2018 mentions


Innovation for all: Cagan makes classic book public
Integrated Innovation Institute

Jonathan Cagan made his book Creating Breakthrough Products open to download to share vital principles of integrated innovation. “We aim to inspire innovators across the world to make an impact,” Cagan said. His inspiration for the book came from teaching the Integrated Product Development capstone course, which connected engineers, designers, and business professionals to collaborate on projects. In the 17 years since the book’s publication, companies such as Boeing have applied the book’s concepts to their own productions methods. Navistar’s design of the long-haul truck even merited the 2009 American Truck Drivers Truck of the Year Award. Cagan himself has continued to share his innovation strategies since co-founding the Integrated Innovation Institute.

CAPD hosts annual meeting

The annual meeting of the Center for Advanced Process Decision-making (CAPD) and its special interest group on Enterprise-Wide Optimization (EWO) took place at Carnegie Mellon University on March 12 - 14. The meeting included 21 talks and 32 poster presentations from faculty, graduate students, and industrial visitors. For nearly three decades now, the CAPD has sustained considerable support from more than 20 companies and funding agencies for its research on optimization and process systems engineering. This research activity currently involves ChemE faculty Larry Biegler, Chrysanthos Gounaris, Ignacio Grossmann, Nick Sahinidis, and Erik Ydstie, along with 39 doctoral students, 22 MS students, and seven postdocs and research associates. The meeting drew 80 participants, from more than 20 national agencies and companies from the U.S., Germany, France, Brazil, and Korea. Funding from these organizations provides support for more than 30 doctoral students in the department in the areas of optimization and process systems engineering.

Viswanathan discusses feasibility of electric trucks, planes
Inside Science

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan delivered a presentation on the feasibility of electric long-haul trucks and airplanes at the American Physical Society’s March meeting, reports Inside Science. Heavier battery packs allow for greater travel distance in electric trucks, but they cut into maximum payload, Viswanathan shared. In the future, batteries with higher energy density—storing more energy per weight—could increase travel distance. Viswanathan also explained how vital increased energy density is for the feasibility of electric airplanes. One option is lithium-air batteries. These batteries could potentially hold the same amount of energy as jet fuel in planes uniquely designed to use electric power.

Narasimhan’s YinzCam, Inc. featured in GeekWire

ECE’s Priya Narasimhan founded YinzCam, Inc. in 2009 to use technology to bring sports fans closer to the games and teams they love. A Carnegie Mellon spinout, YinzCam currently offers team and league apps, venue apps, in-stadium replays, analytics, and more to over 170 pro sports teams around the world. Narasimhan was quoted in a recent GeekWire story exploring the explosion of sports and technology innovations taking place in Pittsburgh. “I couldn’t have done this in any other city,” she said.

Donahue offers different perspective on China’s giant air cleaners

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue is curious whether the benefits of China’s new giant air cleaners—solar-powered filters that remove noxious particles from the air—outweigh the environmental damage they could cause. In an article in the journal Nature, Donahue affirms that pulling a large volume of polluted air through a filter will clean it, but he wonders about the price to be paid. “I would like to see an assessment of the power and resource use for the filtration,” Donahue said. He presents the perspective that using that energy to create clean electricity, or not emitting pollution in the first place, might be just as beneficial as reducing pollution.

Tsamitis appears on WQED’s “iQ: smartparent”

INI/CyLab’s Dena Haritos Tsamitis appeared on a recent live webcast of the WQED program “iQ: smartparent.” The episode focused on cyber-safety privacy and protections, as well as the latest cyber-safety laws affecting kids and families. Tsamitis discussed topics like safeguarding personally identifiable information, managing your online presence, and the importance of open communication between parents and their kids.

Stine delivers keynote to ESEP
ESEP Coalition

EPP’s Deborah Stine delivered the opening keynote address at the Engaging Scientists & Engineers in Policy (ESEP) Coalition’s annual planning meeting held March 2 in New York, New York. In her speech, Stine shared her experience on how to influence public policy processes and decisions at the local, state, and national level. ESEP is an alliance of organizations that have joined together to pursue that exact goal.

Pasareanu to receive ISSTA Retrospective Impact Paper Award

CMU-SV and CyLab’s Corina Pasareanu has been selected to receive the International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis (ISSTA) 2018 Retrospective Impact Paper Award. Pasareanu co-authored a paper published in ISSTA 2004 Proceedings that showed how to perform efficient test input generation for code-manipulating complex data. At ISSTA 2018, Pasareanu and her co-authors, Sarfraz Khurshid from the University of Texas at Austin and Willem Visser from Stellenbosch University, will deliver a keynote address to discuss research that’s happened since 2004 on the symbolic execution component of the Java PathFinder tool discussed in their original paper. ISSTA 2018 will be held July 16-18 in Amsterdam.  

Bob Tilton appointed to Chevron Chair

ChemE’s Bob Tilton has been appointed recipient of the Chevron Chair. Sponsored by the Chevron Foundation, the Chevron Chair is the renamed Gulf Chair, which was held by ChemE’s Dennis Prieve for more than 20 years.

Su receives award from American Vacuum Society

MechE’s Laisuo Su received an award for Best Poster Presentation at a meeting of the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Vacuum Society (AVS). Created in 1953, AVS is a multidisciplinary professional society established to connect and acknowledge the achievements of academic, industrial, government, and consulting professionals from a variety of scientific backgrounds. Su received the award for his efforts in engineering nanoscale materials to enhance interfaces within lithium-ion batteries.

Rastogi wins Scientific Retreat poster contest

BME’s Sahil Rastogi took home first prize in the Tissue Engineering category of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine’s 2018 Scientific Retreat poster contest. Rastogi presented his research on using graphene to fabricate micro-electrode arrays (MEAs). Using graphene increases an MEA’s biocompatibility and allows for simultaneous electrical and optical studies. The McGowan Institute focuses its research on tissue engineering, cellular therapies, and artificial and biohybrid organ devices.

Wadhwa to receive 2018 Visionary Award

CMU-SV’s Vivek Wadhwa has been named as a recipient of Silicon Valley Forum’s 2018 Visionary Award. The award recognizes the achievements, work, and contributions of those who the Forum recognizes as Silicon Valley’s “brightest stars and leading founders.” As a Distinguished Fellow and adjunct professor at CMU-SV, Wadhwa researches and teaches about exponential technologies, technological convergence and industry disruption, risks and regulations, and the new rules of innovation. He has authored three books, including The Economist 2012 Book of the Year, The Immigrant Exodus: Why America is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent. The awards ceremony will be held May 17 at the Domenico Winery in San Carlos, California.

Koopman to speak at PAAV Summit 2018

ECE’s Philip Koopman will be the kickoff keynote speaker at the Pennsylvania Automated Vehicle (PAAV) Summit 2018. The PAAV Summit focuses on local planning and development, workforce education and training, and safety as it relates to the continued development of automated vehicle (AV) technology. Koopman will focus his talk on the safety-related questions regulators should be asking AV companies, like “how will your simulations actually predict real-world safety?” The PAAV Summit 2018 will be held in Pittsburgh on April 9-10.

Cranor receives 2018 SIGCHI Social Impact Award

EPP/CyLab’s Lorrie Cranor has been awarded this year’s Social Impact Award by the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer Human Interaction (SIGCHI). The award is given annually to a mid or senior-level individual who promotes applying human-computer interaction research to pressing social needs. Cranor has focused her research on user-centered approaches to security and privacy, helping non-technical users protect themselves.

CMU spinoff Wombat acquired for $225 million

EPP/CyLab’s Lorrie Cranor and CyLab’s Norman Sadeh and Jason Hong founded Wombat Security Technologies a decade ago to leverage research on cyberattack prevention. Since then, the company has grown into a leader in cybersecurity awareness training. So much so that Proofpoint Inc. recently completed its acquisition of Wombat for $225 million. “You always have high expectations when you start a company, but there’s nothing more rewarding than to see results of your research having an impact on this scale,” said Sadeh. “Our research at CMU has effectively created an entirely new segment in the cybersecurity industry, one that focuses on the human element.”

Grover and Kelly receive Chuck Noll Foundation award
Trib Live

ECE's Pulkit Grover and Shawn Kelly and their research team received an award from the Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research. The group plans to study brain tsunamis and methods by which to monitor and treat their effects. The Foundation honors the emphasis that Chuck Noll placed on “the need for a better understanding of sports-related brain injuries.”

Bin He to lead Biomedical Engineering
NEXT Pittsburgh

BME Head Bin He was featured in NEXTPittsburgh. The feature highlighted his research and professional accomplishments, as well his appointment as the next department head of the Biomedical Engineering Department.

H. Scott Matthews quoted in Mother Jones’ urban agriculture article
Mother Jones

Urban agriculture benefits city dwellers with its fresh, local produce, and low carbon footprints. However, research into the efficiency of urban agriculture reveals some flaws. A study co-authored by CEE/EPP's H. Scott Matthews researched the greenhouse gas emissions involved in food production and transportation. The study found that transit from producer to store only accounted for 4% of total emissions. Some forms of urban farming also required more energy than rural farming. The study suggested that dietary shifts result in a smaller carbon footprint in addition to using urban spaces for agriculture.

Fischbeck and Zhai discuss US energy policy
Environmental Science & Technology

EPP's Paul Fischbeck and Haibo Zhai gave their viewpoint on the United States’ exit from the Paris Climate Agreement. Discussing whether the US could meet greenhouse gas emissions goals suggested by the Agreement without federal mandates, the authors determined, yes—but more so in the short-term. Market forces tend now to favor fewer CO2-emitting fuels for those with lesser emissions, e.g., natural gas. But this alone wouldn’t bear out by 2030. Natural gas prices would have to drop, and renewable energy production would have to rise to meet the Agreement’s benchmarks. The authors emphasized the importance of proactive legislation to ensure long-term decarbonization.

De Graef publishes first column in Industrial Heating
Industrial Heating

MSE’s Marc De Graef published the first of four columns in the March 2018 issue of Industrial Heating. In his column, De Graef describes the evolution of data acquisition tools like computers and microscopes and introduces CMU’s Materials Characterization Facility, a facility that students and researchers can use to conduct research with methods like electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction. This column is the first column in a four-column series. Future columns will highlight state-of-the-art research projects making use of the Materials Characterization Facility. De Graef was also featured in an editorial written by Industrial Heating’s Associate Editor, Reed Miller.

Pileggi comments on vulnerability of US power grid
Choose Energy

Cybersecurity researchers are concerned that the country’s power grid could be threatened by microprocessor vulnerabilities like Meltdown and Spectre, two chip flaws that let attackers capture sensitive information (like passwords) stored in the memory of other programs. These vulnerabilities can affect desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, and any other mobile device associated with both consumers and businesses alike. But many researchers are mostly concerned for the country’s infrastructure. According to ECE’s Larry Pileggi in an article for Choose Energy, hackers can most certainly use these vulnerabilities to attack the grid. “Any computing system or ‘chip’ that is part of a computing system can be hacked, which could be used to cause the grid to collapse,” says Pileggi. “This can be done, for example, by causing a power generation plant to ‘see’ data that is not real, thereby changing the power that is generated and creating a situation where the grid cannot properly operate.” To protect the power grid, Pileggi says we need “[b]etter modeling and design of a grid that provides resilience to failure.”

Koopman receives IEEE's Carl Barus Award

ECE's Philip Koopman recently won the 2018 IEEE-SSIT Carl Barus Award for Outstanding Service in the Public Interest. This award is given to an individual or group who has acted within IEEE's field of interest to protect the health, safety, or welfare of the public, despite the risks to their own career or professional reputation. Koopman received the award for publicizing and successfully testifying about the dangers associated with the automotive software defects he discovered that caused unintended acceleration. This highly selective award has only been presented 12 times since 1978.


Harper named Young Engineer of the Year

CEE alumna Alexa Harper (BS and MS CE’06) has been named the 2018 Delaware Valley Young Engineering of the Year. Chosen by the Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia, the Young Engineer of the Year award goes to a professional engineer under 35 who has contributed to their profession in the greater Philadelphia region while also contributing to charitable and civic organizations. Harper is a senior project engineer at Gannett Fleming where she is currently lead project engineer for the final design and construction of the PA Turnpike/I-95 Interchange Project. She is also a leader in the Women’s Transportation Seminar and the American Society of Highway Engineers. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many talented and qualified young engineers in the Delaware Valley, so to realize that the committee felt I should be honored with this award is deeply humbling and very special,” Harper said.

Robinson comments on EDF report about methane pollution in PA
State Impact

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recently discovered that companies in Pennsylvania’s gas drilling industry are emitting nearly twice as much methane into the atmosphere than they’re reporting to the Department of Environmental Protection, mainly because it’s difficult to measure the emissions from abnormally leaky wells called super-emitters, which are responsible for most of the industry’s methane emissions. Scientists who reviewed the EDF’s report—which was heavily based on a CMU study—say that it’s consistent with previous findings about methane pollution. “There’s a lot of variability when you go from site to site—but despite that there’s a strong trend,” says MechE Head Allen Robinson, a co-author of the CMU study. “There’s a lot of methane being leaked into the atmosphere, there’s a lot of wasted product. And certainly conventional wells are a pretty big source.”

CMU study indicates Moore's Law might be coming to an end

Over 50 years ago, Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, developed a technological theory known as Moore’s Law that suggested the speed of computers would double every two years, meaning transistors inside computer chips would continue to decrease in cost and size but simultaneously increase in power. However, a recent study by EPP’s Hassan Khan, David Hounshell, and Erica Fuchs indicates that Moore’s Law might finally come to an end because the technology can no longer get any smaller. According to the CMU research team, the future of computer chips is complicated—since the technology can’t get smaller, scientists will need to conduct more research to find new and innovative ways to improve it. “The underlying science for this technology is as of yet unknown,” says Khan, “and will require significant research funds—an order of magnitude more than is being invested today."

Presto quoted on pollution from household products

NPR spoke with MechE’s Albert Presto regrading a recent study that found everyday household products—soap, paint, perfume—cause as much air pollution as industry and cars combined. Lots of consumer and chemical products come from oil and natural gas, the extraction, refining, and use of which is the cause of most air pollutants. While regulations continue to bring down the amount of pollution emitted by automobiles, the same cannot be said for sources that exist inside our own homes. “We’re all conditioned to think about traffic and industry as the big drivers for air pollution and pollutants,” Presto told NPR. “And this study says, ‘wait a minute, a lot of it is really stuff we’re using inside our homes.’”

Samaras speaks on efficiency of delivery drones

CEE’s Costa Samaras was featured in a Wired story examining the efficiency of delivery drones from an energy perspective, a question Samaras recently examined in a paper he co-authored. The article shares that, while the convenience of drone delivery could be great for a company’s bottom line, there are a number of factors that greatly impact a drone’s efficiency. Different geographical regions would experience different energy savings depending on the power source used to charge drones. The size of a drone, as well as the package it carries, would also impact energy efficiency. Then there’s the logistical component. “Every time you would see one of those [delivery] vans or trucks, you might imagine hundreds of drones in the sky,” Samaras told Wired. “That has a noise component, it has a visual component, it has a safety component, it has a privacy component.”

Kainerstorfer competing in STAT Madness

BME's Jana Kainerstorfer is developing a handheld breast cancer lesion monitor that will help patients stay more involved in their care. This groundbreaking research has caught the eye of STAT Madness, a bracket-style competition to find the best biomedical innovation of 2017. With your vote, she can climb through the ranks of STAT Madness to show the world how she’s changing the face of breast cancer research. Vote now to help her get to the top!

CMU and Northwestern create a center for clean technology

CMU partnered with Northwestern University to establish a center for Cleantech Entrepreneurial Excellence. The center receives support from The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator. Through the partnership, both universities seek to better understand innovation and entrepreneurship in clean energy technology, and to apply this knowledge to enhancing societal outcomes. The center hopes to spur innovators in energy to further their work and successes.

Datta stresses internal processes of AI
The Economist

ECE/CyLab’s Anupam Datta was featured in a story in The Economist discussing the push to understand why artificial intelligence (AI) agents make the decisions they do. Once deep learning neural networks are trained, it’s difficult to understand exactly how they do what they do. The fear, the article states, isn’t that AI won’t do what it’s told, but that it will do it in a way that’s incomprehensible. While a number of researchers are attempting to crack the “black box” of internal AI processes, Datta is focusing on stress-testing the outputs of trained AI systems. He feeds the systems input data and then examines output data for undesirable outcomes. According to the article, Datta’s approach “lets those who make and operate AI ensure they are basing decisions on the right inputs, and not harmful spurious correlations.”  

Bain named ECE's new Associate Department Head for Academic Affairs

ECE’s James Bain was recently named ECE’s new Associate Department Head for Academic Affairs, effective June 1, 2018. In his new role, Bain will extend his work with the Graduate Studies Committee to the entire student body and play a vital role in establishing ECE's long-term educational strategy.  I am extremely pleased that Jim will join the department leadership team as the new Associate Department Head for Academic Affairs,” says Jelena Kovačević, department head of ECE. “Jim’s exceptional scholarly reputation, demonstrated commitment to preserving and enhancing the quality of our educational programs, the respect he shows to all and collegial nature make him an excellent choice for this position.”

Sekar quoted on Pyeongchang cyberattack
SC Magazine

There were concerns about potential cyberattacks leading up to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Those concerns were validated during the opening ceremonies when hackers hit Pyeongchang’s computer system with a destroyer malware attack. SC Magazine shares that forensic work has shown the intent of the attack was to disable the networks functionality and not steal data. While investigators know the ‘what,’ they’ve yet to discover the ‘who.’ “It's pretty easy for attackers to hide their origins or use VPNs etc., so the IOC is probably doing the right thing of not blaming until they are sure,” ECE/CyLab's Vyas Sekar told SC Magazine. “Forensics/attribution is really hard work especially given sophisticated attackers.”

Rowe heads research on future of edge computing

ECE/CyLab associate professor Anthony Rowe is leading CONIX, a research project aimed at increasing the capabilities of future computing networks. The project will work to develop a programming language that places increased processing power at different points on a network removed from a central server. In a GeekWire article, Rowe compared the work CONIX will do to the central nervous system. The brain is responsible for most of our actions, but the spine plays a huge part in quick, real-time action that would be delayed if handled by the brain. It’s this real-time action that CONIX will work to improve. The creation of a language for edge computing necessitates the development of underlying infrastructures as well. “We’ll be steering more toward the really forward-looking architecture that are higher risk for companies to research on their own,” Rowe told GeekWire.   

Lisa Porter named new president of AVS
American Vacuum Society

MSE’s Lisa Porter began this year her tenure as the president of the American Vacuum Society (AVS). AVS, a professional society founded in 1953, supports disciplines from engineering to business. The society unites these fields through promoting common interests in materials, interfaces, and processing. Porter’s service and leadership at AVS spans over a decade.

DiGioia to receive Physician Volunteer Award

College of Engineering alumnus and BME’s Anthony DiGioia III (CE ’78 and CE/BME ’82) is being honored with the Allegheny County Medical Society (ACMS) Foundation’s Physician Volunteer Award. This award recognizes individuals who have donated their time and talent to charitable, clinical, educational, or community service activities domestically or internationally. In 2008, DiGioia—an orthopedic surgeon at Magee-Women’s Hospital and medical director of UPMC’s Patient and Family Centered Care Innovation Center—founded Operation Walk Pittsburgh, a non-profit volunteer medical organization that provides free surgical treatment for patients in developing countries who don’t have access to life-improving care for debilitating bone and joint conditions. Over the past 10 years, Operation Walk has taken teams of medical professionals to four countries across Central America for the express purpose of providing free joint replacement surgeries as well as arthritis and joint health education. DiGioia will receive his award at the ACMS Foundation’s Celebration of Excellence Gala benefit on Saturday, February 24 at Heinz Field’s UPMC Club.

CyLab study cited by BuzzFeed

Research completed by CyLab’s Richard Power in 2011 was used in a BuzzFeed article titled This Kid Became a Debtor Before He Could Count. Powers research helped to determine the percentage of children who were in debt before turning 18, bringing to light how many children are subject to premature debt due to identity theft.

CMU and Northwestern launch clean energy center funded by Wells Fargo
Carnegie Mellon University

Recently, Carnegie Mellon University, in partnership with Northwestern University, received funding from The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator to establish a new center for Cleantech Entrepreneurial Excellence. One of the goals of the center is to help researchers and scientists better understand how clean technology, energy innovation, and entrepreneurship differ from other technology sectors. Often the models for how to advance innovation come from the information technology (IT) sector and from California and Cambridge,” says EPP’s Deborah Stine, associate director for Policy Outreach at CMU’s Scott Institute. “The plan for our study is to identify how energy innovation differs from other sectors, like IT, and then to hold workshops with energy entrepreneurs and experts from outside these regions ... to account for those differences.” The ultimate goal, Stine says, is to develop a primer that emerging energy innovators and entrepreneurs might use to enhance their potential for success in each step of the innovation process.”

Pileggi comments on benefits of microgrids in ChooseEnergy
Choose Energy

In an article for ChooseEnergy, ECE’s Larry Pileggi talks about the benefits and importance of microgrids. Although the country’s powergrid provides us with a safe and reliable source of energy, smaller microgrids can often provide more efficient and evironmentally friendly energy while also decreasing the risk of widespread power outages. This is important when unexpected natural disasters occur around the globe. “Backup microgrids can come up online during natural disasters such as during the hurricane in Puerto Rico and the tsunami in Japan (in 2011),” says Pileggi. “A great example of this kind of microgrid is the Sendai Microgrid that was able to come on as a backup grid following the Japan earthquake and was able to supply electricity and heat to a teaching hospital for two days of the blackout.”

Christin quoted in New York Times about Bitcoin
New York Times

The price of Bitcoin recently dropped, but students and businesspeople alike are still showing great interest in the virtual currency. In fact, due to high demand, many colleges and universities around the country, including Carnegie Mellon, have added courses about Bitcoin and the blockchain to their curriculum. Developments in the field are happening so quickly that, even if the price of Bitcoin dropped to $2, EPP/CyLab’s Nicolas Christin says that he “[would] still think it’s very cool from a technical standpoint.” Christin is currently teaching a course at Carnegie Mellon called “Cryptocurrencies, Blockchains, and Applications.”

Rowe quoted on CMU students' contribution to IoT field
Education Dive

Since billions of smart devices are already connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), many colleges and universities, like Carnegie Mellon, have been training the next generation of leaders in the IoT world. According to ECE/CyLab’s Anthony Rowe, students at Carnegie Mellon are developing solutions for real-world IoT applications. “Students think of wild ideas,” says Rowe. “They are so comfortable with the internet and social media. They have always had a cell phone in their hands. So while the older generation might think, ‘What problems need to be solved?’ These students are thinking, ‘What can we use technology for to make our lives better?’”

Carnegie Mellon University and Portugal renew and celebrate partnership

Carnegie Mellon University will sign a cooperation agreement with the Government of Portugal to renew the CMU Portugal Program on February 15th, 2018 in Matosinhos, Portugal. This public signing ceremony will initiate Phase III of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program, a new 10-year commitment to launch information and communications technology (ICT) ventures and establish industrial partnerships through research. For the last decade, CMU has partnered with Portuguese universities and research institutions to pursue high-caliber research that has made a significant impact on the scientific culture and the entrepreneurial capability of the ICT sector in Portugal. The renewed Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program will build on Carnegie Mellon’s experience as a dynamic economic engine in the Pittsburgh region and foster industry-science relationships as agents of change for social and economic impact. CMU Interim President Farnam Jahanian will attend the ceremony along with senior Portuguese government officials and top-ranking academic leaders.

Ukita earns STAR Travel Award from Society for Biomaterials

The Society for Biomaterials recently awarded BME’s Rei Ukita a STAR Travel Award for his research project on artificial lungs, a project that was also recognized as an outstanding contribution to the Society’s 2018 Annual Meeting. For his project, Ukita tests the blood biocompatibility of artificial lungs in various settings. Since most artificial lungs fail within one to four weeks due to blood clots, and since current artificial lungs require careful management by trained professionals, Ukita and his collaborators at the University of Washington have been developing a way to extend the lifespan of artificial lung devices. To achieve this goal, they use surface coating technologies to coat handmade devices with a polymer designed to repel proteins and platelets. This coating will prevent blood clot formation and ultimately help artificial lung devices last longer. “If we can prolong the lifespan of artificial lung devices by using coating technology, we can develop devices that will improve the quality of life for patients and provide them with the support they need once they leave the hospital,” says Ukita. In April, Ukita will attend the Society for Biomaterials Annual Meeting in Georgia, where he will present his research to other members of the biomaterials community.

Dzombak quoted on selenium pollution
Engineering News-Record

In the near future, the US State Department will be investigating the mining pollution in British Columbia that’s affecting waters in northwestern Montana. Experts have discovered large concentrations of selenium in these transboundary waters due to the increased levels of waste produced by five coal mines along the tributaries in British Columbia’s Elk Valley. Studies have shown that escalated levels of selenium could pose a threat to aquatic animals, which is why, according to CEE Head David Dzombak, many industries have been trying to find a chemical or biological treatment for selenium in contaminated waters.

Feinberg to advise new biotech startup
Fast Company

Biolife4D, a new biotech startup, will soon begin finalizing the process of 3-D printing human hearts for transplant. Advised by the original researchers in the field, including MSE/BME’s Adam Feinberg, the startup team will use patients’ own cells to make fully functioning hearts that are the exact size and shape of a patient’s original heart. Because the 3-D printed heart is an exact replica, and because it’s created from the patient’s own cells, it will most likely be more successful than a traditional transplant.

Datta's study cited in New York Times book review
New York Times

A study conducted by ECE’s Anupam Datta and his colleagues was recently cited in a New York Times book review for Joanne Lipman’s book, titled That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together. In his study, Datta found that, when an equal number of men and women visited 100 recruitment sites, men were shown ads for the highest-paying jobs six times more often than women.

Metro21 develops technology for Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s Metro21 developed a technology that firefighters from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire can use to more accurately predict the fire risk of nonresidential buildings. This technology—which emerged from a partnership between the two organizations—uses machine learning to analyze relevant historical data. “We trained the model on data of historical fire incidents,” said Metro21 representatives. “The risk scores generated by the model are used to inform the Bureau of Fire’s prioritization of property fire inspections, so they can inspect the properties at greatest risk of fire.”

Zhang to speak at 13th World Conference in Computational Mechanics

Projecting the CMU standard of excellence far and wide, MechE’s Jessica Zhang is blazing trails in her field. She has been elected to give a semi-plenary talk to academics from across the globe at the 13th World Conference in Computational Mechanics (WCCM2018) in New York City. Additionally, she will be serving as the keynote speaker at the 3rd Conference on Isogeometric Analysis and Applications at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Zhang has also been hard at work behind the scenes of the academic conference landscape, serving on the steering committee for IGA2018: Integrating Design and Analysis in Austin, Texas.

Donahue comments on realities of clean coal

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue was interviewed for a report by Belgium national broadcast outlet VRT NWS on President Trump’s push for clean coal mining. A year after Trump’s inauguration, VRT NWS visited Somerset County, Pennsylvania—site of the Acosta Deep Mine—to learn how the opening of a new coal mine has affected local residents. What they found is people enjoying a bit of financial health and security who also understand why, economically and ecologically, coal may soon be replaced. “There’s many other options,” said Donahue. “If you want clean energy, coal is the last place I would look.”


Parno quoted on Chronicle, Alphabet's newest cybersecurity company
Popular Science

Recently, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, developed a new cybersecurity platform called Chronicle that companies can use to help comprehend their own security data. Few details have been shared publicly, but this platform will most likely use machine learning to comb through data from a company’s security products and ultimately detect abnormal traffic on their network. Although machine learning is a powerful tool, ECE/CyLab’s Bryan Parno says in an article for Popular Science that, historically, its been challenging to use for security problems. The  Achilles Heel of anomaly detection has always been that attackers just say, 'Well, I’m just going to very carefully craft my attack so it looks like normal activity,’” he says. 

Samaras quoted on storm-proofing houses after Boston's winter storm
The Wall Street Journal

Earlier this month, a severe winter storm blasted through Boston, causing flood waters to spew through several neighborhoods. According to experts, many of these neighborhoods won’t survive similar storms in the future. But despite these revelations, public officials continue to disagree on what should be done. Should they spend millions of dollars protecting neighborhoods from extreme weather that might never happen? Or should they take the risk and spend money elsewhere? CEE’s Constantine Samaras says that waiting too long to storm-proof neighborhoods could be detrimental. “We are not going to get it right in terms of predicting the risk and spending exactly how much we need,” he says in an article for The Wall Street Journal. “We are either going to get it a little wrong, or a lot wrong.”

Viswanathan quoted on electric motor innovation
The Drive

When it comes to electric vehicles, many critics focus on the battery: how big it is, what it’s made of, how much range it gets, and how long it takes to charge. But what about the motor? Although electric motors don’t attract much attention, they’re still a crucial part of the puzzle. According to MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan in an article for The Drive, there are many ways car companies can revamp their electric motors. “The motor efficiency map—that is, its efficiency as a function of torque and speed—determines the energy consumption for consumer vehicles, and the peak power characteristics are an important factor for high-performance demands,” Viswanathan said. “In addition, the heating of the motors in-use—at high speeds—is another area with room for innovation and development.”

College of Engineering remembers alumnus Yush Pal Gupta

Carnegie Mellon College of Engineering alumnus Yush Pal Gupta (ECE ’10) passed away November 5, 2017. Gupta was very active during his time at CMU. In addition to being an Andrew Carnegie Society (ACS) Scholar, he also served as vice president of Carnegie Mellon’s Sigma Chapter of Eta Kappa Nu, a national honors society for electrical and computer engineering students. Following graduation, Gupta worked as a software engineer, developer, and scientist while also founding or co-founding several ventures.

New research center CONIX featured in TribLIVE

ECE/CyLab’s Anthony Rowe will head the Computing on Network Infrastructure for Pervasive Perception, Cognition, and Action Research Center—CONIX—to work toward improving Internet of Things (IoT) networks. The new center, housed on Carnegie Mellon’s campus, received $27.5 million in funding from Semiconductor Research Corp. and the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). CONIX brings together researchers from six U.S. universities who will seek to develop faster, more secure, more robust networks for connecting smart devices to the cloud.

Brumley featured on SciTech Now
SciTech Now

Recently, CyLab/ECE's David Brumley was featured on an episode of SciTech Now, where he talked about the importance of understanding basic cybersecurity concepts. In our daily lives, one of our biggest problems is that most people have no idea how cybersecurity works, said Brumley. At Carnegie Mellon, one of the things that we have a big initiative on is a cyber aware generation. We think understanding basic cybersecurity is something everyone should know.

Feature article showcases Holm's computer vision research
Additive Manufacturing

MSE’s Elizabeth Holm and her research team developed a computer vision system that characterizes metal powders used in additive manufacturing (AM) with up to 95 percent accuracy. Where humans only achieve 50 percent accuracy, Holm’s system uses micrograph images to identify, characterize, and fingerprint,” powders based on qualitative and quantitative properties that human experts simply can’t classify. Holm’s goal is bigger than teaching computers to identify powders. She sees her system as a path to utilizing the data inherently produced by AM processes, allowing for the identification of material changes and maximization of print quality. “In additive manufacturing, we’re in a situation where, by the nature of the process itself, we are going to be given a lot of data. What machine learning is really good at is taking data and making some sense of it—finding correlation and trends and directions,” Holm told Additive Manufacturing.

Majidi and Wissman featured on liquid metals research
Advanced Science News

MechE’s Carmel Majidi and James Wissman are revolutionizing circuitry, making the first electrical switch using liquid metal. In their experiments, Majidi and Wissman deposited paired droplets of a liquid alloy into a lye bath. The pairs could drain an electric charge from an electrode and themselves act as a switch. Astoundingly, the pairs operated at 1-10 volts, lower than previous liquid circuit examples and closer to the voltage used by conventional transistors. Majidi and Wissman have opened the chance to create the “first soft matter electrical switch” on par with conventional switches.

Bauer's research on facial recognition technology cited in Digital Trends
Digital Trends

ECE/CyLab’s Lujo Bauer and his research team recently developed eyeglasses that are capable of fooling facial recognition algorithms. In his recent study, Bauer and his team explain how they developed five pairs of glasses that 90% of the population could successfully wear to bypass surveillance systems. After concluding their study, Bauer and his team notified the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)—an organization that already uses facial recognition technology—of their findings, and recommended that they require subjects to remove things like hats and glasses before conducting facial recognition scans.

Qian and Gu win Greenshields Prize

CEE’s Sean Qian and Yiming Gu, now with United Technologies Research Center, received the prestigious 2017 Greenshields Prize from the Transportation Research Board’s Committee on Traffic Flow Theory and Characteristics. Their award-winning paper, “Traffic State Estimation for Urban Road Networks Using A Link Queue Model,” proposes a model that fuses data to best estimate traffic states in large-scale urban networks.

McHenry collaborates nationally on solar energy
Department of Energy

MSE’s Michael McHenry partnered with the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) to address the issue of storing power collected from solar energy. During daylight hours, solar energy production peaks and wanes. An imbalance arises by the energy being distributed not as needed, but as collected. This imbalance has a simple solution: batteries. McHenry and the NETL are developing three-port transformers to transfer solar energy alternatively into a power grid or battery devices. This research should have powerful effects on solar energy usage. Integrated with batteries, a solar power grid would decrease intermittent energy flow and inefficiency, and increase reliability and longevity. This integration will enable wider commercial and residential solar energy usage.

Kapoor No. 37 on The Recode 100

Recode named MechE alumnus (BS ’92) and current Lyft Chief Strategy Officer Raj Kapoor the 37th most influential person in tech, business, and media in 2017. Since joining Lyft at the end of 2016, Kapoor has been integral in the ridesharing company’s expansion, which included raising $1.5 billion at an $11 billion valuation.

Whitacre discusses realities of clean energy research in US
WGBH Radio

MSE/EPP’s Jay Whitacre spoke with Innovation Hub’s Kara Miller about the current state of clean energy research in the U.S. and how that landscape could change in the future. When compared with other countries, the amount of money the U.S. spends on energy research is relatively low. With countries like China going all-in on advancements in clean energy, the U.S. has work to do to maintain its position as a clean-energy leader. This means the way federal, state, and local funds are allocated is extremely important. “The United States is at risk of falling behind,” said Whitacre, “as opposed to the world not having these technologies.” Clean energy will continue to advance, but will the U.S. lead the charge?

Cranor interviewed on tech support scams

EPP/CyLab’s Lorrie Cranor spoke with 90.5 WESA about the danger of tech support messages claiming to be from prominent companies. “Companies like Microsoft are not actually going to call you to tell you about problems with your computer. If somebody calls you to tell you they’re from Microsoft, don’t believe them,” Cranor said. Bad actors use this tactic as a way to access victims’ computers, which they then infect with spyware or ransomware. With the number of IoT (Internet of Things) devices on the rise, it’s even more important to keep devices updated and secure and to be wary of scammers.

Cranor lends expertise to creation of secure online passwords
NBC News

EPP/CyLab’s Lorrie Cranor offers her insight in an NBC News story examining how most Americans’ passwords are weak and easily hackable. With cybercrime on the rise, it’s more important than ever for passwords to be robust. As director of the CyLab Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory (CUPS), Cranor helped develop a set of guidelines to assist in creating strong passwords. From character length to the avoidance of patterns, few people realize what it takes to thwart a hacker. “What people don't realize is that the attackers don’t just sit down at a computer and make a few guesses. They use computer programs that can actually make millions or billions of guesses in minutes,” said Cranor.