ECE Alum Peter Levin Appointed Veteran Affairs CTO


August 3, 2009

PITTSBURGH---A Carnegie Mellon University engineering alumnus has been appointed by President Barack Obama as the new chief technology officer for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Levin, who earned a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1988 at Carnegie Mellon, was tapped June 1 to be the first chief technology officer in the office of the secretary and senior advisor to VA Secretary Eric Shineski.

"This is a tremendous privilege for my family and me. The VA has shown tremendous leadership --- like in the area of electronic health records --- that we can further leverage to the benefit of the veterans, and ultimately for the nation. Health care reform is ultimately about better health, and we have a lot to say about that," according to Levin. "The VA also has some important challenges; we can attack these in a more 'whole systems' way, from the bottom up and from the top down. This is exactly the kind of thinking that I learned at Carnegie Mellon, and that I have implemented in my academic, industry and public service appointments. Andrew Carnegie compelled us to put our 'hearts in the work.' This one gets my whole body," said Levin, who has written more than 50 articles on topics ranging from global positioning to cybersecurity.

Levin has been charged with identifying medical, web-based and advanced software technologies for the VA, and that will support the 7,000 person Office of Information and Technology led by Assistant Secretary and Chief Information Officer Roger Baker, with whom he'll work closely.

"This is the kind of technology challenge that we teach our graduates to face as they continue to hone their many problem-solving skills for any task assigned. Peter is simply the best expert for this job," said Pradeep K. Khosla, dean of Carnegie Mellon's College of Engineering and co-founder of Carnegie Mellon CyLab.

Ed Schlesinger, head of Carnegie Mellon's Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, praised Levin for his leadership and technological savvy. "Peter is the kind of alum who has both the technical expertise and understanding of broad societal issues to handle the types of challenges offered by this position," Schlesinger said. "His appointment to such a prestigious and demanding post serves as an example to our students in terms of the type of contributions they can make with the preparation provided by a Carnegie Mellon education."

A former White House fellow in the Clinton Administration, Levin spent nine years at Worchester Polytechnic Institute in Worchester, Mass., where he won a National Science Foundation Presidential (George W. Bush) Young Investigator Award for his work in high-performance computing. He also enjoyed post-doctoral training at the Technical University of Munich, and subsequently spent a year as a visiting professor of mathematic physics, and Humboldt Fellow, at the Technical University of Darmstadt.

Levin will work closely with the senior leadership at the VA. "I've been given the time and the space to be thoughtful and creative, and to help Secretary Shinseki and Deputy Secretary Gould create the strongest possible technology foundation for the 21st Century VA," said Levin.

Prior to the VA post, Levin was founder and chief executive of DAFCA Inc, a semiconductor software company. Until recently, he was on the board of the network security company Astaro, based in Karlsruhe Germany, and was a venture partner of Ventizz Capital Partners, in Duesseldorf. He also serves on the advisory board at the Computer Science Department at the Worchester Polytechnic Institute and is a consulting professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University.

Carnegie Mellon News Service

Alumnus Peter Levin (Ph.D. 1988)