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Stereo Vision for Underwater Archaeology

As co-director of Engineers for Exploration, Prof. Ryan Kastner led expeditions to test an underwater stereo camera system for producing 3D reconstructions of underwater objects. Here Kastner is shown with the camera system in a UCSD pool. Read more…  

Kastner Underwater

Pacific Interlude

Four of the 10 UCSD undergraduates in the 2014 Pacific Rim Experiences for Undergraduates (PRIME) program are CSE majors. (L-r) Allen Nguyen and Lok Yi (Nicole) Wong did research in Japan, while Matthew Schwegler and Katerina Zorko spent the summer in Australia. Read more…


Girls Day Out

The UCSD chapter of Women in Computing (WiC) held its second annual Girls Day Out in May, bringing roughly 100 girls from San Diego high schools to tour the campus and do hands-on experiments in electronics. Here, girls visit the Qualcomm Institute’s StarCAVE virtual reality room. Read more…  

Girls Day Out

Coding for a Cause

Then-sophomore Sneha Jayaprakash's mobile app, Bystanders to Upstanders (B2U), matches students with opportunities to volunteer for social causes. Together with fellow CSE undergrads, she won a series of grants and awards, and is now doing a startup. Read more...

Sneha Jayaprakash

Photo Finish

CSE alumna Brina Lee (M.S. ’13) was the first full-time female engineer hired at Instagram. Then Instagram was purchased by Facebook, and now Lee is spending much of her time talking to female students about opportunities in computer science. Read more… 

Brina Lee

Internet of Things

Computer scientists at UCSD developed a tool that allows hardware designers and system builders to test security. The tool tags then tracks critical pieces in a hardware’s security system. Pictured (l-r): Ph.D. student Jason Oberg, Prof. Ryan Kastner, postdoc Jonathan Valamehr. Read more…

Internet of Things

Research Expo 2014

At the Jacobs School of Engineering’s Research Expo 2014, CSE Chair Rajesh Gupta (pictured) briefed industry and visitors, and Ph.D. student Matthew Jacobsen won best CSE poster for “Hardware-Accelerated Online Boosting for Tracking.” Read more…

Research Expo 2014


Ph.D. student Laura Pina won best paper with Microsoft colleagues at PervasiveHealth 2014 for developing ParentGuardian, a mobile app/sensor detecting stress in parents of children with ADHD. The system helps parents cope with stress in real time. Read more…  


New Faculty

Former UC Berkeley professor Ravi Ramamoorthi joined CSE’s visual computing faculty, and he is one of six new CSE faculty hires in 2014. Others include assistant teaching professors Mia Minnes and Leo Porter, and assistant professors George Porter, Daniel M. Kane and Julian McAuley. Read more…

Ravi Ramamoorthi

Fun and Functional

CSE 145 teaches students about embedded systems design, and they do capstone projects. For one team, that meant building Ruku, a robot and mobile app that solves a Rubik’s Cube in 30 seconds. (L-r): William Mutterspaugh, Daryl Stimm and Jonas Kabigting. Read more…

Ruku to solve Rubik's Cube

Overclocked Enthusiasts

CSE alumni, students, staff and faculty turned out in force to run, walk or just cheer on the Overclocked CSE Enthusiasts, the department's main team entered in the Chancellor’s 5K run in June. Prof. Christine Alvarado ranked #1 in her division. Read more…  

5K Race

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

CSE capped the 2012-'13 academic year with the announcement of an anonymous $18.5 million gift from an alumnus – making it the largest-ever alumni gift to UC San Diego. Read more...

  • Lovett Lecture on (Log Rank) Conjecture

    CSE Prof. Shachar Lovett was at MIT on Tuesday, Sept. 16, to give a talk on "New Advances on the Log Rank Conjecture." His colloquium was part of MIT's Theory of Computation lecture series. The log rank conjecture is one of the fundamental open problems in communication complexity. According to Lovett, the conjecture speculates that the simplest lower bound for deterministic protocols, the log-rank lower bound, is in fact tight up to polynomial factors.

    "A simple argument shows that there is always a deterministic protocol which uses r bits of communication, and until recently the best known bounds improved on this only by a constant factor," said Lovett (at right) in his abstract for the talk. "Recently, two new approaches allowed for improved bounds." One new approach was determined jointly by Lovett with Technion's Eli Ben-Sasson and Noga Ron-Zewi, a Technion-trained computer scientist now at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study. They related it to a central conjecture in additive number theory, showing that "if it holds, then there are protocols which use O(r / log(r)) bits," i.e., at most a constant times (or factor) more than r/log r bits. The second approach outlined in Lovett's talk was based on discrepancy theory, giving an unconditional, upper bound of O(\sqrt{r} \log(r)) bits of communication. In addition to explaining the approaches and background, Lovett sketched the proofs and outlined "intriguing connections" to other central problems in complexity theory, including matrix rigidity, and two-source extractors. The Theory of Computation group, which organizes the colloquium, is part of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), which spans two departments: Mathematics, as well as Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

    Read the complete abstract for Prof. Lovett's colloquium.

  • SoCal Theory Day 2014

    Be sure to mark Friday, October 17, 2014 on your calendar. Prof. Shachar Lovett is organizing SoCal Theory Day 2014. Reviving a tradition from long ago in CSE, SoCal Theory Day will host a series of external speakers in Theoretical Computer Science, as well as "ample time for mingling and networking." External speakers from Stanford, UCLA and Caltech will include: 

    • Amit Sahai, UCLA. Advances in Obfuscation.
    • Luca Trevisan, Stanford. Spectral graph algorithms for partitioning problems.
    • Chris Umans, Caltech. Approaches to bounding the exponent of matrix multiplication.
    • Ryan Williams, Stanford. Algorithms for circuits and circuits for algorithms: connecting the tractable and intractable

    The external speakers are pictured above right, l-r: Amit Sahai, Luca Trevisan, Chris Umans and Ryan Williams. Registration is required but free of charge (including free lunch for registered participants). 

    Click here to register for SoCal Theory Day.

  • Single Model to Explain Visual and Auditory Precortical Coding

    CSE Prof. Gary Cottrell, Director of the multi-campus and interdisciplinary Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center (TDLC), will be the next speaker in a new lecture series sponsored by Dart NeuroScience. On Sept. 24 at 3pm in the Duane Roth Auditorium of the Sanford Consortium, Cottrell will explore how "a single model explains both visual and auditory precortical coding." It's part of a year-long dialogue on "the role of time and timing in learning, across multiple time scales, brain systems and social systems." According to TDLC, the Dart Neuroscience-TDLC Seminar Series is "a means of sharing a body of excellent science with the larger UCSD scientific and educational community" as well as the communities of both TDLC and Dart NeuroScience.

    According to Cottrell's seminar abstract, "precortical neural systems encode information collected by the senses, but the driving principles of the encoding used have remained a subject of debate. We present a model of retinal coding that is based on three constraints: information preservation, minimization of the neural wiring, and response equalization. The resulting novel version of sparse principal components analysis successfully captures a number of known characteristics of the retinal coding system, such as center-surround receptive fields, color opponency channels, and spatiotemporal responses that correspond to magnocellular and parvocellular pathways." Cottrell (at left) also notes that, "when trained on auditory data, the same model learns receptive fields well fit by gammatone filters, commonly used to model precortical auditory coding. This suggests that efficient coding may be a unifying principle of precortical encoding across modalities."

    The Sanford Consortium is located at 2880 Torrey Pines Scenic Drive in La Jolla. All of the seminars in the Dart NeuroScience-TDLC series in the 2014-2015 academic year will be available as live streaming webcasts for those unable to attend in person.

    Click here to watch the live webcast of Prof. Cottrell's seminar at 3pm on Sept. 24. 
    Keep track of future seminars in this series on the TDLC website. 
    Learn more about TDLC.

  • CodeSpells Update: Kickstarter Campaign Hits Target After Seven Days

    Last week we reported on the launch of a new Kickstarter campaign by the CSE graduate students who developed CodeSpells, a magic-themed computer game designed to help teach students how to program in Java. The crowdfunding appeal aimed to raise $50,000 by early October to make the game more attractive and more fun to play, thanks to improved computer graphics and coding interface. Barely one week into the campaign, CodeSpells had supporters under its spell, putting the game and the company created by the CSE students, ThoughtSTEM, over the top. As of late Tuesday, Sept. 9, the CodeSpells campaign had raised over $58,500 from nearly 2,500 backers, with 24 days still to go in the month-long appeal that ends Oct. 2.

by Dr. Radut