Welcome to our weekly roundup of Pittsburgh technology news by noted local tech writer David Radin. Got tech news? Email us. And check back every Thursday for more. 

Local foundations and Commonwealth politicians launch prescription safety initiative

As adolescent drug abuse in the Commonwealth continues to be a problem, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has teamed with The Rite-Aid Foundation and The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation to launch a Prescription Drug Safety Program in Pittsburgh area schools. Designed by technology company Everfi, the drug safety program was launched Thursday at an event at Brashear High School. It will serve high schools in the Pittsburgh area, and other parts of Pennsylvania and Ohio. The Rite Aid Foundation is making a three-year $1.125 million commitment to the program.

True intelligence: Carnegie Mellon ranks #1

No surprise to Pittsburghers! Carnegie Mellon University topped the list of Best Grad Schools in Artificial Intelligence as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. More importantly, the publication ranked CMU #1 in Computer Science in general. There is one caveat: Stanford, MIT and The University of California, Berkeley all earned the same 5.0 score as CMU, making that category a four-way tie for the top spot.

Pipe-crawling robot will help decommission Department of Energy nuclear facility

Speaking of moving autonomously, a pair of autonomous robots developed at CMU’s Robotics Institute will help decommission a nuclear facility in Piketon, Ohio. The facility, operated by the U.S. Department of Energy, had previously been used to enrich uranium. Using robots in this fashion removes human risk of radiation contamination and saves money. According to the DOE, in this case it may save $50 million.

Pittsburgh technology investments and acquisitions keep gaining steam

Fresh off Tuesday’s report from Innovation Works and Ernst & Young that more than $687 million was invested in Pittsburgh technology companies in 2017, more news about investment and acquisition: Harmar Township-based Cernostics has raised $2.5 million to increase its clinical and market studies for its products that predict risk of esophageal cancer. The round was led by California-based Illumina Ventures. Also, Southpointe-based engineering analysis company ANSYS announced it is acquiring France-based Optis, an optical simulation company that services (what else, but …) autonomous vehicles. Terms were not announced.

Upcoming business, career & networking events

Breakfast with Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey
Friday, March 23 at the Omni William Penn Hotel

Land, Sea, Air … Pittsburgh Robots are Everywhere
Wednesday, March 28, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Union Trust Building

Randall Family Big Idea Competition Showcase
Thursday, March 29, 4 – 6 p.m. at the Stephen Foster Memorial Charity Randall Theatre