Two Carnegie Mellon Computer Science Professors Honored for Their Scientific Innovations by the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania

BY Byron Spice - Wed, 2005-08-31 12:00  Printer-friendly version

Jeannette Wing, head of the Computer Science Department in the School of Computer Science, and Computer Science Professor Manuela Veloso are among 23 women who will be honored for their scientific innovations by the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania (WGF) at a Women in Science event Sept. 14 at the Carnegie Science Center.

The event will honor outstanding women who apply math and science skills to their everyday work in the arts, sciences, technology, media, and medical fields. In addition the event also will present young people with the diverse array of scientific careers available to them. Images and quotes from Veloso, Wing and the other honorees will be projected on a screen in the Science Center lobby during the night of the event. They will also be included in a "Women in Science" kiosk that will be installed at the Science Center as a "constant inspiration" to young people who visit throughout the year.

Veloso's long-term research goal is the effective construction of teams of intelligent agents where cognition, perception, and action are combined to address planning, execution and learning tasks, particularly in uncertain, dynamic, and adversarial environments. "I always loved math," she said. " And after studying Engineering, I became fascinated by the sciences underlying intelligence and automation."

Veloso has developed teams of robot soccer agents designed to compete in different leagues of the International RoboCup Federation. Veloso, vice-president of the International RoboCup Federation, and her students have successfully participated in the RoboCup competitions since 1997 and were world champions several times--in the Simulator League in 1998 and 1999; in the Small Robot League, in which small-wheeled robots built at Carnegie Mellon competed, in 1997 and 1998, and in the Sony Legged Robot League in 1998 and 2002.

In research, Wing is recognized as an international leader in formal methods, the use of mathematical models and logics to specify and reason about computing systems. More recently, her research interests have turned to security. She and her students extended model checking, a verification technique developed by her colleagues at Carnegie Mellon, to generate attack graphs automatically. Attack graphs succinctly represent all ways in which an attacker can break into a system, given a formal model of the system and its threats.

"I have always liked figuring out the logic and reasoning behind why things are the way they are," Wing said. "In my research, I use mathematical abstractions to distill the essence of seemingly complex things. The challenge of solving problems computationally and the joy of creating new knowledge are my inspirations for my working in computer science."

Established in 2002, the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania is an independent, community-based foundation with the mission to achieve equity for women and girls in the 10 counties that make up Southwestern Pennsylvania. Over the past few years, WGF's donor base has grown to include several hundred people in addition to support from local foundations, including the Alcoa Foundation, Pittsburgh Foundation, Eden Hall Foundation, FISA Foundation, Forbes Funds, the Maurice Falk Fund, Grable Foundation, and the Raymond John Wean Foundation. For more information on the Women in Science event and the WGF, visit www.wgfswpa.org.

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