stargazing through the home’s floor-to-ceiling windows. “It really felt like you were outside even when the weather was not clement,” he said. “Looking out of the floor-to-ceiling windows in the backyard was instrumental in giving me an appreciation of the natural world.”

Carnegie Mellon named a top electrical engineering graduate program
Yahoo! Finance

Yahoo! Finance has named the College of Engineering’s electrical engineering graduate program one of the top 12 programs, noting that doctoral students have the option to pursue their degrees in four locations: Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Portugal, and Thailand.

Viswanathan on autonomous, electric cars

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan spoke with Bloomberg about the current debate between the two most prominent technologies in the car industry: autonomous driving and electric cars. Some believe that autonomous driving technology will expend and limit an electric car’s battery life and range. Viswanathan finds that the range trade-off is likely to be below 15 percent in urban areas and as low as five percent in suburban areas, and that the lidars and computers necessary for autonomous driving are getting better while using less energy. “We’re getting to a point where we won’t need to choose between autonomous driving and electric cars,” he said.

Bauer on password safety

CyLab/ECE’s Lujo Bauer was quoted in a Forbes article about the importance of creating safe, unique passwords. Weak and reused passwords increase a person’s chance of being hacked, stolen from, or extorted. “Reusing the same or a slightly changed password across accounts is a huge source of risk,” he said. “It—really, when—one site gets breached and the passwords used on that site are stolen, attackers can—and do—try using the stolen passwords to long onto other sites as well.”

Rajkumar quoted on autonomous vehicles
Business Insider

ECE’s Raj Rajkumar spoke with Business Insider about his thoughts on Tesla's groundbreaking Autopilot feature and how it compares to competing technologies.

Catalyst 2020 winners announced
Engineering Research Accelerator

The College of Engineering is pleased to announce that the College will fund three Catalyst proposals as winners of the Catalyst 2020 competition. The Catalyst program is aimed at early-stage, innovative ideas and can also enhance existing programs to help further scientific and research pursuits by engineering faculty.

ChemE’s Shelley Anna will use Catalyst funding to combine expertise in microfluidics and molecular and cellular biology, effectively enabling the high throughput exploration of various cells with N. Luisa Hiller from the department of biological sciences.

BME/ECE’s Siyang Zheng’s team will use Catalyst funding to harness the immune system’s power to combat disease. Other team members include ECE’s Marc Dandin, ECE/BME's Pulkit Grover, and BME/ChemE’s Elizabeth Wayne.

MechE’s Jonathan Malen and Amir Barati Farimani will use Catalyst funding to improve fault detection in additive manufacturing processes by enhancing physical monitoring with unique, two-color thermal imaging systems that acquire accurate real-time temperature fields. 

Kumar quoted on wireless headphones
Consumer Reports

ECE’s Swarun Kumar was quoted in Consumer Reports on how true wireless headphones work. “It’s a difficult engineering problem. Even if there’s a minor delay between the audio and either ear, you’re going to have distortions,” he says. The biggest challenge? “There’s this big mass called ‘your head’ in between, which absorbs a lot of the signals.”

2020 Faculty Award winners announced

The College of Engineering’s Faculty Award winners for 2020 have been selected. Congratulations to the following:

Distinguished Professor of Engineering
Allen Robinson, Professor and Head, MechE

Philip L. Dowd Fellowship
David O’Hallaron, Professor, ECE

Steven J. Fenves Award for Systems Research
Mario Berges, Professor, CEE

George Tallman Ladd Research Award
Noa Marom, Assistant Professor, MSE
Kate Whitefoot, Assistant Professor, EPP/MechE

David P. Casasent Outstanding Research Award
Jessica Zhang, Professor, MechE

Benjamin Richard Teare Teaching Award
Robert Tilton, Professor, BME/ChemE

Outstanding Mentoring Award
Yoed Rabin, Professor, MechE

Outstanding Service Award
Paul Steif, Professor, MechE


Chamanzar featured in Wevolver

Work by ECE’s Maysam Chamanzar and his team on developing a novel neural interface made from stainless steel for much safer, high-density neural recording was featured in Wevolver. “We came up with the idea of using stainless steel to make ultra-high density neural probes, because stainless steel is very resilient, and it cannot break easily,” said Chamanzar.

Tweet misinformation study cited in op-ed
The Hill

A recent study about misinformation on Twitter discussing COVID-19, co-authored by CyLab’s Kathleen Carley, was cited in an op-ed in The Hill. The study analyzed more than 200 million tweets since January 2020 and found that almost half of the tweets appear to be from bots. The article argues that such misinformation on social media platforms is used as a strategy to instigate chaos, and that individuals must be vigilant in verifying any posts they may come across.

Samaras quoted on pollution from trucks
Earther Gizmodo

CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in Earther Gizmodo on California’s new policy encouraging zero-emission trucks. In California, trucks won’t be able to pollute the air and planet for much longer. The state is approving the nation’s first-of-its-kind rule for truck manufacturers on Thursday. The rule would require that auto manufacturers increase the proportion of zero-emission trucks in their sales to California from 2024 to 2035. “California has always been a leader in advancing clean transportation technology,” Samaras said. “It’s a huge deal.”

Sullivan paper named among RSC Best of 2019
Royal Society of Chemistry

MechE’s Ryan Sullivan and collaborators at the University of Washington had a research paper named among the Best Papers 2019 - Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Cranor quoted on iPhone privacy
Consumer Reports

CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted in Consumer Reports on Apple’s new privacy features. Apple announced new privacy features this week that are scheduled to roll out to iPhone and other Apple hardware later in 2020. To a large extent, both the tracking permission feature and the app store’s new privacy labels rely on developers to be accurate—and honest—about their practices. “Our research has found that app developers tend not to know much about privacy, and many of them don’t work for big companies where there are lawyers or privacy engineers to help them,” Cranor says.