Engineering Magazine: Spring 2018

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Spring 2018 Magazine

Engineering The Future of Agriculture

From The Dean


FEATURE 03 Engineering the Future of Agriculture 05 Soil Salinity Is Killing California Crops 05 NanoFARM: Creating Safer Fertilizers

The Carnegie Mellon College of Engineering is a national leader in research and education, and we have a big voice in shaping the future that is growing increasingly dependent on technology. Our work is literally disrupting industries—cases in point:

and Fungicides 06 Growing Fresh Food in Your Home


autonomous vehicles, advanced manufacturing, cyber security, and


artificial organs. We earned our reputation for technical excellence

07 Where Is the Southwest Getting All of Its Water?

by solving real problems. It is my belief that the College’s success is a direct result of the people who work and study here. We seek faculty who will drive our research to new heights. Recently, Bin He became the head of the Biomedical Engineering Department (BME). His groundbreaking work is piloting the way for noninvasive brain research and management of brain disorders. In addition to his research, He’s leadership will guide and enrich the scope of BME, creating more opportunities for the faculty and students. See more on Bin He in this issue. We will have a larger story on our new BME head in our Fall magazine. Strong leadership is vital for the success of all organizations, and if our students are going to become leaders in the workforce—and

09 The Age of Liquid Computers 11 CONIX Center Will Build Smarter Networks Between Edge Devices and the Cloud 13 Should We Be Concerned About Our Privacy in a World of Self-Driving Cars? 15 Manufacturing the Future 17 Powerful Storage, Tiny Space 18 Lighter Weight, Lower Costs in 3-D Printing



advocates for the value of an education from Carnegie Mellon—we should focus on leadership development in our curriculum. Last year, I asked Michael Murphy, past vice president for


Campus Affairs and now distinguished service professor in the


Integrated Innovation Institute, to explore leadership development

21 Why We Shouldn’t Push Students

for engineering students. As a result of his work, we launched two

to Specialize in STEM Too Early

courses for juniors and seniors, predicated on a six-pillar College of

23 A New Space for Research

Engineering leadership model, which proposes that an ideal leader

25 Maker Spaces Make a Difference

must at once be visionary, ethical, engaging, tactical, technical, and

27 CMU and Portugal Renew Partnership

reflective. Students focus on these pillars, while exploring strategic

28 Advocating for Cyber Safety

planning, emotional intelligence, communication skills, ethical

29 CMU and KMITL Launch Collaboration

dilemmas, conflict resolution, innovation and entrepreneurship,

30 New BME Dept. Head Arrives

culture and diversity, and related domains of leadership development. These courses will provide students with skills they can build upon for the rest of their careers. Alumna Candace Matthews (MSE’81)


explains it is important for engineering students to start developing


leadership skills early in life. As she points out in this issue, it has

31 A Breath of Fresh Perfluorocarbon

been her experience that leaders have to influence people and help

33 After You Invent It, How Do You Sell It?

them understand new ideas. These are indeed valuable lessons and

33 A Work in Process

skills for engineers who need to explain clearly and persuasively why

35 Looking Through the Eyes of a 3-D Printer

the world needs their latest project, innovation, or startup. I am committed to integrating leadership into our college, and exemplifying our leadership model through our college leaders,

37 Solar Boat Makes Big Splash 39 Improving Cybersecurity with Machine Learning 40 Future Chief Information Security Officer

graduates, faculty and staff.


ALUMNI Sincerely,


41 The Journey of a Leader 43 A New Way to Train Manufacturing Workers 45 Announcements

Latest News Be Informed | Be Connected







SOIL SALINITY IS KILLING CALIFORNIA CROPS From 2011 to 2014, California experienced the worst drought in its recorded history. With that drought came a shortage of agricultural water supplies—in a state that produces nearly half of the fruits, nuts, and vegetables grown in the United States. Though the area has since seen a slight rebound, the central California region is still experiencing a significant loss of agricultural yield and revenue. The primary culprit? Soil salinity. “Soil salinization is a global phenomenon that threatens the sustainability of agricultural production, at a time when food demand is increasing,” says EPP Assistant Professor Meagan Mauter. While salts naturally occur in soil and water, they build up in the soil when irrigation water is saline and the rate of evaporation is high. Under Mauter’s advisement, Ph.D. student Paul Welle has been studying just how heavy the impact of soil salinization has been on California’s annual agricultural yield. Taking advantage of high-resolution satellite data for crops grown in California and recently released information on soil salinity, Welle was able to estimate the effect of soil salinity on crop yield. What the data revealed was shocking. “What we found is that the central California region is losing approximately $3.7 billion in annual agricultural revenue due to salinity levels in the soil,” Welle says. “This is about 10% of the region’s

efficient for delivering micronutrients like zinc or copper to crops. “If you put zinc salt in water it will dissolve rapidly,”

annual agricultural revenue. But current de-salinization technology,

says Ph.D. student Xiaoyu Gao, who has been with

unfortunately, is very expensive. Even with this high $3.7 billion loss of

NanoFARM since its inception. “If you put in zinc oxide

revenue, the cost of current desalinization technology would be even

nanoparticles instead, it might take days or weeks to

more expensive. Barring substantial cost reduction, policymakers

dissolve, providing a slow, long-term delivery system.”

should not rely on current desalination tech to offset salinization.”

Gao’s research is only one piece of the NanoFARM puzzle. The project’s principal investigator, CEE Professor


Greg Lowry, traveled to Australia with Ph.D. student Eleanor Spielman-Sun to explore how differently charged

NanoFARM, a research consortium formed between Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Kentucky, the University of Vienna, and

nanoparticles were absorbed into wheat plants. They learned that negatively charged particles were

Aveiro University in Prague, is studying the effects of nanoparticles on

able to move into the veins of a plant—making them a

agriculture. The four universities received grants from their countries’

good fit for a farmer who wanted to apply a fungicide.

respective National Science Foundations to discover how these tiny

Neutrally charged particles went into the tissue of the

particles—just four nanometers in diameter—can revolutionize how

leaves, which would be beneficial for growers who

farmers grow food.

wanted to fortify a food with nutritional value.

Applied pesticides and fertilizers are vulnerable to washing

“In developing countries like China and India, a huge

away—especially if there’s a rainstorm soon after application. But

number of people are starving,” says Gao. “This kind of

nanoparticles are not so easily washed off, making them extremely

technology can help provide food and save energy.”




the way the light is used. For their first trial, the team used tomato plants as a representational, nutritional food. They wanted to find out

In many places in the world, fresh food is hard to

the optimal amount of light for a plant to grow, while using the least

come by. In certain areas within cities, called nutritional

amount of energy possible.

islands, residents often have to resort to feeding their

“What we wanted to study was energy efficiency,” says Kelvin

families with pre-packaged foods. Not only are these

Gregory, CEE professor and faculty advisor on the project. “LEDs are

expensive, but their lack of nutritional value is one of

already more energy efficient than old-school halogen bulbs, but they

the primary causes of poor health outcomes for this

also have the added benefit of being able to be turned on and off very


quickly. So by rapidly flickering these lights at different speeds, we

Led by EPP/ChemE undergraduate student Jack Ronayne, a group of Carnegie Mellon students is trying to solve this problem with a brand-new approach to indoor agriculture—and it all starts with LED lights. “Something we identified was this idea of nutritional

have been able to measure how much light is necessary to grow the biggest plant, using the least amount of energy.” Using this system, which looks like nothing more than a standard-sized bookshelf covered in a black tarp, a family could grow up to 40 tomato plants. For smaller plants, like lettuce, the system

islands in urban communities: places with limited access

can fit at least 100. And this is only the household design. For larger,

to fresh food either by distance, freshness, or cost,” says

more community-focused models, the growth potential

Ronayne. “We asked ourselves: could you simply grow

is exponentially greater.

fresh fruits and vegetables in your house?” The idea of vertical agriculture is nothing new. Where the team’s approach is novel, however, is in the type of

Through this type of research, the team hopes to put access to fresh, healthy foods into the hands of everyone around the globe, no matter their socioeconomic status.

light used to grow the food—and not only that, but




Where Is the Southwest Getting All of Its Water?

Interbasin Transfers (IBTs) are one such way: manmade transfers of water between naturally occurring watershed basins that distribute according to supply and demand. Picture a nation-wide system of pipes and waterways connecting watershed basins all around the country. New York City, for example, imports approximately 90 percent of its water from the Catskill and Delaware watersheds through the use of IBTs. This water, connected through networks of IBTs throughout the country, is necessary for the city’s operation. However, this national network has not historically been well mapped, and before now, modern methods have never been used to understand the landscape of

There’s a reason most major cities are built by water. From energy to drinking water to sanitation, an abundant supply of water is necessary for the survival of any settlement. But as urban centers have grown, our water supplies have not, and with more than 15 percent of the U.S. population considered “at risk” for water scarcity, we are always looking for more efficient and effective ways to move water to the places it’s needed most.

IBTs in the U.S. Without this understanding we won’t be able to meet evolving water demands in the future. But thanks to CEE Ph.D. student Kerim Dickson and CEE department head David Dzombak, our knowledge of this IBT network has exponentially increased. “This is the first inventory of IBTs occurring across the U.S. that’s been done since 1985,” says Dzombak.

Picture a nation-wide system of pipes and waterways connecting watershed basins all around the country.




“And that one was done by mail survey. But we now

locations, along with much of the Southwestern U.S., are

have access to water resource databases, such as the

under pressure from climate change that is only going

U.S. Geological Survey’s National Hydrography Dataset,

to get worse.”

that we have been able to use to compile a much more comprehensive survey than has ever been done before.”

“This survey helps us understand where the IBTs are,” says Dzombak, “which then gives us some ability

The results of the survey allowed Dickson and

to look ahead and gain insight. With this understanding,

Dzombak to create a comprehensive map of all of

we can start to pose questions like: If the populations in

the IBTs in the country. That map demonstrates that

Denver or Phoenix or Houston increase by X, how will

there is a lot more water being moved around the

that affect the city’s ability to acquire enough water?

U.S. than many would expect—with a few specific

How will that change pressure for bringing water in

hotspots. Florida, Southeast Texas, California, and

from elsewhere? You can ask questions about what

Arizona have the largest numbers of transfers across

changes in population, agriculture, and economy will put

watershed basins. This is due to a number of factors,

on different parts of the country for IBT. The work we’re

and while population density and climate definitely

doing helps make these kinds of assessments possible.”

have something to do with it, Dzombak says the exact reasons require further study. “Without IBTs, cities wouldn’t be sustainable in

Climate change will only continue to put strain on the U.S. water supply, by making the dry areas drier and the wet areas wetter. But IBTs have made it possible

large sections of the country, such as the southwest,”

for cities to thrive in places that would otherwise have

Dzombak says. “Los Angeles, Phoenix—much of their

been impossible. As the climate changes, IBTs will be

water is brought in from the Colorado River. That’s

examined by cities to ensure the adequacy of water

a critical lifeline for the city of Phoenix. These two

supply for these places and their inhabitants.



The Age of Liquid Computers


Transistors, those tiny electrical switches that process signals and

MechE professors Carmel Majidi and James Wissman

data, are the brainpower behind every electronic device—from

of the Soft Machines Lab at CMU have been looking at

laptops and smartphones to your digital thermostat. As they continue

new ways to create electronics that are not just digitally

to shrink in size, computers become smaller, more powerful, and

functional but also soft and deformable. Rather than

more pervasive. However, as we look to build squishy, human-friendly

making circuits from rigid metals like copper or silver,

machines that have the look and feel of soft natural organisms, we

they use a special metal alloy that is liquid at room

need to look beyond the rigid materials used to create electrical

temperature. This alloy, made by mixing indium and

switches and circuits.

gallium, is a non-toxic alternative to mercury and can be infused in rubber to make circuits that are as soft and elastic as natural skin.



Teaming up with Michael Dickey, the Alcoa Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University, they discovered that liquid metal electronics are not only useful for stretchable circuit wiring but can also be used to make electrical switches. These fluidic transistors work by opening and closing the connection between two liquid metal droplets. When a voltage drop is applied in one direction, the droplets move towards each other and coalesce to form a metallic bridge for conducting electricity. When voltage is applied in a different direction, the droplets spontaneously break apart and turn the switch to open. By quickly alternating between an open and closed and open switch state with only a small amount of voltage, the researchers were able to mimic the properties of a conventional transistor. The team came to this result by exploiting a capillary instability. “We see capillary instabilities all the time,” says Majidi. “If you turn on a faucet and the flow rate is really low, sometimes you’ll see this


transition from a steady stream to individual droplets. That’s called a Rayleigh instability.” The researchers had to find a way to induce this instability in the liquid metal such that it could seamlessly transition from one droplet to two. After performing a series of tests on droplets within a


sodium hydroxide bath, they realized that the instability was driven


by the coupling between an applied voltage and an electro-chemical

and Dickey

reaction. This coupling caused a gradient in the droplet’s surface


oxidation, which then resulted in a gradient in the droplet’s surface


tension, which finally drove the separation of the two droplets.


The team calls it a liquid metal transistor because it has the same

in a paper

kind of circuit properties found in a conventional circuit transistor.

titled “Field-

“We have these two droplets that are analogous to source and drain


electrodes in a field-effect transistor, and we can use this shape


programmable effect to open and close the circuit,” says Majidi.


“You could eventually use this effect to create these physically

with liquid

reconfigurable circuits.”

metal” in

The applications for this type of programmable matter are endless.

the journal

If materials can be programmed to change shape, they can potentially


change their function depending on their configuration, or even



reconfigure themselves to bypass damage in extreme environments. “It could be on a structure that’s undergoing some very large physical deformations, like a flying robot that mimics the properties of a bird,” says Majidi. “When it spreads its wings, you want the circuitry on the wings to also deform and reconfigure so that they remain operational or support some new kind of electrical functionality.” In the future, miniature computers could interface with biological material to monitor disease in the body or restore brain function to a stroke survivor. Imagine search and rescue robots that can selfassemble new parts when damaged. Although it sounds like science fiction, liquid computing might one day be as commonplace as today’s laptops.




CONIX Center Will Build Smarter Networks Between Edge Devices and the Cloud

Carnegie Mellon University will lead a $27.5 million Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) initiative to build more intelligence into computer networks. Researchers from six U.S. universities will collaborate in the CONIX Research Center headquartered at Carnegie Mellon. For the next five years, CONIX will create the architecture for networked computing that lies between edge devices and the cloud. The challenge is to build this substrate so that future applications that are crucial to IoT can be hosted with performance, security, robustness, and privacy guarantees. “The extent to which IoT will disrupt our future will depend on how well we build scalable and secure networks that connect us to a very large number of systems that can orchestrate our lives and communities. CONIX will develop novel architectures for large-scale, distributed computing systems that have immense implications for social interaction, smart buildings and infrastructure, and highly connected communities, commerce, and defense,” says James H. Garrett Jr., dean of the College of Engineering. CONIX, an acronym for Computing on Network Infrastructure for Pervasive Perception, Cognition, and Action, is directed by Anthony Rowe, the Dr. William D. and Nancy W. Strecker Early Career (Associate) Professor in ECE. The assistant director, Prabal Dutta, is an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Other CMU principle investigators include James Hoe, Vyas Sekar, Bryan Parno, and Brandon Lucia of ECE, and Chris Harrison, of the HumanComputer Interaction Institute. IoT has pushed a major focus on edge devices. These devices make our homes and communities smarter through connectivity, and they are capable of sensing, learning, and interacting with humans. In most current IoT systems, sensors send data to the cloud for

processing and decision-making. However, massive amounts of sensor data coupled with technical constraints have created bottlenecks in the network that curtail efficiency and the development of new technologies especially if timing is critical. “There isn’t a seamless way to merge cloud functionality with edge devices without a smarter interconnect, so we want to push more intelligence into the network,” says Rowe. “If networks were smarter, decision-making could occur independent of the cloud at much lower latencies.” The cloud’s centralized nature makes it easier to optimize and secure, however, there are tradeoffs. “Large systems that are centralized tend to struggle in terms of scale and have trouble reacting quickly outside of data centers,” explains Rowe. CONIX researchers will look at how machine-learning techniques that are often used in the context of cloud computing can be used to self-optimize networks to improve performance and even defend against cyberattacks.




Developing a clean-slate distributed computing network will take an integrated

infrastructure management. Enhanced situational awareness at the

researchers will use this technology for meetings, uniting multiple CONIX teams.

view of sensing, processing, memory,

edge—Efforts here will create on-demand

This same technology will be critical to

dissemination and actuation. CONIX

information feeds for decision makers by

support next-generation augmented reality

researchers intend to define the architecture

dispatching human-controlled swarming

systems being used in applications ranging

for such networks now before attempts

drones to provide aerial views of city streets.

from assisted surgery and virtual coaching

to work around current limitations create

Imagine a system like Google Street View,

to construction and manufacturing.

infrastructure that will be subject to rip-

only with live real-time data. This would have

and-repair updates, resulting in reduced

both civilian and military applications. For

University of California, Berkeley, other

performance and security.

example, rescue teams in a disaster could

participants include the University of

use the system to zoom in on particular areas

California, Los Angeles, University of California,

of interest at the click of a button.

San Diego, University of Southern California,

CONIX’s research is driven by three applications: Smart and connected communities—

Interactive Mixed Reality—Physical and

In addition to Carnegie Mellon and the

and University of Washington Seattle.

Researchers will explore the mechanisms

virtual reality systems will merge in a

for managing and processing millions of

collaborative digital teleportation system.

funded by the SRC’s Joint University

CONIX is one of six research centers

sensors’ feeds in urban environments.

Researchers will capture physical aspects

Microelectronics Program (JUMP), which

They will deploy CONIX edge devices across

about users in a room, such as their

represents a consortium of industrial

participating universities to monitor and

bodies and facial expressions. Then, like a

participants and the Defense Advanced

visualize the flow of pedestrians. At scale,

hologram, this information will be shared

Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

this lays the groundwork for all kinds of

with people in different locations. The



Should We Be Concerned About Our Privacy in a World of Self-Driving Cars? As fleets of self-driving vehicles are undergoing tests in several cities

participants said that they would spend more than five

around the U.S., many drivers who encounter these vehicles on the

minutes using an online system to opt out of identifiable

road are starting to wonder: what information, if any, is this sensor-

data collection. Additionally, participants were much more

covered vehicle collecting about me?

comfortable with technologies they saw as necessary

“We know that many autonomous vehicles have cameras that

for autonomous driving, but much more uncomfortable

look specifically at license plates, so the more you encounter these

with secondary analysis of data such as recognition,

vehicles, the more likely they are able to predict where you are at any

identification, and tracking of people or vehicles.

given moment,” says Cara Bloom, a CyLab staff researcher. “This has both security and privacy ramifications.” In a recent study, Bloom and a team of researchers surveyed over 300 residents in cities with and without Uber autonomous vehicle

The authors concluded that companies should implement self-regulation or be regulated to protect the public. “Our findings suggest that such regulation should

fleets, exploring their perceptions of the sensing capabilities of

focus on secondary data uses, with which the public is

autonomous vehicles and how they felt about it.

overwhelmingly uncomfortable and would actively avoid

“People were much more uncomfortable with privacy invasion than they were with safety or economic reliability,” says Bloom. “We found that really surprising.” In line with these survey results, just over half (54 percent) of study

if given the opportunity,” the authors state in the study. The study says that these regulations should not solely focus on autonomous vehicles, but on all autonomous technologies that may track identifiable data.



I am very worried about the path we’re on right now where technologies are implemented without security and privacy by design. —Cara Bloom, CyLab staff researcher, Carnegie Mellon University

“We’re going to have all of these new devices out there—not just autonomous vehicles but also drones and other IoT devices—collecting data in our most private places,” Bloom says. “If we can get ahead of this on the data privacy side, it would benefit everyone.” Bloom reassures her stance on autonomous vehicles is a positive. “I’m pro-autonomous vehicles. I think they are way safer and way more practical,” she says. “But I am very worried about the path we’re on right now where technologies are implemented without security and privacy by design.” Other authors on the study included Institute for Software Research (ISR) Ph.D. student Joshua Tan, ISR master’s student Javed Ramjohn, and ISR and ECE professor Lujo Bauer.



Manufacturing the Future


Last fall, Carnegie Mellon launched the Manufacturing Futures Initiative (MFI), a campus-wide initiative that seeks to bring about a new era of human-machine collaboration to advance manufacturing, the workforce, and economic development. Innovation in advanced manufactured products is pivotal to national security (from microprocessors and sensors to lightweight materials), energy security (energy generation and storage), and the future of work. Yet the path from new material and process discovery to commercial reality is at best disjointed. For the U.S. to remain a global leader, especially in times of extreme fiscal constraints on science, it will require a revolution. Launched through a generous donation from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, MFI aims to accelerate manufacturing by collecting and analyzing data throughout the entire manufacturing process, from discovery to commercialization. MFI will accelerate and strengthen Pittsburgh’s position as the country’s leading manufacturing hub by connecting CMU to the innovation pipeline spurred by the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute (ARM) and the rest of the Manufacturing USA institutes. MFI will support and advance five pillars of manufacturing research at CMU: robotics, additive manufacturing, advanced materials, bio-manufacturing, and textiles and fabrics. Cutting across these five pillars are computer science, computer vision, machine learning, artificial intelligence, design optimization, materials science, public policy, and workforce development. Currently funded research projects each have a team of faculty who are from at least two different CMU colleges. These interdisciplinary projects range from developing support baths for 3-D printing of soft materials (which will expand the kinds of polymers and biomaterials that can be printed) to more accurately predicting the impacts of emerging technologies on labor markets by combining economics and engineering. Sandra DeVincent Wolf serves as executive director of this initiative, along with faculty co-directors Gary Fedder and Burcu Akinci. The initiative will attract and collaborate with industry—as well as public, private, and academic partners—to accelerate adoption of new technology through interdisciplinary research on materials discovery, product design, robotics and automation, machine learning, policy, workforce training, and education.






Imagine a building the size of the entire city of Chicago, filled with rows and rows of hard disk drives. That’s what a big data storage center would have looked like twenty years ago. Thanks to improvements in storage technology, data centers have scaled down to the size of a football field. But there’s still a great need to shrink the size of storage technology while the amount of data increases. Jimmy Zhu, ABB Professor of ECE and director of the Data Storage Systems Center at CMU, is one of the reasons data storage technology has come so far. Zhu is the inventor of microwaveassisted magnetic recording technology (MAMR), an extremely powerful method for storing information on hard disk drives. “You need data. You need a place to store data, you want to store more of it, and you also want to be able to compute it more efficiently. Those are the kinds of problems we’re working on,” said Zhu. Now, industry is following Zhu’s lead. Western Digital Corporation, one of the world’s leading storage drive manufacturers, debuted its new hard disk drive that may meet the storage needs of the future—using Zhu’s MAMR technology. Zhu invented MAMR in 2007 when he discovered a way to use a magnetic charge to write data to a disk. The surface of a hard disk drive is coated with a 10-nanometer thick film of magnetic material. That film contains grains and each grain stores a charge corresponding to the ones and zeros of the data. MAMR is novel because it uses a tiny magnetic element to emit a high frequency magnetic field that helps write data to a disk at a storage density much higher than ever before. Other techniques use heat to store information. But with MAMR, you can target only the magnetic properties of the material and write more information to a disk without worrying about reliability issues. “Instead of using heat, you use a magnetic field that only works on the film’s magnetic moments,” said Zhu of MAMR. “It only injects energy to the magnetic bits. It’s called magnetic resonance, a similar sort of resonance as MRI.” Here’s how MAMR works: a direct current flows through the nanoscale magnetic element, called a spin torque oscillator that

Powerful Storage, Tiny Space Jimmy Zhu is the inventor of microwaveassisted magnetic recording technology (MAMR), an extremely powerful method for storing information on hard disk drives.

extends above the disk. The current consists of spinning electrons that generate a high-speed magnetic rotation at a microwave frequency in this nano-element. The microwave field resonates with the magnetic grains in the disk and enables data to be recorded to small and energetic magnetic grains. With this technique, the new hard disk drives can store up to 40 TB—almost four times the storage of current ones. Zhu sees this as a real accomplishment, but continues to think about the future of storage technology. “For a professor to research and then get to see that research used in every data center is huge,” said Zhu. “That’s the wonderful thing about research. You can't guarantee there will be success, but if you don't try, you'll never get there!”



Lighter Weight, Lower Costs in 3-D Printing The immediate application is to aerospace…but automotive or even consumer products—where the product can be used in many different ways—could also benefit from critical instant analyses.

It’s never long before the most advanced technology needs its own innovations. Additive manufacturing, the gold standard for

—Levent Burak Kara, Professor, Mechanical Engineering

innovative industry production, has reached that point. With its use steadily increasing, there arises the need to fine-tune this production method; to develop a process that makes additive manufacturing a responsible, cost-effective business decision. MechE professor Levent Burak Kara, his Ph.D. student Erva Ulu, and robotics professor Jim McCann may have found that process. In their paper “Lightweight Structure Design Under Force Location

optimization process accounts for the maximum amount of stress a design can handle before it fails. In turn, during manufacturing,

Uncertainty,” presented at SIGGRAPH 2017 in Los Angeles, Kara and his

material is distributed accordingly across the design, with more

colleagues detail their research on improved structural optimization

material being sent to areas that show the highest critical risk in order

in additive manufacturing, research that unveils the possibility of

to protect against failure.

designing products that are lighter in weight and cheaper to produce. Structural optimization refers to a product being as strong as possible while remaining as light as possible. Traditionally, structural optimization is achieved by analyzing external forces or pressures

The resulting product is lighter than previous designs because it doesn’t use extra material where it isn’t needed. Less material means lower production costs. The development of a process that results in lighter weight

that stress the integrity of a structure. However, because additive

products made at reduced costs could benefit industry in a big way.

manufacturing creates products that can by stressed by a nearly

Says Kara, “The immediate application is to aerospace,” where the

infinite number of forces, a new way of integrity analysis is needed.

importance of weight is obvious. “But automotive or even consumer

To address this, Kara and his team developed a process called critical instant analysis. Through digital mapping and simulation, they

products, where the product can be used in many different ways” could also benefit from critical instant analyses.

are able to determine the points on a design that are most vulnerable to critical force contact. With this information, each step in the

Kara’s work was funded by a grant from American Makes.



Department News


The Bioengineered Organs Initiative is a new group of researchers comprised of faculty in BME and other engineering departments. This multi-disciplinary effort is focused on constructing longer life by taking a uniquely holistic approach to bioprinting long-term replacement organs. These bioengineered organs are designed to rely less on traditional plastics and more on cellular and synthetic materials.

CyLab CyLab hosted Carnegie Mellon’s Data Privacy Day on January 26, an annual event with the goal of raising awareness about privacy and the protection of personal information. This year, in addition to the digital privacy research poster session, CyLab students offered a privacy clinic where attendees could speak with data privacy experts on topics such as Facebook settings, smartphone data collection, and private browsing.



This past semester, CEE seniors completed a fun capstone project: design a structurally sound bridge that spans about ten feet, is two feet off the ground, and can be easily transported, constructed, and removed. CEE professors

Bob Iannucci, Distinguished Service

brought the assignment to life by dressing up as characters from Super Mario Brothers crossing a pit of lava.

Professor in the Electrical and Computer ChemE and BME professor Bob Tilton is

Engineering Department, and his

offering a new class called Formulation

students have developed the PowerDué:

Engineering in which students are tasked

a prototyping platform which gives

to make their own formula for a product:

programmers a better understanding of

functional and fragrant dishwashing

the energy it takes to run their code. With

detergent. “They will use the same methods

this knowledge, the internet of things and

... if they are formulating a detergent, a

sensors powering smart cities can become

paint, or a pesticide spray,” says Tilton.

more energy-efficient.




In 1965 Gordon Moore (R&D Director of Fairchild, Intel co-founder) predicted that integrated circuit technology would decrease in cost and increase in performance. In 2017, EPP researchers Erica Fuchs and Hassan Khan dug into archives and oral histories to publish a paper for Natural Electronics magazine discussing how microprocessors are now facing unprecedented challenges as Moore’s Law comes to a close.


MSE’s Elizabeth Holm was showcased in Additive Manufacturing magazine. Her team developed a computer vision system that characterizes metal powders with up to 95 percent accuracy. Holm’s system uses micrograph images to classify powders based on properties that human experts simply can’t identify. This system can utilize the data inherently produced by additive processes, allowing for the identification of material changes and maximization of print quality.

INI Last fall, bicoastal information security students from the INI worked hand-inhand with start-up BitClave to develop what many call the most disruptive technological innovation since the advent of the internet: blockchain. Patrick Tague, BitClave Chief Technology Officer and INI’s associate director, says their work had real-world implications, providing definite direction to the initial product design.


When California’s leaders discussed banning the sale of gas or diesel cars, Scientific American asked MechE and EPP professor Jeremy Michalek to weigh in: "We don't have good, affordable alternative solutions ... Setting a date by which we ban that technology, with the assumption that other technologies will have closed the gap … I'm not sure anybody knows what the state of the technology will be in 2040.”



Inside the College

Why We Shouldn't Push Students to Specialize in STEM Too Early 21 SPRING 2018 // CARNEGIE MELLON ENGINEERING


This fall, as I have for nearly 29 years as an

Think about this as an approach which

educator and academic advisor, I’ll face first-

embraces liberal arts, in which a student

year engineering students who are certain

understands and can apply elements from

of what they’re going to do with the rest of

many non-technical fields to engineering

their lives.

projects. For example, concepts of shapes,

Then they take a few classes, join some

balance, structure, and flow found in

clubs, look around—and some will realize this

architecture or art may have counterparts in,

is not what they expected and may not be

say, chemistry or materials sciences.

what they want. They’re at a loss. Suddenly,

Consider engineering: though engineering

all their preparation to follow a single, narrow

integrates computer science and mathematics,

path has done them more harm than good.

it also requires a great deal of creative

Today’s high school students are expected

thinking about the non-science world, problem

to decide on a life path early, and dedicate

solving, and an understanding of connections

everything to pursuing that track. This is

between different disciplines and situations.

especially true for teens considering a STEM

Engineering is, in essence, a discipline of

field, such as engineering or science, as they

creating, building, and making—one that can

often use their high school experience to take

lead to myriad and often surprising career

all the STEM courses that will prepare them

opportunities. The more a student knows and

for college. While it can produce students

continues to learn about a variety of subjects,

with high technical capabilities, this hyper

the better an engineer that student will be.

focus can have serious drawbacks.

(See: Leonardo da Vinci.)

We do this to them—we educators, we

Perhaps most importantly, a more

parents. We want what is best for them and

expansive experience produces young people

for them to succeed, so when they show an

better equipped to deal with the uncertainty

affinity for a certain subject, we’re quick to

they will face in college, careers, and life.

jump in and encourage them to pursue it. But we fail to realize that we likely force

So every time a first-year student enters my office, very concerned, and says he is

the decision-making process too soon, which

“undecided” or she doesn’t yet know what she

puts unnecessary pressure on them. Even

wants to do, I want to applaud. Because that’s

worse, we send the message that the best

what the university experience is all about—

way to succeed in life is to stick to a single

helping students find their own unique paths

path, rather than allowing yourself to grow

to the future.

and change in the face of new experiences.

But this can only work if the student (and

As a result, students feel crunched.

parents) are open-minded enough to be

They’re trying to adjust to college and their

patient and entertain many possibilities.

parents’ expectations. It’s hard to make

If we give students a broad-based high

expansive change when they’ve been

school foundation before entering college,

taught—at school and home—to be so rigid.

I believe we can create a generation of

So how do we help?

passionate, engaged engineers and scientists

We can help by encouraging students

who are just as well-versed in communication

to use high school to build a breadth of

and issues of social change as they are

knowledge in many different areas, knowing

with technical formulas and computational

that college will be the time to build depth. By

modeling techniques.

encouraging a variety of academic subjects in high school—even if the goal is pursuing a science, engineering, or other highly technical path. Doing so will produce students who

Chemical Engineering professor Annette Jacobson has published an op-ed on PBS Newshour last fall on the unintended consequences of our all-STEMall-the-time approach to pre-college education. As the associate dean of undergraduate studies in the College of Engineering, Jacobson has worked with countless incoming engineering students to determine their academic path. It’s these years of experience that have informed her unique perspective.

are better thinkers and have a more wellrounded education.



A New Space for Research The Bertucci Nanotechnology Laboratory

The 14,000-square-foot Claire and John Bertucci Nanotechnology Laboratory, which holds the 8,500-square-foot Eden Hall Foundation Nanofabrication Cleanroom, opened this year and allows faculty and researchers to explore new avenues of nanoscale science and technology. The Bertucci Nanotechnology Laboratory is a premier research facility in Western Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania/Ohio/ Virginia (commonly called the “tech-belt”) region. Housing more than 100 processing tools maintained by highly qualified technical staff members, the new facility is set to become a central hub for nanomanufacturing.



“The Bertucci Nanotechnology Laboratory

key strategic areas related to information

engages in unique ways researchers,

and the Eden Hall Cleanroom are truly game-

technology, the internet of things, energy,

students and industry,” says Gian

changing spaces. We already see the positive

and life sciences.

Piazza, director of the facility and

impact the facility has on our campus and on

The cutting-edge equipment available

professor of electrical and computer

its community,” says Matt Moneck, executive

in this new facility permits researchers to

engineering. “The facility will ensure

manager of the facility.

achieve exquisite control on nanoscale

that CMU maintains a position of

material deposition, thin film etching,

leadership in driving discovery

external users from government, industry, and

and lithographic processing, supporting

and innovation in nanoscale

academia, and supports the research activities

transformative work on next-generation


of approximately 200 individual researchers.

magnetics and spintronics, resistive

The nanofabrication facility is open to

With up to 50 faculty using the facility, Carnegie Mellon University is fostering a multidisciplinary and collaborative

memories, micro and nanoelectromechanical systems, 2D materials, and bioelectronics. “The new nanofabrication facility will

environment that will put researchers at

catalyze activities around nanomanufacturing

the forefront of discovery and innovation in

at CMU and help generate an ecosystem that



Maker Spaces Make a Difference Walk through these 40,000 square feet and you’ll hear a buzz, or perhaps a bang. You’ll see students taking apart skateboards and building mousetrap cars. Or 3-D printing parts for a capstone project prototype. You’ll bump into them as they bustle through the C-level hallway, sharing their latest ideas with classmates. You will feel the energy of this revitalized space. Hamerschlag Hall has experienced a metamorphosis. What started as a vision for an integrated learning, making, and research environment has become a collaborative, multidisciplinary cornerstone of the College of Engineering’s maker ecosystem. Although Hamerschlag B- and C-levels are now bright and open where they once were dim and crowded, the transformation was about much more than just a facelift. “This new space will encourage the kind of spontaneous interactions that foster innovative thinking and creative problem-solving,” said Allen Robinson, head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Integrated maker spaces for hands-on design and creation include a design workshop, electronic fabrication and rapid prototyping facilities, a student machine and teaching shop, a professional shop, advanced and additive manufacturing labs, a micro/ nanosystems lab, clustered research areas, and more. Want to see hands-on learning and real-world problem solving in action? One of the features is a series of large windows that flank the C-level hallway, connecting classroom and community. The next time you are on campus, stop by for a view of the future.





Carnegie Mellon University and Portugal Renew Partnership for ICT Growth Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the Government of Portugal

workshops jointly organized by CMU and Portuguese

signed a cooperation agreement to extend the successful CMU

faculty members with 150 active participants from

Portugal Program for an additional 10 years.

industry and academia.

CMU President Farnam Jahanian joined the Portugal Minister

Phase III of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program

of Science, Technology, and Higher Education Manuel Heitor and

focuses on the data economy, emphasizing data

Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa at a signing ceremony

analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning,

in Matosinhos, Portugal, on February 15, 2018, to celebrate the

robotics, and autonomy. This phase will promote

partnerships between academia and industry in Portugal’s innovation

industry-technology relationships as agents of change

economy. The event was titled, “GoPortugal: Global Science and

for social and economic impact, fostering collaborations

Technology Partnerships Portugal.”

with cities, regions, and companies that are strongly

At the signing, Rodrigo Costa, CEO of REN, emphasized the role and impact of international partnerships like the CMU Portugal

invested in the program. As the program moves forward, the focus on high-

Program in the internationalization of the Portuguese research

impact science will be augmented by an agenda that

enterprise. The signing ceremony was followed by six topical

leverages the strategic geopolitical position of Portugal



in the Euro-Atlantic region, while also prioritizing the advancement of post-graduate education, research, and the employment of doctorates. In particular, Carnegie Mellon will be a partner of the Atlantic International Research Center (AIR) launched by the Portuguese government as a multinational platform for new NorthSouth/South-North Atlantic interactions in the areas of climate, land, space, and ocean. During the GoPortugal event, the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology also signed cooperation protocols with 12 companies that will partner with the CMU Portugal Program in varying capacities. Several of these companies were start-ups of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program like Feedzai,

INI Director Advocates for Cyber Safety and Awareness

Veniam, and Unbabel, and others in the ICT area are longterm collaborators of the program like Altice (formerly Portugal Telecom) and NOS. Newcomers include

In a March appearance on WQED’s iQ:

multinational Thales, as well as companies like Farfetch,

smartparent, Dena Haritos Tsamitis, director

Tekever, Talkdesk, and Uniplaces.

of the Information Networking Institute (INI),

Universities, where innovations often originate, help

discussed how a child’s online behaviors

drive economic growth. In the previous ten years, the

have ripple effects for their future. At stake

CMU Portugal Program partnered with Portuguese

is not only their personal safety and privacy,

universities and research institutions to make a

but also the first impression they make on

significant impact on the scientific culture and the

admissions counselors, employers, business

entrepreneurial capability of Portugal’s ICT sector. The

partners and significant others.

program has graduated hundreds of Ph.D. and master’s

“Our kids have the power to shape

students, who are bringing high-level technical skills

their online presence to reflect who they

into the workplace. Program researchers launched 12

want to be, not just now, but in the future,”

start-ups like Mambu, Veniam, Unbabel, and Feedzai

said Tsamitis. “Inspire your children to

that have raised more than one hundred million dollars

be both tech savvy and street smart by

in venture capital and spawned hundreds of high-tech

equipping them with critical thinking skills

jobs in Portugal.

and lending an open ear in frequent, casual

The CMU Portugal Program is directed at Carnegie Mellon by José M. F. Moura, the Philip L. and Marsha

conversations.” As a founding director of Carnegie Mellon

Dowd University Professor of Electrical and Computer

CyLab, Tsamitis leads efforts in cybersecurity

Engineering, and in Portugal by Rodrigo Rodrigues

education, training, and outreach. She

and Nuno Nunes, professors of computer science at

established the MySecureCyberspace initiative

Instituto Superior Técnico. The program encourages

in 2005, which has reached over one million

faculty and students to interact in strategic activities

people in 167 countries, including more than

through faculty exchange programs, undergraduate

48,000 users in 30 countries of the Carnegie

internships, and inRes, a very early-stage acceleration

Cyber Academy and Game.

program for Portuguese entrepreneurial teams. Faculty and students work in a dynamic ecosystem that brings together industry, government, and academia to solve real problems and elevate economic growth.



CMU and KMITL Launch Collaboration

Carnegie Mellon University and King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL), a leading engineering university in Thailand, announced a longterm collaboration to significantly expand research and education in the areas of information, computing, and autonomous technologies. The collaborative activities, to be known collectively as the Carnegie Mellon-KMITL (CMKM) program, will occur both in Thailand and at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The CMKM program will involve professors, researchers, students from both schools, and industry partners from Thailand. Carnegie Mellon’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will play a central role in the CMKM program. “This partnership brings much-needed capabilities in world-class engineering research and education to Thailand. We are looking forward to working with top talents for ground-breaking research and innovation that will drive the emerging economies of Southeast Asia. There is no better time to put Thailand at the heart of education investment. The Thai government is doing its utmost to provide the best opportunities, privileges,



incentives, and above all the commitment to make our collaboration the best we can,” said Dr. Teerakiat Jareonsettasin, Thailand’s Minister of Education. “This long-term collaboration between CMU and KMITL, in association with the Thailand Ministry of Education, will greatly enhance our shared capacity

New BME Dept. Head Arrives

for research and education in areas that are shaping the global economy,” said Carnegie Mellon

On February 1, the College of Engineering

University President Farnam Jahanian.

welcomed its new Department Head of Biomedical Engineering Bin He. He succeeds

“It is our vision to make Thailand the Southeast Asia center for advanced research and to create a

Yu-li Wang, the R. Mehrabian Professor of

sustainable model for the developing countries,”

Biomedical Engineering, who has served as

said Suchatvee Suwansawat, president of KMITL.

department head since 2008. He is committed to research and education

“KMITL’s passion for excellence is a perfect match with ours and I see great potential in our

at the convergence of engineering, biology, and

partnership,” said James H. Garrett Jr., dean of

medicine and aims to produce leaders who

the Carnegie Mellon College of Engineering. "This

will address grand challenges in medicine and

partnership establishes an excellent foundation for

health through engineering innovation. He has

even greater collaborations yielding wider impact.”

relocated his lab, the Biomedical Functional Imaging and Neuroengineering Laboratory, to

The Carnegie Mellon-KMITL program will focus

Carnegie Mellon.

on collaborative education, research, and faculty

“Biomedical engineering can be pushed from

development programs. The education component will sponsor students for master's and Ph.D.

biomedical sciences or from engineering, and

programs in electrical and computer engineering at

CMU is the ideal place to advance biomedical engineering through engineering innovation. I’m

CMU, where successful students will earn degrees from both institutions. “To support the government’s Thailand 4.0 initiative and Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC)

extremely excited to surround myself with the top-notch people in the College of Engineering, in Robotics, and in the Artificial Intelligence community at Carnegie Mellon,” says He.

special economic zone, CMKL University aims to

Whereas many of the interfaces between computers and the

be a model of new growth engine that provides

human brain require sensors to be implanted in the brain, He’s

world class knowledge and expertise from CMU.

pioneering research has changed our understanding on what

CMKL University will work hand in hand with our

noninvasive techniques for brain-computer interfaces can do

industrial partners on advanced research to create

for the development of mind-controlled robotics. His primary

new innovations,” said Supan Tungjitkusolmun,

research goal is to develop engineering technologies that can

president of CMKL University.

understand brain dynamics and leverage these capabilities to

“This program will enhance our work through research and Ph.D. student collaboration,” said

develop next-generation neurorobotics. He’s research is improving noninvasive dynamic brain imaging

Jelena Kovačević, department head of electrical and

technologies so they are faster and more spatially precise.

computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon. “I look

Conventional electroencephalography (EEG) is essentially a one-

forward to seeing the positive influence this new

dimensional technique that does not provide information about

collaboration will have on our department, college,

the distributed nature of brain activity. He’s research uses very

and university.”

small electromagnetic signals generated by neurons to produce

Hyong Kim, Drew D. Perkins Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at CMU, will direct the CMKM program at Carnegie Mellon,

dynamic three-dimensional images of the brain function and dysfunction. This research earned him the IEEE Biomedical Engineering

and Akkarit Sangpetch, a faculty member in the

Award, the highest honor IEEE can bestow to a member or

computer engineering department at KMITL, will

nonmember in the field of biomedical engineering.

direct the CMKM program in Thailand.



Student News

A Breath of Fresh Perfluorocarbon 31 SPRING 2018 // CARNEGIE MELLON ENGINEERING


Inhaled drug delivery has long been held as the golden standard for treating conditions affecting the lungs. However, many diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or cystic fibrosis (CF), cause inflammation or mucus buildup in the lungs, which limit the ability of inhaled medications to reach the affected areas. Diane Nelson, a BME Ph.D. student in the lab of Professor Keith Cook, has been working on what she believes is the solution: liquid perfluorocarbon (PFC) emulsions. “Our proposed solution is to deliver drugs by filling patients’ lungs with a liquid, and this will give you a uniform distribution of medication,” says Nelson. In other words, the PFC method of drug delivery—a method that washes a liquid solution containing suspended medication particles through the lung— holds the potential to revolutionize lung disease treatment. For most people, the first thought that comes to mind when they hear the words “fluid-filled lungs” is obvious: drowning. However, PFCs have a high oxygen solubility, meaning that the liquid can be saturated with oxygen so that the body can continue respiration despite the lungs being completely filled with liquid. In fact, PFC liquids may actually help increase oxygen absorption by clearing out mucus blockages, and they have the added side effect of exhibiting antiinflammatory qualities. The biggest challenge posed by PFC drug delivery is not actually in the liquid nature of the PFCs, but in how they interact with other liquids; most medication delivered in liquid form must be soluble in water to create an aqueous solution. “Several people have been trying to deliver drugs using this method,” explains Nelson, “but the issue is that water and PFC don’t dissolve together. We need a uniform distribution, but if we put them together it would just be like water and oil: water at the bottom, oil at the top.” That’s where Nelson’s research comes into play—she is developing a method for delivering drugs using liquid PFCs. The first step is to dissolve the drugs in water. Then, these water-drug solutions are combined with the PFC and a fluorosurfactant, a surface-active agent. “Like I said, water and oil, but if you put a little soap in the middle it helps blend the two together.” The mixture is then sonicated, which means that sound waves blasted through the solution disperse the water into small droplets. “The surfactant is like a soap,” explains Nelson. “It acts as a casing for the water and makes little droplets that spread evenly throughout the PFC.” “So far, liquid ventilation itself has been performed clinically. That’s just putting PFC in patient’s lungs, no drugs added,” Nelson said. “If we can show that this delivery method is better than inhaled delivery, then we’re hoping that for severe cases, this will be better than mechanical ventilation where they just add antibiotics to the bloodstream instead of directly to the lungs.” This method, if successful, promises possible applications for a variety of cases. For conditions like COPD, CF, and acute respiratory distress syndrome, PFC emulsions could prove an effective new way to eliminate inflammation and mucus during the drug delivery process, decreasing the risk of chronic infection while increasing the patient’s ability to breathe deeply. Liquid ventilation, minus the drugs, is already seeing use in neonatal units on premature infants with underdeveloped lungs. The method has even been considered as an alternative to intravenous (IV) drug delivery in some instances.



Students getting real-world experience

After You Invent It, How Do You Sell It? If a new invention falls in the forest and no one is around to hear, does it make a sound?

“The points they were stressing (at the workshop) were you can have a great idea, you know, it’s fascinating, amazing technology …

When Eric Miller and Isaac Swink attended VentureWell’s

but if you don’t have a plan in place in terms of managing potential

E-Team Program workshop last summer, they got an

intellectual property complications, managing the supply chain, how

introductory lesson on how to make sure their invention is

are you going to distribute what you’re making?” Miller said.

one that will make a sound that people will hear. Miller, a current BME master’s student, and Swink, a

VentureWell—a Massachusetts-based non-profit—established the E-Team (Entrepreneur-Team) Program to provide funding, workshops,

2017 BME master’s graduate, were part of a nine-person

and coaching to STEM students working on innovative projects. The

team formed in professor Jim Antaki’s spring BME Design

E-Team Program ultimately aims to assist in moving these inventions

course. Together, the team developed S.A.F.E., the Smart

from workbench to marketplace.

Automatic Foot Exam, to help prevent diabetic foot ulcers and the complications that can arise as a result. S.A.F.E. was one of 50 innovative designs nationwide

According to Miller, the workshop was hyper-focused on the business side of invention. “The first day we were there we did a brief, I think it was 90

to receive the E-Team Program’s Stage 1 grant. With this

seconds, ‘here’s what we made, here’s why it’s cool or interesting or

award, teams received $5,000 in funding and had the

useful,’” he said.

chance to attend a three-day workshop in Boston at the

After that, it was all about getting what they made ready for market.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A major area of focus for Miller and Swink, and the 49 other teams

A Work in Process

“It’s a relatively simple process, but it requires many different ways of thinking and designing,” said Song. “We first make a smallscale production to imitate the large-scale

On a sweltering July day in

But he’s more than just observing. Song,

production that will take place in the plant,

Zachary, Louisiana, Tianyi Song

a ChemE senior at CMU, spent last summer

then we have experience in the lab that we

dons a fireproof suit and enters

interning at BASF Corporation, the second-

can use during plant production.”

the chemical plant. He’s making

largest producer and marketer of chemicals

his weekly visit to one of BASF

and related products in North America.

Corporation’s plants to witness

During his 11-week internship, Song’s

Song wrote a detailed operating procedure for the production of 2-ethylhexyl acetate. During the reaction process, organic acid

the inner-workings of chemical

most important project was designing the

reacts with alcohol and then they separate to

production firsthand.

production process for 2-ethylhexyl acetate,

form water and ester, a chemical compound

a chemical found in the coating of cars and

derived from an acid (in this case, 2-ethylhexyl

other lacquers.

acetate). The separation process is difficult to



really pushed you to talk to people and interview people that might be users for your product.” One of the biggest lessons Swink took away from the workshop was what he described as “personal patentability” and how careful any entrepreneur needs to be when patenting an invention. It requires looking at what patents already exist and “who might come after you as soon as you step on their toes,” Swink said. “But, at the same time … if these big companies start coming after you, then you know that you’re really disrupting their market.” Following Stage 1, teams can apply to the E-Team Program’s Stage 2. If one of the 20 teams accepted, they receive $20,000 in attendance, was on competitive analysis—determining

in additional funding, as well as the chance to work with

how their S.A.F.E. device measured up against similar

VentureWell leaders over a three-month period to develop and

products already on the market.

solidify their business models.

In conducting these analyses, Miller said he and Swink

Stage 2 is followed by Aspire. The 10 teams accepted to

realized that similar devices currently being sold aren’t

Aspire receive mentoring from VentureWell to begin developing

effectively addressing the problem of diabetic foot ulcers.

appeals to partners and investors interested in providing further

According to a report in The New England Journal of Medicine,

funding for the projects.

somewhere between 19 and 34 percent of people with

Since he graduated last May, Swink will not be part of future

diabetes will likely be affected by foot ulcers at some point

endeavors with S.A.F.E. Miller, on the other hand, is still engaged

in their lives.

and beginning to work toward applying to Stage 2.

The E-Team Program showed Miller and Swink that, even

In addition to Swink, a number of students from last year’s

though there might be a need for their product, they are

team have graduated from Carnegie Mellon and are in pursuit of

responsible for determining if there is want.

further degrees or career opportunities, Miller said.

“There was a lot of talking about whether (our) product

“So we’re trying to … regroup and find some other people

really hit the desire … not a need,” Swink said. “Our product

that are interested in keeping this going,” Miller said. “Because I

was something that there’s a big need for, but you have to

think it’s worth it.”

really talk about desires. They (the E-Team Program leaders)

control because each piece must be stripped

his process design course, he’ll be able to

Now, he’s prepared to finish his

out at different times, different amounts, or

share his experience designing a process,

undergraduate career strong and

different temperatures. First, the water must

the teamwork and communication skills he

enter the chemicals production

be stripped out, then the unreacted reactants,

learned, the value of safety for the smooth

field upon graduation.

and finally the product itself.

operation of a plant, and his perspective from

“Now that I’ve had this internship experience, I can do my coursework better

working for a global company. Song is studying German as part of the

“My favorite aspect of this internship was exploring the unknown,” said Song, “because

because I can easily imagine the plant—

Global Engineering minor offered by the

the process I designed has never

not just from a paper or blueprint—which

College of Engineering, and even spent

taken place in the plant. Now, the

improves my designs,” said Song.

a summer in Germany at the Technische

production is almost ready to run,

Universität Dortmund. Because BASF is based

and I am extremely happy that I

complemented his coursework: both in

Song stressed how his internship really

in Germany, he had the chance to collaborate

was able to contribute something

applying what he learned and gaining new

with German engineers and even speak

from conception to finish.”

insights to bring back to the classroom. In

German with them during his internship.



Looking Through the Eyes of a 3-D Printer Chances are you’ve played with Lego bricks at some point in your life.

“super-elevation.” Part damage could be significant

So did Luke Scime, who got his start in engineering by building robots

due to the recoater blade or the spreading could be

out of Lego bricks in a middle school program called FIRST, a robotics

incomplete when the machine does not spread enough

nonprofit founded to inspire more young people to become interested

powder for a layer.

in and participate in science and technology. Now a MechE Ph.D.

While Scime focuses on identifying problems now,

student, Scime is working at the intersection of mechanical engineering

the end goal is for the machine to recognize an issue and

and computer science to monitor the process of metal 3-D printing.

correct it right away, thus perfecting the printing process.

3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has taken

“In the future, the system will detect a problem, then

the world by storm with its innovative layer-by-layer manufacturing

mitigate it so that the problem doesn’t propagate or get

process used to print three-dimensional objects out of metal, plastic,

worse,” said Scime. “If you know where the problem is

and other materials. Metal additive manufacturing offers a robust

happening in real time, you can see the area flagged on

alternative to traditional manufacturing. The technology has the

the images and be able to either fix it or at least stop it,

potential to make stronger, lighter, and more customized products.

so you’re not wasting time and material.”

However, researchers, like Scime, are working to better understand and optimize the printing process. The metal 3-D printing process that Scime works with, called metal

Scime works in MechE professor Jack Beuth’s lab. Beuth is also co-director of the NextManufacturing Center. Beuth’s lab focuses on expanding process

laser powder bed fusion, has only a few steps: the machine spreads

space—in other words, modifying how much power and

a layer of metal powder that’s a fraction of a millimeter thick. Next,

speed to give the laser beam and identifying what effects

a laser beam melts the metal powder into a cross-section of the part

those changing parameters have on a part. In addition to

that it is building. The machine repeats this process (spreading a layer,

working on expanding process space, Scime also wanted

then melting it) until the whole part is built.

to incorporate computer science principles—namely

But, as you spread each layer, issues can occur. For example, the

machine learning—into solving the problems of the

recoater blade used to spread the powder can actually impact and

additive manufacturing process. When he came up with

damage the parts. That’s why Scime has initiated a research project to

the idea to use machine vision in process monitoring, he

perfect the process.

took a computer science course on computer vision to

“I'm analyzing how problems occur when you spread each layer,” said Scime. “The machine takes an image of a layer, and then I use machine-learning techniques to teach the computer to identify flaws.”

gain the skills needed to get started. “Computer science offers opportunities to solve problems that we’re finding in our work with additive

Scime looks for problems as the machine spreads each layer, using

manufacturing, problems that we don’t otherwise have

what’s called “machine vision” to collect images of the printing process.

a way to solve,” said Scime. “At every stage of my life, as

He then uses machine learning techniques to teach the computer to

I’ve pursued mechanical engineering I somehow always

recognize what flaws look like. Then, the computer aggregates those

find myself incorporating computer science concepts

images and marks areas where a problem may be occurring.

into traditional engineering.”

Though small, these flaws take a number of forms. “Recoater

Scime’s work is pivotal in the field of additive

hopping” occurs when the recoater blade lightly impacts the part

manufacturing. At a time when large companies are

and “recoater streaking” happens when the blade itself is nicked

adopting metal additive manufacturing processes

or damaged. There could also be debris lying on the powder bed

to manufacture their parts, Scime’s machine vision

that gets in the way as the powder is spread. Parts may also start to

techniques pose a solution to identify issues underlying

warp or deform due to a buildup of residual thermal stresses, called

the process. When researchers are able to resolve these



small flaws, then the parts produced with metal additive manufacturing can be used in applications such as airplanes, because these parts are lighter and can be cheaper than parts manufactured using traditional machining processes. So, when aviation manufacturers more fully adopt additively manufactured parts and bring savings to your plane ticket, you can thank Scime and other engineers who are working at the intersection of manufacturing, mechanical engineering, and computer science. A 3-D RECONSTRUCTION OF AN IMPERFECT PART CREATED BY USING MACHINE VISION ANALYSIS ON EACH LAYER.





Solar Boat Makes Big Splash

Zero Emissions Day is a 24-hour global moratorium on the use of fossil fuels, held annually on September 21. One of the guidelines proposed by the moratorium is to “minimize (or eliminate) your use of electricity generated by fossil fuels.” In the spirit of minimizing fossil fuel use, the Carnegie Mellon Solar Racing (CMSR) club is answering the question: “What if a vehicle—a boat, for example—could be powered not by gas or oil, but by the sun alone?” “Our club builds full-sized boats that are powered by solar energy,” says James Zhang, the club’s secretary and a junior in MechE and EPP. “They’re not remote-controlled, they’re not small—they are full-sized, solar-powered boats that we actually have a person inside, driving.” After a three-year hiatus, CMSR is competing again—and last summer, they made a big splash. From June 7–11 CMSR competed in SOLAR SPLASH 2017, the World Championship of solar boat racing, conducted and organized by the IEEE Power Electronics Society. The SOLAR SPLASH competition, “an international intercollegiate solar/electric boat regatta,” consists of three heats: Solar Slalom, Sprint, and Solar Endurance.




CMSR took third place overall, additionally receiving the

time, and power drainage of the propulsion system, and

“teamwork” and “most improved” awards.

communicating this information with the driver. In the

Carnegie Mellon’s boat, VorteX, is 17 feet long, fabricated out

final ten minutes of this two-hour race heat, the skipper

of carbon fiber, and built to race. Glinting solar panels sit atop the

radioed back to the team that because the team’s solar

vibrant, red boat, which connect to batteries cached inside the

energy storage system was so efficient, the boat had

hull. The boat is striking to observe, and formidable on the water.

essentially full power remaining. So the team encouraged

“We were one of the few teams that handmade our boat,” says MechE junior Madelynne Long, one of the club’s vice presidents. “We poured our heart and soul into it.” Not only did CMSR build their own boat using carbon fiber molds, but they also had a system on board that set them apart:

him to go full throttle. The team ended up taking second place overall in the endurance race, due to their effective communication and coordination. “I think that was a really happy moment for the

an Android tablet containing an app the team built that showed all

entire team,” Zhang says. “Originally, we just wanted to

the data the boat collected, such as power drawn from the solar

make it to the competition, which was already a huge

panels, current readings, and voltages. This information, says

accomplishment in itself. But on top of that, we actually

Zhang, was really important and contributed greatly to why the

thrived and gave a stellar performance in the race. It was

team received third place.

just amazing.”

“We had really strong communications and inter-team

CMSR is currently recruiting new students to join.

coordination during the endurance race especially,” adds Long. “It

Though they saw a great improvement, Zhang is optimistic

was really exhilarating, because this was our first full two-hour run

that the club’s achievements will continue to grow.

for our boat, so we weren’t exactly sure how it would go.” During the endurance race, Long says, the entire team was on standby—watching the race, monitoring the app for speed,

“The current iteration of the CMSR team was very young and inexperienced when we began preparing for the 2017 competition,” says Zhang, “and given our performance, I think we can expect great things in the future.”



Improving Cybersecurity with Machine Learning The Symantec Research Labs Graduate Fellowship is awarded to just

Sharif’s goal is to give the internet browser an earlier

two or three Ph.D. candidates chosen from hundreds of national

warning, precious time that can be used to avoid or

and international applicants. The College of Engineering is proud to

effectively counter security threats. To this end, he’s

announce that Electrical and Computer Engineering’s (ECE) Mahmood

pursuing a different form of threat prevention—short-

Sharif has been named a 2018 Fellowship winner.

term prediction. Short-term prediction taps user data

Selected for his innovative research with real-world value in

and browsing preferences, comparing them in real time

industries where Symantec—a cybersecurity software company—

to activity within the current browsing session to detect

conducts business, Sharif will receive a $20,000 grant to continue his

potentially risky user behavior.

research on machine learning and cybersecurity in collaboration with

“I’m seeing your behavior and if it deviates from

Symantec. He will also take part in an internship pairing him with a

normal and starts to resemble what usually leads to your

company mentor with extensive research experience.

exposure to malice, then I, as a security provider, could

Under the advisory of ECE professor Lujo Bauer and Engineering and Public Policy professor Nicolas Christin, both CyLab researchers,

infer that is probably when I should intervene.” The added seconds that security providers gain

Sharif’s work focuses on machine learning algorithms in computer

from utilizing contextual information to predict threats

security and privacy. He intends to make machine learning-based

provides a window in which systems can interrupt

systems more secure and to use machine learning to predict

users’ internet connections, thus preventing potential

impending security threats.

security breaches.

A major focus of his Ph.D. research centers on evasion attacks, in which an attacker crafts inputs used by a machine-learning algorithm

“The eventual goal is, overall, to be able to build more secure and safe systems,” says Sharif.

to return a desired result. One type of facial-recognition evasion, known as dodging, involves a user disguising their true identity to evade being recognized by security systems. In other cases, attackers might attempt to impersonate someone else in order to gain access to sensitive information. Understanding the method by which the threat is posed is crucial in staying one step ahead of attackers. “What we try to do is understand the different forms that these evasion attacks can take, and then make better algorithms to prevent these attacks against machine learning,” says Sharif. He also works to improve computer defense systems. Most current defenses are reactive or focus on long-term prediction, and these certainly have their uses. Reactive systems are good at mitigating the negative effects of malicious online activity and fighting off viruses and malware. Likewise, long-term prediction is extremely useful for tracking and logging which devices in an enterprise are at risk of being infected. However, current methods are still imperfect; they give little, if any, warning before the security threat is posed.



Q&A Future Chief Information Security Officer Nishchala Tangirala, a graduate student

What drew you to the field of security?

enrolled in Carnegie Mellon’s Information

In this digital age with paperless transactions, almost

Networking Institute (INI), is committed to

everyone has a digital footprint that needs to be protected.

protecting global citizens from ever-evolving

Current tools and methods of security will not be enough,

cyber threats. She has received a full-tuition

as hackers are also using powerful tools and mechanisms

fellowship awarded jointly by the INI and the

to steal private data. The security breaches at Yahoo

Executive Women's Forum on Information

and Equifax have inspired me to make the protection

Security, Risk Management and Privacy

of data even more robust by coming up with stronger

(EWF) so that she can realize her dream of

cryptographic algorithms and better security practices. I

becoming a chief information security officer.

want to contribute towards making a secure and happy

Tangirala’s education is made possible

cyberspace for each and every global citizen.

through a decade-long partnership between the INI and EWF, sponsored by

Why did you choose to attend the INI?

Alta Associates, which offers fellowships

During my undergraduate internship at Union Pacific and

to underrepresented minority and female

ConAgra, I realized the importance of protecting business

graduate students. By removing financial

data from all kinds of security risks. With this background,

barriers to earning a Carnegie Mellon

I looked to pursue my master’s where my broad skillset

master's degree, the fellowship supports

in computers and math and my industry exposure could

students who would not otherwise have had

be best leveraged. The INI’s bicoastal information security

the opportunity to advance their education.

program provided that perfect platform for me to realize my career goal to become a cybersecurity expert.




The Journey of a Leader



All around us—in the office, classroom, lab, and our community—

The engineer-turned-businesswoman has used these

we witness noble feats of leadership. Despite our familiarity with

skills throughout her career. She continues to reach

identifying leadership, the skill itself can seem abstract.

new milestones along her journey, including receiving

To make leadership more tangible, turn to Candace Matthews,

the Cosmetic Executive Women Achiever Award in 2007,

Amway regional president of the Americas and College of Engineering

being cited as one of Advertising Age’s “Women to Watch”

alumna. She is a firm believer that leadership skills should be

in 2011, being named Black Enterprise Magazine’s 2009

demystified by being taught throughout one’s life.

“Executive of the Year,” and making the 2017 list of the

Well-known in the business world as a transformational leader

“Most Powerful Women in Business.” Matthews was also

and innovator, Matthews is passionate about sharing her leadership

named to the Board of Bic in 2017, a public seat among

journey. Her glowing reputation is well deserved, with 30 years of

the many not-for-profit board seats she also holds.

impact at top companies including Amway, SoftSheen-Carson (L’Oréal), the Coca-Cola Company, Procter & Gamble, and General Mills.


“I always say that leadership is an evolution. You don’t have all of your leadership skills on day one, but you can start developing them

A common misconception of leadership is that it

very early on,” explains Matthews, who began her own leadership

mainly revolves around managing people. Matthews

journey in high school as captain of the majorette squad.

encourages students and young professionals to create their own leadership journey by learning to focus on


leading their own ideas instead.

In 1977, Matthews reached an early milestone in her journey:

help others understand what you are trying to say, and

she enrolled in Carnegie Mellon University to study metallurgical

then influence. And influence is a very powerful part of

engineering. She had her sights set on going into the then-booming

leadership,” explains Matthews.

“You have to learn how to listen, seek to understand,

steel industry. Over the course of her time at CMU, the shape of the

Students can set simple goals to start building these

industry shifted dramatically, and most steel production

skills while in school, such as volunteering to give

moved overseas.

presentations about their field of study or engaging

With change in the steel industry came change in Matthews’ career plans. Forced to adapt, she augmented her engineering degree with an MBA at the advice of her CMU advisor. From there,

in more conversations about the importance of their research. When entering the workforce, young professionals

Matthews began to tackle the business world of marketing, product

should get involved in their company or organization,

development, sales, and other operational functions. She says her

volunteer for projects on their teams, and be proactive

engineering foundation of technical knowledge and creativity is

in building a network. In the end, Matthews explains

what helped propel her business career. It gave her the tools to

that it all comes down to connecting with others.

communicate at an elevated level with groups such as manufacturing and R&D. “There are skills that you gain as an engineer that are applicable to whatever you do, particularly critical thinking, problem solving, and

“You have to be willing to learn and grow from each and every person that you meet. And if you ever feel that you’re finished, and you know it all about being a leader, then life stops. Because you are never done.”

analytical skills. These skills are amazingly powerful when you leave CMU, and those skills are applicable to whatever role [an engineer] may take,” says Matthews.



A New Way to Train Manufacturing Workers

Anthony Hughes (MechE’95) was drawn to engineering because of the art he saw in making and building things. He has focused his career around this sentiment, both through his tenure in the software industry and the advanced technology sector. Now the founder and president of 3-D printing innovation strategy and design firm The Lanterman Group, Hughes is combining his expertise and passion into a national 3-D printing training program for industry and government, called ACADEMI. The training program is part of a long-term strategic alliance between America Makes, the national accelerator for 3-D printing, of which CMU was a founding member, and The Lanterman Group. The two are combining their efforts to develop ACADEMI as a nationally recognized training curriculum for additive manufacturing.




MechE alumnus Anthony Hughes has launched the first hands-on certification program in the U.S. focused on designing and producing products for 3-D printing. ACADEMI—which stands for Advanced Curriculum

“3-D printing provides enormous design freedoms that can unlock

in Additive Design, Engineering, and Manufacturing

a multitude of benefits if we free ourselves from thinking that a

Innovation—is the first hands-on certification program

product or part must look the same as it always has. I want to teach

in the United States focused on designing and producing

people how to explore new possibilities and create the products

products for 3-D printing. Currently, other 3-D printing

of tomorrow.”

certification courses only teach participants the basics

Hughes likens ACADEMI to the Lean Six Sigma methodology

of 3-D printing software and equipment. But ACADEMI

adopted by many corporations to improve business processes and

educates workers on how to apply the technology within

performance. Like the Lean Six Sigma approach, ACADEMI’s training is

their companies to drive competitiveness.

an application-oriented, team approach and draws from field-tested

“The manufacturing field is going through a huge rebirth right now. We need to think differently about how we are going to give workers the right set of skills to

research. The real-world connection to research and industry comes from The Lanterman Group’s strong partnership with America Makes. “What ACADEMI is bringing to the table is an end-to-end approach

thrive during this change, because making 3-D printed

to 3-D printing training, which is: you start with a problem statement

parts is a lot more complicated than picking up a single

built around a real, industrial-based application need, and you end

skill,” says Hughes. “What we need are people who think

with a capstone project that is actually demonstrating and validating

differently about product development: from designers,

the learnings in a real-world environment,” says Rob Gorham,

to material engineers, to manufacturing engineers—

executive director of America Makes.

people who push their companies to think innovatively.” The layer-by-layer manufacturing process of 3-D

ACADEMI officially launched in the fall of 2017, with the United States Department of Defense and the Air Force as its first trainees.

printing has a myriad of benefits for both metal and

The first courses offered are focused on metal 3-D printing, but

polymer-based industries. The technology can make

Hughes has plans to expand the program to cover polymers and

cheaper, lighter, more customized parts, in less time,

composites in the near future. Currently geared towards training

with less waste than traditional manufacturing methods.

technician-level workers, the program will soon include executive-level

This laundry list of benefits has caused industry and

and manager-level educational classes.

governmental organizations of all sizes to take notice, especially those in the metals field. “Many people think 3-D printing is an interesting

“In the grand scheme of things, I would like for ACADEMI to have a significant impact on the productivity of individual companies as well as be a catalyst for broad industry adoption,” says Hughes. “I hope

way to make products faster, and hopefully cheaper.

companies can look at us and say, ‘You allowed us to significantly cut

But they are missing the larger opportunity. The true

the time it took for us to get our 3-D printed innovation to market,

game-changer is in design innovation,” says Hughes.

from two years to six months.”




William Strecker

Robert Ungaretti

Sanna Gaspard

CIT alumni William D. Strecker (E’66, ’67, ’71) and Robert Ungaretti (E’70) have been

Sanna Gaspard (BME’11) was chosen to join the

named recipients of Carnegie Mellon University’s 2018 Alumni Awards, which

American Association for the Advancement of

recognize their outstanding achievements in their professional fields and for their

Science (AAAS) and The Lemelson Foundation’s

dedicated service to the university.

2017-2018 Class of Invention Ambassadors.

Strecker has been honored with the Alumni Achievement Award. During his

Gaspard is the founder and CEO of

career, Strecker amassed 16 patents in computer architecture and design. He is

Rubitection, Inc., a medical technology

a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Association

company working to advance early-stage

of Computing Machinery, and received the Institute of Electrical & Electronic

bedsore detection and management for

Engineers’ W. Wallace McDowell Award. Most recently, he served as EVP and CTO

improved patient care.

of In-Q-Tel, a non-profit technology firm. Strecker is committed to CMU and actively

The AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassadors

involved in the university community. He and his wife Nancy generously endowed

program was launched in part to create a

CMU with the Dr. William D. and Nancy W. Strecker Early Career Professorship,

new and diverse generation of inventors and

currently held by Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

increase global understanding of the role

Anthony Rowe.

invention plays in building new businesses.

Ungaretti has been honored with the Alumni Service Award with his wife

“The goal of the Ambassadors is to help

Antoinette Sapet Ungaretti (MM’70), both dedicated volunteers for Carnegie Mellon.

serve as an advocate at the government

Bob was lead in launching the Carnegie Mellon Baltimore Alumni Chapter and

level, at the university level, and across many

helped it form into the Greater Maryland Network. Overall, they have engaged over

disciplines, to help promote inventorship

600 cumulative attendees at events in the last five years.

as a career path and as a path to economic

The award winners will be recognized at a reception on May 18, 2018, during Commencement Weekend.

mobility,” Gaspard said. Last July, Gaspard joined other Invention Ambassadors at an orientation event in Washington D.C., where they met with members of Congress and other policymakers. Throughout her ambassadorship, Gaspard will involve herself in advocacy activities.







Give strategically, Support generously. BOB PEASE (CE’49) knows how to make

Learn how easy it is to achieve

a mark. With a 60-year career in urban

your philanthropic vision

redevelopment, he has shaped cities

through a planned gift by

around the world, including redesigning


Pittsburgh after World War II. At Carnegie

Contact the Office of Gift

Mellon University, Bob has created a

Planning today at 412.268.5346

lasting legacy through a gift in his estate


plan that will create new opportunities for students and faculty in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Bob's gift will also fund undergraduate student scholarship support throughout the university.

Office of the Dean College of Engineering Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213-3890

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