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.”
Bhagavatula to be program committee member
2021 Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision
CMU-Africa Direcgtor 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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
Datta featured on AI
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.
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 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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.”
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
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
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.”
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.”
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
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.
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.
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.”
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
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
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.”
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.
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
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
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.
Johnson’s robot design course featured in IEEE Spectrum
MechE’s Aaron Johnson’s Robot Design and Experimentation course was featured in an IEEE Spectrum article highlighting how roboticists (and their robots) have been working from home. After the course turned remote, Johnson expected some of the course teams to drastically alter their projects, but none did. “We managed to keep all of the projects more or less as planned,” said Johnson. “We accomplished this by drop/shipping parts to students, buying some simple tools (soldering irons, etc.), and having me 3D print parts and mail them.”
Dayal, Babaei co-author paper on lipid receptor formation
CEE/MechE’s Kaushik Dayal and MechE’s Mahnoush Babaei co-authored a new study published in the Journal of Mechanics and Physics of Solids. The paper explores how pathogens use clever methods to invade cell membranes—namely, deceiving the membrane into thinking the virus is safe, instigating the formation process of lipid rafts, which are more likely to allow the virus to enter the cell. The study analyzes the physical components of what takes places during ligand-binding; understanding how viruses use lipid rafts could lead to new approaches to treat and prevent viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. This paper was a collaboration with multiple institutions worldwide, including Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering.
Zhang receives funding for brain research
MechE’s Jessica Zhang received NSF LEAP HI funding for her research on the biomechanics of the brain. Zhang’s project will look at the relationship between the biomechanics of the brain and brain diseases and injuries, such as dementia or strokes. “I am thrilled about this interdisciplinary project, through which we will develop next generation multiphysics and multifidelity models to investigate the role of biomechanics in brain growth, damage and neurological disorders,” Zhang said.
Taylor featured on nanostructures
MechE’s Rebecca Taylor was featured in multiple sources, including ScienceDaily, Nanowerk, Science Codex, and Azonano, on her research on nanostructures. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a method for self-assembling nanostructures with gamma-modified peptide nucleic acid (γPNA), a synthetic mimic of DNA. The process has the potential to impact nanomanufacturing as well as future biomedical technologies like targeted diagnostics and drug delivery. “As mechanical engineers, we were prepared for the challenge of solving a structural design problem,” Taylor said. “Due to the unusual helical twist, we had to come up with a new approach for weaving these pieces together.”
To provide some revelation and encouragement to existing and forthcoming generations of black scientists, A.J. Hinton from the University of Iowa compiled a list of inspiring black scientists in February 2020. In celebration of Juneteenth, Cell Press has named 100 additional scientists to the list. ECE’s Shawn Blanton was included in this recent listing.
Muller on health effects of reduced air pollution from COVID-19
EPP’s Nick Muller was interviewed by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about a new study he co-authored about the impact of social distancing and stay-at-home months during the COVID-19 pandemic on air pollution. The study found that with reduced exposure to fossil fuel emissions from vehicles and power plants, premature mortality from air pollution was likely down 25 percent. The study has not yet been peer reviewed, and the researchers acknowledge its limitations. “Our work provides insights into the benefits and costs of policies related to social distancing,” said Muller. “We hope the study can be used to assess the benefits that come from reduced use of these technologies.”
Fischhoff quoted on coronavirus prevention
EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff was quoted in Marketplace on coronavirus prevention on TV sets. It’s key that everyone on set understand that keeping healthy is a collective responsibility, said Baruch Fischhoff who also helped develop Hollywood’s reopening guidelines. “If somebody gets it wrong and there are some tragedies as part of the set, everybody will pay the price,” Fischhoff said.
Joshi wins best paper award
Electrical and Computer Engineering
ECE’s Gauri Joshi won a best paper award at the Association for Computing Machinery’s annual SIGMETRICS conference. Her paper proposes a rateless fountain coding strategy that its latency is asymptotically equal to ideal load balancing, and it performs asymptotically zero redundant computation.
Ulissi receives 3M award
ChemE’s Zack Ulissi received a 3M Non-tenured Faculty Award. This competitive award is presented by multinational industrial and consumer technology company 3M, and is designed to not only recognize the outstanding young faculty who excel in STEM research, academic leadership, and experience, but also as a means of helping them achieve tenure.
Donahue discovers new particle mechanism
ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue and chemistry doctoral candidate Mingyi Wang discovered a new mechanism for atmospheric particle formation. “The only real uncertainties in our understanding of climate in the atmosphere have to do with fine particles and clouds,” Donahue said. ”We found a new way for tiny nucleated particles in the atmosphere to grow up quickly to become large enough to affect climate and health.”
Viswanathan establishes battery design rules
MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan established design rules for how solid-ion conductors (SIC) suppress dendrites. They learned that battery stability is dependent on mostly two properties of the SIC: its shear modulus, a measure of stiffness, and the volume occupied by a lithium-ion as it moves through the SIC.
Ozdoganlar designs containment box
MechE’s Burak Ozdoganlar helped create a clear, acrylic containment box that significantly reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19 to medical workers. “Based on the need, the company will make larger numbers of these boxes, and we will also make them available to other hospital systems in the region,” said Ozdoganlar. “We are happy to help support our physicians, hospitals, and community.”
INI students win Autonomous Checkout Competition
CMU Information Networking Institute
INI students placed first in the Autonomous Checkout Competition, organized by AiFi Research and Carnegie Mellon University. The competition brought together researchers to develop better, faster, and more accurate autonomous checkout software solutions. It featured eight teams from four continents and took place online as part of the Cyber-Physical Systems and Internet-of-Things (CPS-IOT) Week April 21-23, 2020. “As far as we know, we’re the first to open source an end-to-end solution for an autonomous store,” said Chenghui Li. “We are so proud to make this contribution to the industry.”
EST&P Alumni Sakshi Mishra’s AI story featured
U.S. Department of Energy
EST&P alumna Sakshi Mishra’s personal AI journey was featured on the U.S. Department of Energy website. Mishra’s interests in renewable energy merged with AI when she moved to the United States for her master’s degree in Energy Science Technology and Policy. “With CMU being one of the top universities for robotics and artificial intelligence studies, I got introduced to the fascinating field of AI when I took a course on data-driven building energy management,” Mishra said. “This further drew me into learning about how AI can be utilized for the energy field.”
Lowry’s nanoparticle research featured
CEE’s Greg Lowry’s nanoparticle research was featured in TechCrunch. Lowry’s research, which has been demonstrated as outlined in a peer-review publication now available in Nanoscale Communications, makes use of nanoparticles to coat molecular substances that you would want to be absorbed by a plant.
Bauer quoted on data privacy
The Wall Street Journal
CyLab/ECE’s Lujo Bauer was quoted in The Wall Street Journal on a new messaging app called Signal. The app doesn’t log much information (metadata) about the nature of the messages themselves. “Signal makes it a point to keep as little data as possible while still being able to provide service,” said Bauer.
Halilaj receives ASB Young Scientist Award
MechE’s Eni Halilaj has won the American Society of Biomechanics Young Scientist Award. The award will be presented at this year’s ASB meeting in August.
Jayan gives IMPI keynote
International Microwave Power Institute
MechE’s B. Reeja Jayan will give the keynote address at the 54th Annual Microwave Power Symposium on June 15. Her talk, “Why Microwave-heating is More Than Just Heating,” examines her exploratory research that lays the groundwork for using microwave fields to engineer new materials
Adams co-authors article arguing EPA stance on air pollution
New England Journal of Medicine
EPP Head Peter Adams is one of the co-authors on a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine that argues against the EPA’s current stance on air pollution standards for fine particulate matter. The paper, written jointly by members of the disbanded EPA scientific review panel for these standards, argues that by circumventing the regulation that requires pollution standards to be overseen by a scientific review panel, the EPA is opening the public up to unnecessary risk of death from air pollution. “Political appointees at the EPA are saying that the United States does not need tighter air pollution standards for fine particulate matter, which is known to cause tens of thousands of premature deaths each year,” says Adams. “The law requires a scientific review to determine if the standards need to be tighter, but EPA chose to short-circuit that process by disbanding the normal review panel. Members of the disbanded panel chose to do the review anyway, and this paper declares publicly our conclusion that the current standards are insufficient to protect public health.”
Biegler receives Humboldt award
ChemE’s Larry Biegler has received a Humboldt Research Award, which recognizes the recipient’s achievements over the course of their academic career, and celebrates the significant impacts they’ve had on their discipline. Biegler is being recognized for his outstanding research in nonlinear dynamic optimization, and his valuable contributions to control theory and its applications in complex chemical processes. As part of the award, Biegler will travel to the Technical University of Berlin to further develop methods for optimal control of chemical plants and simultaneous solution methods for optimization under uncertainty.
Cagan receives ASME award
CMU Mechanical Engineering
MechE’s Jonathan Cagan has been named the 2020 recipient of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Design Educator Award. This award recognizes a person who exemplifies the best in furthering engineering design education through vision, interactions with students and industry, scholarship and impact on the next generation of engineers, and a person whose action serves as a role model for other educators to emulate.
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor, CyLab/ISR’s Yuvraj Agarwal, and CyLab’s Pardis Emami-Naeini were quoted in WIRED about the concept of IoT privacy and security “nutrition labels,” which their group has studied extensively. “We wanted to understand whether this information can convey risk and whether participants really understood what this information means,” Emami-Naeini said.
CMU recognized as an innovative engineering institute
American Society of Mechanical Engineers
CMU was recognized as an innovative engineering institute by ASME. The schools on this list are pushing innovation by exposing engineering students to a global way of thinking, to research opportunities that are looking into the future of technology, and working across disciplines.
Partnering with industry leaders helps universities develop engineers ready for the workforce. Carnegie Mellon has several joint ventures with leading innovative companies, including the Bosch Group and ANSYS, to foster innovation. Others include NASA, Argonne National Laboratory, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, and Siemens.
Bauer quoted on password security
CyLab’s Lujo Bauer was quoted in Fox News on how users can keep their accounts safe using passwords. After big security breaches, users rarely change their password, which is a big mistake. One of the most effective ways to keep your accounts safe is to never reuse passwords, Bauer told Fox News. “Reusing the same or a slightly changed password across accounts is a huge source of risk,” Bauer said via email.
EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff has published a Viewpoint in JAMA, discussing why it can be so difficult to make decisions during the time of COVID-19, and how the scientific community can help individuals make safe choices. First, Fischhoff suggests that individual decision making could be made much easier if a boundary organization such as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine synthesized the wealth of scientific information that currently exists around COVID-19 to make it concrete and usable for individual decision makers. Second, he cites the necessity of producing risk assessments of different behaviors, and how likely each behavior is to lead to contracting the virus. Finally, he emphasizes the need for quality risk communications, to provide the community with concise, digestible summaries of those risk assessments, so they can be implemented by non-scientists. “Making science useful to decision makers requires collaboration made possible by boundary organizations dedicated to connecting worlds that need one another, but do not naturally interact. In this case, those are the worlds of scientists and decision makers.”
Jaggi named Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellow
CMU Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship
MSE/ETIM student Aparna Jaggi has been named a James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellow. Jaggi’s research interests lie in the field of energy storage devices, and she is passionate about bringing innovative ideas to the market.
Hernandez named a TECHNOLOchica Ambassador
ETIM student Yosira Hernandez was accepted to be a TECHNOLOchica Ambassador. TECHNOLOchica is a focused approach that highlights the interests, strengths, and needs of Latinas in the technology industry.
MechE’s Vickie Webster-Wood has been named a 2020-2021 Wimmer Faculty Fellow. Supported by the Wimmer Family Foundation and in collaboration with the Eberly Center, the fellowship is designed for junior faculty members interested in enhancing their teaching through concentrated work. Webster-Wood plans to design interactive demonstrations and build virtual labs for the course “Gadgetry: Sensors, Actuators, and Processors.” These demonstrations and labs will promote active learning and improve students’ mechatronic intuition.
Majidi quoted on liquid metal lattice material
MechE’s Carmel Majidi was quoted by Physics World about a new liquid metal lattice that can be crushed and then reheated to return to its original shape. Majidi says that a material like this, which can change shape, stiffness, and ability to bear load, has many potential capabilities, including applications in soft robotics, wearable computing systems, or wearable robotics. “[This work] nicely builds on past research in stiffness tuning and shape memory materials,” he said. “[It] is an excellent demonstration of how low melting point metals can be used for creating smart and adaptive structures.”
Nock’s research on energy policy featured
World Universities Network
CEE/EPP’s Destenie Nock’s research on energy policy was featured on WUN. Her study focused on electricity planning in developing countries.
Presto introduces new podcast
MechE’s Albert Presto has created a new podcast called Shared Air with MechE Ph.D. student Rose Eilenberg. Their podcast is about air pollution, air quality, climate, and science communication.
Rubin quoted on Pittsburgh emissions
EPP/MechE’s Ed Rubin was quoted in Next Pittsburgh on Pittsburgh emissions. Two of Pittsburghers’ favorite things, beef and beer, are the biggest sources of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions in the local food system, according to a new study by a team of 19 Carnegie Mellon students. “What we tried to do for the first time is to put together an overall picture to give policymakers an idea of where the biggest impacts are, and where actions to change the system could be beneficial,” says Rubin. “We couldn’t find any other major metropolitan areas that had done something like this.”
Samaras quoted on worldwide emissions
CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in National Geographic on worldwide emissions. During the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a drop in worldwide emissions. Still, for energy and climate expert Costa Samaras, the message is clear: Just because this devasting pandemic has only a small impact on today’s CO2 levels doesn’t mean the climate crisis is lost. “A pandemic is the worst possible way to reduce emissions. There’s nothing to celebrate here,” says Samaras. “We have to recognize that, and to recognize that technological, behavioral, and structural change is the best and only way to reduce emissions.”
Shimada quoted on robots
San Francisco Chronicle
MechE’s Kenji Shimada was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle about robots. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, researchers are looking into ways robots could be used to lower the risk of transmission. Shimada is working on a mobile robotic arm able to disinfect high-risk areas like hospital rooms using chemicals or ultraviolet light. He envisions a technology able to map a room and track where the machine has cleaned. “Nothing is visible so you need a digital model to keep track of that,” Shimada said of finding and killing the coronavirus and other microscopic threats. He said he plans to begin testing prototypes on campus, but it could be a year or two before an operational version of the machine is ready, underscoring the need to repurpose some technologies for the time being.
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor discussed the importance of password managers in a WIRED article. Password managers keep track of all your passwords for different accounts and help identify weak and easily broken passwords. Cranor explains that many people don’t follow all the rules for creating strong passwords and often reuse them, putting multiple accounts at risk. Though password managers are not completely infallible, they are the best choice for security online. “The major password manager companies have a good track record of fixing problems quickly and before their users actually suffer any negative consequences,” Cranor says. “If you are currently reusing your passwords or using weak passwords, you are much better off with a password manager than without one.”
Cranor on phishing
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor discussed increased cybercriminal activity during the COVID-19 pandemic with WBUR, specifically phishing, which occurs when a scammer sends an email that appears to come from a legitimate source. With many people on their computers during the pandemic, phishing attempts have surged, whether from a large criminal enterprise or individual scammers. Cranor advises people to check email addresses carefully and to be vigilant with giving out their personal information. “Any information like bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, anything like that, you really, really should be skeptical and not do it,” she says.
MechE Department Head Allen Robinson was appointed a University Professor by Carnegie Mellon University. University Professor is the highest rank faculty can receive.
ChemE’s Zach Ulissi was quoted in Wired on material design. Researchers from the University of Toronto teamed up with Ulissi, who specializes in using algorithms to invent new materials. Conventionally, says Ulissi, “it has been really difficult to search wide swaths of materials.” These computer-based methods provide researchers with a faster and more comprehensive strategy for discovering new materials.
Shen quoted on metamaterials
MechE’s Sheng Shen’s research on metamaterials was featured on Tech Explorist. Shen and Ph.D. candidate Jiayu Li created a new scale law to describe the thermal emission properties of metamaterials. “At CMU, we are applying this new scale law to design novel metamaterial-based thermal infrared devices for a variety of applications including infrared signature control, infrared sensing, thermal management, and thermal energy conversion,” Shen said.
Majidi quoted on soft robots
MechE’s Carmel Majidi’s research on soft robots was featured on Science Blog and in Unite.AI. Along with collaborators from UCLA, Majidi was able to simulate soft robots with computer models. “Robots made out of hard and inflexible materials are relatively easy to model using existing computer simulation tools,” said Majidi. “Until now, there haven’t been good software tools to simulate robots that are soft and squishy. Our work is one of the first to demonstrate how soft robots can be successfully simulated using the same computer graphics software that has been used to model hair and fabrics in blockbuster films and animated movies.”
CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in Forbes on U.S. carbon intensity. The carbon intensity of the U.S. power sector reached a new low in 2019, more than a third below its 2005 level, according to a new analysis from Carnegie Mellon University. “Some good news,” tweeted Costa Samaras. “We ran the latest numbers and the annual CO2 intensity of the US power sector for 2019 was 33% lower than it was in 2005.”
Donahue featured on smog
ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue was featured on a Nature podcast and in C&EN on atmospheric smog. In densely populated cities, concentrations of relatively large airborne particles can be more than 100 times as high as those in rural locations. To sort out this atmospheric puzzle, a team including Donahue conducted a series of experiments in a controlled-atmosphere chamber. The team tested components of big-city air pollution and probed the gases’ behavior over a range of temperatures.
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was interviewed by TODAY about “sextortion” scams, which have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, that contact people to tell them they have been recorded looking at pornography and demand money or cryptocurrency. Cranor said that many people are subject to scams even if they have never visited any specific sites, and that scammers often don’t have any blackmail fodder. “Scammers are playing on our fears and on our needs,” she said. “In most cases they don’t actually have any information. This is just to try to hope you fall for it.” Cranor advises people to check and change their passwords for extra security.
Carnegie Mellon team wins top design
MechE’s Kenji Shimada and Erica Martelly’s face mask design, Moldable Masks, were named a top design in America Makes’ “Fit to Face Challenge.“ Fit to Face Challenge participants were tasked with optimizing a face mask’s continuous fit-to-face contact for a wide range of face types. “Judging the Fit to Face Challenge designs was difficult as the submissions were all very good,” said America Makes Technology Director Brandon Ribic, Ph.D. “It was clear that designers spent significant time developing these masks to meet each of the challenge criteria.”
MechE’s Madelynne Long named a CMWA awardee
Carnegie Mellon Women’s Association
MechE student Madelynne Long was named the College of Engineering’s awardee of the Carnegie Mellon Women’s Association’s 2020 scholarship. The CMWA Awards began in 1964 to honor “an outstanding girl at the university.” Over the years, that tradition has grown to recognize an awardee from each of the university’s seven schools and colleges.
Jaramillo awarded Carnegie Fellowship
EPP’s Paulina Jaramillo has been awarded a 2020 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship to support her work on “Energy, Climate, and Perceptions of Fairness in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Jaramillo is one of 27 fellows chosen this year, with research topics spanning from online radicalization, to climate change, to civic engagement and more. The Andrew Carnegie Fellowship program, established in 2015, aims to support high-caliber scholarly research in the humanities and social sciences that addresses important and enduring issues confronting our society. This year’s class of fellows was selected by a distinguished panel of 17 jurors, comprised of academic and intellectual leaders from some of the nation’s most prominent institutions.
“I am greatly impressed by the breadth and depth of the proposals from this year’s nominees and their potential for progress. For the jury and for me, the selection process was deeply gratifying and inspiring,” said Susan Hockfield, chair of the Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program jury since 2015, president emerita of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a former member of the Carnegie Corporation of New York board of trustees. “As we respond to the many disruptions caused by COVID-19, we must not lose sight of the necessity of solving both today’s and the world’s persistent challenges. The complex solutions required for these difficult problems require more than the best of science and engineering; they must also incorporate perspectives and insights from the humanities and social sciences.”
CEE’s Costa Samaras was featured on PBS, where he talks about New York City’s subway system. The segment, titled “Transportation,” airs on May 18, 2020.
Cranor on contact tracing apps
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article about the development of contact tracing apps tracking the spread of COVID-19, and the potential issue of privacy. As the country considers the challenges of reopening, Google and Apple have begun to develop software that could be used by public health authorities and help notify people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Experts are advising governments to stay away from software that tracks location (such as GPS); Cranor argues that data may reveal perfectly legitimate activities that people may just not want to share. She also says that tech companies have the power to do what they want unless they are challenged by the government or public.
LeDuc’s research on microstructures featured
Advanced Science News
An image of MechE’s Philip LeDuc’s research on microstructures was featured in Advanced Science News' “This month in pictures” for April 2020. The image, which is likened to a garden maze, shows a microstructure made by LeDuc and his colleagues. The image was originally featured in issue 16 of Small.
Rollett and Cunningham co-author two of the most downloaded papers
Scientific Reports 2019, Journal of Synchrotron Radiation
MSE’s Anthony Rollett, as well as Ross Cunningham, who was a Ph.D. student in Rollett’s group and moved onto Messer after his graduation in 2018, are co-authors on two of the most downloaded papers in their field for 2018-2019. “Real time observation of binder jetting printing process using high-speed X-ray imaging” was in the top 100 in Materials Science in Scientific Reports 2019. “Ultrafast X‐ray imaging of laser–metal additive manufacturing processes” published in the Journal of Synchrotron Radiation was among the top 10% most downloaded papers between January 2018 and December 2019.
Shen creates new law for metamaterials
CMU Mechanical Engineering
MechE’s Sheng Shen created a new law for determining the thermal emission properties of metamaterials. “At CMU, we are applying this new scale law to design novel metamaterial-based thermal infrared devices for a variety of applications including infrared signature control, infrared sensing, thermal management, and thermal energy conversion,” Shen said.
Zhang featured in Scientific American
ECE’s Pei Zhang was featured in Scientific American for developing sensors that analyze footsteps by measuring floor vibrations. “This is actually created because of the privacy concerns of the other type of monitoring mechanisms,” Zhang says. And in health-related scenarios, he adds, “I’m willing to trade off a little bit of my data information to prevent falls and to detect diseases.”
Cook featured about “RoboVentilator”
BME’s Keith Cook was featured in an article in VentureBeat on work to create a low-cost, modular ventilator. Lead by SCS’s Howie Choset, the “RoboVentilator” can be assembled with a high degree of automation in around an hour and uses modular parts that can be interchanged in the event of supply chain disruptions. The device will help meet the high demand for ventilators exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, in preparation for possible future respiratory disease outbreaks.
Subrahmanian publishes book
The Accelerator’s Eswaran Subrahmanian has published the book We are Not Users: Dialogues, Diversity and Design via the MIT Press. The book is co-authored with Yoram Reich, professor at Tel-Aviv University, Israel and Sruti Krishnan of Fields of View, India. The book is the culmination of more than 20 years of study of design processes at the Engineering Design Research Center and subsequently at the Engineering Research Accelerator at Carnegie Mellon.
LeDuc receives Lazarus Award
MechE’s Philip LeDuc has recieved the 2020 Barbara Lazarus Award for Graduate Student and Junior Faculty Mentoring. Named after a beloved member of the Carnegie Mellon community, the Barbara Lazarus Award celebrates those who foster an inviting and nurturing environment for graduate students and young faculty at the university. It was first awarded in 2005.
Cranor on usability in security
CyLab director Lorrie Cranor was interviewed by Dark Reading for an article about user experience and usability in security. In contrast to most digital initiatives and tools being developed today, many security vendors consider user experience as an after-thought, something that is nice to have but not a top priority. “Many vendors do not take usability seriously enough,” said Cranor. “Their expertise is on the back-end security components, and they either ignore the user experience or address it only after the product is mostly developed…. When secure systems are not usable, there is a huge risk that users may try to avoid using them or disable security features.”
Fischhoff featured on mental health in the time of COVID-19
EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff was featured in an article in CommercialCafe on how to manage mental health in the time of COVID-19. Fischhoff offered readers advice on adjusting biases throughout the time of social isolation.
Presto quoted on Pittsburgh air pollution
MechE’s Albert Presto was quoted in the York Dispatch on the decrease in Pittsburgh air pollution after the coronavirus shutdown. Presto said he first noticed an “obvious change” to air quality levels, specifically for particulate matter, after March 13, when Gov. Tom Wolf first ordered a shutdown of all nonessential businesses and closed schools throughout Pennsylvania. With fewer vehicles on the road, scientists have taken note of the almost-overnight effects of lower air pollution. “There's a definite difference,” Presto said of the changes in air quality in March. “It was like a light switch almost.”
CyLab’s Kathleen Carley was quoted in PBS on coronavirus disinformation. Lots of false information has been circling the web during the coronavirus pandemic, and the public is very susceptible to believing it. “I do think that when you have either politicians or celebrities retweeting and reposting disinformation, it’s going to last longer, and it’s going to be harder to debunk,” Carley said.
Morgan quoted on Trump policy
The New York Times
EPP/ECE’s M. Granger Morgan was quoted in The New York Times on the Trump administration’s relationship with science. Asked what kind of grade he’d give Trump on science, Morgan, who has advised Democratic and Republican administrations, answered with a quick “F.” Presidents of both parties often put politics before science, and Trump is not unusual there, Morgan said. But this administration has regularly contradicted science and doctors. “We’ve seen daily statements that run counter to reality, and science is about physical reality,” Morgan said. “Science matters.”
Cranor quoted on data privacy
CyLab Head Lorrie Cranor was quoted on data privacy in the Morning Consult. With contract tracing rising in popularity as a way to fight COVID-19, concerns over individuals’ privacy take center stage. “The devil’s in the details,” said Cranor, who served as chief technologist for the Federal Trade Commission during the last year of the Obama administration. “There are proposals out there where basically the data stays on my phone and doesn’t get released at all, it’s only used to inform me. And there are proposals out there where the data goes to a central source. That makes a big difference.”
CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in Axios on climate change. Since the world shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, worldwide emissions have dropped—but not enough to fight climate change. “If this is all we get from shutting the entire world down, it illustrates the scope and scale of the climate challenge, which is fundamentally changing the way we make and use energy and products,” Samaras said.
CyLab’s Kathleen Carley was quoted in Vice on social media bots spreading disinformation during the current coronavirus pandemic. “We do see that a lot of bots are acting in ways that are consistent with the story lines that are coming out of Russia or China,” said Carley.
CMU Engineering faculty awarded Scott Institute seed grants
Eight research projects lead by CMU Engineering faculty have been awarded 2020 Seed Grants for Energy Research by the Scott Institue for Energy Innovation. The awards allow Carnegie Mellon professors to jump-start their cutting-edge work, and provide valuable funding to increase readiness for substantial external consideration and funding.
The 2020 seed funding winners include the following engineering researchers:
EPP’s Paulina Jaramillo
MechE’s B. Reeja Jayan and Shawn Litster
ECE’s Vyas Sekar and Swarun Kumar
MechE’s Sheng Shen and ECE’s Xu Zhang
EPP’s Parth Vaishnav and EPP/MechE’s Jeremy Michalek
MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot
ECE/CyLab’s Osman Yağan and ECE’s Carlee Joe-Wong
MSE’s Mohammad Islam
Robinson on remote education
ChemE Head Anne Robinson was quoted in Fortune discussing how teachers of different age groups are adapting to teaching in during the pandemic. While many teachers of younger students expressed how the loss of physical contact, as well as the limited internet access of some students, has hindered the learning experience, Robinson also notes that graduate students require the same care as middle schoolers. “Students may be isolated from peers or in different time zones, so making sure they are doing OK mentally, physically, and intellectually is extremely vital,” said Robinson. “The regular social interaction of residential education is critical for graduate and postdoctoral students.”
Carley quoted in AP News
CyLab’s Kathleen Carley was quoted in AP News on online coronavirus misinformation. Online groups are sparking protests of public health measures, including stay-at-home orders, in order to reopen the economy. However, many groups spread misinformation regarding the pandemic. “There are some people in these groups that have legitimate concerns about the economy, but they’re being overwhelmed,” Carley said. “There’s a lot of these conspiracy theories, linked right into these reopen groups.”
Yagan quoted on coronavirus models
ECE’s Osman Yagan was quoted in Defense One on coronavirus models. “We believe that there is some similarity between ‘a virus mutating and becoming less easy to infect individuals’ and ‘people being careful about social-distancing and thus becoming less easy to get infected.’ The analogy here is strengthened by the fact that those who do not obey social-distancing are more likely to infect each other (a la carrying a second-strain of the virus) than those who are obeying the guidelines.”
Cranor quoted on data privacy
CyLab Head Lorrie Cranor was quoted in Consumer Reports on the use of data and privacy. Cars equipped with cameras can collect information about roadways, but there are concerns over what exactly the data will be used for. “If the data is going into algorithms to figure out where we need new traffic lights, and it’s never going to be released as a dataset, and deleted after a certain amount of time, it seems like it’s relatively low risk,” she says. But, Cranor says there’s no guarantee Mobileye or others in a similar business won’t sell data to third parties that may use it for purposes other than traffic planning.
Chi wins IEEE award
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
ECE’s Yuejie Chi is the inaugural winner of the Pierre-Simon Laplace Early Career Technical Achievement Award from IEEE’s Signal Processing Society for her data science research.
CMU-Africa’s Eric Umuhoza will be a program committee member for the IEEE Software Engineering in Africa 2020: 3rd Symposium on Software Engineering. The symposium will take place in Nairobi, Kenya on June 18-19, 2020.
Vernon to be IMVIP committee member
Irish Machine Vision and Image Processing Conference
CMU-Africa/ECE’s David Vernon will be a program committee member for the Irish Machine Vision and Image Processing Conference, IMVIP 2020. The conference will take place at the Technical University Dublin from August 31st through September 2, 2020.
Ross presents at Sankalp Africa Summit
Sankalp Africa Summit
CMU Africa’s David Ross presented research on “Moving from donor-centric to entrepreneur-centric ecosystems” at the Sankalp Africa Summit, February 27th - 28 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Vernon earns ZiF Centre fellowship
ZiF Research Group
CMU-Africa/ECE’s David Vernon has earned a fellowship position at the ZiF Centre for Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Bielefeld, Germany. Vernon will work with the project “Enabling Cognitive Behavior of Humans, Animals, and Machines: Situation model perspectives” convening in June-July 2020.
CyLab’s Kathleen Carley was quoted in WESA on coronavirus disinformation. Amid the current pandemic, more disinformation is spreading online than normally seen in disinformation events. “There’s just way more. Way, way, way, way more,” she said. “Some of it appears to be very orchestrated and coordinated.”
Kar, Nock, and Pileggi named Energy Fellows
ECE’s Soummya Kar and CEE/EPP’s Destenie Nock were named Energy Fellows at the Scott Institute. ECE Head Larry Pileggi was named a Senior Energy Fellow. The highly competitive Energy Fellows Program is designed to incentivize, promote and reward CMU’s most dedicated tenure track faculty. As Fellows, they will receive funding, resources, and membership in the Scott Institute Fellow Council.
Siefken named a U.S. C3E Ambassador
U.S. Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Initiative
The Scott Institute’s Anna Siefken was named a U.S. Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Ambassador by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Ambassadors are distinguished senior executives, academics, government officials, and thought leaders that serve as role models and advocates for women in clean energy.
EPP cited on pollution
Research by EPP’s Paulina Jaramillo and colleagues was cited in Quartz Africa on pollution in Nigeria, where there is a widespread use of generators due to an unreliable energy supply. The researchers found backup power generation in Nigeria produces carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to 60% of its annual electricity sector emissions.
Peha comments on routing practices
A battle over call routing practices heats up as demand for conferencing services stress telephone networks: “I think the FCC may need to reconsider (closing certain loopholes) in the middle of a pandemic that’s forcing people to work from home,” says ECE/EPP’s Jon Peha to IEEE Spectrum.
Presto quoted on Pittsburgh pollution
MechE’s Albert Presto was quoted by WESA about pollution since the coronavirus pandemic brought stay-at-home orders to Pittsburgh. Pollution in Pittsburgh has “flatlined” since stay-at-home orders have shut down large parts of the economy, said Presto, who’s been watching air quality monitors around Allegheny County. He said those drops are especially detectable during morning and evening rush hours. “Typically you see a big bump (in pollution) every morning from people going to work,” he said. “That’s pretty much disappeared the last couple of weeks.”
CMU using AI to fight coronavirus
The New York Times
CMU is part of the C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute, a research consortium seeking to solve social problems with artificial intelligence. Their first challenge will be finding effective ways to fight COVID-19, The New York Times reports. Principle investigators, who must be from the consortium’s member universities, will submit coronavirus proposals by May. They will award the first grants in June.
CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in Wired on environmental city policy. “Housing policy is climate policy,” he said. “City policy is climate policy.”
College of Engineering students earn NSF GRFP awards
National Science Foundation
Several students in the College of Engineering have earned National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program awards, and some have received honorable mention. Congratulations to the following students:
Susana Beltrán (MechE)
Kevin Dai (MechE)
Xining Gao (BME)
Anatoliy Kuznetsov (ChemE)
Victor Rodriguez (EPP)
Varun Shankar (MechE)
Shivani Shukla (BME)
Angela Yang (BME)
Jessica Yin (MechE)
Alexander Bills (MechE)
Jacob Brenneman (MechE)
Emma Clement (CEE)
Nolen Keeys (MechE)
Ryan Yeh (MechE)
Ydstie named finalist in American-Made Solar Prize Round 2 Set!
ChemE’s B. Erik Ydstie was named a finalist in American-Made Solar Prize Round 2 Set! for his work on continuous silicon wafer production. The Solar Prize encourages the rapid development of innovative solar energy solutions capable of addressing the tough challenges facing the solar industry. Winning teams received $100,000 in cash prizes and $75,000 in support vouchers for their technologies.
Fischhoff on public response to COVID-19
EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff was quoted by media outlets WIRED, Reuters, and The Boston Globe about COVID-19 and the U.S. public’s reaction and response to the pandemic. Speaking about social distancing and the incomplete data on the number of cases in the country, Fischhoff remains optimistic about people’s ability to make reasonable decisions if given the right information. “Precise messages could provide the public with the information needed to manage disease risks when making personal choices, evaluating public health policies, and interpreting the pronouncements of politicians and pundits,” he said to WIRED.
MechE’s Jack Beuth was quoted in Axios on using 3D printing to help fight coronavirus. While some suggest 3D printing can be used to quickly make equipment to fight the novel coronavirus, Beuth says 3D printing is not as fast as traditional manufacturing. Furthermore, life-saving equipment, such as ventilators, can’t be 3D printed because they’re subject to strict regulations. “You can’t just say, ‘I’m going to print it, it looks good, we’re good to go,’” Beuth said. “It’s not really a technical challenge. It’s the delay in introducing a new manufacturing process.”
BME/MSE’s Christopher Bettinger, BME/ChemE’s Kris Dahl, and MechE’s Jessica Zhang have been elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)’s College of Fellows, Class of 2020. Bettinger and Zhang were nominated by BME Head Bin He; Dahl was nominated by Professor Joyce Wong at Boston University. The fellowship is an honorific designation, and fellows are expected to contribute to AIMBE’s critical mission to advance excellence and advocate for the medical and biological engineering fields. Zhang has also been elected as an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Fellow (2019).
Panat on Finding Genius Podcast
Finding Genius Podcast
MechE’s Rahul Panat was a guest on the Finding Genius Podcast; he discussed his work in microscale additive manufacturing, microelectronics, and 3D printing. “[My] focus is on using this technology—of micro and nanoscale 3D printing—to create new types of biomedical devices, or giving additional functionality to biomedical devices, getting high capacity lithium batteries, and creating more sensitive sensors for various applications,” said Panat.
CEE’s Costa Samaras spoke with Earther regarding the global pandemic as an ideal time for governments to invest in infrastructure. “This is a no-brainer that we need to reinvest in infrastructure, and then it has to be low-carbon,” he said.
Fischhoff on COVID-19
EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff spoke to several media outlets, including The Atlantic, ABC News, and BBC Newshour, among others, about people’s reactions to COVID-19. Fischhoff explains that one reason people have been ignoring social distancing is because they cannot trust their intuition during the pandemic, especially a rapidly changing one. He also discusses how the unknown aspect of the pandemic has caused more concern. “Many more people die from the flu or motor vehicle accidents, but objectively and subjectively we don't know the bounds of the novel coronavirus risks, which adds to the concerns with this new virus,” Fischhoff said.
CMU Engineering participates in third annual “Rethink the Rink”
CMU Engineering teamed up with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Covestro—a materials supplier—in the third annual “Rethink the Rink” make-a-thon. This year, they were also joined by sports equipment supplier Bauer Hockey. Over spring break, teams of students created shoulder and elbow pad designs to better protect hockey players. Students maximized protection and mobility by using various materials.
“The Make-a-thon not only gives students an opportunity to apply their problem-solving and analytic skills to a real-world challenge, but also to expand their professional networks beyond the academic setting through collaboration with industry experts,” said William Sanders, dean of the College of Engineering.
Yagan on the evolution of a pathogen
ECE’s Osman Yagan’s mathematical research is featured in Science Daily, discussing the evolution of a pathogen and how this affects its spread through a population.
Peha on internet reliability
The New York Times
Amid the COVID-19 global pandemic, businesses are urging employees who are able to work from home to do so. CyLab/EPP/ECE’s Jon Peha tells The New York Times that “...there is a risk that usage will surge and capacity will be inadequate and performance will suffer. This is new ground for all of us.”
Lucia receives VMWare Early Career Grant
Electrical and Computer Engineering
ECE’s Brandon Lucia has received the VMWare Early Career Grant in support of building efficient intermittent edge computer systems. Lucia and his students are developing computer architectures, programming languages, and software for physically constrained computer systems, including intermittent and energy-harvesting computers and edge computer systems on Earth and in space.
MSE’s Anthony Rollett gave a plenary talk about texture and anisotropy in metals additive manufacturing at The Minerals, Metals & Material Society’s annual meeting and exhibition. This talk was part of the additive manufacturing keynote session. The meeting took place on February 24, in San Diego.
Mohammadi and Kar place in top 10 at grid optimization competition
Electrical and Computer Engineering
ECE’s Javad Mohammadi and Soummya Kar’s team placed in the top 10 in all divisions of the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E Grid Optimization (GO) Competition. Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder comprised of the rest of their team. The GO Competition is a year-long competition aimed at overhauling and modernizing grid software and is structured as multiple challenges. The team developed a lightweight optimization algorithm that could optimize power generation settings across large power networks while adhering to physical grid constraints. ARPA-E will financially support extending the algorithms developed in this work to build a Grid Optimization platform. This platform will enable solving national scale power system security and optimization problems.
Whitefoot’s paper cited on Trump policy
MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot’s paper was cited in The Atlantic on the Trump administration’s Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule policy. This policy, called SAFE for short, is in response to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study—a study Whitefoot and her co-authors claim has “fundamental flaws and inconsistencies.”
Holm receives service award from TMS
The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society
MSE’s Elizabeth Holm received the 2020 Alexander Scott Distinguished Service Award from The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS), which was presented at TMS’ annual meeting in February 2020. This award recognizes a member’s outstanding contributions to TMS as exhibited by exceptional devotion of time, effort, thought, and action toward furthering the Society’s mission through administrative and functional activities. “Serving as a TMS volunteer has been an honor, an adventure, and a never-ending learning experience. I deeply appreciate the opportunity to participate in my profession beyond my workplace and across borders. It is especially meaningful to me to receive this award in honor of Alex Scott, a great friend and supporter, who himself gave so much to TMS over so many years,” Holm said.
Bossa Nova featured in New York Times on robots and retail
The New York Times
A New York Times article exploring the growing role of robots in retail discussed the work Bossa Nova and Carnegie Mellon researchers have conducted with Walmart to design a shelf-scanning robot that they hope both employees and customers will feel comfortable with. Bossa Nova originated from the Robotics Institute and has recently collaborated with CyLab to bring artificial intelligence to data and analytics.
Bauer and Sharif cited on facial recognition
The Next Web
A paper on facial recognition by ECE/CyLab’s Lujo Bauer and Mahmood Sharif was cited in an article by The Next Web about deep learning advances for computer vision. The article explores many different applications and fields of computer vision, including facial recognition. While the technology has grown in recent years, there are still limitations like the one described in the research paper: people wearing specially crafted glasses could be mistaken for celebrities.
Fischhoff discusses personal risk assessment for coronavirus
How should we react to news of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19? Should we travel? Is it worth stockpiling food? In a fast-evolving news landscape, EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff says to find a small number of highly trustworthy information outlets that clearly outline the risks. Then, evaluate that information based on your own circumstances, as there is never a one-size fits all approach to minimizing risk. “Look for outlets that treat you like an adult and tell you what the situation is and the risks are,” said Fischhoff, to USA Today. “You need information that helps you make decisions relevant to your own circumstances.” Fischhoff was also quoted by CNN, The New Yorker, Business Insider, and Medscape.
Kainerstorfer presents at SPIE Photonics West Conference
BME’s Jana Kainerstorfer spoke at this year’s SPIE Photonics West Conference in February in San Francisco. Kainerstorfer presented her research on intracranial pressure and neurovascular coupling in the Neurotechnologies Plenary Session. The conference is attended by more than 22,000 people each year as the premier event for the photonics and laser communities.
Rowe receives Siewiorek Professorship
Electrical and Computer Engineering
ECE’s Anthony Rowe has been named the inaugural recipient of the Daniel and Karon Walker Siewiorek Endowed Distinguished Professorship in the College of Engineering, which has been inspired by Dan Siewiorek’s dedication to electrical and computer engineering and computer science. Siewiorek was hired by Carnegie Mellon University in 1971 with a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the School of Computer Science. “I’m very honored and deeply humbled to receive the Siewiorek Professorship,” said Rowe. “The professorship takes on extra meaning, as Dan has been a great mentor to me throughout my time at Carnegie Mellon.”
Fuchs quoted on Moore’s Law
MIT Technology Review
EPP’s Erica Fuchs was quoted in MIT Technology Review on Moore’s Law. Moore’s law is the idea that every two years the number of transistors on a microchip doubles. However, there is evidence to suggest it is ending. At some point, says Fuchs, those developing AI and other applications will miss the decreases in cost and increases in performance delivered by Moore’s Law. “Maybe in 10 years or 30 years—no one really knows when—you’re going to need a device with that additional computation power,” she says. If you’re worried about what will replace Moore’s Law, she suggests, “the moment to panic is now.” There are, she says, “really smart people in AI who aren’t aware of the hardware constraints facing long-term advances in computing.”
CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in Wired on green infrastructure and policy. “It’s not too difficult for a city to make green infrastructure investments in neighborhoods that have been historically underinvested in, but the housing side needs to kick in. The people who live in these underinvested neighborhoods deserve a neighborhood with bike lanes and green space. It’s up to city policy to make sure they can stay,” Samaras said.
Samaras quoted in Bloomberg
CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in Bloomberg on the environmental effects of a trip to the store. “What they found was, appropriately, it depends. If you're going to drive to the store to get something, combine that trip with other errands. Better yet, take your bike,” he said.
BME Ph.D. students Jacqueline Scott and Wai Hoe Ng won awards for presenting research at AHA’s 28th Annual Fellows Research Day on January 17. Scott, who is advised by Keith Cook, won first in the clinical category, and Ng, who is advised by Charlie Ren, won second in basic.
Wolf elected to America Makes Executive Committee
The Dean’s Office’s Sandra DeVincent Wolf was recently elected to the America Makes Executive Committee, the main advisory group of the institute that focuses on strategy, policy, and advocacy. Wolf is one of two representatives from academia, of eight total representatives on the committee elected from the membership community.
CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor was quoted in an EdScoop article about the tradeoffs between universities using student data to boost experience and students’ subsequent loss of privacy. Universities use data to learn about their students and help them through their college experience, but some students think the technology has gone too far. “I think an institution that respects their students should listen to their students,” says Cranor. “And that starts by the institution being transparent about what data they’re collecting, and making sure the students are aware of it and then have opportunities to ask that data not be collected or [have] the ability to opt out.”
Lowry joins Environmental Science & Technology journal
Environmental Science and Technology
CEE’s Greg Lowry was named executive editor for Environmental Science & Technology journal. Lowry is also an editor for two other journals, Environmental Science: Nano and Nature: Scientific Data.
Rabin recognized for cryopreservation work
National Institutes of Health
MechE’s Yoed Rabin has been recognized multiple times for his impressive work with cryopreservation. Rabin received two grants from the National Institutes of Health, and was elected as an Honorary Member of the International Society of Cryosurgery.
IEEE Spectrum features Soft Machines Lab video
IEEE Spectrum’s Video Friday featured a video about a new soft, multifunctional composite from MechE’s Carmel Majidi’s Soft Machines Lab. The composite remains electrically conductive when stretched and exhibits a number of other desirable properties for soft robotics and stretchable electronics.
EPP’s Granger Morgan was quoted by Forbes in an article analyzing the importance of including futurists to planning the world’s energy future. With the rapid changes every year in technology and the world, it is hard for researchers and industries to keep up, and some find it useful to step back, reflect, and consider predictions of the future. “You can’t get it all,” Morgan said. “It’s really hard to imagine a priori all the things that could go wrong, but if you don’t sort of organize to get multiple perspectives to try to come up with alternatives that could happen, you’re almost certainly going to get messed up.”
Scott Institute Director Jay Whitacre was quoted by Fortune in an article discussing the race to solve lithium-ion battery recycling as electric vehicles (EVs) gradually become more common over the next decade. According to Whitacre, at the present, this isn’t a big issue because only a small percentage of cars on the road right now are EVs. However, with the industry’s expected growth, if scientists don’t start thinking about batteries now, it will be too late. “Now, in 2030, if we actually are fielding 25 million electric vehicles per year, that’s about four and a half million metric tons of battery material,” said Whitacre. “That’s about one-fifth of the global annual production of aluminum.”
CyLab/EPP’s Nicolas Christin was featured in a CyLab article about the online market OpenBazaar. OpenBazaar is a decentralized online market where illicit products are often sold. “We observed a reasonable number of products on the marketplace, but the economic activity was modest at best,” Christin said. “And, most of this economic activity seems to be generated by illicit product sales.”
Fischhoff appears on multiple science podcasts
Science Sessions and Speaking of Psychology
EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff recently appeared on The Proceedings of the National Academy’s Science Sessions podcast to discuss “the science of science communication,” an emerging field of research aimed at understanding which ingredients make for effective communication of scientific information, as well as the pitfalls that can result from poor science communication. “The biggest obstacle to any communication, is not understanding the audience,” Fischhoff said. “Scientists are pretty good at communicating (science) to their peers and in the classroom, but that can be quite different from communicating to general audiences.”
Fischhoff also appeared in a recent episode of the American Psychological Association’s Speaking of Psychology podcast. In a long-form interview with host Kaitlin Luna, he discussed anxiety around the novel coronavirus that currently poses a large public health threat in China and is inciting fear around the globe. According to Fischhoff, understanding what risks a threat poses, and addressing those risks if needed, is the first thing we should do in light of a new threat like the coronavirus. Such risk management, however, requires accurate information from trusted sources, he stressed, nodding again to the importance of effective science communication. “The most useful thing that people can do at this stage is to find some trusted sources of information like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the World Health Organization.”
CyLab/ECE’s Lujo Bauer and Mahmood Sharif’s “special glasses” were mentioned in The Atlantic in an article about online privacy: “Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have designed special glasses to confuse facial recognition without requiring shades.”
Cagan research on training AI in design featured
ZME Science featured a new study by MechE’s Jon Cagan and Ph.D. candidate Ayush Raina that shows how artificial intelligence (AI) can be trained to learn complex design problems. In their research, they had neural networks watch human designers during the design process and then emulate them. This reaped results just as good, if not better, than human designers.
Robinson named to National Academies study committee
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Board on Chemical Science and Technology (BCST) has announced the provisional committee of a new study, “Chemical Engineering in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities,” that will analyze the status of the field. Anne Skaja Robinson, Department Head of Chemical Engineering, has been named a member of the committee.
Zhang delivers keynote on neuron material transport simulation
MechE’s Jessica Zhang recently spoke at an INdAM workshop on Geometric Challenges in Isogeometric Analysis in Rome, Italy from January 27 - 31. She presented her latest research on material transport simulation in complex neurite networks using isogeometric analysis and machine learning techniques. This project was initialized by a MechE departmental seed grant and now is being supported by NSF.
Taylor featured in interdisciplinary podcast
MechE’s Rebecca Taylor was featured in Office Hours, Joyce Wang’s podcast focused on interdisciplinary cooperation. In it, Taylor discusses nanotechnology, design, and more with CMU Fine Arts Professor Molly Steenson.
EPP’s Nicholas Muller was quoted in Reuters about a “green interest rate” he proposed in a paper at a Federal Reserve conference about climate change and economics. Muller suggests that an interest rate should take into account the projected economic consequences of greenhouse gas emissions. “Rates should be lower when pollution damages are rising,” said Muller.
Kumar awarded for LP-WANs work
Electrical and Computer Engineering
ECE’s Swarun Kumar was awarded the CAREER Award by the National Science Foundation for his work on low-power wide-area networks (LP-WANs). He intends to make LP-WANs more efficient and, perhaps, no longer battery-powered.
Marom’s research about solar cells featured
MSE’s Noa Marom was featured in Technology Networks about his solar cell research. Her team will be working with Aurora, a planned supercomputer. “The goal of our research is to find new materials that make photovoltaic solar cells more efficient,” she said. “We are excited that our project has been accepted as one of the projects that will run on the future Aurora supercomputer as part of the Argonne ESP program.”
CMU Engineering honors staff in 25th annual recognition awards
On January 22, CMU Engineering staff gathered for the 25th annual College of Engineering Staff Recognition Awards, honoring their work in 2019. Length-of-service awards were presented for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 35 years in the college, as well as individual awards. The Innovation Award went to MechE’s Rachel Teeny. CEE’s Cathy Shaefer won the Inspirational Leadership Award. The Continuous Excellence Award went to CEE’s David Vey. EPP’s Adam Loucks received the Spirit Award. The Rookie Award went to CyLab’s Terri Deasy. MSE’s Jeanna Pekarcik won the Burritt Education Award for enthusiasm for education. View photos from the event.
CEE/EPP’s Jared Cohon, EPP’s Nicholas Muller, and MechE Head Allen Robinson published a letter about the costs of gas extraction in Bloomberg Environment. “The fact that the impacts from emissions cross county and state boundaries is a clear indication of the need for federal management of natural gas extraction and use,” they write. “Our contention is that society must determine whether these trade-offs are, in effect, worth it.”
Kumar comments on the next leap in wireless charging
ECE’s Swarun Kumar was quoted in Consumer Reports on wireless charging and what hurdles must be overcome before making this technology a reality. “Development costs money, and regulatory requirements can create bottlenecks,” Kumar says. “And success ultimately hinges on getting the big companies that manufacture smartphones, as well as smart home and other battery-operated devices, to integrate the technology into their products.”
CEE’s Sean Qian was cited in Forbes about how to increase ride-hailing service efficiency. He believes this can be achieved by incentivizing drivers to take specific paths and riders to avoid travel-heavy times.
Samaras quoted on climate change and infrastructure
CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in Technology Review on climate change and infrastructure. When asked what infrastructure needed repairs to prepare for climate change, Samaras said, “Water systems, power systems, stormwater systems, reservoirs, dams, pipelines, airports, train tracks. It’s everything.”
Barati Farimani develops new water-desalination material
MechE’s Amir Barati Farimani was featured in Popular Mechanics for developing a new material to improve the process of water desalination. The team’s metal organic framework is micro-thin and was shown in simulations to perform water desalination better than the traditional membrane method.
He’s noninvasive brain-computer interface featured in the Washington Post
The Washington Post
BME Head Bin He was mentioned in the Washington Post for working to create a mind-controlled, robotic prosthetic arm. The prosthetic works through a non-invasive brain-computer interface (BCI), which He and his team demonstrated to work similarly to a real arm and fingers.
Majidi’s new soft materials featured in multiple outlets
MechE’s Carmel Majidi and his Soft Machines Lab were recognized by Create Digital Magazine, SiliconRepublic, and Tech Briefs for creating a new classes of materials for soft robotics, including shape-morphing, self-healing “Thubber,” which can stretch, change shape, and conduct heat and electricity with a portable electronic source of power. The team has also created a stretchable material that senses, processes, and responds to its environment. “Because it has neural-like electrical pathways, it is one step closer to artificial nervous tissue,” says Majidi.
Chen awarded NSF SpecEES grant
Electrical and Computer Engineering
ECE’s Vanessa Chen has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant as part of the SpecEES program to develop trusted wireless transceivers for secure and energy-efficient communication. Along with the real-time machine learning and encryption project supported by the NSF CAREER award, this new project is expected to deliver more secure spectrum access for continuous health and environmental monitoring.
DeltaFS recognized as exceptional new product by R&D World Magazine
R&D World Magazine
The Parallel Data Lab’s DeltaFS project recently received the prestigious R&D 100 Award from R&D World magazine, a leading resource for research scientists, engineers, and technical staff members at laboratories around the world. The annual R&D 100 Awards are given in recognition of exceptional new products or processes that were developed and introduced into the marketplace during the previous year.
Hendrickson receives ARTBA’s S.S. Steinberg Award
CEE’s Chris Hendrickson was selected by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) to receive the Research and Education Division’s (RED) prestigious S.S. Steinberg Award. This award honors educators at an institution of higher learning for contributions to research and education in transportation, development, or construction and will be presented at the ARTBA RED meeting on January 12 in Washington, DC.
Vernon organizes workshop at IEEE/RSG IROS conference
CMU Africa’s David Vernon organized a workshop on the cognitive architectures for humanoids at the 2019 IEEE/RSG International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2019) in November in Macau, China.
Tennakoon wins best paper at IEEE Southern Power Electronics Conference
CMU Africa’s Sarath Tennakoon won the best paper award at the 5th IEEE Southern Power Electronics Conference in Santos, Brazil in December.