2019 mentions


Bettinger interviewed on edible electronics and their impact
Beyond Innovation, Bloomberg TV

MSE’s Chris Bettinger was recently interviewed by Michael Bancroft on Beyond Innovation, a show that airs on Bloomberg TV covering the world’s new and emerging technologies. He spoke about edible electronics, how they are created from melanin, how they work in the body, and the impact they could have on the future of drug delivery.

Savvides on the future of airport security
Twin Cities Pioneer Press

CyLab’s Marios Savvides was interviewed by the Twin Cities Pioneer Press about the future of airport security and the role advancing technology will play. Some airlines and airports have begun to test and implement biometric systems that scan travelers’ faces instantly to verify identity. “With a facial-recognition system, there would be no need for a TSA agent to check your ID,” Savvides said. “The system captures an individual’s iris and full face as they walk by.” A future with biometric screening, however, has some people concerned about data security and privacy, while others would simply like more consistent and respectful TSA officers.

CMU and Argonne National Laboratory unlock 3D printing keyhole problem
3D Printing Industry

MSE’s Anthony Rollett spoke with 3D Printing Industry and a new paper he and his colleagues have published about a study that used high-speed X-ray imaging to analyze the keyhole effect in power-based metal 3D printing. During the 3D-printing process, a laser hits the metal powder and metal pool forms and expands. If the power is too high, the melt pool temperature and the evaporation will also be high, and the melt pool can penetrate into the layer and form a “keyhole” pore. The Carnegie Mellon and Argonne study used synchrotron imagining to observe the metal during the printing process. “Most people think you shine a laser light on the surface of a metal powder, the light is absorbed by the material, and it melts the metal into a melt pool. In actuality, you’re really drilling a hole into the metal,” Rollett said.

Wadhwa writes about maintaining work-life balance

In an opinion piece for MarketWatch, CMU-SV’s Vivek Wadhwa writes about his personal experiences learning work-life balance the hard way. In the 1990s, Wadhwa worked hard and found success in the tech industry, but in doing so neglected his own health. After suffering a severe heart attack, Wadhwa decided to take better care of himself, and shifted into a career in academia. “I became an academic so that I could share my knowledge and experience with students,” he writes. “I teach them about advances in technology that will help solve humanity’s paramount challenges.”

Carnegie Mellon, Lockheed Martin sign new research agreement
Pennsylvania Business Report

Carnegie Mellon University and Lockheed Martin recently signed a new research agreement to continue their partnership and expand on research projects. Lockheed Martin has supported and sponsored many research projects within Carnegie Mellon since 1986, especially in the College of Engineering and the School of Computer Science. A primary focus is in artificial intelligence; one new project is working with AI to improve multiagent decision-making in settings such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. “We are especially pleased that Lockheed Martin is joining our CMU AI ecosystem, advancing a technology that will be critical for our nation’s welfare,” Michael McQuade, CMU’s vice president for research, said.

Holm named 2019 TMS Fellow
The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society

MSE’s Liz Holm was recently named a 2019 Fellow of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) “for pioneering achievements and leadership in computational materials science and integrated computational materials engineering and for distinguished service to the materials profession.”

Viswanathan and Sripad co-author piece on two-wheeled EV’s
The Hindu

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan and Shashank Sripad recently co-authored a story on vehicle electrification in India for The Hindu. The authors note major gains made in Asia toward electrification and especially the benefits offered by two-wheeled electric vehicles. “The electrification success story in India hinges on electrifying two-wheelers, which will require lowering costs of Li-ion batteries, increasing charging speed and improving the charging infrastructure,” they conclude.

Dzombak and Samaras recognized during ASCE Pittsburgh’s Engineers’ Week

The Pittsburgh Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) granted awards to a number of CMU faculty, students, and alumni during its 2019 Pittsburgh Engineers’ Week banquet. CEE Head Dave Dzombak was named Pittsburgh’s Civil Engineer of the Year, and CEE’s Costa Samaras was recognized as Pittsburgh’s Professor of the Year.

Additionally, CMU alumna Sylvia Yunlin Sun (MS ’14) was recognized as Pittsburgh’s Young Civil Engineer of the Year, and CEE sophomore Ryan Rusali was presented the Italo V. (Ody) Mackin Achievement Award by ASCE’s Student Award Foundation.


CyLab team studies user behavior to detect malicious websites
Security Magazine

In an article for Security Magazine, ECE Ph.D. student Mahmood Sharif spoke about a CyLab research study to predict and detect malicious websites before users are exposed to them. The team analyzed the relationship between user behavior and malicious websites with data covering three months of web traffic from 20,000 users in 2017. They found that 11 percent of users were exposed to malicious websites, and that users who visited pages with more ads and browsed more at night were more exposed. “Most traditional security defenses are reactive, and warn users only after or at the time they’ve visited a malicious website,” said Sharif. “We wanted to figure out: are there hints about a user’s behavior that could tell us when something bad is going to happen before it happens?”

Whitehead profiled on breast milk-drug delivery research
Chemical & Engineering News

ChemE’s Katie Whitehead was recently profiled by Chemical & Engineering News about her innovative research to one day engineer the cells in breast milk to deliver drugs to sick babies. With her team, Whitehead is currently working with goat milk for the study, with mice in the role of babies. She hopes one day to use breast milk to prevent and cure diseases and fix genetic defects. For this out-of-the-box idea, Whitehead won the National Institutes of Health Director's New Innovator Award last year.

Carley studies fake news and satire in Black Panther tweets

When Black Panther was released, a storm of fake news trolls and malicious social media bots descended upon Twitter. EPP/CyLab’s Kathleen Carley and her graduate students studied the full timeline of the phenomenon, resulting in a study titled “Beaten up on Twitter? Exploring Fake News and Satirical Responses During the Black Panther Movie events.” They found that satirical tweets outweighed non-satirical ones, and that the fake news stories were often stopped by the satirical counter-stories.

Parno develops Vale to mathematically verify code security

ECE/CyLab’s Bryan Parno, in collaboration with his Ph.D. student and researchers from Microsoft, has developed a programming tool called “Vale.” The tool can mathematically verify the security of low-level assembly code, such as the cryptographic code that runs when one browses the Internet. Since cryptographic code handles secret, encrypted information, its security is very important. Vale can verify that security up to ten times faster than other tools without sacrificing performance.

Samaras quoted on Green New Deal policy
The Atlantic

In an article for The Atlantic that analyzes the economic history, ideology, and policy of the Green New Deal, CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted about the implications of the proposal. While the Green New Deal has many supporters for its focus on developing climate-friendly manufacturing within the United States, even supporters acknowledge that it is a glorified list of goals that have a long way to go before becoming policy. “What the resolution did is outline some challenges,” Samaras said. “There’s no policy yet. These are just principles. I think that’s getting lost.”

Samaras interviewed on coal mining company Glencore

CEE’s Costa Samaras was interviewed for a segment by Marketplace about Glencore, an Anglo-Swiss mining conglomerate, and its decision to cap coal production at 150 million metric tons a year. The decision is a shift from the company’s bullish stance on coal to pump up operations for consumers in Asia, where there is still a high demand for coal. Samaras explains that the decision comes at a response to climate change. “[They’re] responding to institutional investors, looking at the writing on the wall and seeing increased risk from assets that won’t be viable in a low carbon world that has increased appetite to deal with climate change.”

Mantini quoted on Manufacturing PA Innovation Program grants

The Manufacturing PA Innovation Program is preparing to award $3 million to tech and research projects across Pennsylvania. A team from Carnegie Mellon is responsible for administering the program in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). According to program director Colleen Mantini in Next Pittsburgh, “The projects span a variety of technologies and a mix of more fundamental discovery projects with activities focused on narrow technical issues.”

Rajkumar addresses pace of AV development
Associated Press News

While autonomous vehicles continue to dominate the headlines, experts generally agree that difficulties handling snow and fog, variations in road marking, human drivers, crossing traffic lanes, and consumer acceptance mean that they’re still far from becoming ubiquitous. Inclement weather in particular can cause major interference to vehicles’ sensors, explains ECE’s Raj Rajkumar. “It’s like losing part of your vision,” Rajkumar tell the Associated Press.

Viswanathan discusses motivation behind Tesla acquisition

According to MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan in Quartz, ultracapacitors probably had little to do with motivating Tesla’s recent move to acquire ultracapacitor manufacturer Maxwell Technologies. The exact motivation behind the decision is still unclear; however, speculation is that Maxwell’s dry electrode technology could increase storage capacity for Tesla batteries or may help cut costs in the manufacturing process.

Smailagic and Noh win Best Paper Award at IEEE Conference on Machine Learning and Applications
MedAL: Accurate and Robust Deep Active Learning for Medical Image Analysis

Artificially intelligent medical imaging technology is a promising tool to help doctors diagnose disease. But training these systems requires a lot of data, which is time-consuming and costly to obtain. However, ECE’s Asim Smailagic, CEE's Hae Young Noh, and their team have recently been awarded the Best Paper Award at the IEEE Conference on Machine Learning and Applications for their work combatting this exact problem. In the paper, they introduce MedAL, an active learning approach that requires fewer training samples, maximizes the model’s performance, and overcomes the limitations of traditional approaches.

Donahue on the Green New Deal
The Hill

In an opinion piece for The Hill, ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue writes that the recently introduced Green New Deal is viable and necessary for the U.S. to combat current environmental issues at the federal level. He argues that lawmakers must eliminate fossil fuel emissions and turn to electric systems that will require investment in new infrastructure, as well as a carbon tax, which is most definitely possible but not without its potential challenges. Most importantly, Donahue emphasizes the importance of communication between partisan lawmakers. “In order for the Green New Deal to begin to make an impact, however, politicians on both sides of the aisle are going to have to get behind it—which is largely dependent on how these pros and cons are communicated, both to lawmakers and to the general public,” he writes.

Saha wins first preliminary round of 3MT

MechE Ph.D. candidate Dipanjan Saha won the first preliminary round of CMU Libraries’ Three Minute Thesis (3MT). The internationally recognized competition challenges Ph.D. students to consolidate their research projects, goals, and ideas in a three-minute oral presentation. The aim of the presentation is to be accessible to a wide general audience without sacrificing technical and scientific understanding of the presentation topics.

Caldwell on cruising autonomous vehicles

Traffic21’s Stan Caldwell was quoted by Axios in a news roundup that included an article by Think Progress, which discussed how autonomous vehicles (AVs) have the incentive to make havoc by cruising around at slow speeds instead of paying for high-priced parking. Potentially thousands of AVs on the road driving at slow speeds would exacerbate traffic jams. Caldwell acknowledges this issue, but also sees other vehicles on the road contributing: “Yes, cities need to consider policies to dissuade AV cruising to avoid parking fees, but taxis, ride-hailing and delivery trucks are part of the problem too.”

Rajkumar on the future of autonomous cars

ECE’s Raj Rajkumar was quoted in an article by KQED that discusses why autonomous have a long way to go before they become mainstream and available across the country. While ample research and development are occurring in Pittsburgh and Silicon Valley for companies like Uber and Google’s Waymo, there are several reasons why the industry needs at least 10 years—probably more—of technological development. One reason is the weather, particularly snow, that is hard to predict and even harder to control. Heavy snow, rain, fog, and other conditions obstruct the view of the cars’ cameras, interfering with object recognition sensors. “It’ s like losing part of your vision,” Rajkumar said.

Brumley on offensive cyber operations
The Washington Post

ECE/CyLab’s David Brumley was interviewed by the The Washington Post about the Trump administration’s goal for loosening constraints on offensive cyber operations. A majority of security experts agree with the move, which allows the U.S. to challenge international adversaries and reconsider their attacks, but they advise to proceed carefully and caution against giving the military free reign. Brumley believes the move is “common sense” on an operational level. “The military should be able to use their judgmen—within the confines of law—to determine where and how to conduct an offensive cyber operation,” he said. “Allowing the men and women who are experts in cyber to make the call on how to use cyber is common sense.”

Whitacre interviewed about Tesla’s battery
The Wall Street Journal

EPP/MSE’s Jay Whitacre was interviewed for a video by the Wall Street Journal and explained the main reason why Tesla’s cars have high costs. The big portion of the costs is due to the battery. Whitacre studies these lithium-ion battery cells produced by Panasonic. Whitacre explains that Tesla has worked extensively to reduce costs from the battery pack, such as creating Gigafactory, a joint venture with Panasonic to scale up and mass-produce batteries. However, the video concludes that new technological advancements to reduce the car cost will take some time.

Winners of the 2018 College of Engineering Staff Recognition Awards announced

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 College of Engineering Staff Recognition Awards! At the 24th annual staff award ceremony winners were announced and length of service awards were distributed. The winners in each category were:
  • Continuous Excellence Award: Beth Hockenberry (CEE)
  • Innovation Award: Megan Kearns (CyLab)
  • Inspirational Leadership Award: Sandra DeVincent Wolf (Dean's Office)
  • Spirit Award: Deborah Kuntz (EPP)
  • Rookie Award: Mi Kim (MechE)
  • Burritt Education Award: Kate Sencindiver (MechE)

Samaras on energy science research for Green New Deal
National Geographic

CEE’s Costa Samaras was interviewed by National Geographic in a breakdown of the Green New Deal. One of the keywords and concepts laid out in the plan is continued and stronger support of research. There has been a decades-long decline in monetary support for research in basic science and energy science, but for mobilization of any program like the Green New Deal, Samaras says it is crucial that there is more support for basic and energy science. “It’s impossible to look at the federal R&D budget for clean energy, for climate monitoring, and for resilience, and see any semblance of an appropriately scaled federal response to the grand challenge of climate change,” he said.

Samaras interviewed about Green New Deal
National Geographic

In an article analyzing the Green New Deal recently introduced in Congress and historical precedents of some of the measures, National Geographic spoke with CEE’s Costa Samaras about the possibilities in revamping how Americans get from place the place. The proposed resolution discusses 13 different branches to move towards a net-zero emissions country in just 10 years. Some of the subjects include developing the electric grid system, improving social and physical infrastructure, and increasing the use of electric transportation. Transportation programs have worked in Norway and Shenzhen, China, and Samaras believes that though this reform will be difficult to implement in the United States, it is not impossible. Even though it's really hard and ambitious, that doesn't mean we shouldn't set goals and try, he said. But competing priorities of economics, equity, policy, and rapid decarbonization have to be weighed carefully.

Faculty and students remember John Wiss
Mechanical Engineering

John William Wiss, a MechE professor for 30 years, passed away on January 13, 2019. He is remembered as a beloved teacher, mentor, and colleague, as well as a leader of Carnegie Mellon Racing (CMR), serving as faculty advisor and helping to fund the team himself.“John’s heart was really in the work. He enjoyed teaching the internal combustion engines course and working with the CMR team. Indeed, he was partly responsible for starting CMR,” said Satbir Singh, an associate teaching professor who now teaches the course and advises the team. “I learned a lot from John.”

Moura hosts Portuguese delegation at CMU
CMU Portugal

Manuel Heitor, Portugal’s Minister of Science, Technology, and Higher Education, visited Carnegie Mellon alongside a delegation of 15 people. The visit, hosted by ECE/CMU Portugal’s José Moura, strengthened the cooperation between the Portuguese government and Carnegie Mellon in the field of Information and Communication Technologies. The attendees discussed research and announced future initiatives, including new executive training programs and a call for research projects. Also attending were President of Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia Paulo Ferrão, CMU Portugal Director Nuno Nunes, CMU’s Provost James Garrett, and CMU’s President Farnam Jahanian.

Lau awarded George Washington Prize
Civil & Environmental Engineering

CEE senior Noel Lau received the George Washington Prize on February 7 at the Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania awards dinner. The annual prize is given to a senior in the College of Engineering who exemplifies academic excellence, service, and leadership. Within CEE, Lau has become an unofficial mentor to undergraduate students, especially those who transferred into the department as she did. Lau is also heavily involved in service, both at Carnegie Mellon and in Pittsburgh. She is the president of Chi Epsilon, the civil engineering honor society, has worked with Engineers Without Borders, and chairs Partners Allied for Civic Engagement.

Adams named the A&WMA 2019 Lyman A. Ripperton Environmental Educator award winner
Civil & Environmental Engineering

CEE/EPP’s Peter Adams recently earned the 2019 Lyman A. Ripperton Environmental award, named by the Air and Waste Management Association (A&WMA). The annual award is given to an educator who inspires students and teaches with “rigor, humor, humility, and pride.” As a professor, Adams has taught in the College of Engineering and Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Science, covering topics spanning engineering, science, and policy. His research centers on the development of chemical transport models and their application to decision-making, especially related to PM2.5. Some of his former students are now leaders of industry, government, and academic in air quality research and practice.

Feinberg elected to the ARMI’s Leadership Advisory Committee
Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute

BME/MSE’s Adam Feinberg has been elected to the Leadership Advisory Committee (LAC) for the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI). The LAC advises ARMI’s BioFabUSA related to policies and strategic guidance concerning technology and research priorities, objectives, and content of research programs, policies and strategic guidance concerning the education and workforce development programs, and the strategic direction of BioFabUSA. ARMI aims to help existing industries and grow news ones by promoting large-scale manufacturing of engineering tissues and tissue-related technologies. Feinberg’s research is focused on the interaction between cells and tissues with engineered materials, and determining how cells sense, respond and modulate their environment.

Presto comments on lost productivity during shutdown

The 2018-2019 government shutdown halted a wide range of science-related agencies, including NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the Environmental Protection Agency. MechE’s Albert Presto commented that losing a month in productivity can really hurt scientists, especially those working on time-sensitive projects or just getting started. “It’s hard to quantify in terms of dollars how much the shutdown cost scientists in lost time,” he says. Presto was also quoted in Science News

Rollett awarded grant from Department of Energy’s Office of Science
U.S. DOE Office of Science

MSE’s Tony Rollett recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science in support of his research that uses high energy X-rays to study plastic deformation. Incorporating a combination of X-ray dark field imaging, Bragg coherent diffractive imaging (BCDI), and high energy diffraction microscopy (HEDM), the study aims to simulate the plastic deformation of polycrystals to better understand this process. Rollett is also collaborating with Bob Suter of the Department of Physics on this research project.

Jaramillo discusses decarbonization at energy forum

EPP’s Paulina Jaramillo and two other experts discussed energy issues during the panel at “The Future of Energy: Can we get to zero carbon?t” forum. When asked to weigh in on Governor Wolf’s plans to reduce carbon emissions, she responded that decarbonizing the electric sector is “low-hanging fruit,” and the real challenge lies in transportation and industry. She adds that hydrogen may be a way to decarbonize the more difficult sectors.

Apt comments on Gov. Wolf's greenhouse gas goals

Governor Tom Wolf wants to reduce Pennsylvania’s greenhouse gas emissions 26% by 2025 and 80% by 2050. EPP’s Jay Apt says that this goal is plausible because energy investments are long-lived and the choices we make today can greatly affect the future. He adds that keeping nuclear power plants operating is a good low-pollution strategy.

Engineering alumni receive Alumni Achievement Award
Carnegie Mellon University news

Two Engineering alumni will be among those receiving awards at this year's Commencement. Alumnus Eric Butler will receive the Alumni Achievement Award for exceptional accomplishment and leadership in his field. Alumna Roseanne Silva will receive the Alumni Service Award for her dedicated service to the university, and, in particular, to the Information Networking Institute. 

Whitmore’s research supports Greenlining report on transportation
Mother Jones

According to a recent report published by the non-profit Greenlining Institute, proper policy and regulation will be crucial in shaping a positive outcome from recent revolutions in transportation. When asked to comment on the hype surrounding electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, ride-sharing services, and other recent innovations, CEE’s Allanté Whitmore said “the appeal of this technology really elevates the discussion [around transportation policy]. It gets people excited.”

Qian’s team creates AI system to predict parking occupancy

A paper published by CEE’s Sean Qian, Xidong Pi, Wei Ma, and Shuguan Yang was the subject of a recent story in VentureBeat. The study examined an AI system the team created to predict parking occupancy in real time, using information from parking meters and additional data, such as weather and traffic speed. The results of testing in Pittsburgh’s downtown area show that their model was superior to other baseline methods in predicting parking occupancy 30 minutes in advance.

Cranor comments on spike in stolen personal records in 2018
NBC News

CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor recently commented for NBC News on the dramatic increase in the number of personal records stolen by hackers in the past year. Hackers stole almost 447 million personal records in 2018, more than double the 198 million estimated stolen in 2017. “We've always been sloppy when it comes to data security and the hackers are finding creative new ways to exploit that,” says Cranor.

Whitehead wins ASEE McGraw Research Award

ChemE’s Kathryn Whitehead has won the American Society for Engineering Education’s (ASEE) Curtis W. McGraw Research Award. This award recognizes outstanding early achievements by young engineering researchers, and is given to encourage the continuance of outstanding research. Whitehead is a leader in the area of drug delivery, particularly as it relates to nucleic acid and oral protein delivery. She is widely recognized for breakthroughs that include highly-effective, low toxicity behavior for intestinal patches, polymer-protein conjugates, fruit-derived intestinal permeation enhancers, and high-throughput methods for nanoparticle-based RNA delivery to treat many diseases including atherosclerosis, liver cancer, and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The McGraw Research Award will be presented at the ASEE’s Engineering Research Council Annual Conference in Washington, DC on March 12, 2019.

Rubin speaks at children’s school in Valencia
Radio Valencia

EPP/MechE’s Ed Rubin recently spoke with children at a school in Valencia about climate change. You can listen to a short, non-English clip on Radio Valencia.

Péraire and Erdogmus advance flipped classroom format

In a flipped classroom, students learn the theory independently and apply it in practice during class time. CMU-SV’s Cécile Péraire and Hakan Erdogmus used this format in their Foundations of Software Engineering Class, one of the first times it was used for a graduate software engineering class. They wrote two papers on the experience, discussing issues of videos, lectures, co-instruction, and student motivation.

MechE students create IoT-enabled grilled cheese robot

MechE students Taylor Tabb, Mitchell Riek, and Evan Hill were featured on Hackaday for their automated grilled cheese-making robot. The robot, named “The Cheeeseborg,” is IoT-enabled via Google Assistant and was created for the students’ electromechanical design capstone project.


Grossmann receives honorary degree
Universidad de Alicante

ChemE’s Ignacio Grossmann has received an honorary doctorate (Doctor Honoris Causa) from Spain’s Universidad de Alicante (University of Alicante). The University President presented the honorary degree to Grossmann at the university’s traditional Saint Thomas Aquinas ceremony.

This honorary doctorate marks Grossmann’s seventh honorary degree. The other six are from Abo Akademi (Finland, 2002), University of Maribor (Slovenia, 2007), Technical University of Dortmund (Germany, 2012),University of Cantabria (Spain, 2016), Kazan National Research Technological University, Kazan (Russia, 2016), and Universidad Nacional del Litoral (Argentina, 2018). After receiving his honorary doctorate at the University of Alicante ceremony, Grossmann gave a speech defending social responsibility in chemical engineering and research focused on the great challenges of the 21st century: energy, water, and global warming.

Whitmore interviewed about driverless cars and public policy

CEE/EPP Ph.D. candidate Allanté Whitmore was interviewed for an article by Grist about public policy governments can make to use driverless car technology to help those in poverty and work toward equity. A recent study by the Greenlining Institute argues that if no policy is enforced, then driverless technology will only benefit those who can afford it and will contribute to the deterioration of public transportation many people depend on. Whitmore agrees with the study’s suggestion to employ driverless shuttles that not only cut pollution but help disadvantaged communities. “The appeal of this technology really elevates the discussion. It gets people excited,” Whitmore said. “These new technologies are a lot more cost efficient.”

Samaras on electric car charging stations

CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in a WIRED article about the predicament of metropolitan areas around the United States regarding the growth of electric cars and the need for more charging stations to power these cars. By 2022, the auto industry is expected to produce more than 100 electric vehicle models, selling to more people. More electric cars on the road mean more charging stations are needed. “It's a tough position for cities—if they don’t build enough charging stations the growth of EVs will be slower, hampering local climate and air quality goals,” said Samaras. “But if they overbuild charging stations, it’s expensive and these chargers might sit empty for a little while during the transition.”

Fanti works on faster cryptocurrency called unit-e

Although cryptocurrency is becoming more mainstream, it can still only handle seven transactions per second, far less than PayPal and Visa’s rates. To tackle this problem of scalability, ECE’s Giulia Fanti is working alongside other researchers at Distributed Technologies Research on a new, faster cryptocurrency called Unit-e. Fanti is optimistic about the progress and credits the team’s interdisciplinary and experimental approach.

Savvides recognized at Immigrant Entrepreneur Celebration
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

CyLab/ECE’s Marios Savvides was one of eight people recognized at GlobalPittsburgh’s 3rd Annual Immigrant Entrepreneur Celebration and Award Ceremony. Savvides, who hails from Cyprus, won the Technological Innovation category for his work as the founder and director of the CyLab Biometrics Center.

Lightman’s report published on autonomous vehicles and potholes

Metro21 Executive Director Karen Lightman’s report, “AI takes on potholes,” was recently published by Axios. In the article, Lightman says that while autonomous vehicle developers have focused on improving responses to other things on the road, they haven’t addressed the roads themselves. According to Lightman, “potholes alone caus[e] $3 billion in vehicle damage per year,” and mapping and assessing road conditions could be “used to guide infrastructure repairs and investments.”

Wadhwa interviewed on the next technology innovations

In a phone interview with Bloomberg, CMU-SV Distinguished Fellow Vivek Wadhwa discussed upcoming innovations in technology and where these innovations might come from, such as from Apple. According to Wadhwa, “Apple has been conservative in their acquisition strategy,” and “innovation is not in one particular technology.”

Koopman discusses safety and the future of self-driving cars
The Atlantic

In The Atlantic’s article about the future of self-driving cars, ECE’s Phil Koopman commented on how safety might affect the technology’s future. Aside from questions of artificial intelligence capabilities, hackability, and overall viability, the inability to screen self-driving vehicles for safety might determine their future. Koopman says, “Safety is about the one kid the software might have missed, not about the 99 it didn’t.”

Samaras quoted on new mobile electric vehicle charging stations

CEE’s Costa Samaras was recently quoted by Wired on Volkswagen’s new mobile charging stations, which will reportedly start appearing everywhere in 2020. Though the charging stations are referred to as “mobile,” they are in fact very large. However, the new charging stations will give more people access to electric vehicles “who are worried about a place to plug in,” say Samaras.

Hilda Diamond passes away at 91
Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle

Ruth Hilda Diamond, former administrator in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, recently passed away at the age of 91. Diamond served on the BME staff from 1967 until her retirement in 2011, during which time she earned a degree in art history and helped provide opportunities and support for women in engineering. Listen to an interview with Diamond on her time at the College of Engineering.

Zhu supports microwave-assisted magnetic recording
IEEE Spectrum

ECE’s Jian-Gang (Jimmy) Zhu recently commented for IEEE Spectrum on the future of magnetic storage. The leading manufacturers of hard drives, Seagate Technology and Western Digital, are split on how to solve the longstanding debate over how to squeeze more data into a given area. “In my opinion, (microwave-assisted magnetic recording is) a nonargument." Zhu, whose models and theoretical work laid the foundation for microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR) development, feels MAMR is a step or two behind, simply because companies have spent more than $2 billion developing heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) over the years, by his estimate, whereas they’ve spent only $100 million so far on MAMR.

Azevedo warns Pittsburgh’s climate change goals require significant resources and policy commitment

EPP’s Inês Azevedo recently spoke with WESA about the City of Pittsburgh’s goals to combat climate change. By 2030, the City plans to cut carbon emissions city-wide by half, cut water consumption in city buildings by half, and power the city’s buildings with 100% renewable energy. The goals are ambitious, Azevedo notes, and would require “an enormous amount of resources and policies that are tailored to achieving those goals in the expected timeframe.”

Russell receives Pittsburgh Business Times’ 2018 Innovator Award
Pittsburgh Business Times

ChemE’s Alan Russell was awarded the 2018 Innovator Award by the Pittsburgh Business Times for his work with BioHybrid Solutions, a company he co-founded with Chemistry’s Krzysztof Matyjaszewski. While the company is still in its infancy, Russell expects to see significant growth in the near future. “Right now we have seven employees,” he said. “But I hope to make an announcement later this year that would make us ten-fold bigger. It would be a very significant deal in terms of annual revenue.”

Cranor says Facebook views user data as “a corporate asset”

CyLab/EPP’s Lorrie Cranor recently commented for CNET in the wake of troubling emails that have emerged regarding data privacy practices at Facebook. While public concern has repeatedly been raised after multiple data privacy incidents at the company over the last couple years, the emails appear to cast doubt on Facebook’s claims that it does not sell user data. “This email certainly doesn’t express any value of privacy or protecting users,” says Cranor. “This is expressing that data is a corporate asset, and that we don’t want to give it away.”

Whitefoot joins group of experts in refuting EPA proposal
Science Magazine

MechE/EPP’s Katie Whitefoot recently joined experts from 10 other leading universities and institutions in co-authoring a study challenging the EPA’s 2018 proposal to freeze fuel economy and emissions standards between 2020 and 2025. The authors contend that the decision, which contradicts a report made in 2016 and affirmed by the EPA in 2017, “has fundamental flaws and inconsistences, is at odds with basic economic theory and empirical studies, is misleading, and does not improve estimates of costs and benefits of fuel economy standards beyond those in the 2016 analysis.”

Samaras recommends adoption of electric vehicles in Washington Post opinion piece
The Washington Post

In a recent Washington Post opinion article, “How we can combat climate change,” CEEs Costa Samaras recommends that to implement “rapid and far-reaching” changes to our energy systems by 2030, as the IPCC implores, we must encourage the further adoption of electric vehicles. “Because we use little oil to make electricity, and the power grid is getting cleaner as natural gas and renewables replace coal,” he says, “electrifying as much of the transportation sector as possible could speed up an energy transition.”

Chase quoted in Reuters on Stanford BCI experiment

BME’s Steve Chase was quoted in Reuters on a recent experiment performed by Stanford University. While previous experiments have had some success using brain sensors paired with customized computers to help paralyzed patients type up to eight words a minute, the article says, the current test focused on making it possible for these patients to use tablets and smartphones right out of the box without any special modifications. “What’s new here,” said Chase, who wasn’t involved in the experiment, “is the rather elegant demonstration that patients can control an unmodified computer tablet and interact with all the common software programs that these devices have: email, web browsers, chat programs, etc. This means that specialized software won’t have to be designed for users of these devices, which greatly expands the range of applications these patients would immediately have access to.”