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Highlights

Triton 5K 2015

Over 140 CSE alumni, students, staff and faculty registered to run as part of Team Race Condition. As a result, the department took home the prize for the largest turnout and donation at the 2015 Chancellor’s 5K run in early June. Read more…  

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2015 Student Awards

CSE Chair Rajesh Gupta and Profs. Christine Alvarado and Sorin Lerner with graduate and undergraduate student recipients of the inaugural awards given by the department for graduating students.. Read more…

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Dissertation Medal

CSE alumna Sarah Meiklejohn (PhD '14) was singled out for her dissertation, "Flexible Models for Secure Systems", as the recipient of the 2015 Chancellor's Dissertation Medal. Meiklejohn is now a professor at University College London. Read more…

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Research Expo 2015

At the Jacobs School of Engineering’s Research Expo 2015, more than 25 CSE graduate students showcased their research during the poster session visited by hundreds of campus, industry and community members. Read more…

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Best Poster

Graduating M.S. student Narendran Thangarajan won the award for best Computer Science and Engineering poster at Research Expo 2015. He analyzed social media to characterize HIV at-risk populations in San Diego. Read more…  

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Computer Graphics on EdX

After announcing the launch of the Center for Visual Computing, the Center's director, CSE Prof. Ravi Ramamoorthi, announced that in August 2015 he will launch an online course on computer graphics over the edX online platform. Read more…

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$2 Million Alumni Gift

CSE alumnus Taner Halicioglu, an early employee at Facebook, is donating $2 million to the CSE department to recruit, retain and support the professors and lecturers whose primary mission is to teach and mentor students. Read more…

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Big Pixel Hackathon

Seventeen CSE students, most of them graduate students, participated in the first Bix Pixel Hackathon organized by the Qualcomm Institute to demonstrate how data science can be harnessed to tackle public policy issues. Read more...

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Paul Kube Tribute

CSE honored retiring lecturer Paul Kube with a tribute and the subsequent announcement that CSE is creating the Paul R. Kube Chair of Computer Science to be awarded to a teaching professor, the first chair of its kind in the department. Read more...

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Incoming Freshmen

Prior to entering UC San Diego as first-year undergraduates in CSE, high school students prepare to graduate from CSE's month-long Summer Program for Incoming Students, a residential program with a heavy dose of programming. Read more... 

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Integrated Digital Infrastructure

CSE Prof. Larry Smarr leads a two-year initiative to deploy an Integrated Digital Infrastructure for the UC San Diego campus, including grants to apply advanced IT services to support disciplines that increasingly depend on digital data. Read more...

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Query Language for Big Data

CSE Prof. Yannis Papakonstantinou and Couchbase Inc., are collaborating on a next-generation query language for big data based on the UCSD-developed SQL++, which brings together the full power of SQL with the flexibility of JSON. Read more...

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Honoring Academic Integrity

At 5th annual Academic Integrity Awards, CSE lecturer Gary Gillespie (center, with Leo Porter and Rick Ord) accepted the faculty award in Apri. Then in May, he received the Outstanding Professor Award from the Panhellenic Association. Read more...

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Non-Volatile Memories

In March 2015, CSE Prof. Steven Swanson talks to 220 attendees at the 6th annual Non-Volatile Memories Workshop which he co-organized, and which he said was "moving onto deeper, more Interesting and more challenging problems." Read more...

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Frontiers of Innovation

At least five CSE graduate students and a similar number of undergraduates were selected to receive inaugural Frontiers of Innovation Scholarship Program (FISP) awards initiated for 2015-'16 by UC San Diego. Read more...

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Not-So-Safe Scanners

A team including CSE Prof. Hovav Shacham (right) and Ph.D. student Keaton Mowery released findings of a study pointing to serious flaws in the security of backscatter X-ray scanners used at many airports. Read more...

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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…  

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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…  

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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...

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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…

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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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  • CSE and Facebook at SIGCOMM 2015

    A team from CSE is getting ready to attend the flagship annual conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication on applications, technologies, architectures and protocols of computer communication. The week-long SIGCOMM 2015 takes place in London, UK, starting Aug. 17, and three CSE faculty members will attend – George Porter, Alex Snoeren and Geoffrey Voelker – as will PhD student Arjun Roy (PhD ’16) (at left). The reason? When Roy interned at Facebook, he worked on a project to measure their datacenter network. The results of the joint UC San Diego-Facebook investigation are to be published in a paper at SIGCOMM: "Inside the Social Network's (Datacenter) Network." Snoeren and Porter co-authored the article with grad student Roy and two colleagues from Facebook, Hongyi Zeng and Jasmeet Bagga.

    As they point out in the paper, the co-authors note that "datacenter operators are generally reticent to share the actual requirements of their applications, making it challenging to evaluate the practicality of any particular design" of network fabrics to interconnect and manage traffic within large-scale datacenters. Most prior studies were based on Microsoft workloads, which may not be representative of other cloud services, so having access to some of Facebook's datacenters and workloads breaks new ground in showing how networking inside datacenters is handled. "While Facebook operates a number of traditional datacenter services like Hadoop, its core Web service and supporting cache infrastructure exhibit a number of behaviors that contrast with those reported in the literature," according to the paper's abstract. "We report on the contrasting locality, stability, and predictability of network traffic in Facebook's datacenters, and comment on their implications for network architecture, traffic engineering, and switch design."

    First author Arjun Roy and his co-authors from UC San Diego and Facebook conclude that Facebook's datacenter network supports a variety of distict services that exhibit different traffic patterns that differ substantially from those in previously published studies. "The different applications, combined with the scale (hundreds of thousands of nodes) and speed (10-Gbps edge links) of Facebook's datacenter network result in workloads that contrast in a number of ways from most previously published datasets," they note. "Space constraints prevent us from providing an exhaustive account, [but] we describe features that may have implications for topology, traffic engineering, and top-of-rack switch design."

    Given the interest in the UC San Diego-Facebook paper, SIGCOMM is also publishing a public review of the research, by Microsoft engineer Srikanth Kandula, who highlighted some "novel and interesting measurements." For example, more than 80 percent of traffic in a Hadoop cluster crosses racks (i.e., there was less rack 'locality' than in previous studies on other datacenters). Kandula also notes that "the overall network link utilization is quite small -- an average of less than 10 percent on all potential bottlenecks," noted Kandula, adding that "the other dominant application at Facebook is memcached-style request-response workload, which comprises primarily of small packets and has some specific traffic patterns." [Pictured at right: Per-second traffic locality by system type over a two-minute span: clockwise from top-left, Hadoop, Web server, cache follower, and leader.]

  • Startup with CSE Roots Present at First-Ever White House Demo Day

    On Aug. 4, CSE was represented by at least one startup company selected to showcase  their technology at the first Demo Day organized by the White House. The company's name is Wearless Tech Inc., and its first product is the Cocoon Cam, an "intelligent video baby monitor."

    Then-CSE graduate student Pavan Kumar (MS '15) co-founded the company and led software development on the Cocoon Cam. Kumar (pictured third from right) is now Wearless Tech's Chief Technology Officer, but he is not the only CSE person involved in the company. Recent graduate John Chou (BS '15) is the company's iOS developer, and CSE research scientist and lecturer Nadir Weibel has played an important as mentor and adviser to the team after it was accepted into the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program. Weibel continues in his current position as "health research scientist," and his work includes involvement in the effort to bring the Cocoon Cam to neo-natal intensive care units (NICUs). He is also working on an NSF STTR grant teaming UC San Diego and Wearless Tech on a grant that is currently under review. 

    Cocoon Cam originated at a couple of hackathons, notably MedHack 2014, where their proof-of-concept for the system was voted "most practical solution."

    Demo Day is designed to bring innovators from across the country and to give young technology companies an opportunity to reach media attending the event in the East Room of the White House. Unlike a regular pitch session, the Demo Day innovators shared their unique stories during the event, which was broadcast August 4 at whitehouse.gov/live at 3:40 p.m. ET/12:40 PT. 

    Founded in 2014 and now based in San Francisco, Wearless Tech has developed a unique patent-pending solution that uses computer vision and cloud-based data analytics to continuously monitor a baby’s condition. The intelligent software, coupled with a digital video camera and infrared technology, offers an easy and completely non-invasive method for tracking heart rate, respiration, and skin temperature from a distance. The company sees Cocoon Cam as being the start of a transition from so-called wearables to technologies that can be just as effective from a couple of feet away -- like when the Cocoon Cam is fixed on a baby's crib, but it can still monitor vital signs and activity of the baby in a simple and secure way.

    Unlike other baby monitors on the market, Cocoon Cam continuously checks the baby’s condition, but without the need for uncomfortable wired, clip-on sensors. Parents can view video and receive custom notifications via their smartphone -- without compromising safety.

    Wearless Tech is currently collaborating with UC San Diego to conduct field patient studies in both clinical and in-home environments. In the future, the company plans to develop intelligent video camera systems that provide continuous, non-contact and non-invasive vital sign monitoring for NICUs and Pediatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs) and Emergency Rooms (ERs). The technology promises to reduce false alarms and alarm fatigue in critical care environments. Other areas under development include post-surgery and eldercare monitoring as well as enhanced screening for security applications.

  • Moxie Foundation Gift Supports CSE Assistive Technologies

    A $300,000 gift from the Moxie Foundation will support computer scientists at UC San Diego who are researching and developing high-tech assistive technology to help individuals with disabilities. The funding will support teams of undergraduate and graduate students led by Nadir Weibel, a research scientist and lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, for two years with the goal of prototyping technology that will help disabled individuals to communicate.

    Using the most advanced ubiquitous computing technologies, the project will look into helping people facing a wide variety of challenges, but the team has already started to work on one: locked-in syndrome, a condition that damages part of the brainstem, leaving individuals aware but unable to move or communicate. Individuals with locked-in syndrome—which usually results from a stroke—are unable to move or verbally communicate due to paralysis of nearly all voluntary muscles except for the eyes. Weibel and his team will investigate ways of leveraging eye-tracking technology to translate a patient’s eye movement into different functionalities that will allow affected people to communicate and be more independent. The team is working on applications leveraging computer-generated speech, social media communication, special book readers, novel musical instruments and more.

    “It’s very difficult to get funding for a project like this—it’s very experimental,” said Weibel. “But the Moxie Foundation has been a supporter of our work from the beginning. Thanks to their investment, we will be able to continue our research and make it scalable. At the same time, we are giving students an opportunity to use what they’ve learned in class to make a real difference in the world—and they are eager for that kind of experience.”

    The assistive technology project came about from one of Weibel’s undergraduate classes: CSE118: Ubiquitous Computing. The course provides an opportunity for students to apply their computer science skills and cutting-edge technology to address real-world problems. In the fall 2014 class, Weibel challenged his students to come up with possible solutions to assist a patient with locked-in syndrome, using technology such as Google Glass and eye-tracking systems. By the end of the quarter, the students had developed a number of promising solutions, and a few students volunteered to continue the work with Weibel outside of class, with the goal of creating an early prototype.

    “Expanding hands-on, experiential education for undergraduates is a current priority for both our department and the Jacobs School overall," said CSE Chair Rajesh Gupta. "The Moxie Foundation has been a valuable partner in promoting education, innovation and entrepreneurship among our students and faculty.”

  • NSF Gives Green Light to Pacific Research Platform under CSE's Smarr

    UC San Diego , UC Berkeley lead creation of West Coast big data freeway system

    For the last three years, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has made a series of competitive grants to over 100 U.S. universities to aggressively upgrade their campus network capacity for greatly enhanced science data access. NSF is now building on that distributed investment by funding a $5 million, five-year award to UC San Diego and UC Berkeley to establish a Pacific Research Platform (PRP), a science-driven high-capacity data-centric “freeway system” on a large regional scale. Within a few years, the PRP will give participating universities and other research institutions the ability to move data 1,000 times faster compared to speeds on today’s inter-campus shared Internet.

    The PRP’s data sharing architecture, with end-to-end 10-100 gigabits per second (Gb/s) connections, will enable region-wide virtual co-location of data with computing resources and enhanced security options. PRP links most of the research universities on the West Coast (the 10 University of California campuses, San Diego State University, Caltech, USC, Stanford, University of Washington) via the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC)/Pacific Wave’s 100G infrastructure. To demonstrate extensibility PRP also connects the University of Hawaii System, Montana State University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern, and the University of Amsterdam. Other research institutions in the PRP include Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and four national supercomputer centers (SDSC-UC San Diego, NERSC-LBNL, NAS-NASA Ames, and NCAR).  In addition, the PRP will interconnect with the NSF-funded Chameleon NSFCloud research testbed and the Chicago StarLight/MREN community.

    “Research in data-intensive fields is increasingly multi-investigator and multi-institutional, depending on ever more rapid access to ultra-large heterogeneous and widely distributed datasets,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “The Pacific Research Platform will make it possible for PRP researchers to transfer large datasets to where they work from their collaborators’ labs or from remote data centers.” (Pictured l-r: PI Larry Smarr, co-PIs Camille Crittenden, Phil Papadopoulos, Tom DeFanti, and Frank Würthwein.)

    Fifteen existing multi-campus data-intensive application teams act as drivers of the PRP, providing feedback over the five years to the technical design staff. These application areas include accelerator particle physics, astronomical telescope survey data, gravitational wave detector data analysis, galaxy formation and evolution, cancer genomics, human and microbiome ‘omics integration, biomolecular structure modeling, natural disaster, climate, CO2 sequestration simulations, as well as scalable visualization, virtual reality, and ultra-resolution video. The PRP will be extensible both across other data-rich research domains as well as to other national and international networks, potentially leading to a national and eventually global data-intensive research cyberinfrastructure.

    “To accelerate the rate of scientific discovery, researchers must get the data they need, where they need it, and when they need it,” said UC San Diego computer science and engineering professor Larry Smarr (right), principal investigator of the PRP and director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). “This requires a high-performance data freeway system in which we use optical lightpaths to connect data generators and users of that data.”

    CSE Chair Rajesh Gupta said, “We are proud that a member of our department faculty, Larry Smarr, is once again providing visionary leadership on a large-scale project that will have a transformative impact on national cyberinfrastructure. PRP envisions a practical distributed architecture supporting a wide range of disciplines to ensure that federally funded university research advances science and continues to produce extraordinary talent for generations to come.”

    Read the full news release.



by Dr. Radut