Here's an alert to graduate students in CSE who want to attend the 23rd annual USENIX Security Symposium that will take place August 20-22 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego. The conference has extended the deadline for students to apply for travel, accommodations and/or registration grants to attend this year's event. The new deadline is Monday, July 14, and applications must be submitted online (see link below).
USENIX Security is one of the "big three" conferences in computer security, and this year's meeting is going to showcase the work of current faculty and grad students, but also the work of UC San Diego CSE alumni. CSE Prof. Hovav Shacham (pictured at right) is the senior author of a paper, "On the Practical Exploitability of Dual EC in TLS Implementations," co-authored with colleagues including grad student Jake Maskiewicz and CSE alumni Stephen Checkoway (now at Johns Hopkins) and Tom Ristenpart (University of Wisconsin-Madison). Shacham is also senior author on another paper with co-authors from UC San Diego and the University of Michigan. CSE Ph.D. student Neha Chachra (at left during previous internship at Google), advised by Geoffrey Voelker and Stefan Savage in the Systems and Networking group, is one of the co-authors on a paper titled, "Hulk: Eliciting Malicious Behavior in Browser Extensions." In addition to Chachra, the co-authors on the Hulk paper hail from two other University of California campuses -- three co-authors from UC Santa Barbara, and two from UC Berkeley and the International Computer Science Institute, including senior author Vern Paxson.
In addition to the paper above, CSE alumnus Tom Ristenpart (Ph.D. '10) has three other papers on the USENIX Security program. Both Ristenpart and Georgia Tech professor Alexandra (Sasha) Boldyreva (Ph.D. '04) studied under CSE Prof. Mihir Bellare, and Boldyreva also has a paper at USENIX Security this year. Another CSE alumnus, Stephen Checkoway (Ph.D. '12), had four papers accepted (two of them co-authored with UC San Diego researchers). A fourth CSE alumnus, Chris Kanich (Ph.D. '12) -- now an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago -- also has a paper ("The Long 'Taile' of Typosquatting Domain Names"). Pictured above (l-r): CSE alumni Ristenpart, Checkoway, Boldyreva and Kanich.
According to Center for Networked Systems director Stefan Savage, CSE's intellectual imprint on USENIX Security 2014 goes beyond the individual papers. "There are two sessions whose purpose is driven by our past work," said Savage. "There is a session on return-oriented programming (ROP) that is driven entirely by Hovav Shacham's seminal work on ROP. On top of that, roughly 75 percent of the side-channel session is motivated by the work Tom Ristenpart did here at UC San Diego on cross-VM attacks in the cloud."
While he was still on the CSE faculty at UC San Diego, last summer George Varghese was named the winner of the IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award (named for the longtime leader of NEC). At that time, Varghese was cited for his "contributions to the field of network algorithmics and its applications to high-speed packet networks." Fast forward to summer 2014, and once again he is being honored -- this time by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) with its highest award in communications networking. Varghese is the recipient of the 2014 ACM SIGCOMM Award, and he was cited for his "sustained and diverse contributions to network algorithmics, with far-reaching impact in both research and industry." Varghese stepped down from the CSE faculty in August 2013 to take a position at Microsoft Research after 14 years at UC San Diego. Together with colleagues from Microsoft's networking and programming-languages groups (the latter because of their experience with program verification), Varghese hopes to take the new field of network verification to the next level and apply it to Bing, Windows Azure and other networks run by Microsoft. As he said last year, "The hope is to make our networks — and perhaps our customers' — more available and easy to manage." Another of his current research directions: interactive genomics. Responding to word of Varghese's ACM SIGCOMM honor, CSE Chair Rajesh Gupta noted that, "Coming as it does on the heels of the Koji Kobayashi Award by the IEEE, this is very impressive and very much in keeping with the excellence George has come to personify."
The competition was fierce at this year’s IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) in Columbus, Ohio, with more than 1,800 papers submitted. Nevertheless, CSE alumnus Manmohan Chandraker (Ph.D., ’09) delivered an oral presentation and came away with the Best Paper award sponsored by Microsoft Research for his paper titled, “What Camera Motion Reveals About Shape with Unknown BRDF.” Chandraker’s sole-authored paper was singled out for its development of a framework for 3D shape recovery from motion cues with complex material and illumination. According to Google Scholar metrics, CVPR is the highest-rated publication venue for computer vision, and the seventh highest among all engineering and computer science conferences.
(Chandraker is pictured, far right, accepting his Best Paper award from Rick Szeliski of Microsoft Research.)
Chandraker earned his Ph.D. under CSE Prof. David Kriegman, and he won CSE’s best-dissertation award in 2009 with a thesis on provably optimal methods for non-convex optimization problems that arise in 3D reconstruction. The dissertation was so good that it was nominated in 2010 by UC San Diego to represent the entire university in the annual ACM Dissertation Award contest. While still a graduate student, Chandraker did internships at Microsoft Research and the Honda Research Institute. (For the latter, he developed a real-time, stereo-based structure-from-motion system for Honda’s humanoid robot, ASIMO, particularly for indoor applications.) From UC San Diego, Chandraker became a postdoctoral scholar at UC Berkeley, then became a researcher at NEC Laboratories America in Cupertino, Calif. There, he leads NEC’s research effort in 3D reconstruction with a pilot application in 3D visual sensing for autonomous driving (and led an effort to engage automakers, including Honda, Nissan and Denso, in research and business partnerships).
Solve for X bills itself as “people working to accelerate progress on technology moonshots.” Those moonshots are radical proposals for solving global problems – solutions that can help millions or even billions of people with a radical solution and breakthrough technology to make it happen. CSE Prof. Scott Klemmer (pictured) was in the Bay Area on June 26 at the Google I/O 2014 conference. In connection with the event, he delivered a presentation at a Google [x]-sponsored Solve for X forum, and the webcast is now available for on-demand viewing on the Solve for X website (see link below). Klemmer – who is also a professor of cognitive science at UC San Diego – made the case for an “accelerating moonshot project” (in the Solve for X lingo) to solve problems in global education by “designing a world where people teach themselves and each other.”
Klemmer outlined some of the innovations undertaken in connection with the role of students taking his massive open online course (MOOC) on human-computer interaction. To scale up to tens of thousands of students required extensive use of peer assessment, which meant first teaching students how to assess other students. They would then be assigned five anonymous peers to assess, one of which had already been assessed by the teaching staff (in order to gauge how well the students assessed their peers). Even in such courses, students “need more qualitative, personalized feedback, even at massive scale,” according to Klemmer. He reported packaging what he calls “fortune cookies” possible elements of feedback likely to come into play in a MOOC, which peers could then use to easily customize their feedback to other students. Small groups in massive classes also used Google Hangouts to great effect, especially when there was a lot of diversity in each Hangout. Klemmer admits that machine learning is not yet at the point of grading creative assignments, but natural language processing can be part of the grading process, i.e., breaking down tests to allow parts of the grading to be done by machine, even if the majority of a student’s creative work must be graded by a teacher or peer. “I think we can use strategies like this to build practical theory with real-world experiences, and bake pedagogy into software that transforms learning,” Klemmer told the Solve for X audience, adding (in "Mission: Impossible" fashion), “Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to think about how to scale more personalized, mastery-oriented learning experiences to this new global community.”