Carnegie Mellon University

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Carnegie Mellon University are joining forces to celebrate the humanities in March.

Smart Talk about Stuff that Matters is a humanities festival with a broad definition of humanities—knowledge of humankind and its works. The event will include speakers presenting ideas on everything from art, literature, and music, to science, and politics. 

In 2013, 72 percent of Internet users said they searched the web for health information within the past year according to a Pew Research Center survey.

But that information might not be what it seems according to Alex John London, a Carnegie Mellon University professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Ethics and Policy.

Instead, what could seem to be unbiased material could actually be an advertisement from the hospital.

Despite the frigid temperatures, a few dozen people showed up to a fossil fuel divestment rally at Oakland’s Schenley Plaza Friday.

Those gathered wanted the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University to divest from coal, oil and natural gas. It's unknown how much of the universities’ investments are in those fields.

Pitt junior Mihir Mulloth went to the rally because he said he reads climate reports and the state of our planet becomes more alarming the more he reads.

Researcher Maps Pittsburgh's Worst Air Pollution

Feb 10, 2015
Courtesy: Albert Presto

Pittsburgh is the 6th most offensive city in the country in terms of air pollution, according to a 2014 report from the American Lung Association.

Could Pittsburgh make self-driving cars mainstream?

If it’s up to Carnegie Mellon University and Uber, the answer to that question is yes.

Carnegie Mellon University has partnered with the ride-sharing company to create the Uber Advanced Technologies Center.

This past October students at Carnegie Mellon University competed in an "impactathon," where students worked together to create some sort of shelter for the homeless that would provide protection from the elements and some heat during the winter.

“There’s a problem where the homeless don’t always come to standard shelter areas," said Jon Cagan, an engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University who spearheaded this project. "So what about bringing the shelters to them?”

Students had five days to come up with a solution. Sixteen teams competed.

Human trafficking is the second largest criminal enterprise in the world, second only to drug trafficking, according the FBI.

Sex trafficking is the most common form of human trafficking, and in an effort to try and find and identify those involved in the crime, researchers at CMU are developing online tools that go after a major vulnerability for sex traffickers — the need to advertise.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

At a lab in Carnegie Mellon University's Field Robotics Center, dozens of goggle-clad teenage girls are drilling, hammering and writing code.

They’re the Girls of Steel, and the goal is to build the mind and body of a robot in the next few weeks. Then the girls — and their robot — will enter robotics competitions.

"We picked a general overall design to really hashing out the details," said Sophia Lee, a junior at North Allegheny High School, who was drilling two pieces of wood together for an early prototype of the robot. "We know that we want to do this, but how exactly are we going to do, so what mechanisms are we going to use, like what kind of metal are we going to use what kind of parts are we going to use, is it going to actually work so this is basically the practice before we build the actual robot."

After voting in favor of a 2015 budget amendment that would speed up the timeline for deployment of body-worn cameras for police officers, Councilman Dan Gilman on Wednesday held a post-agenda meeting on surveillance and privacy.

Every minute of the last six months has been captured by a series of four high-end panoramic cameras trained on some of the most scenic views to be found in southwestern Pennsylvania.

But the collection of pictures has not been created to help the sell the city to tourists and businesses, instead they have been put up to document the pollution that often gets in the way of seeing the landscape.

Jessica Nath / 90.5

John Mann’s class project this semester will be sent to the moon next year.

The Carnegie Mellon University computer science student, along with about 30 other students, is taking part in a class called Mobile Robot Design that centers on constructing a moon rover named “Andy.”

Mann said the students are split into groups, each with a particular job.

“I primarily do software, particularly software related to driving Andy and getting and displaying information from Andy,” Mann said.

The National Science Foundation has awarded $9.65 million to the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center Monday to create a user-friendly supercomputer called “Bridges.”

Unlike other systems that require users to login, punch in commands using specialized computing skills and wait a few days for the results, Bridges allows scientists and researchers to access the database online through a series of portals, which Nick Nystrom, director of strategic applications at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, said leads to a more fluid experience.

There are an estimated 30,000 Americans living with Lou Gehrigs Disease, also known as, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, at any given time, according to the ALS Association.

Neil Alexander is one of those people.

“You eventually become paralyzed,” he said, “and you can’t speak.”

That’s where iExpress comes in.

More than half of American adults have a smartphone. With those smartphones come a variety of apps one can download — either free or purchased. As privacy concerns continue for many Americans, a new project out of Carnegie Mellon University seeks to shed light on how personal information is used by Android apps, namely the free ones.

33 Genes Linked to Autism by CMU, Pitt Study

Oct 29, 2014

An international research team led by professors from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University has identified 33 genes that contribute to the risk of autism.

The team also uncovered 70 genes that are “likely” linked to autism risk, and have estimated that more than 1,000 have yet to be identified. According to the researchers, the discovery, which is the largest to date, enhances the scientific community’s understanding of how a brain with autism spectrum disorder works.

Why have Democrats and Republicans become so divided? And why can’t Congress seem to agree on anything?

These are the questions that American voters have been asking themselves for years, and new research might finally have an answer.

According to a report released by Carnegie Mellon University, these extreme political differences are the result of close and heated elections.

Researchers have found voters on opposite ends of the political gamut tend to favor more polarizing candidates when an election is thought to be close.

Carnegie Mellon University will lead a five-year, $5 million project funded by the National Science Foundation to improve educational outcomes for teachers and students.

Computer scientists will build LearnSphere, an online database designed to store information on learning. Researchers will be able to use the data to study how students learn, while educators can find out how to create better courses in content and delivery.

Project leader and CMU professor Ken Koedinger said LearnSphere will help eliminate what he calls the “expert’s blind spot.”

With all of the medical and scientific advances of recent decades, there is still a bit of a mystery within the human body — the brain. To try and better understand it, Carnegie Mellon University has launched the BrainHub initiative.

“It’s actually, I would say, almost embarrassing how little we know, and even more than that, how little we can do, to try and deal with brain disorders of a variety of kinds,” said CMU Interim Provost Nathan Urban.

The hope is that more can be learned about disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

HeadSmart Labs Works to Lower Concussions in Football

Sep 29, 2014
HeadSmart Labs

Carnegie Mellon mechanical engineering student Tom Healy has been a punter for the Tartans throughout his college career. He’s seen many of his teammates sustain concussions while playing. With the help of some of the top names in concussion research Healy founded HeadSmart Labs, an independent research company that develops testing devices, products and procedures for reducing concussions.

Tom Healy talks about the discoveries HeadSmart has made so far and the impact they’re making in the sports equipment industries.

Fewer than 2,000 people receive a lung transplant yearly, yet 200,000 people die every year from lung disease, and to lessen this number, a Carnegie Mellon University researcher has received a $2.4 million grant to research artificial lungs.

CMU associate professor Keith Cook received the grant after demonstrating the device lasted longer than two weeks, compared to most other artificial lungs that normally only last a few days, which will allow patients to use the device at home.

Flickr user CaptPiper

When Carnegie Mellon University President Subra Suresh first arrived on campus last summer, he knew he wanted to do something big — something that would bring together departments and research centers from across campus, build on existing scholarship, generate new knowledge and have an impact on the global stage.

Editing photographs is almost as old as, well, photography itself, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of California, Berkeley have taken image manipulation to another dimension — literally.

They’ve developed software that enables users to move and animate objects in a photograph — exposing angles, sides and surfaces unseen in the original image.

A team of researchers, including some from Carnegie Mellon University, have figured out a hard-to-understand pollutant called brown carbon.

A lot of attention is paid in the media to pollutants that contribute to climate change, especially to greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other sources. But, some sources are lesser-understood and don’t come from areas that can be regulated — namely brown carbon, which comes from smoke from wildfires.

courtesy LiveLight

Say you have a large volume of digital video — hours of nanny-cam footage, perhaps, or a wedding reception.

And it’s boring, deadly boring. 

But suppose that, somewhere on that tape, something interesting does happen. Maybe it's just five seconds’ worth of attention-worthy images, buried under a mountain of redundant and predictable ones.

Mathieu Plourde / Flickr

There are more than 7 million students around the world enrolled in some 12,000 Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, with topics ranging from oil and acrylic painting techniques to developmental artificial intelligence.

But, MOOCs aren’t your typical online classes. They’re free; they don’t go towards earning a degree; and, rarely are there assignments, but therein lies the problem.

The Allegheny Health Department reported that 30% of school age kids in the county are obese or overweight, and a new Pittsburgh start-up aims to address this issue with animated characters shaped like food and 6 years of research at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).  

Fitwits combines stories, games, and instructions for parents and professionals on how to deal with the sensitive subject of obesity.

Beth Sawyer / Flickr

It’s hard to imagine a kindergarten room without colorful drawings and posters, crafts on display and educational charts and maps covering the walls.

But a recent study by Carnegie Mellon University shows that decorations in classrooms may actually hurt the learning process.

Associate professor of psychology at CMU Anna Fisher led the study, which tested the effects of classroom decorations on focus and ability to learn in children ages 3-5. When placed in a highly decorated classroom, the children spent more time off-task and retained less information.

Anyone can travel through 100 years of income history of 29 countries thanks to a new website created at Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab.

The National Aviary in the North Shore is set to premier a visual symphony complete with birds, thanks to a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University’s Fine Arts Program.

The show was created to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day, on May 10th.

A new way to reduce energy in the workplace developed at Carnegie Mellon University could save companies thousands of dollars.

The Intelligent Dashboard lets employees know how much energy they are using at their desk. Developers say this will encourage workers to take action to save energy by unplugging devices that are not in use.

“We wanted to investigate if there is any good way to show their energy usage and if there is any good way to motivate them to conserve energy at work,” said Ray Yun, PhD students and lead developer.