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Highlights

Award for Computer Systems Research

In November 2013 CSE Prof. Stefan Savage received the ACM SIGOPS Mark Weiser Award during the Symposium on Operating Systems Principles. The award is given to an individual no more than 20 years into his or her career, and Savage was singled out for his contributions to computer systems research in general, and cyber security in particular. Read more…

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Students As Oracles

Ph.D. students David Vanoni (far right) and Vid Petrovic (second from left) were in Europe for most of the fall quarter, doing research and taking part in excavations in Calabria and Greece.  They were part of UCSD’s interdisciplinary NSF IGERT project on engineering for culture heritage diagnostics. Vanoni and Petrovic  delivered talks in three countries, starting in Delphi, Greece. Read more… 

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Analyzing Network Failures

There is no single way to measure network failures or learn from them. Recent alumnus Daniel Turner (Ph.D. ’13) presented results of a new CSE study at the ACM International Measurement Conference in Barcelona, comparing two standard methods (syslog vs. IS-IS). Conclusion: the syslog approach fell short in identifying failures lasting more than 24 hours. Read paper…

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A Knack for Making Apps

CSE undergrad  Dexin Qi produced Triton Pass, a virtual discount card, mainly for Price Center eateries. CSE junior Daniel Brim developed the iPhone app SimpleCard, a 21st-century version of flash cards. A team including junior Shayan Mahdavi created an app for ViaSat installers. Now junior Jesus Rios has coded an Android app for visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. Read more…

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The Incredible Shrinking Data Center

Are racks-on-chip the future of data centers? According to an article in the journal Science co-authored by CNS research scientist George Porter (pictured), shrinking racks of servers, and eventually data centers, to fit on a chip will be critical to delivering increased density of computing, storage and networking. And to do so, says Porter, will require a radically new network design for data centers. Read more…

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Countering Click Spam

When is a click not a click? How can advertisers be sure that a click on an online banner represents a real consumer, not a deceptive malware program? Click-spam has become a way of life on the Internet, and at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security in Berlin in November, CSE postdoctoral researcher Vacha Dave (pictured) spelled out a new approach to attacking click-spam. Read more…

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Event App Debuts at CSE25

A team of students and alumni led by CSE Prof. YY Zhou used the department’s 25th anniversary to do a ‘stress test’ for their brand-new mobile app. It’s the centerpiece of their startup company, Whova, a spinout from CSE’s Systems and Networking group. Over 280 attendees downloaded the app for iPhone or Android, and by all accounts, the app’s debut went off flawlessly. See web page…

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New Frontier for Learning Bioinformatics

Prof. Pavel Pevzner dresses up as a cowboy to promote his new online course on Bioinformatics Algorithms (Part I). In a video on the sign-up page for the Coursera massive open online course, he calls bioinformatics a new frontier like the Wild West, and urges students from math, computer science and biology to take the course that begins Oct. 21. Read more...

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Bitcoins: Not So Anonymous, After All

Ph.D. student Sarah Meiklejohn will present "A Fistful of Bitcoins" Oct. 24, which has already caused a stir in cryto-currency circles. Investigating the Bitcoin market and the anonymity of users, she and colleagues found a way to link transactions to Bitcoin merchants and services, potentially undermining a major use of Bitcoin – for online purchases of illegal products. Read more...

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Finding a Silver Lining in the Sometimes Dark 'Cloud'

The Center for Networked Systems (CNS) held its summer research review, demonstrated its role as a major player in the cloud, and in designing, managing and improving data center and wide-area networks. Read more...

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Decoding the Genetic Basis of Chronic Mountain Sickness

Using whole genome sequencing, CSE researchers dissected the genetic mechanisms underlying high-altitude adaptation based on variations in the genes of Peruvians from the Andes who suffer from chronic mountain sickness, and those who don't. Read more...

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Nice Threads!

A new computer model developed by a CSE alumnus and Prof. Henrik Wann Jensen simulates with unprecedented accuracy the way light and cloth interact, with implications for animated movies and video games. Read more...

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Family Reunion

In June 2013, roughly 170 former CSE tutors held their second-ever reunion in San Diego. The department also launched the CSE Tutor Challenge with a $25,000 inaugural gift from alumnus Taner Halicioglu (BS '96). Read more...

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The Gift That Will Keep 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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  • Former CSE Professors Join Faculty of 5-Week Summer Program for Incoming Students

    The team behind CSE's Summer Program for Incoming Students (SPIS) is growing, as is the number of students admitted to the 2014 program. SPIS was devised to help incoming students excel in their early computer science courses and beyond---even if they have no background in computer science or programming. Sixty-six students (including 13 non-CSE majors from various disciplines) will attend the five-week program that kicks off August 17, 2014. Sixteen of the accepted students hail from low-ranking California schools (rank 7 or lower). Selection was based on the students' degree of preparation in computer science, and how much organizers thought they would benefit from the program. More than half the students received financial assistance to attend the residential program, and tuition is free for all, thanks to support from CSE, the Qualcomm Institute, and local community donors. In addition to CSE faculty members Christine Alvarado, Mia Minnes and Mohan Paturi as well as humanities faculty Amanda Solomon (all of whom organized SPIS 2013), two former CSE faculty members - Laurette Bradley and Gus Uht (pictured above) - will return to campus to participate in the SPIS program as faculty in 2014. The married couple stepped down as assistant professors from the (relatively new) CSE department's faculty in 1992.

    Also joining the SPIS teaching faculty this year: CSE instructor Diba Mirza, fresh from teaching CSE 140 (Components and Design Techniques for Digital Systems) during the spring quarter, and CSE 30 (Computer Organization and Systems Programming) in Winter 2014. Mirza is a former member of CSE Prof. Ryan Kastner's research lab and computer engineering alumna (from ECE). Faculty or potential sponsors who want to know more about the program or to contribute in some fashion are urged to connect with Mohan Paturi.

    Summer Program for Incoming Students 2014 website. 

  • CSE-Related Research and Researchers Dominate USENIX Security Forum

    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."

    Full-time grad student online application for grants to cover travel, accommodations or registration fees.
    Visit the online program for USENIX Security 2014.

  • Former CSE Faculty Member Receives ACM SIGCOMM Award

    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."

  • Alumnus Awarded Best Paper Prize at Top Computer Vision Conference

    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).

    Read Manmohan Chandraker’s award-winning paper at CVPR 2014.



by Dr. Radut