SCS News [More]

Adding Up How the Brain Does Math

Shilo Rea Thursday July 21, 2016
A new Carnegie Mellon University neuroimaging study reveals the mental stages people go through as they solve challenging math problems.In the study, which was published in Psychological Science, researchers combined two analytical strategies to use functional magnetic resonance imaging to identify patterns of brain activity that aligned with four distinct stages of problem-solving: encoding, planning, solving and responding."How students were solving these kinds of problems was a total mystery to us until we applied these techniques," said John Anderson, the R.K. Mellon University Professor... 

Carnegie Mellon Algorithm Characterizes How Cancer Genomes Get Scrambled

Byron Spice Thursday July 21, 2016
A new method for analyzing the scrambled genomes of cancer cells allows researchers, for the first time, to simultaneously identify two different types of genetic changes associated with cancers and to identify connections between the two.Jian Ma, associate professor in Carnegie Mellon University's Computational Biology Department, said his new algorithm, called Weaver, could become an important tool for identifying interactions of the alterations within a cancerous cell's DNA that drive the disease."This work uses a rigorous and elegant approach to give a better picture of the genome changes... 

Computational Design Tool Transforms Flat Materials Into 3-D Shapes

Byron Spice Monday July 18, 2016
A new computational design tool can turn a flat sheet of plastic or metal into a complex 3-D shape, such as a mask, sculpture or even a lady's high-heel shoe.Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland, say the tool enables designers to fully and creatively exploit an unusual quality of certain materials — the ability to expand uniformly in two dimensions. A rubber band, by contrast, contracts in one dimension while being stretched in another."We're taking a flat piece of material and giving it the tendency, or even... 

Holladay, Kumar Named Stehlik Scholarship Recipients

Susie Cribbs Tuesday July 12, 2016
The School of Computer Science has named rising seniors Rachel Holladay and Ananya Kumar the recipients of this year's Mark Stehlik SCS Alumni Undergraduate Impact Scholarship.Now in its second year, the Stehlik Scholarship recognizes undergraduate students near the end of their Carnegie Mellon careers whose reach for excellence extends beyond the classroom. Awardees are working to make a difference in SCS, the field of computer science and the world around them.Holladay, a native of Slidell, La., is an active undergraduate researcher and has done exciting gesture research in the Robotics... 

Robot and Mathematical Models Suggest How Animals Moved 360 Million Years Ago

Byron Spice Thursday July 07, 2016
Could a tail have allowed ancient vertebrates to make the transition from water to land?Researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Clemson University, and the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis report in the journal Science this week on the results of a groundbreaking study to answer this question using amphibious fish, robots and mathematical models of movement.The study tested the hypothesis that coordinated tail movement played an important role in the evolution of terrestrial vertebrates. The researchers found that, for the... 

Holladay Happy With Robotics Research

Susie Cribbs Wednesday July 06, 2016
Before she even arrived at Carnegie Mellon University in 2013, Rachel Holladay had already built a mapping website that displayed geochemical physical data about the Gulf of Mexico for the United States Department of the Navy, and had spent nearly a decade involved in the FIRST Robotics program. Since then, she's performed exciting research on gestures for robots, and has taken on leadership roles in the School of Computer Science's Women @ SCS and SCS4All outreach organizations. That's all in addition to carrying a full courseload each semester.It's no surprise, then, that the rising... 

It's Automatic: CMU Smartphone App Manages Your Privacy Preferences

Byron Spice Wednesday July 06, 2016
Chalk up one more task a smartphone app may do better than you: figuring out your privacy settings.A field study suggests that a personalized privacy assistant app being developed at Carnegie Mellon University can simplify the chore of setting permissions for your smartphone apps. That's a task that requires well over a hundred decisions — an unmanageable number for the typical user.The privacy assistant can learn the user's preferences and quickly recommend the most appropriate settings, such as with which app to share the user's location or contact list.In the study, people accepted almost... 

Studying the Role Love Plays in an Engineering Project

Byron Spice Monday June 27, 2016
The development of an electronic Braille writing tutor at a school for the blind in India has been a labor of love over the past decade for M. Bernardine Dias and her Carnegie Mellon University colleagues, students and staff. And for the past year, it has provided a research window into the role love plays in engineering.With support from the Fetzer Institute, a foundation dedicated to "building the spiritual foundation for a loving world," Dias, associate research professor in CMU's Robotics Institute, and her team conducted a nine-month field study at the Mathru School for the Blind in...