Former DARPA Official Ken Gabriel to Head Office for Security Technologies

Byron SpiceMonday, October 29, 2001

New Venture Aims to Assist U.S. Homeland Anti-Terrorism Initiatives

In response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, Carnegie Mellon has created an Office for Security Technologies that will work with the federal government to match Carnegie Mellon's capabilities with national security needs. In the aftermath of the national tragedy more than 40 faculty members were identified who have substantive expertise to offer in helping national security efforts.

"The office will provide a mechanism for us to offer fast turnaround advice, launch short-term projects and studies, or provide other responses to specific needs that may become apparent in our conversations with the new U. S. Office of Homeland Security, other federal agencies and the offices of elected officials," said Christina Gabriel, vice provost for corporate partnerships and technology development.

She said the office "will not have a direct fundraising function for individual research efforts and will not compete with other campus research centers."

The Security Technologies Office builds on the interests of several members of the faculty, including Michael Shamos, who first proposed the idea of creating an institute to bring faculty research and expertise associated with national security to the federal government. After talking with government officials, it was determined that creating a formal office to foster and manage this interaction was a stronger approach to contributing to the nation's efforts in homeland defense.

Ken Gabriel, professor of electrical and computer engineering and a member of the Robotics Institute since 1997, will head the new initiative. He is an expert in developing microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), miniature high-performance sensors and controls that help information systems sense, act and compute. Forbes Magazine called him "the architect of the U.S. MEMS Industry."

Ken Gabriel joined Carnegie Mellon from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where he started and managed its MEMS Program from 1992-96. In 1997, the MEMS Program had more than 80 ongoing projects totaling more than $70 million per year.

He has also served DARPA as deputy director (1995-96), and director of the Electronics Technology Office (1996-97), where he was responsible for roughly half of all federal electronics technology investments, totaling more than $400 million per year. Investments spanned programs in industry, universities and government in advanced lithography, electronics packaging, MEMS, optoelectronics, millimeter and microwave integrated circuits, and high-definition displays.

At DARPA, Ken Gabriel worked closely with other federal agencies, including the FBI, CIA and National Science Foundation.

Ken Gabriel earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and his master's and doctor's degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Byron Spice | 412-268-9068 |