B.S., Computer Science, English, Math, Dartmouth College, 1991
These days when Ian Davis walks into a video game store, he’s likely to see one of his own creations on the shelf. Davis founded Mad Doc Software in 1999 to develop Triple A titles that make creative use of new networking, graphics and AI technologies. His credits, so far, include Empire Earth II ® (a PC Gamer Editor’s Choice award winner) and Dungeon Siege: Legend of Aranna ™ (an Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) Computer Role Playing Game of the Year finalist).
“You get to do more of the fun, exciting high-level AI when you don’t have to worry about tangled power cords and broken axles.”
Davis accepted a guest professorship at MIT this past fall and is also active in the game community, serving as an advisor to trusted industry publishers and as a peer panel leader for the AIAS.
Now a resident of Massachesetts, Davis reminisces about “getting baseball tickets at the last minute” as a student in Pittsburgh, “Try that in Boston!”
Alumni:Peter A. Freeman
Rice University, 1963
Peter Freeman’s interests in computer science, academia and government first converged in 1987 when he served two years as division director for computer and computation research at the National Science Foundation (NSF). In 2002, he returned to the NSF as assistant director of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering directorate and has enjoyed developing national strategies for computer science and engineering research funding ever since.
In-between his NSF appointments, Peter spent 12 years at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta as both professor and founding dean of the College of Computing. Among many other accomplishments at Georgia Tech, he spearheaded FutureNet, a broad, high-performance campus network as part of the preparations for the 1996 Olympic Village. He was originally “loaned” to the NSF from the University of California, Irvine, where he was a faculty member of the Department of Information and Computer Science.
Peter’s early research included one of the first interactive time-sharing operating systems (1964) and an initiative for applying artificial intelligence to the software design process (1965-75). He still today appreciates the broad view of computer science he gained during his Ph.D. years.
“On the Carnegie Mellon campus, there was a continual flow of (what are now seen as) the founders of computer science from all over the world. It was fascinating to meet and talk with them and learn first hand about the technical work they were doing.”
An avid traveler, Peter has had the opportunity to teach professional short courses in venues from Japan to Argentina to Germany, and also taught for the United Nations in Budapest during the Cold War and in the Philippines during the Marcos regime. He and his wife of 20 years share four sons and currently live in Washington, D.C.
Alumni: J. Renato Iturriaga
In 1960 Renato Iturriaga took a break from his undergraduate studies at the National University of Mexico to spend a few months as a visiting programmer in the Computation Center at Carnegie Institute of Technology. At the encouragement of his mentor, Alan Perlis, he returned in the fall of 1963 and went on to earn one of the first computer science-specific Ph.D.s granted from what is now Carnegie Mellon University. His 1967 dissertation, Mechanical Mathematics, was a mixture of language design, compiler writing, formal proof, artificial intelligence and heuristic algorithms. Armed with the broad "systemic-thinking approach" of Simon, Newell and Perlis, Renato spent the first ten years of his career in academics, moved on to the banking industry for his second decade, and finally became involved in the Mexican government. Renato is currently head of the Special Unit for Priority Programs Monitoring in the Mexican Ministry of Health and monitors a dozen federal priority health programs for "turbulence analysis" or unexpected deviations.
"On an intellectual level, I enjoy first to understand the forces, or drivers, that move things in some direction. Then, I enjoy the challenge to find out clever ways to use that understanding to push, or to stop, things to happen. On the ethical level, I am deeply satisfied working on projects in which success means reduction of mother and children mortality, or better medical care to underprivileged people."
He currently lives just outside Mexico City with his wife, Mariana, daughters Mariana and Ximena, and their German Shepard, Leo.
His Pittsburgh favorites: wine and cheese gatherings in Mudge Hall organized by the European graduate students and symphony concerts at the Syria Mosque.
B.S., Biochemistry and Computer Science
University of Minnesota, 1986
As a student, Ajay Jain was drawn to computer science as a path to solving real-world problems. Today he is both an academic and an entrepreneur and is making an impact on cutting-edge cancer research. After completing his Ph.D. thesis on parsing spoken language in 1992, Ajay joined multiple successive start-up biopharmaceutical companies in Northern California to develop computational methods for structure-based drug design. In 1998, he founded the software company BioPharmics LLC, which announced a global partnership for product distribution this past summer. Ajay joined the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 1999 where he is now an associate professor and director of the Informatics Core at UCSF’s Cancer Center. His research focuses on the paradigm of predictive computational modeling.
“I am able to bring together computer science, particularly machine learning, with difficult problems in biophysics, biology, and chemistry. The work ends up being theoretically interesting as well as having practical applications.
” He recalls the vibrancy and varied interests of the Carnegie Mellon computer science community, the excellent diversion of opinion b-board and the honest feedback of his advisor. Ajay is currently a member of the SCS Alumni Advisory Board. He and his wife, Ann, live in San Mateo, California.
Alumni: Aparna Jaiya
B.S., Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, 2004
Using her father’s formula of “99 percent perspiration and one percent good luck”, Aparna Jaiya graduated from Carnegie Mellon not only with a broad knowledge of computer science, but also a broad understanding of her own capabilities. Today she is a Technology Analyst for Goldman Sachs & Company in New York City.
“Carnegie Mellon taught me how to use computer science as a tool to solve complex business problems in various walks of life: from the trading desks’ requirements at work (designing a Zero Coupon Swaps trading system within a week), to those at home (designing the optimal model mortgage loan portfolio for buying real estate).”
Aparna’s multi-faceted life includes running marathons, Indian classical dancing, and mentoring high school students preparing for college.
Alumni: Anita Jones
B. S., Mathematics, Rice University, 1964
A willingness to branch out in all directions and to continually learn new things has led Anita Jones down quite a number of interesting paths. Equipped with degrees in mathematics and English literature, Anita found her stride in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University. She flourished amid the unique blend of nurturing and competition between faculty and students, earned a Ph.D. with her thesis on the importance of network security, and then joined the faculty as an assistant professor.
In 1981 she took a turn in the business of computer science. She co-founded Tartan Laboratories, a software research company, with her colleague and husband Bill Wulf (CS’99, honorary).
Along the way, Anita became involved in various Department of Defense (DoD) advisory boards and organizations. In 1993, she was appointed by President Clinton as director of defense research and engineering, a position just two levels below the secretary of defense and one of the highest to be held by a woman. Anita returned to teaching in 1997 at the University of Virginia (UVa) where she had been chair of the computer science department from 1988 to 1993.
"At Carnegie Mellon I learned that if you work on important and hard problems, you are rewarded with the opportunity to work with some of the best, most interesting people on the planet."
Anita continues to teach computer science and technology policy at UVa and to advise governmental and industrial organizations. She also enjoys perennial flower gardening.
B.H.A., Information Design and Human-Computer Interaction
Carnegie Mellon University, 1999
Kelly Bowles was a true interdisciplinary student at Carnegie Mellon. Being able to easily cross academic boundaries, Kelly gained an understanding of computer science, visual design and social science, all key ingredients for designing technology products well.
She now works in the space where technology and art meet—studying people, developing insights for new uses for technology and creating new software concepts as a user centered design lead at IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California. Kelly enjoys seeing her team’s business modeling ideas produce significant value for both IBM and its clients.
"Over the next decade, I believe there will be continued focus on communication and collaboration through technology. I can also imagine applications of computing to help issues in healthcare, transportation, and the environment.”
A highly organized and diverse student, she graduated with high honors while also DJ-ing at WRCT, co-editing Dossier for the Tartan and redesigning the SCS Web site.
B.A., Psychology, Yale University, 1980
Steve Minton’s work embodies the diversity of artificial intelligence. As a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon, he researched machine learning algorithms. After earning his Ph.D., he joined NASA and contributed new AI approaches to a wide range of applications, including the Hubble Space Telescope scheduler. A return to academic research at the University of Southern California led him to his current foray into cyberspace: Steve is co-founder (with Craig Knoblock, CS’91) of Fetch Technologies, a web intelligence company headquartered in Marina Del Rey, California.
B.S., Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University, 2001
According to his bio on the Entertainment Technology Center’s Web site, Wil Paredes “has played video games in order to goof off for years.” These days, however, he’s making a living at it as a lead programmer for Rockstar Games. Wil was one of the original programmers as well as technical director for Rockstar’s latest offering, the sports simulation game Table Tennis.
“In my career, I've used something from every class I took at Carnegie Mellon. Games are one of the few fields in which every aspect of computer science can be applied: graphics, physics simulation, artificial intelligence, interface design, operating systems, and hardware-level optimization have all come in handy.”
Wil’s favorite Carnegie Mellon memories include dining at Mad Mex and the relaxed feel of Spring Carnival. He lives in San Diego and enjoys playing the piano, reading and, of course, playing video games. Wil is also a current member of the SCS Alumni Advisory Board.
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