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Highlights

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…

CSEHeader_PRIME2014.jpg

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

ParentGuardian

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…  

ParentGuardian

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...

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  • 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.

  • March 30 Application Deadline for Gordon Engineering Leadership Scholars

    CSE undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply for the Gordon Scholars Program. Organized by the Gordon Engineering Leadership Center, the program expects to select 20 students for the 2015-2016 program, half undergrads, half grad students. Applications for the prestigious scholarships are now available, and the selection committee expects the review and selection process to be very competitive.

    All applicants to the Gordon Center will be asked to prepare an application package consisting of:

    • A cover letter focusing on your perspective on engineering leadership;
    • Grad students must submit a CV with a list of publications or resume;
    • Undergraduates must submit a resume;
    • Video or in-person interview (to be scheduled after application is complete); and
    • Two letters of recommendation should highlight the student's academic progress and engineering leadership potential;

                  - For Ph.D. applicants, one recommendation letter must be from your advisor; or
                  - For Master's applicants, at least one recommendation letter must be from a faculty member.

    The final deadline to submit the online application is Monday, March 30, 2015.

    Students can apply at: http://www.jacobsschool.ucsd.edu/GordonCenter/g_app/.

  • Center for Visual Computing Gets Ready to Take a Bow

    The Computer Science and Engineering department is home to a new research center on computer vision and graphics, computational imaging and augmented reality, to be announced soon. According to a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Sony is the largest founding sponsor of the new UC San Diego Center for Visual Computing. Together with Qualcomm, Pixar and Adobe, the companies are investing in a center that “will study everything from virtual and augmented reality to object recognition.”

    While a formal announcement is pending the launch of the center’s new website, founding director Ravi Ramamoorthi (pictured) is quoted as saying, “It is exciting to get this level of industry support in such a short timeframe, which indicates the high level of industry involvement with visual computing technologies, and the potential for major societal impact.”

    In the same March 13 newspaper article, Ramamoorthi is optimistic that other companies will flock to the center. “We expect to see even more sponsors join the center in the next few months,” he said, “and expect to further grow the visual computing effort and research group within the Jacobs School of Engineering.”

    The Center for Visual Computing is the third so-called “agile” research center announced in the past six months within the Jacobs School, and the first to be based in the CSE department. In addition to Ramamoorthi, founding faculty include CSE professors Henrik Wann Jensen, David Kriegman, Zhuowen Tu (joint Cognitive Science and CSE) and Qualcomm Institute research scientist Jurgen Schulze (CSE adjunct).

    According to Ramamoorthi, the center has settled on three overarching research themes: mobile visual computing and digital imaging; interactive digital (augmented) reality; and understanding people and their surroundings. For the latter, researchers aim to automate computer understanding of the visual world, from small-scale underwater organisms to large metropolitan environments.

    According to Ramamoorthi, the center aims to make a formal announcement before the school’s 2015 Research Expo on April 16. That’s when he is slated to represent the center among the faculty speakers, all of whom are based in the agile centers. His topic: the grand challenges in visual computing.

    Learn more about Prof. Ramamoorthi’s talk to Research Expo.
    Read the original San Diego Union-Tribune article about Center for Visual Computing.

  • CSE Faculty, Students Among Winners for Frontiers of Innovation Scholars Program

    Five CSE graduate students have received inaugural Frontiers of Innovation Scholars Program (FISP) grants from the university. They include Jagannathan Venkatesh, a Ph.D. student working with CSE Prof. Tajana Rosing, and an as-yet-unnamed CSE graduate student who will work with Qualcomm Institute research scientist (and CSE instructor) Jurgen Schulze. For most of the grad students, the awards come with $25,000 scholarships. [Pictured l-r: Ph.D. students Venkatesh, Gautier, Shearer, and M.S. student Thangarajan, bottom right].
     
    Ph.D. student Quentin Gautier will work with CSE Prof. Ryan Kastner on 3D modeling for underwater archaeology, specifically to develop an underwater imaging platform for creating 3D models of underwater artifacts. Separately, Kastner will work with Qualcomm Institute manager Curt Schurgers as co-mentors for CSE Ph.D. student Alexandria Shearer, who will do her research on aerial LIDAR scanning. Shearer’s research is applied specifically to aerial laser scanning of Mayan archaeological sites (which are often complicated because ruins are inaccessible and tend to be located in areas with dense jungle canopies). “Both of these projects were kickstarted with previous awards from the Qualcomm Institute through its Calit2 Strategic Research Opportunities grant program,” noted Kastner.
     
    CSE research scientist Nadir Weibel was awarded $25,000, which will allow him to employ CSE Master’s student Narendran Thangarajan to work for the Winter and Spring quarters, after which he will graduate. The funding will allow Thangarajan to work on a project to detect the social networks of San Diegans considered at-risk of contracting HIV. “Through this interdisciplinary project, I am learning how to participate in research where human subjects are involved, as well as medical practices related to HIV,” said Thangarajan. “The Frontiers of Innovation funding will allow me to spend more time on research, which in turn will help our research project to advance and reach our envisioned goal.”
     
    According to CSE’s Weibel, the researchers will use "publicly available Twitter data to uncover the structure and content of the online social networks of HIV at-risk individuals." Once the Twitter network is characterized, it will be compared to the real-world network of patients already known to the UC San Diego School of Medicine's AntiViral Research Center (AVRC) and Dr. Susan Little, whose Primary Infection Research Consortium (PIRC) collects multidimensional epidemiological, clinical, treatment, social and behavioral data from HIV-infected and HIV at-risk individuals (hence the interdisciplinary nature of the research). "Our goal is to use the information from the online social network to initiate and inform targeted, real-world HIV prevention interventions," said Thangarajan. "This could involve stepped-up efforts in specific parts of the city, or specific segments of the population." 
     
    An additional group of graduate recipients from other departments will work under the co-mentorship of CSE faculty members including Kastner as well as Lawrence Saul, Gary Cottrell, and Vineet Bafna. 
     
    But that's not all. Among 100 students campus-wide to receive the smaller $3,000 scholarships for undergraduates, at least three are going to CSE students, and possibly double that number (because some of the grants were given to faculty for them to assign at their discretion). The named undergrads from CSE include senior Antonella Wilby (majoring in computer science) and Jorge Pacheco (computer engineering junior), who are part of a four-person team under professor Kastner in his capacity as co-director of the Engineers for Exploration program. Also getting funding: CSE undergrad Jennifer Lu, who will work with ECE Prof. Gert Lanckriet on a "multimodal machine learning framework for activity and mood recognition using mobile and stationary sensors." [Pictured above (l-r): CSE undergrads Wilby, Pacheco and Lu.]


by Dr. Radut