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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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  • Best Industry Paper Awarded to CSE Alumna at KDD 2014

    Over 2,000 people attended the 20th ACM SIG International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD 2014), a premier interdisciplilnary conference that brings together researchers and practitioners from data science, data mining, knowledge discovery, large-scale data analytics, and big data.

    Best paper awards were handed out to academic and industry papers, and this year's Industry & Government award went to CSE alumna Diane Hu (pictured far right, receiving the award). Hu and her co-authors were cited for their paper, "Style in the Long Tail: Discovering Unique Interests with Latent Variable Models in Large Scale Social E-commerce." The CSE alumna (M.S. '09, Ph.D. '12 under CSE Prof. Lawrence Saul, her advisor) and her co-authors, Rob Hall and Josh Attenberg, all work at Etsy, Inc., the e-commerce website that bills itself as "the world's most vibrant" marketplace for handmade or vintage items and supplies. Etsy attracts developers with its slogan, "We believe in code as craft."

    In the award-winning paper, Etsy data scientist Hu and her colleagues tackle the challenge of matching buyers to products "as the size and diversity of the marketplace increases." With over 30 million diverse listings, Etsy must deal with the problem of capturing shoppers' aesthetic preferences in order to steer them to items that fit their eclectic styles. In her talk, Hu described the methods and experiments underlying two new style-based recommendation systems on the Etsy site. One is called Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA). LDA discovers trending categories and styles on Etsy, which are then used to describe a user's "style" profile. Hu and her colleagues also explored hashing methods to perform fast nearest neighbor search on a map-reduce framework, in order to efficiently obtain recommendations. "These techniques have been implemented successfully at very large scale," concluded Hu, "substantially improving many key business metrics."

    Knock It Off

    Current CSE faculty and students were also represented on the KDD program. 5th-year Ph.D. student Matthew Der (M.S. '13, Ph.D. '15 expected) collaborated on a paper with his three advisors – Lawrence Saul, Stefan Savage and Geoffrey Voelker – called, "Knock It Off: Profiling the Online Storefronts of Counterfeit Merchandise." The team developed an automated system for classifying illegal online storefronts according to which "affiliate program" (or business) runs the store. Their approach was to extract features from the HTML source code of the Web pages; these features capture the similar underlying structure of storefronts that link to the same affiliate program. Experiments showed that the system is highly accurate in classifying the storefronts of "44 distinct affiliate programs that account, collectively, for hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit e-commerce," according to the paper.

    (Der had to rush back to San Diego after the presentation, because he is teaching CSE 150, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, during the second summer quarter that ends on Friday, September 5.). [Photo courtesy Geoffrey Voelker]

    Read "Style in the Long Tail: Discovering Unique Interests with Latent Variable Models in Large Scale Social E-commerce."
    Read "Knock It Off: Profiling the Online Storefronts of Counterfeit Merchandise."

  • From Flash Memory Security to Machine Consciousness

    The 20th anniversary of the Neuromorphic Cognition Engineering Workshop took place last month, and participants spent three weeks in Telluride, CO, working on ambitious projects in neuromorphic engineering. Stephen Deiss was a participant in the first Telluride workshop in 1994 and he was back at the 2014 workshop, this time as a staff engineer from CSE's Non-Volatile Systems Laboratory (NVSL). Working under CSE Prof. and NVSL Director Steven Swanson, Deiss supports projects characterizing flash memory security and new user tools for building simple electronic devices.

    "The early workshops focused on bringing people up to speed on the neuroscience of sensory and motor systems, as well as analog VLSI designs to mimic those neural circuits," recalls Deiss, who previously developed the 'Silicon Cortex' board, one of the first neuromorphic hardware platforms for testing analog VLSI neuromorphic chips. "That component is still very much alive at Telluride today, but in recent years the field has started to focus much more on capturing all aspects of cognition." 

    Participants in the 2014 workshop covered areas ranging from EEG capture and interpretation, robotics from biological, dynamical systems and neuroengineering perspectives, wearable navigation aids, vision systems, and fundamental neuroscience from synapses to cortical integration processes. CSE's Deiss also participated in the "Neuromorphic Olympics," a competition involving small 'pushbots' and a Sumo wrestling-type game in which the robots compete to push each other out of a circle. Deiss finished in third place.

  • CSE Alumnus and New Faculty Member Picks Up Award in Scotland

    One of CSE's newest teaching professors, Leo Porter, has just received a best-paper award that recognizes his work as a researcher in the field of peer instruction. The Chair's Award at the annual ICER meeting recognizes the paper that best illustrates "the highest standards of empirical computing education research." At ICER 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland, the award honored Porter's paper on "predicting student success using fine grain clicker data."

    Porter (far right) was on hand to receive the award from conference chair Quintin Cutts, on behalf of himself and his two co-authors from Canada (Daniel Zingaro from the University of Toronto Misssissauga) and Australia (Raymond Lister from the University of Technology, Sydney).

    CSE alumnus Porter (M.S. '07, Ph.D. '11) and his colleagues used data derived from the use of clickers in the classroom, and they reported that clicker data can help predict which students are likely to succeed, or fail, on the final exam in an introductory computer science class. "Our results identify performance during the first three weeks of the term as a significant predictor of their success," notes Porter, who joined the CSE faculty at UC San Diego as of July 1, from Skidmore College. "It also allows us to identify which individual questions were most meaningful." Specifically, the paper found that the predictive nature of the questions in the study applied to code-writing questions, multiple-choice questions, and the final exam as a whole.

  • Computer Engineering Ph.D. Student Receives ARCS Fellowship

    CSE Ph.D. student Dustin Richmond will be an ARCS Scholar for the 2014-15 academic year. ARCS stands for Achievement Rewards for College Scientists, and the one-year award carries with it a $7,500 stipend. Richmond joined the Ph.D. program at UC San Diego in 2012 after finishing his electrical and computer engineering undergraduate degrees at the University of Washington.

    Richmond (at right) first learned about the ARCS program from his Ph.D. advisor, CSE Prof. Ryan Kastner. The student believes that a key to landing the ARCS fellowship was his involvement in CSE activities. "I've been active in a variety of capacities, including as chair of the Graduate Community Council, as lead for graduate student visit day, and various other opportunities," observes Richmond. "These volunteer experience have helped me meet all sorts of people in the department, and in return, they were willing to nominate me for the award." In his first year, Richmond worked with Cognex to design an ultra-high-speed image processing pipeline for active 3D scanners using a system based on field-programmable gate arrays, or FPGAs, to decompress and process 20,000+ images per second. Richmond has also participated in the Engineers for Exploration program, most recently joining an expedition to Guatemala to survey Mayan ruins using state-of-the-art LIDAR scanners.



by Dr. Radut