July 26, 2012 Vol. 23, No. 3 

Early Career Awards:

Kitchin, von Ahn Earn Presidential Honors  

U.S. President Barack Obama has named John Kitchin, associate professor of chemical engineering, and Luis von Ahnthe A. Nico Habermann Associate Professor of Computer Science, recipients of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.  

Three alumni were also among the 96 PECASE winners. They are Frank DelRio (E'98), Vincent Conitzer (CS'03, CS'06) and Curtis Huttenhower (CS'03). See the White House press release for a complete listing of this year's recipients, and read more about Kitchin and von Ahn. 


Dias Lauded for Contributions in Computer Science   


M. Bernardine Dias, associate research professor in the Robotics Institute and founder and director of the TechBridgeWorld program, will receive the 2012 Borg Early Career Award from the Computer Research Association's Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research. She is being honored for her contributions to research and her profession, especially her outreach to women.  


Read the full story. 

Interim Dean Named in College of Engineering

Kumar Vijayakumar Bhagavatula, professor of electrical and computer engineering and associate dean for Graduate and Faculty Affairs in the College of Engineering, has been named interim dean of the college, effective Aug. 1. He takes the helm from Pradeep Khosla, who is leaving CMU to become chancellor of the University of California, San Diego.

Provost and Executive Vice President Mark S. Kamlet made the announcement Monday in an email to the university community.

Improving Emergency Response Times 

Emergency medical services in developing countries can be significantly improved by using phone data records and service logs to better allocate and deploy ambulances and emergency medical personnel, according to researchers at Carnegie Mellon's iLab, a research center in the H. John Heinz III College.

"This is an excellent example of using simulation and optimization model-based data analytics to solve societal scale problems," said iLab researcher Ramayya Krishnan, who also is dean of the Heinz College. "This approach holds great promise not only for EMS providers, but also for disaster response, humanitarian service logistics and other emergency situations in any country."

Study: Mindfulness Meditation Reduces Loneliness

For older adults, loneliness is a major risk factor for health problems, but attempts to diminish loneliness with social networking programs have not been effective.

However, a new study led by Carnegie Mellon's J. David Creswell offers the first evidence that mindfulness meditation reduces loneliness in older adults. Published in "Brain, Behavior & Immunity," the researchers also found that mindfulness meditation - a 2,500-year-old practice dating back to Buddha that focuses on creating an attentive awareness of the present moment - lowered inflammation levels, which is thought to promote the development and progression of many diseases.

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