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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…

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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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  • 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 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 Srishfy 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.

  • 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.



by Dr. Radut