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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...

  • Smart Earplugs Make Noise on Kickstarter

    Hush, ironically, is making some loud noise with potential supporters. Hush Technology is a startup founded by CSE senior Daniel Lee (below far left), who expects to graduate next spring, and two other students named Daniel: Daniel Synn, a senior in structural engineering; and a second Daniel Lee (same name, different person), getting his degree this year in mechanical and aerospace engineering. The three are making a splash with a Kickstarter launch to raise $100,000 in crowdfunding by the December 22 deadline. As of Nov. 19, the crowdfunding appeal had raised over $150,000 from roughly 1,300 supporters, and they still have 33 days left before the campaign ends. 

    What does Hush do? It is developing wireless noise-masking earplugs that let you block out the world while still letting you hear the things that matter most (as the Kickstarter appeal spells out). Hush combines sound eliminating foam with noise masking to isolate you from your surrounding environment. If you want to sleep you should be able to fall asleep and stay asleep regardless of the noise around you. Hush connects wirelessly with your smartphone so you can fully power off with the peace of mind knowing that you'll be awakened when you're needed. As a wireless miniature device that has to play sounds and stay connected to the phone for over 10 hours, battery life was one of the team's biggest concerns. To do this they designed everything with low power in mind. By using Bluetooth Low Energy and playing back locally stored audio files, Hush says its smart earplugs can surpass this requirement on a battery that other wireless in-ear products exhaust in two hours. The Hush Case is small and light, and has its own rechargeable batteries that can recharge Hush up to 10 times without plugging in. The developers also put an extra USB port on the case so that both the Hush earplugs and a smartphone can recharge at the same time.

    Learn more about the world's first smart earplug here on Kickstarter

  • Four CSE Undergrads Win 'Best iOS Hack' at USC Hackathon

    Josh Anatalio, a third-year computer science major at UC San Diego, was among the members of more than 50 teams from UCSD who drove up to Los Angeles recently to participate in HackSC, organized by the University of Southern California. Project manager Anatalio entered the November 7-9 hackathon with three teammates, all fellow third-year CSE undergraduates: Noah Martin, a computer engineering major; as well as Lawrence Luk and Alvin Ho, both majoring in computer science. [Pictured (l-r) Anatalio, Martin, Luk and Ho.]

    HackSC aims to “empower hackers to learn and explore new technologies through hands-on development and experience.”

    The team arrived in Los Angeles with no preconceived notion about the type of application they wanted to develop. After a brainstorming session, Anatalio and his colleagues came up with idea.  

    “At HackSC, my teammates and I created a really cool application,” said Anatalio, the iOS software developer, after the hackathon. “It was especially great because we got the attention of Apple engineers and recruiters.”

    What attracted Apple was their application called ezTouch. “The app allows the user to lock and unlock one or more remote Mac computers using an iPhone’s fingerprint scanner,” says Anatalio. “We developed the iPhone remote application in Swift to let users scan their fingerprint, communicate with our server, and securely lock or unlock their computer.” 

    In addition to Swift, the developers used other tools, including Sketch and TouchID. Noah Martin designed and implemented the Mac application for OSX in Objective-C; Lawrence Luk managed and created the server using Ruby on Rails to handle communication between the iOS and the Mac app; and Alvin Ho created the design for the iOS and Mac app, while also implementing the user interface for the iOS app and designing the artwork for both applications. Luk also created ezTouch’s website at

    The CSE team was one of only 13 teams entered to compete on Apple platforms. Most other teams competed on Android. The UC San Diego were also among the teams that were able to complete their apps before the deadline. By the end of the hackathon, Apple awarded Anatalio and his teammates with the “Best iOS Hack” award.

    Instead of cash prizes, HackSC gave out tech prizes to help participants develop bigger and better hacks going forward. The Apple Hack award included support from Apple staff.

    The CSE team members all had experiences with hackathons prior to HackSC, but it was still an intense experience. “It involved roughly 12 to 15 hours of actual coding, plus time for breaks and sleep because the 36-hour challenge ended at 9am on Sunday,” explained Anatalio. “But having entered previous hackathons definitely gave us an edge. It was a lot of fun, but the most fun was winning.”

  • CSE Professor, Research Affiliate Accept HPCwire Awards for WIFIRE Project

    The WIFIRE project led by the University of California, San Diego has triumphed with three top 2014 HPCwire Awards. All the awards were announced on Nov. 17 at Supercomputing ’14 in New Orleans.

    With a multi-year $2.65 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the WIFIRE project is a partnership led by San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) researcher Ilkay Altintas, a CSE academic-instructor. Altintas and WIFIRE co-PI and CSE Prof. Larry Smarr received the three awards in New Orleans.  All three awards cited WIFIRE “for building a cyberinfrastructure to better monitor, predict and mitigate future wildfires.”

    “These awards are truly wonderful news for the entire WIFIRE team,” said Altintas, director of SDSC’s Workflows for Data Science Center of Excellence. “We all are very grateful to HPCwire’s editors and readers for recognizing this project and the impact that it can have not only here in California but anywhere where wildfires can be a threat to the local populace and environment.”

    In the category of Best Application of Big Data in High Performance Computing (HPC), the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UC San Diego and the University of Maryland tied for the #1 spot for Readers’ Choice with a PayPal deployment to improve customer shopping experiences.  In the separate category of Editors’ Choice for the best application of big data in HPC, the same project, WIFIRE, took top honors as selected by a panel of HPCwire editors.

    In the broader category of Best Data-Intensive System (End-User Focused), the WIFIRE project also came in #1 as the Editors’ Choice.  (The Readers’ Choice in this category went to NASA’s Earth Exchange platform, which supports dozens of data-intensive projects in Earth sciences.)

    According to CSE’s Smarr, WIFIRE is a logical progression in the fight against wildfires. “We are all based in southern California and wildfires represent one of the most intractable environmental threats we face on a regular basis,” said the Calit2 director. “The technology we deploy for WIFIRE will make a substantial difference in our ability to detect, track, and respond to wildfires going forward.”  

    In recent years, the number and scale of wildfires in the U.S. has risen, threatening cities and forests, and at times forcing large-scale evacuations. The NSF grant allowed WIFIRE participants to begin cataloguing and integrating large, data-intensive sets related to dynamic wildfire models from a variety of resources, including sensors, satellites, and scientific models, and creating visual programming interfaces for using that data in scalable wildfire models.

  • CSE's Griswold Makes 'Sense' at Founders Day Symposium

    CSE Prof. Bill Griswold wowed the audience when he was asked to deliver a TED-style talk during the university's Founders Day Symposium. The symposium kicked off a three-day celebration, Nov. 13-15, to celebrate "the curiosity and passion that have allowed our campus to transform the world."

    Griswold was one of six "extraordinary minds" and faculty experts who "illuminate the collaborative approach used to understand and address complex issues within the broad research themes of understanding and protecting the planet, and enriching human life and society." In the Price Center East Ballroom, the CSE professor was the first speaker on the latter subject, and he focused on "Pervasive Air-Quality Monitoring for the Crowd."

    "Recent revelations about the impact of air pollution on human health are troubling, yet air pollution and the risks it poses to us are largely invisible because federally mandated monitoring stations are sparse," says Griswold (at right), who thinks one answer to the problem is a project called CitiSense. Developed by computer scientists and population-health experts from the School of Medicine, CitiSense leverages the proliferation of smartphones and the advent of cheap, compact sensors to enable real-time monitoring of air quality. By sharing all users’ data through the cloud, CitiSense can create a regional air-quality map and even predict air pollution for those who are not carrying a sensor.

    Griswold began his presentation with a series of alarming numbers, including: 30%, the proportion of public schools that are near highways (hence, sending asthmatic kids to school potentially puts them in harm's way); and 50%, the increase in asthma events near highways in the United States.

    He called CitiSense "a computing approach" to the problem of not-enough air pollution sensors, especially given the fact that pollution levels fluctuate between nearby locations. "Pollution levels vary widely by locale," said Griswold, pointing to a map, who went on to point out that "individual exposres vary widely compared to the reported EPA Air-Quality Index."  Historically, air-quality sensors were also placed on rooftops, rather than at ground level where most people are likely to be affected by pollution. CitiSense components include sensors built into a board inside a smart phone, which can display real-time air-quality readings, and pass the data on to servers that map the air quality levels throughout the San Diego region. Consumers can then access the county-wide pollution maps over the Internet, either from a computer or from a smartphone to get not only nearby data, but information on air quality anywhere else in San Diego. The maps also use advanced scientific visualization to make it very clear the areas facing the worst pollution levels in real time.

by Dr. Radut