Carnegie Mellon University

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Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University

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Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is a private research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The university began as the Carnegie Technical Schools, founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1900. In 1912, the school became Carnegie Institute of Technology and began granting four-year degrees. In 1967, the Carnegie Institute of Technology merged with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research to form Carnegie Mellon University. The university's 140-acre main campus is 3 miles from Downtown Pittsburgh. Carnegie Mellon has seven colleges and independent schools: the Carnegie Institute of Technology (engineering), College of Fine Arts, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Mellon College of Science, Tepper School of Business, H. John Heinz III College and the School of Computer Science.

In 2010, the Wall Street JournalĀ ranked Carnegie Mellon 1st in computer science, 4th in finance, 7th in economics, 10th overall, and 21st in engineering according to job recruiters.

Honors: A Technology Powerhouse

Carnegie Mellon News

Carnegie Mellon University News

The desert is a tricky place for robots to navigate — just ask Aaron Johnson. The assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University recently won the Army Research Office's Young Investigator Award for his work designing intelligent interaction between robots and their environments.

Johnson's experiences testing robots in the Mojave Desert as a Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania cemented his interest in getting robots to overcome challenging terrain, and he started thinking about jumping and leaping behaviors.

"It was clear that we could handle some terrain but not others-the bots had particular difficulty with areas where the rocks were bigger than their legs," said Johnson, who earned his bachelor's degree from CMU's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

He will apply these ideas to his newly funded project as he investigates ways to model uncertainty when faced with rocky hills.

Wed, 20 Mar 2019

Egon Balas, a pioneer in integer and disjunctive programming and university professor of industrial administration and applied mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University, once admitted he had been convicted of a crime while being interviewed for jury duty. The charge: conspiracy to overthrow a government.

Balas, University Professor of Industrial Administration and Applied Mathematics and the Thomas Lord Professor of Operations Research at the Tepper School of Business, died on March 18, 2019. He was 96. His life included two imprisonments for joining the communist party to oppose the Nazis during World War II. He later became one of the world’s foremost experts in mathematical optimization after joining Carnegie Mellon in 1967.

“A beloved member of the CMU faculty for more than half a century, Egon Balas was a preeminent and legendary scholar who was enormously influential in the fields of operations research and applied mathematics," said Farnam Jahanian, president of Carnegie Mellon University. “Throughout his long and distinguished career as a researcher and teacher, he applied bold, focused and independent thinking to solve complex problems and also demonstrated a profound sense of humility, character and good humor. His extraordinary life and legacy will continue to serve as an inspiration to the entire CMU community.”

Balas was born into a Hungarian Jewish family in Cluj, Romania in 1922 and changed his birth name, Blatt, to Balas after World War II to conceal his Jewish identity. Balas studied math and physics in high school, learning from top minds, who, because they were Jewish, were excluded from higher academic posts.

After high school, Balas wanted to continue studies in physics but was blocked by anti-Semitic laws. Determined to fight Nazism, he took jobs in metalworking and joined the Iron and Steelworkers’ Union and the underground Hungarian Communist Party, distributing leaflets and helping to organize a strike. He was arrested by Fascist Hungarian authorities in 1944, tortured and thought he would be killed, but was spared when Russian troops occupied his hometown.

Sentenced to 14 years at hard labor, he escaped during transport to Germany and made his way home, where he learned that all of his immediate family had been killed along with most of the 18,000 Jews who had lived in Cluj before the war. Fewer than 2,000 returned after it ended. Still in the Communist Party, Balas taught himself economics and joined the Romanian government as economics director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During a power struggle in 1952, he was arrested and put in solitary confinement for more than two years, again suffering torture.

Released from prison in 1954, Balas became disenchanted with Communism, especially after a trip with his wife to the Soviet Union exposed economic conditions much worse than depicted in the state press. In a 2016 interview, available on INFORMS’ web site, Balas describes the difficulty of his transition after spending decades trying to make economic sense of Marxism and Socialism. But he also says this disillusionment helped spur his turn to mathematics.

In 1959, at the age of 37, Balas immersed himself in the then emerging field of linear programming, gaining recognition with a novel solution to a timber-harvesting problem. He called his solution the Additive Algorithm, similar to what is known as implicit numeration or constraint propagation today. He later earned Ph.D. degrees in economics (University of Brussels, 1967) and mathematics (University of Paris, 1968).

Balas circulated his findings at several conferences, publishing them in 1965 in the journal, Operations Research. It became one of the most oft-cited optimization papers of its day. William Cooper, the associate editor who worked with Balas on the article, later helped bring Balas to Carnegie Mellon in 1967. (Cooper is a founding faculty member of the Graduate School of Industrial Administration, forerunner to the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon.)

“As a university professor and respected member of the Tepper School faculty, Egon epitomized the incredible work ethic and scholarly achievements that lie at the heart of our university’s academic culture,” said James H. Garrett, Jr., provost of Carnegie Mellon University and the Thomas Lord Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering. “His life journey was filled with courage and an earnest sense of discovery, and he brought these admirable qualities to the classroom to inspire every student he taught. We will always appreciate Egon’s dedication in seeing our university thrive, and will cherish all of his contributions that have enriched Carnegie Mellon’s culture of learning.”

During his time at CMU, Balas continued to develop new methods in the field of integer programming, in particular disjunctive programming. In 1995, he earned the prestigious John von Neumann Prize from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), which is considered the Nobel Prize of operations research. In 2001, he won the EURO Gold Medal and in 2006, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and the IFORS Operational Research Hall of Fame.

“We are greatly saddened to say goodbye to a remarkable person, valued colleague, and long-time member of the GSIA and Tepper School family,” said Bob Dammon, dean of the Tepper School of Business. “Egon Balas was a highly accomplished researcher in the field of applied mathematics and a true pioneer of the field of integer programming. He will be missed by all who had the great pleasure to know him and work alongside him.”

For his scholarly contributions, Balas received honorary doctorates in mathematics from the University of Waterloo and Miguel Hernandez University in Elche, Spain. He was also inducted into the Hungarian Academy of Science and received the Humboldt Research Award for U.S. Senior Scientists from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Urged by his wife, Edith, Balas also wrote a well-received memoir, “Will to Freedom: A Perilous Journey Through Fascism and Communism,” published in 2000 by Syracuse University Press and available in six languages. He published his second book in 2019, “Disjunctive Programming,” a text that explores the disjunctive programming analytical technique that Balas introduced in 1974.

In addition, he also was an expert at ping-pong, competing in tournaments as a child. As an adult, he continued playing tennis through his 95th year.

For a man who spent much of the formative years of his life fighting oppression, Balas acknowledged that the academic freedom he had at Carnegie Mellon was very important to him. “To put it briefly I am still very, very grateful to Carnegie Mellon for this initial, enormous help, and all the later years when I was treated well,” he said in the INFORMS interview.

Balas is survived by his wife of 70 years, Edith, a respected art historian, whom he met and married in Cluj after the war; two children, Anna Balas and Vera Balas Koutsoyannis; three grandchildren, Alexander Waldron, John Koutsoyannis and Robert Koutsoyannis; and four great-grandchildren.
Tue, 19 Mar 2019

State governments that offer resource, policy and infrastructure support to help aid technological innovation provide important resources for young companies, even if the technologies the companies are developing aren't a sure thing. But it is not enough for governments to offer this funding - especially if companies are unaware what is available.

Daniel Armanios, assistant professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, along with Ph.D. student Dian Yu and co-author Lauren Lanahan of the University of Oregon, have compiled a database of resources using reporting from the State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI). They have detailed their methodology in a recent paper published in the journal of the Academy of Management Discoveries.

"We term this phenomenon as 'government experimentation,'" the team explained in the paper. "Scholarship has tended to examine national efforts, yet local governments are in an ideal position to tailor programs to the local market context given their proximity."

To help companies understand and make use of public funding, the aim of their research is two-fold. First, it outlines the method by which they compiled their database. Second, it analyzes this local government experimentation, comparing each state's policy portfolio, and separating the different ways in which state governments seek to support such experimental efforts into four distinct categories - hub specialists, public entrepreneurs, industry architects and ecosystem designers. These four categories are used to describe the ways local governments experiment through what aspects of technology-based economic development they are trying to enhance and by what specific sectors they are trying to support.

"Most prior approaches either simply counted the number of ways a state experiments or aggregated the total experimentation at the national level," Armanios said. "What we found from our results is that this misses important distinctions between states. Even more problematic, aggregating to national levels may actually lead to differing - and potentially misleading - assumptions as to how states experiment."

For entrepreneurs and small companies, this database will clarify what sort of technological developments their state is interested in supporting, thereby helping them better frame and target their technology initiatives to current government priorities. In particular, this database helps highlight what sectors their state seeks to involve in technology-based economic development, and around what aspects: training and human capital, physical infrastructure, or innovation in a broad or narrow set of technologies.

Empowered with this knowledge, the team said they hope that future entrepreneurs and small companies will feel further empowered to seek funding from the ever-expanding pool of public-sector funds and not just the private sector such as venture capitalists or angel investors.

Entrepreneurs, small business owners, and policymakers seeking to use the database can find it at:

Funding support for this work was provided by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Tue, 19 Mar 2019

China's rapid economic development in recent years has made it one of the world's largest emitters of carbon dioxide. The air pollution is staggering, and recent studies estimate that it was responsible for anywhere from 900,000 to 1.2 million deaths in 2013, making it one of China's largest mortality risk factors.

Reducing air pollution has become a high priority issue in Chinese politics. While doing so would have a major positive affect on the health of citizens, it also would also have the added effect of reducing the country's negative impact on climate change.

Brian Sergi, a Ph.D. student in Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Engineering and Public Policy, along with Professors Inês Azevedo and Alex Davis, and Peking University's Tian Xia and Jianhua Xu, have conducted a study in 10 Chinese cities to measure public support on how respondents prioritize factors such as energy source, cost, and reduction of emissions related to climate change or air pollution. The work was published in Ecological Economics.

"This study measures how much respondents would be willing to pay for cleaner electricity," Sergi said. "We were also curious to explore whether experience with pollution would impact those levels of support. For example, are people who live in more polluted areas willing to pay more to reduce emissions? To address this, we collected actual air quality measurements and compared them to respondents' preferences from the survey."

The team found that respondents showed support for reducing emissions related to climate change and air pollution, and on average were willing to pay more for emissions reductions that addressed both issues simultaneously, compared to reductions that only addressed climate or health separately. Additionally, that willingness to pay for these reductions increased if the respondent lived in a city with higher levels of pollution.

"People on average care about both climate change and air pollution, and are willing to pay more for emissions reductions if they address both of these together," Sergi said. "Accordingly, if we build in consideration of air pollution and human health when designing strategies for climate mitigation and communicate those benefits to the public, we are likely to see greater public support for those reductions."

Though so far the team has only studied these preferences in China and the U.S., they said it is likely that the global population in general would support emissions reductions that have both climate and health benefits, with some variations in strength of support depending on more specific contexts. For example, the relationship between support for emissions reductions for both climate and health reasons is likely to be stronger in countries where air pollution is observably high than in those with visibly "cleaner" air.

"Relatively clean countries like the U.S. are less likely to show this relationship and may even encounter the opposite trend of regulatory skepticism and pushback such as we've seen against the EPA," Sergi said. "Ironically, the U.S. still incurs large health consequences from air pollution, but because the issue is less visible and salient, it is likely to be less of a driver for most of the population."
Tue, 19 Mar 2019

The Pittsburgh Penguins, Covestro and Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering hosted their second Make-a-thon, kicking off year two of the "Rethink the Rink" initiative. The trio joined forces last year in this first-of-its kind collaboration to make hockey safer at all levels. As it continues to shoot for a safer game, Rethink the Rink 2019 focuses on a new aspect of hockey innovation — player safety equipment.

"When we started this a year ago, the focus was on redesigning the boards and glass in an attempt to make the game safer for players of all ages," said David Morehouse, president and CEO of the Penguins. "This year's project focuses on the players' equipment, and could involve everything from helmets and gloves to shoulder pads to goalie masks."

The Make-a-thon brought together teams of CMU students who presented prototypes at an event at Covestro Innovation Rink at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry.

The Make-a-thon brought together diverse teams of CMU engineering students for a weeklong ideation event at the school's makerspace in mid-March. The students had access to advanced materials and technical expertise from Covestro and explored ways to improve upon protective equipment for player safety. Their challenge was to uncover material solutions to strengthen player protection without inhibiting player performance.

Rethink the Rink 2019 focused innovation around player safety equipment.

"We're a stronger, more practiced team, having made significant progress since our first Make-a-thon," said Jerry MacCleary, chairman and CEO of Covestro LLC. "We've spent the better part of a year transforming those initial ideas and concepts into a next-generation dasher board prototype, which is in production now. There's a lot of momentum behind this effort, and it will continue to grow as the initiative evolves."

The students designed and developed basic prototypes, which were unveiled during a presentation and awards ceremony March 15. The ceremony took place in the Covestro Innovation Rink at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry.

During the Make-a-thon, students had access to advanced materials and technical expertise from Covestro and worked to uncover material solutions to strengthen player protection.

"We now have a literal innovation arena to test the concepts and ideas coming out of Rethink the Rink. It's a fitting backdrop for a collaboration that is already pushing boundaries and delivering promising results," MacCleary said.

"When students learn to leverage each other's backgrounds in different disciplines to solve a common challenge, they gain a valuable experience in real-world teamwork," said Jonathan Cagan, interim dean of CMU's College of Engineering.

"When you add in coaching from the professional experts from Covestro and the Penguins to guide their problem-solving process, it's a win-win situation. We call that process 'Advanced Collaboration℠.'"

Mon, 18 Mar 2019

Dear Members of the University Community,

As many of you are likely aware, the trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld, charged with criminal homicide for shooting and killing Antwon Rose Jr. last summer, will begin this week at the Allegheny County Courthouse in downtown Pittsburgh. This tragedy elicited strong community reaction and protests across the city following the incident. We are aware of the potential for additional protests and increased police presence in the Pittsburgh region in conjunction with the trial.

Your safety and well-being are our top priorities.

Carnegie Mellon University supports freedom of speech and the right to non-violent protest. If you encounter or decide to participate in a rally or demonstration, please be cautious and remain aware of your surroundings. If you have a concern for your safety or witness any unlawful activity, please call University Police at 412-268-2323. If you are off campus, please call Pittsburgh Police at 9-1-1.

As the trial transpires and media coverage ramps up, I would like to remind everyone that the university has resources available for those that may need to talk to someone. The Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion is a welcoming gathering place with staff ready to engage with any community member. Additionally, Counseling and Psychological Services is a valuable resource for students.

Thank you for your attention. The university will continue to monitor the situation and updates will be sent via email and/or CMU-Alert as needed. If you are not registered for CMU-Alert or your contact information has changed, please go to and click “How Can I Sign Up?”


Rodney P. McClendon
Vice President for Operations 
Carnegie Mellon University

Mon, 18 Mar 2019

Arthur Levine, the sixth president of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, will deliver Carnegie Mellon University's Simon Initiative Distinguished Lecture at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, March 21 in the Tepper Building's Simmons Auditorium A. The event is free and open to the public.

Arthur Levine

Levine's talk, "The Future of Higher Education: Three Forces with the Capacity to Transform America's Colleges and Universities," also is part of CMU's University Lecture Series. The education leader will explore how much, in what ways and by what process higher education can be expected to change in the years ahead.

Levine is the author of 12 books and dozens of articles and reviews, including a series of reports for the Education Schools Project, an effort that aims to improve the education of teachers, administrators and researchers who serve school-age children. His books include "Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today's College Student," "Shaping Higher Education's Future," "Handbook on Undergraduate Curriculum" and "Reform of Undergraduate Education," for which he won the American Council on Education's Book of the Year Award.

The higher education leader has written pieces for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He has earned the Educational Press Association's Award for Writing three times. Levine is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and sits on the boards of Say Yes to Education and Motivis Learning.

Named for the late Nobel and Turing Award laureate and CMU Professor Herbert A. Simon, the Simon Initiative harnesses a cross-disciplinary learning engineering ecosystem that has developed over several decades at Carnegie Mellon. The initiative's goal is to measurably improve student learning outcomes.

Mon, 18 Mar 2019

A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering, a School of Computer Science professor and an alumna from the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy are all among the 2019 Carnegie Science Award winners.

Established in 1997 by the Carnegie Science Center, the awards honor individuals and organizations whose contributions in the fields of science, technology and education significantly benefit Western Pennsylvania.

Changing the Tune of Magnetic Materials

The future of energy depends on new technology at the materials level. Specifically, power transformation components need to be smaller, more efficient and cheaper. To achieve this, a team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon's Department of Material Sciences and Engineering, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and NASA Glenn Research Center have worked together to develop a novel manufacturing process to create electromagnetic cores that will revolutionize technological innovation for power electronic applications.

In recognition of this achievement, the team will receive the Carnegie Science Award for Advanced Manufacturing and Materials. The award recognizes MSE Mike McHenry, MSE alumni Paul Ohodnicki and Alex Leary, researchers at NETL and NASA Glenn, respectively; Kevin Byerly, of NETL; and Vladimir Keylin, of NASA Glenn, for their breakthrough process of permeability engineering through strain annealing.

Engineering the permeability, or tuning the magnetism, of an electromagnetic core is important for creating efficient metal components for electrical devices. The team's process uses strain annealing, or heating soft magnetic amorphous metal ribbons under tension, to control nanocrystallization and the tuning of the material's magnetic response. The process ultimately leads to a significant decrease in the size of power electronic components.

The team applied the process to cobalt-based metal amorphous nanocomposite (MANC) materials that boast the world's largest response to permeability engineering. In the process, the metal ribbon is held under tension, and travels through a furnace heated to 500 to 600 degrees Celsius just before the final step of winding the ribbon into a tape-wound core. The researchers can optimize and tailor the core's magnetic permeability by carefully choosing the alloy chemistry and applied tension of the ribbon. The process allows for spatial variation in the magnetic permeability - lowering high frequency losses in the cores to make them more energy efficient.

The impact of this technology is threefold: it can reduce the size of the electromagnetic components without losing any power; it transforms energy without significant heating for better efficiency and reliability; and it has fewer processing steps resulting in lower production costs. Technology like this is needed to address the future of electricity production, transmission and transformation, and will help revitalize the nation's aging energy infrastructure and enhance electric vehicles. The team was awarded a patent on the technology in January.

"The thing that's most pleasing to me about this," McHenry said, "is that it was work between myself, some of my alumni, and other longtime collaborators. It's really a culmination of years of collaboration. It's a recent development, but something that wouldn't have happened if this group of people hadn't developed this level of trust among one another."

Professor Eric Xing has been named the winner of the 2019 Carnegie Science Award for Startup Entrepreneur.

Startup Star

Eric Xing, a professor in the Machine Learning Department and Language Technologies Institute, has been named the winner of the 2019 Carnegie Science Award for Startup Entrepreneurs, recognizing his leadership of Petuum Inc., which developed and markets an AI software platform for a wide range of industries.

Xing is founder and CEO of Petuum. Its software platform makes it easy for a wide range of users, from healthcare to manufacturing industries, to build virtually any type of AI application and deploy it on a variety of computing hardware. Since its establishment in July 2016, the company has raised $108 million in financing.

Xing earned a bachelor's degree in physics at Tshinghua University in Beijing, a Ph.D. in molecular biology and biochemistry at Rutgers University, and then a Ph.D. in computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the CMU faculty in 2004 and was named a full professor in 2014. He is a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and a recipient of the NSF Career Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, the U.S. Air Force Young Investigator Award and the IBM Open Collaborative Research Faculty Award.

412 Food Rescue, co-founded by Leah Lizarondo, will receive the Carnegie Science Award for Information Technology.

Food Disruptor

Created in response to the fact that 40 percent of the food supply in the United States goes to waste while one in seven people are hungry, 412 Food Rescue is the fastest-growing food recovery organization in the country. Co-founded by Leah Lizarondo, the organization partners with food retailers and other suppliers to pick up their healthy surplus food and deliver it to community nonprofit organizations, where it is directed to individuals and families experiencing food insecurity.

"People hate that food gets wasted, it's a very visceral issue," said Lizarondo, who graduated from Carnegie Mellon's Heinz College in 2003 with a master's degree in public policy and management.

The organization will receive the Carnegie Science Award for Information Technology for its innovative platform connects food donors with nonprofits that serve populations in poverty. The Food Rescue Hero app mobilizes a network of volunteer drivers to transport the food from donor restaurants, grocery stores, and farms to nonprofits in need of fresh food. In 2018, the program expanded to San Francisco, Cleveland and Philadelphia, and has a goal to be in 20 cities by 2020.

Ryan Sullivan, associate professor of mechanical engineering and chemistry, also was recognized with an honorable mention for the Environmental award category. Sullivan is a faculty member in the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies and investigates important physicochemical particle properties using custom single-particle instruments. These instruments allow him to rapidly characterize atmospheric aerosols in real-time, one particle after another. He also is developing improved analytical methods to measure individual particles using laser ablation mass spectrometry and laser spectroscopy.

Also among the winners is Remake Learning, a network dedicated to education innovation and equity that will receive this year's Chairman's Award. Carnegie Mellon is among the network's members, as are the Robotics Institute, the Robotics Academy, the CREATE Lab and members of LearnLab. Patricia DeMarco, a visiting researcher in the department of chemistry, will receive the Environmental award for her work as a member of the Forest Hills Borough Council.

All awardees will be recognized at the 23rd annual Carnegie Science Awards celebration on Friday, May 10, at the Carnegie Science Center. View the complete list of Carnegie Science Award winners on the organization's website.

Sun, 17 Mar 2019

Dear Members of the Carnegie Mellon Community,

It is becoming all too common in today’s world that we experience a senseless tragedy and an act of pure evil. Last night in New Zealand was yet another example of innocent lives being lost because of hatred and religious bigotry.

Today, we stand together with our Muslim community on campus and those across the globe to condemn these cowardly acts. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families as well as all of those impacted by these awful events.

Here at Carnegie Mellon, we will continue to be a community where our diverse worldviews—religious, spiritual, and secular—are understood, nurtured and honored.


Farnam Jahanian
Henry L. Hillman President's Chair
Carnegie Mellon University
Fri, 15 Mar 2019