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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...

  • CSE Alumnus and New Faculty Member Picks Up Award in Scotland

    One of CSE's newest teaching professors, Leo Porter, has just received a best-paper award that recognizes his work as a researcher in the field of peer instruction. The Chair's Award at the annual ICER meeting recognizes the paper that best illustrates "the highest standards of empirical computing education research." At ICER 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland, the award honored Porter's paper on "predicting student success using fine grain clicker data."

    Porter (far right) was on hand to receive the award from conference chair Quintin Cutts, on behalf of himself and his two co-authors from Canada (Daniel Zingaro from the University of Toronto Misssissauga) and Australia (Raymond Lister from the University of Technology, Sydney).

    CSE alumnus Porter (M.S. '07, Ph.D. '11) and his colleagues used data derived from the use of clickers in the classroom, and they reported that clicker data can help predict which students are likely to succeed, or fail, on the final exam in an introductory computer science class. "Our results identify performance during the first three weeks of the term as a significant predictor of their success," notes Porter, who joined the CSE faculty at UC San Diego as of July 1, from Skidmore College. "It also allows us to identify which individual questions were most meaningful." Specifically, the paper found that the predictive nature of the questions in the study applied to code-writing questions, multiple-choice questions, and the final exam as a whole.

  • Computer Engineering Ph.D. Student Receives ARCS Fellowship

    CSE Ph.D. student Dustin Richmond will be an ARCS Scholar for the 2014-15 academic year. ARCS stands for Achievement Rewards for College Scientists, and the one-year award carries with it a $7,500 stipend. Richmond joined the Ph.D. program at UC San Diego in 2012 after finishing his electrical and computer engineering undergraduate degrees at the University of Washington.

    Richmond (at right) first learned about the ARCS program from his Ph.D. advisor, CSE Prof. Ryan Kastner. The student believes that a key to landing the ARCS fellowship was his involvement in CSE activities. "I've been active in a variety of capacities, including as chair of the Graduate Community Council, as lead for graduate student visit day, and various other opportunities," observes Richmond. "These volunteer experience have helped me meet all sorts of people in the department, and in return, they were willing to nominate me for the award." In his first year, Richmond worked with Cognex to design an ultra-high-speed image processing pipeline for active 3D scanners using a system based on field-programmable gate arrays, or FPGAs, to decompress and process 20,000+ images per second. Richmond has also participated in the Engineers for Exploration program, most recently joining an expedition to Guatemala to survey Mayan ruins using state-of-the-art LIDAR scanners.

  • Caught Between Theory, Practice and Peer Review

    The CRYPTO 2014 conference attracted nearly 400 experts to UC Santa Barbara recently, where one of the highlights was the Aug. 18 International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR) Distinguished Lecture by CSE Prof. Mihir Bellare from UC San Diego.

    While he presented for an audience with specific interests in cryptology and cryptography, Bellare covered what he called (with characteristic understatement) "topics of quite broad interest" -- namely, being "caught between theory, practice, and peer review," the title of his talk (first slide pictured at right). The broad sweep of his remarks reflected Bellare's early interests in literature and history. Having come relatively late to science, Bellare told his audience, "In the company of theoreticians I feel liked a practitioner, while in the company of practitioners, I feel like a theoretician. It's not just me: our research community is caught between theory and practice."

    In the second part of his talk, Bellare focused on peer review, asking "how well does the process work?" and answering his own question bluntly: "Not very well." He went on to explore how "our culture incentivizes and perpetuates rejection." "Peer review is a broken, dark ages system," he added, "because it is fundamentally at odds with human nature and history." Bellare exhorted his colleagues to treat the peer review system as a research problem. "Think, write, talk, experiment," he said. "Our community is creative and imaginative. We have never shied away from hard problems. We have solved many. This is another." Bellare favors trying out new reviewing systems, and creating experimental publication venues. He also thinks academe could look elsewhere for ideas: discarding highest and lowest scores is used by the Olympics, so why not in the peer review process?

    Download Mihir Bellare's 90-slide IACR Distinguished Lecture presentation, now available from the CRYPTO 2014 website.

  • Larry Smarr Advises 23andMe on IBD Study

    In launching a new research initiative to study Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), the group 23andMe turned to CSE Prof. Larry Smarr and four other scientific advisors to assist 23andMe in analyzing data and developing surveys for the study. In announcing the IBD initiative, 23andMe quoted Smarr as saying that the study could illustrate the power of the 23andMe research model.  “I believe that a more accurate stratification of IBD disease states will result from classifying based on combinations of (genetic markers) than on symptoms,” said Smarr, director of Calit2, who has been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. “23andme is the best way to quickly get a large number of people classified to test this hypothesis.” The goal of the IBD study is to enlist 10,000 people in the effort.

    IBD is an umbrella diagnosis covering an estimated 1.4 million people in the U.S. with serious digestive conditions such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. 23andMe is collaborating with Pfizer, Inc., to “learn more about what role genetics and environment play in the development of IBD as well as how the condition progresses” – hopefully giving scientists and physicians new insights into the disease. 23andMe pointed out that Smarr has, over the last decade, “tracked everything from his weight, to his sleep patterns to his caloric intake and even the microbes in his stool to learn about his own health. But what had started as a simple effort to track weight loss soon became a focused effort to apply all his scientific skills to manage his own health and his own struggle with what he later learned was IBD.”

by Dr. Radut