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Newsmaker: Frank Pfenning

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Newsmaker Frank Pfenning, 53, of Squirrel Hill new chairman of CMU department of computer science

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Noteworthy: Named chairman of Carnegie Mellon University's Computer Science Department

Age: 53

Residence: Squirrel Hill

Family: Wife, Nancy, and three children

Background: Pfenning joined CMU as a research scientist after completing his doctorate. He became an associate professor in 1999 and full professor in 2002. He was instrumental in a recent update of CMU's introductory computer science curriculum. His research interests include the design of programming languages and logics for enhancing computer security.

Quote: “I'm not sure what the greatest challenge in providing our students with a solid grounding to move computer science forward is, but my top three are a lack of understanding of computer science among high school teachers, a still rapidly evolving field and a consequent lack of stability in teaching materials and programming languages.”

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