Skip to Content


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...

  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowships to CSE Students

    Two current CSE students are among the 2,000 nationwide to be offered 2015 Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Graduate student Alexandria Shearer and graduating senior Max Shen were selected from among roughly 16,500 applicants this year. In addition, CSE undergraduate Antonella Wilby was a runner-up in the national competition, receiving an Honorable Mention for work in the field of robotics and computer vision. Shearer and Wilby are both in CSE Prof. Ryan Kastner's research group, which is already home to three NSF graduate fellows: Dustin Richmond, Perry Naughton, and Alric Althoff. Max Shen works in the bioinformatics group of CSE Prof. Pavel Pevzner.

    With its emphasis on support of individuals, the NSF program offers fellowship awards directly to graduate students selected through a national competition. If accepted, the award provides three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period ($34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution) for graduate study that leads to a research-based master's or doctoral degree in science or engineering.

    Alexandria Shearer (right) is a Ph.D. student working on applications in heterogeneous computing. Less than two weeks ago, she was selected to receive a one-year UC San Diego Frontiers of Innovation Scholarship to continue her work on aerial LiDAR scanning of Mayan ruins. The FISP fellowship will cover Shearer over the summer and partially cover some equipment and travel costs related to her research, while the NSF stipend covers her primary expenses during the school year and the tuition allowance is paid directly to UCSD. Shearer arrived at UC San Diego in 2013 after getting her B.S. in computer science and engineering from Santa Clara University's School of Engineering, where she graduated as the top senior in computer engineering. Shearer expects to complete her Ph.D. in 2018. Among past honors, she was a SWE ViaSat Scholar in 2012, and a Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholar in 2011, the same year she won an NSF Grace Hopper Celebration Scholarship.

    Max Shen (left) will graduate this June with a B.S. in computer science and a specialization in bioinformatics. He is a research assistant in the group of CSE Prof. Pavel Pevzner, and for the past year has been a content contributor to Pevzner's Rosalind platform for learning bioinformatics and programming through problem-solving. For Rosalind, Shen designs and implements bioinformatics programming assignments onto a live website with randomized input generation and scoring. Rosalind is used in undergraduate bioinformatics courses, and also by students enrolled in Pevzner's massive open online courses on Coursera, including courses on bioinformatics algorithms. In addition to being a research assistant, Shen has also been a TA and tutor in CSE, a software engineering intern at Qualcomm, and a software engineer at Illumina. He was also a research assistant in the UC San Diego School of Medicine's Radiology Imaging Laboratory, thanks to which Shen may be the only computer science student who is also certified to operate a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine.    

    Honorable Mention recipient Antonella Wilby is a graduating senior. She has been active for over two years in the Engineers for Exploration program co-directed by CSE's Kastner. Wilby graduates in June and will start grad school in CSE this fall, having just accepted an invitation to join Shearer in Kastner's research group. She also recently received a National Geographic Young Explorer grant for her work to document the endangered vaquita, a rare species of porpoise found primarily in the Gulf of California.

  • Cyber Privacy App Gets Boost from CSE Alumnus, Research Scientist Now Teaching at Carnegie Mellon

    CSE got a plug from one of its alumni and former research scientist in an article about how most apps don't care about privacy. CSE alumnus Yuvraj Agarwal (Ph.D. '09) left UC San Diego in 2013 to be an assistant professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, where he founded that university's Systems Networking and Energy Efficiency Lab. But when interviewed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for a piece on privacy and apps, Agarwal noted that his team at UCSD had developed an app called Protect My Privacy in 2012, at a time when Apple had not yet offered its AppOpps rival. "Protect My Privacy sends user notifications when an app attempts to access location data, contacts or other information with the phone,"  noted Agarwal (pictured at UCSD demonstrating the app). Protect My Privacy, however, goes beyond what AppOpps can do, by intercepting communication between the app and the phone before any information is lost.

    On the downside, Protect My Privacy can only work on iPhones that have been modified to allow customization, or that have been 'jailbroken.'  Even so, Agarwal confirmed that an iOS 8 version of Protect My Privacy was released in late March, and since its launch, the app has been downloaded more than 200,000 times. However, as people load more and more apps on their smartphones, they can generated potentially hundreds of alerts per day that may require the user to say yes or no to a request for information. Agarwal is quoted admitting that, "it can get overwhelming pretty quickly."

  • New Opportunities for CSE Students, Faculty in Qualcomm Institute Innovation Space

    The Qualcomm Institute is setting up a new space where companies can apply to lease offices or labs on the second floor of Atkinson Hall, across from the CSE building. The institute announced the first seven companies that have been approved to be the first tenants of the facility, with more in the queue. The space is not an incubator, but it's a natural home for faculty, staff or student startups, because it allows a founder to locate startup staff within easy walking distance from the faculty member's departmental office. The Qualcomm Institute Innovation Space (QIIS) was also designed to work closely with other campus units that make up the entrepreneurial ecosystem of UC San Diego, including venture capital funds (Triton Fund, UC Ventures), the Moxie Center for Student Entrepreneurship, The von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center, The Basement (the recently-launched incubator/accelerator program for student entrepreneurs), etc. 

    In addition to three faculty startups (Sinopia Biosciences, STEAM Engine and VirBELA) and three early-stage companies that collaborate closely with researchers on campus (Comhear, Technosylva and RAM Photonics), QIIS is now home to the Foundation for Learning Equality (FLE), launched by a team of undergraduate and graduate students including recent cognitive science alumnus Jamie Alexandre (pictured center back row). “It’s estimated that one in three children worldwide lacks access to a quality basic education,” said Alexandre. “Sixty percent of the global population lacks the connectivity needed to access online education, so we have been developing an offline version of Khan Academy. Since being launched in December of 2012, the open-source platform, KA Lite, has now been installed in more than 140 countries and is used by thousands of schools, orphanages, community centers, refugee camps and prisons.” The offline server can be downloaded and run on a basic device such as a Raspberry Pi or even on aging Windows PCs, then other devices nearby can connect to that server to access the Khan Academy videos. A teacher with a single server can provide a classroom of 35 students with simultaneous access to KA Lite, and track their progress using teacher dashboard tools to enable them to most effectively intervene and help students who are struggling. By being located in Atkinson Hall, FLE gets proximity to the population of student programmers it needs in order to keep rolling out enhancements of KA Lite, and CSE students are already actively engaged. Current interns and student workers from CSE include undergraduates Teresa Do, Christine Pham (all class of '15), as well as Chris Li and Antriksh Yadav (both class of '16). Also working on KA Lite, CSE grad student Srishty Agrawal (MS '16), and cognitive science major David Canas, who is minoring in computer science.

    Read the Qualcomm Institute Innovation Space news release.
    Learn more about FLE and its current team members.

  • Bioinformatics Experiment Holds Promise for Industrial Production of Algae Biofuels

    CSE Prof. Vineet Bafna was on the roster of experts who spoke at the Green Revolution 2.0 symposium March 12-13 in the Qualcomm Institute, organized by the California Center for Algal Biology and the Center for Food and Fuel for the 21st Century. The bioinformatics expert addressed the “Ecology of Open Algae Ponds for the Production of Biofuels,” noting that algae are great feedstocks for biofuels and other products, but the challenge is to get yield at low cost. (In principle, microalgae may produce between 10 and 100 times more oil per acre than traditional crops, but that has not been achieved in an industrial setting.) “There is a general understanding in ecology that diversity is good for productivity, and that precept might be useful for industrial production,” explains Bafna. “But we don’t know that these ecological ideas can work in an industrial setting.”

    To test his hypothesis, Bafna’s team did a year-long experiment in which they monitored the prokaryotic and eukaryotic composition of an algae pond (pictured), using genome sequencing to assess the taxonomic composition and diversity in the pond. In addition to genomic sampling, they used phenotyping to gauge various measures of pond health. “We managed to optimize productivity of biomass over the course of a year,” says Bafna. “Our results strongly suggest that diversity is important for pond productivity, and even in a managed setting, open ponds behave like natural ecosystems.” The team’s results, as Bafna explained to the FF21 annual conference, indicate that algal diversity promotes production, and that understanding the ecology of open algae ponds for the production of biofuels is critical to managing their output of biomass energy and other products. The study was funded by NSF and carried out in a partnership with FF21 director Stephen Mayfield and Biological Sciences professor Jonathan Shurin (both from UC San Diego). Bafna also thanked collaborators at Sapphire Energy, Life Technologies and SDSU.

    Read the news release about the Green Revolution 2.0 symposium.

by Dr. Radut