Campus News in Brief

Alan Alda to speak at commencement

On Thursday, a campus-wide email was sent announcing that this year’s speaker for the 118th Carnegie Mellon commencement ceremony will be Alan Alda. Alda, known best for his roles in M*A*S*H and The West Wing, has also hosted a variety of science-based television shows on both the BBC and PBS networks.

According to the email, Alda’s “passion for the arts, science and technology embodies Carnegie Mellon’s distinctive interdisciplinary spirit.” The email also announced that senior physics major Brooke Kuei would be the student speaker, and that honorary degrees would be given out to Joyce Kozloff (A ’64), Kai-Fu Lee (CS ’88), Judea Pearl, Stephen Schwartz (A ’68), and Carl Wieman. Commencement is on May 17.

Carnegie Corporation names 32 Fellows

On Wednesday, Alessandro Acquisti, professor of information technology and public policy at the Heinz College, was selected to be one of the 32 of the inaugural class of Andrew Carnegie Fellows.

The Fellows program, run by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, received over 300 nominations. The Fellowship program will distribute over $6.4 million to the 32 recipients so that they can dedicate time to a specific research plan. Acquisti’s research will deal with “the impact of the data economy on societal welfare and the distribution of wealth, focusing on how the erosion of privacy and the rise of “big data” may affect economic growth, equality and discrimination,” according to a university press release. “The expanding collection, analysis, and use of large amounts of individuals’ data will likely bring about both positive and negative consequences for different stakeholders, and my research will explore those impacts. I thank the Carnegie Corporation for this wonderful honor,” Acquisti said in the press release.

Computer program challenges poker pros

Claudico, a special computer program designed by Carnegie Mellon students and faculty, is playing four international poker stars in a two-week no limits Texas hold ’em tournament that started on Friday.

At Three Rivers Casino, the five will battle it out over the course of 13 games to prove if computers can win over the human poker champions: Doug Polk, Dong Kim, Bjorn Li, and Jason Les. Previously, another computer program, Tartinco7, won a heads up Texas hold ’em tournament, but the poker and tech worlds are watching with anticipation to see if this more complicated game stumps the computer. After the third day of play, Claudico was down by $59,766 to the humans, but making up ground. The money is not actual dollars, but simply for score keeping.

A live stream of the tournament can be viewed at: