Campus news in brief

Carnegie Mellon students determine that internet voting faces security concerns

A group of Carnegie Mellon students in the H. John Heinz III College’s Master of Science in Information Security Policy and Management (MSISPM) program found that online voting in the United States is poor and will require strong encryption measures in the future.

The main concern of the project was to figure out how we could develop a better internet voting system for the United States. In a university press release, Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, president and CEO of the U.S. Vote Foundation, said that in order to tackle this problem, “the students were asked to do research on existing systems and to put together a competitive analysis.” The students found that the current end-to-end verifiable (E2E-V) voting system needed to be improved.

Many Americans have determined that the gold standard for voting in elections has been paper ballots, since they can be verified and re-counted by hand. However, many states now use a system where voters can return ballots electronically.

Randall Trzeciak, director of the MSISPM Program, believes that there are risks with online voting. “There is, in my opinion, not an acceptable level of fraud that could occur in a voting process. We should have confidence that every vote would count as was intended.”

The students developed this report in collaboration with Galois, an Oregon-based research and development firm, and the U.S. Vote Foundation.

Professor Neil Donahue receives Pittsburgh award from the American Chemical Society

Neil M. Donahue, the Thomas Lord Professor of Chemistry, professor of chemical engineering and engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, has received the 2016 Pittsburgh Award from the American Chemical Society’s Pittsburgh Section. Donahue is being honored for his research in atmospheric chemistry and his leadership in climate science, both locally and nationally.

Donahue joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 2000. He is now a member and founding director of Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies (CAPS), where he collaborates with colleagues and students in science and engineering to understand organic aerosols. His research focuses on the behavior of organic compounds in the atmosphere that adversely affect our health and impact our climate.

He also investigates such topics as fundamental quantum chemistry and the formation of molecules that stick to particles in the air such as wood smoke.

In a university press release, it states that Donahue has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles and is one of the most cited scientists in the field of geoscience. He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres and co-editor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

Donahue received his bachelor’s degree in physics in 1984 from Brown University, and a Ph.D. in meteorology and atmospheric chemistry in 1991 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.