Campus News in Brief

Smart People premieres

Last winter’s “smart” visitors to Carnegie Mellon made their debut on the red carpet in late January, when the film Smart People premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to the delight of critics.

The movie stars Dennis Quaid as Carnegie Mellon English professor Lawrence Wetherhold and Sarah Jessica Parker as his former student and current doctor, Janet. Wetherhold is a widow with a young-Republican daughter, portrayed by Juno’s Ellen Page, and a son at Carnegie Mellon, played by Ashton Holmes. Parker’s character falls quickly in love with Quaid’s, and the two soon complicate each other’s lives.

Carnegie Mellon students were used as extras in various scenes and as production assistants and interns during filming.

The movie features scenes from all around campus, from Donner Hall (where Wetherhold’s son lives) to Hunt Library to the corridors of Baker and Porter halls. According to a Miramax spokesperson in a press release, Carnegie Mellon comes off “looking both smart and hip.”

Ranked by the Daily News as one of the top three Sundance films, Smart People will be in theaters nationwide April 11.

Professor gets computing honor

Carnegie Mellon professor Edmund M. Clarke received one of computing’s highest honors last Monday. Clarke, a computer science professor, won the 2007 A.M. Turing Award which came with a $250,000 award. Two computer scientists from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Grenoble in France also received the award.

Given annually by the Association for Computer Machinery, the award honors the most important work in the field of computing and is often thought of as the “Nobel Prize for computing,” according to a Carnegie Mellon press release. Clarke and his partners received the award in recognition of their work on an automated method for diagnosing errors in computer software and hardware.

The method, known as Model Checking, has been essential in the increased reliability of computer chips, systems, and networks.

In 1987, Clarke’s graduate student Kenneth McMillan realized that the idea could be based on binary decision diagrams, a method of information symbolism formulated by former professor and Dean of the School of Computer Science Randall Bryant.

As the recipient of this prestigious award, Clarke joins three other current and emeritus faculty members. Of the award’s 51 total recipients in its 41-year history, 10 have been associated with Carnegie Mellon, either as students or faculty.