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  • CSE Celebrates 2014 with Party, Festive Skits by Staff, Students and Faculty

    The 2014 end-of-year department potluck holiday party (right) and CSE Holiday Skits took place Friday, December 12, and the mood was predictably festive. After the party in CSE, faculty, students and staff crowded into the Calit2 Auditorium to watch their colleagues poke fun of the department, Chez Bob (redubbed CHE Bob in honor of the late great Che Cafe), and above all, two recurring themes: the variation in temperatures throughout the CSE Building (primarily freezing), which necessitated establishment of a faculty Committee on Really Cold Conference Rooms; and the impoliteness of groups who continually interrupt previous groups because their conference room reservation time has expired.

    The staff portion of the event was the CSE Staff Pop Medley 2014. The nicely produced video featured staffers smiling, dancing (sort of) and singing off-key to hip-hop lyrics highlighting the difficulties everyone faces in getting their work done in the hurly-burly atmosphere of a dynamic academic department. Special kudos to Jennifer Folkestad who opened the video singing and playing her ukulele -- but her lips and strumming were out of sync, so it looked like a badly dubbed Bollywood film (without the dancing), but it set an irreverent tone that the rest of her staff colleagues echoed.

    The second set of skits were put on by CSE students -- some of them wearing faculty masks. "Alex Snoeren" and "Lawrence Saul" sat on a Ph.D. dissertation committee where the goal was to get five signatures on a piece of paper so the student could get his degree. It took a while, but after admitting that none of the panel members had listened to the candidate, they were finally impressed that he had a slide deck prepared. This, even though the Accomplishments slide included three bullet points, for which only the third bullet was filled in: "Think of three accomplishments".

    Finally, real faculty members took the floor for a CSE News Network evening news program with anchor Hovav Shacham, introduced by Stefan Savage. It started with a "Gupta Mea Culpa" by CSE Chair Rajesh Gupta, in which he confessed to excesses highlighted by the Graduate Student Association Report on Enhanced Education Techniques. The apologia was followed by a series of guests interacting with Shacham, including recent hire Julian McAuley, who showed up in a UCSD basketball jersey, literally flexing his (not quite convincing) muscles to demonstrate why the CSE department must forget about Big Data, and focus its research effort instead on... Humongous Data. Hovav Shacham also reported on a decision to create new television programming that can make computer science sexy for mainstream America, featuring shows with titles such as "Non-Volatile Storage Wars", "CSE Pawn Stars" and a primetime drama, "Class of Thrones".

    As usual, it was the flubs that got the biggest laughs, except for when they announced that the Jacobs School had decided to switch from three different versions of Single Sign-On, to implementing Match.com for CSE and other departments. Savage also got a big laugh when he announced that the department will implement an alternative to tele-presence videoconferencing. The new Tele-Absence technology will allow faculty to miss meetings with students -- and to do so remotely. Pictured on-screen: a video feed of an empty chair in the professor's office.

    At the end of the skits, professor Ranjit Jhala was scheduled to do a video spoof, but at the last minute the video was still being edited. The video will be posted here before the campus holiday closure. 

    Download photos by Keita Funakawa from Flickr.
    Watch a video of the live event.
    Or, click here to watch  the final version of the Holiday Gift video.

  • Combined Grad, Undergrad Courses Yield Solutions for Locked-In Syndrome

    Imagine only being able to communicate with your eyes. That's a fact of life for people with Locked-In Syndrome, and eight teams of CSE students spent the fall coming up with ubiquitous computing solutions that could enable better communication for patients with the neurological disease that allows patients to use only their eyes to communicate. 

    On Dec. 16, the "experiment in running a hybrid graduate and undergraduate class" bore fruit. According to CSE Research Scientist and Lecturer Nadir Weibel, the combined classes of CSE 118 (Ubiquitous Computing) and CSE 218 (Software Engineering) involved separate curricula, but the students teamed up for their final course projects. The resulting eight teams were typically made up of six or seven undergrads working with two or three M.S. or Ph.D. students. The graduate students were urged to take a leadership and management role in their team projects, and the projects involved design and implementation of a ubiquitous computing application based on one or more of the three devices selected for the course: Google Glass; Microsoft Kinect; and/or the EyeTribe eyetracking device (pictured at left). Each team was allocated one of each device, courtesy of the Moxie Foundation. 

    For the final projects, which were presented in CSE 1202 and recorded for on-demand viewing via YouTube, students were given a common challenge. "They were tasked with using a variety of technologies to design and implement solutions to improve the quality of life and enable better communication for people with Locked-In Syndrome," said Weibel. The teams opted for team names such as EyeTalk, Eyelluminati (pictured above), OcuHub, Mye Play and more. 

    A select group of students (grads and undergrads) will continue their research in the winter and spring quarters, combining ideas from the eight teams and interfacing with a Locked-In Syndrome patient (who was the inspiration of the project idea). "We will fly out to Connecticut where he lives and study his everyday life, collect data on his particular eye movements, and discuss with him and family members any possible applications of the prototype solutions," noted Weibel. "Then we will hopefully implement and test a system."

  • CSE Student Elected Chief of Staff in Graduate Student Association

    As if she needed more work to keep her busy, hard-working CSE Ph.D. student Natalie Larson has taken on new duties, after being elected Chief of Staff of UC San Diego's Graduate Student Association (GSA). "I will help facilitate communication between the GSA, department staff contacts, and the graduate student body," says Larson. "Many students don't know the ability the GSA has to influence campus-wide policies regarding, for example, health insurance, transportation, housing, and funding for student groups. I hope that I can help increase awareness of the work the GSA does, so that everyone who wants to can have a voice in these decisions and take advantage of GSA's resources."  Larson will also oversee the GSA's undergraduate student workers during her tenure as Chief of Staff through the end of the 2014-'15 school year. While she is the sole CSE person on the GSA executive board, Larson is one of four CSE student representatives in GSA (the others are Gautam Akiwate, Gina Tuazon and Kashyap Tumkur, with alternate Dorothy Yen).

    Larson (at right) is so busy that she recently had to turn down an invitation to speak at a European Union conference in Brussels  on Internet measurement and net neutrality. She just participated in the December 10-11 5th Workshop on Internet Economics, organized by UC San Diego's Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA) and MIT, which took place in the Institute of the Americas. Participants included researchers, commercial Internet facilities and service providers, technologists, economists, theorists, policy-makers and others with a stake in emerging regulatory and policy debates, and how they can be informed by the hard empirical facts that Larson and others are studying to measure Internet activity.  For her part, Larson is working on an ongoing CAIDA-MIT project to map Internet connectivity and congestion (the primary focus of her Ph.D. work) with CAIDA director and CSE faculty-affiliate K.C. Claffy, and she is co-authoring a white paper on Internet policy for the European Parliament (jointly with a graduate student from the Oxford Internet Institute).

    Larson doesn't have to worry about how to pay for her education. Last year she received a prized Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Fellowship from the Department of Defense. To repay that support, she committed to work two summers and then three years in a DOD research facility. The Ph.D. student may take time out next spring for an extended stay at Grinnell College, her alma mater. "Grinnell has invited me back as an Alumni Scholar this spring," notes Larson. Indeed, she is currently featured on the home page of Grinnell's computer-science department -- even though her 2006 degree from Grinnell was in art, not computer science. Larson earned a second undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt, majoring in both mathematics and computer science, graduating in 2012, just before coming to CSE for grad school.

  • Real (Computer) Science. Now in Real Time.

    Julian McAuley, one of CSE's newest faculty hires, believes in open science. So much so, that he decided to turn his staid faculty portrait into a real-time streaming video feed that allows interested viewers to watch McAuley at his desk in the CSE Building.

    "I believe that science should be open and reproducible," says McAuley. "Releasing code and data is great, of course, but why not make the entire scientific process transparent? Every experiment I run, and every line of code I write should be accountable. Even though I hope nobody is watching my every move, it does create a personal sense of accountability just knowing that somebody could be doing so."

    McAuley says he was also trying to inform those viewers who might be curious about what the scientific process looks like. "Most people have no idea what computer scientists actually do all day," he adds. "Admittedly, the answer may not actually be all that exciting, or I'd probably have more viewers."

    The CSE assistant professor even allows viewers to track what he is working on by providing a video insert showing what's on the PC screen he is looking at. He says the video feed makes him more, rather than less, productive in the workplace.

    "I've always found that I procrastinate less when somebody is watching me, so why not have people watching me all the time?" asks McAuley, who goes on to say that he is "much more reluctant to waste 20 minutes watching YouTube videos if I think somebody might be judging me for it."

    McAuley recognizes that there may be security or privacy concerns when colleagues or students show up in his office and may be caught on camera without having specifically signed off on a "guest appearance" on The Julian McAuley Show. For now, he posts an "On-Air" sign on his door to give visitors advance warning. "I'll have to give more thought to it if this ever becomes popular," he says, adding that he may at times come off as less than professorial. "When Rajesh Gupta emailed the department to announce that I'd accepted a position at UCSD, I was busy shoving pizza into my face while my future colleagues were visiting my website."

    For all the pros and cons, McAuley says he will continue to replace his faculty photo with a live video feed from his desk. He jokes that someday the National Science Foundation will require broadcasting of every minute of scientific activity on the projects it funds. If so, the CSE professor will have a leg up on the competition.

    View Julian McAuley's home page.

  • CSE Undergraduate Sees His Company Valued at $200 Million

    You know you’ve hit the big time when Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher plugs your company on Twitter:

    Ashton Kutcher @aplusk:
    Congrats to @Getaround for huge partnership with San Francisco. Sign this petition so other cities will follow. Bit.ly/1kJjB0a   10 Apr 2014

    But for Elliot Kroo, a CSE undergraduate (pictured below second from right) who interrupted his education to co-found the San Francisco car-sharing service Getaround, the company really hit the jackpot in late November, when some of the top names in venture capital pumped $24 million into Getaround – valuing the company at approximately $200 million.

    Getaround is a peer-to-peer car sharing company, which lets car owners rent their automobiles to people who want to rent by the hour, by the day, or even longer. When the company signs up a new car owner, it installs a device on the car that tracks location, driving speeds, and is able to lock or unlock the doors remotely. As a result, people looking to rent on the spur of the moment can do the transaction completely on their mobile phone – even starting the car.

    The owner pays just under $100 to have the device installed, and $20 a month to subscribe to the service. Getaround also earns 40 percent of the rental price.

    The Ashton Kutcher tweet back in April was for a petition in favor of a San Francisco carsharing plan that would get 10,000 cars off the road by approving 900 proposed parking spots in the city reserved for car-sharing vehicles.  In the end, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board did vote to approve new parking spots reserved for car-shares as part of a two-year pilot program of the city with Getaround, Zipcar, and City CarShare, but it decided on only 40 new spots rather than the 900 requested by car-share companies.

    Kroo and his two co-founders came up with the idea in 2009 at a Singularity University event, when Google co-founder Larry Page challenged attendees to come up with ways to positively impact one billion people in the next 10 years. They figured that at least one billion cars go unused for 22 hours every day, so they decided to tackle ‘car overpopulation’ as the higher purpose of Getaround.

    The service debuted in 2011 at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York City, where Kroo and his colleagues walked away with the $50,000 first prize, as well as the Audience Choice award. The judges included then-Google VP (now Yahoo! CEO) Marissa Mayer, who went on to invest in Getaround in 2012 along with Google’s then-CEO, Eric Schmidt – and Ashton Kutcher.

    In 2012, Business Insider included Kroo, Getaround’s Director of Engineering, on its list of "26 Up-And-Coming Tech Entrepreneurs You Need To Watch." Separately, on the widely-watched AngelList – widely watched especially by those in need of angel investors – Elliot Kroo has over 200 followers, including many high-profile entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and tech investors.

    Meanwhile, Getaround operates in San Francisco, San Diego, and Austin, with plans to expand to Oakland, Portland and Washington early next year.

    Even before arriving at UC San Diego to study computer science, Kroo became what he calls “the youngest engineering intern ever at Google.” At age 14, he began working summers installing cameras on vehicles to take the first wave of images that became part of the Street View feature in Google Maps.

  • CSE Alumni, Students Take Advantage of Growing Startup Ecosystem

    This Wednesday, December 10, students will have the rare opportunity to hear about the entrepreneurship-related programs available through CSE and UC San Diego, all in one place, at one time.  From noon to 1pm in Jacobs Hall's Qualcomm Conference Center, three groups will stage a combined Info Session. The NSF I-Corps program run by The von Liebig Center, the Jacobs School-based Moxie Center, and the student-run UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge will spell out how students can get involved in the process of taking a concept from the lab to the marketplace.

    Representatives of these groups will talk about their respective programs. Moxie Center director Jay Kunin will talk about the Moxie Entrepreneur's Academy, scheduled for Wednesday evenings during the winter quarter from 6-8pm.  The von Liebig Center's Jay Gilberg will spell out plans for the I-Corps programs on Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6-8pm. Nine startups developed in the Fall quarter will move to the second stage, and another 15 or so new student teams begin stage one..

    The UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge's Michael Hayden will talk about several different competitions designed to help students develop and convey their best ideas for commercialization, with most activities scheduled for Monday evenings. The contests include the Best Elevator Pitch (pitches less than 60 seconds in length), the Best Business Plan competition, and hackathons, in addition to the E-Challenge itself, which singles out the best startups in life sciences and other technologies.

    CSE students and alumni have taken advantage of such programs, in part due to the decision to locate the Moxie Center in the CSE Building. "We are very proud of current and former students who have taken an idea and turned it into a viable startup or licensing deal," says CSE chair Rajesh Gupta.

    Gupta points to alumna Natalie Castellana (M.S. '09, Ph.D. '12), who is Chief Technology Officer at Digital Proteomics LLC (since May 2012, when she finished her doctorate under CSE Prof. Vineet Bafna, who co-founded the company with CSE professors Pavel Pevzner and Nuno Bandeira). Castellana (at left) developed algorithms and software for interrogating the proteome through mass spectrometry. She also developed a pipeline for automated gene finding. Digital Proteomics offers more than half a dozen toolkits to scientists who want to undertake monoclonal antibody sequencing, universal peptide identification, de novo  peptide sequencing as well as spectral clustering and quality filtering. Among other deals with biotech companies, Digital Proteomics has worked closely with Genentech to develop Castellana's antibody sequencing tool called Valens.

    CSE students can take advantage of new sources of funding, as well. These include crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Currently one of the big success stories on Kickstarter is Hush Technology, whose campaign has already raised nearly $400,000 more than the original goal of $100,000. CSE senior Daniel (Chesong) Lee and his fellow co-founders have benefited from engagement with multiple entrepreneurship activities, including the Elevator Pitch contest, and later Hush began to develop what the company now calls "the world's first smart earplugs," with coaching from advisors at both the Moxie Center and the NSF I-Corps program. Hush was one of the seven winners at this week’s Plug and Play San Diego competition,  each of which won $25,000 investments and admission to Plug and Play’s  Sunnyvale-based accelerator program.

    "CSE has been a source of talent, amplified by the Moxie Center with its ability to reach out to talent beyond computer science," said CSE's Gupta. "A good example is Hush Technology, which has been a great success in part because the computer science student co-founded the company with students from the structural engineering as well as mechanical and aerospace engineering departments."

    Hush remains in the Moxie Center Incubator and it needs to do further development to fulfill its "stretch" goals as the Kickstarter funds outpaced even the team's wildest dreams. But Hush is a rarity in the Moxie Incubator; virtually all of the 16 other student startups remain cash-poor. Of all 17 startups in the incubator, seven have at least one CSE student on the management team. Two of the startups are in both the Moxie Incubator and the Fall I-Corps Program: Cocoon Cam (led by student Pavan Kumar Pavagada Nagaraja, who also took home the Most Practical Solution award at MedHack San Francisco in September); and Meego Tech (formerly USKey) which has designed and built a second-generation prototype of the device that CSE senior Jorge Landaverde and his colleagues call "the smartest motion-activated laptop theft prevention system."  Other companies in the Moxie Incubator: Datalockr (Jake Pham and Kelly Lim), which is promoting the use of QR codes to help sell properties in the real estate market; and Aqua Design Innovations (Victor Wu), whose aquaponics filter EcoQube for home aquariums is now shipping  (manufactured in China, air-shipped to the U.S.), and their second-generation product is on the drawing board.

    Other startups in the Moxie Center Incubator feature systems and services specifically targeted at fellow students. They include Abdulhafiz (Omar) Itani (at left), who hopes to finish his B.S. in December, prior to launching CampusLessons as a web-based service to help students find a go-to point of contact on campus to engage with other students through activities and academics. Rajiv Pasricha, a Jacobs School Scholar who won the Audience Choice award at the Moxie Center PitchFest in April 2014, and CSE sophomore Ganesh Datta have a startup called Study Groups; it is a service to help students form... study groups. Finally, a team of three CSE students -- Dexin Qi, Yu Xia and Zijian Tao -- have a startup called CollegeTickr (formerly iPassStore), which provides a web platform for college and university students to share their secrets anonymously.

    Other recent success stories include Tortuga Logic, co-founded in 2013 by CSE Prof. Ryan Kastner and Ph.D. student (as well as CEO) Jason Oberg (M.S. '12), and postdoctoral researcher Jonathan Valamehr (CFO/COO). 

  • CSE Alumni Quarterly Profiles iboss Network Security CEO

    In early December, the web security firm iboss Network Security paid just over $8 million for a new headquarters building in University Towne Center near the UC San Diego campus. The move by iboss CEO Paul Martini coincided with publication of the Winter 2015 edition of the UC San Diego CSE Alumni Quarterly, featuring a cover story about the CSE alumnus (BS '01) and his fast-growing company. To download the 8-page publication or read it online, click here.  Following is the cover story charting the incredible success of Martini, who recently spurned efforts by Texas to lure his company away from the San Diego region.

    HE'S THE (I)BOSS

    Texas was dangling millions in financial incentives in front of San Diego technology companies to get them to move their headquarters to the Lone Star state. The founder and CEO of iboss Network Security, Paul Martini, was tempted, before one of its biggest rivals, Websense, quit San Diego for Austin earlier this year.

    Martini was shaken, but didn’t stir. Instead, he decided to stay put in California, and saw Websense’s departure as an opportunity to recruit some of that company’s employees who didn’t want to make the move to Texas.

    “We saw a lot of great talent who didn’t want to relocate, so we decided to stay and grow in San Diego,” says UC San Diego alumnus Martini (B.S. Computer Science ’01), whose company needs to double its workforce to 200 jobs as soon as possible. “We have a lot of former UC San Diego students who work here, and we’re relocating our headquarters to be across the street from UCSD, which will make it even easier to access students and engage in collaborative research as well.”

    Making the decision to stay in San Diego was made easier because iboss is growing rapidly, with revenues doubling last year to $20 million, and they could soar as high as $80 million in 2014.

    “We are in an extreme growth phase,” explains Martini. “We want to be the next billion-dollar company in terms of revenue.”

    Now 11 years old, the company appears to have done everything right. Martini was working at Copper Mountain Networks when it dawned on him that security was the place to be. He quit his job and in 2003 Martini bootstrapped a company to provide security solutions in the cloud – long before the term ‘the cloud’ existed.

    “We just called it multiple data centers in those days. Internet bandwidth was growing, and I knew that there was going to be a problem with security as Internet connectivity grew,” he says. “There were going to be problems not just data loss, but malware, viruses and things like that.”

    In part because of his background in computer science, the UC San Diego alumnus saw a real business opportunity in providing security as a service to large organizations. Specifically, iboss specialized in the lucrative market for secure gateways linking company intranets with the Internet.

    “We focused on algorithms versus using hardware or something that’s more commoditized to do the job,” he says. “A lot of our skills and background from UCSD especially helped us to look at the problem in a different way. So we’ve been able to scale to massive amounts of bandwidth, massive amounts of devices, which leave our competitors behind.”

    Martini was also quick to take advantage of the mobility trend, as more and more corporate employees were using their smartphones on the go, creating a new spectrum of security threats that could only be repelled with cloud-based solutions that essentially safeguard the data no matter where it originates. At the same time, large organizations need to safeguard their high-bandwidth channels. Martini notes that iboss recently won large contracts from five states which operate 10 Gigabits-per-second network channels.

    “That’s ten billion bits every single second, and we have to decide whether we are going to let those bits through or stop them,” notes Martini. “It’s a really interesting, challenging problem.”

  • Two UC San Diego Computer Scientists Named IEEE Fellows

    Two members of the Computer Science and Engineering faculty at the University of California, San Diego have been elevated to be Fellows in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). CSE Prof. David Kriegman was honored for his contributions to computer vision, and CSE Prof. Yuanyuan Zhou was cited for her “contributions to scalable algorithms and tools for computer reliability.”

    Following a rigorous, annual evaluation procedure, the IEEE Fellow Committee recommends a select group of recipients for elevation to IEEE Fellow.  Less than one-tenth of one percent of voting members are selected annually for elevation to the highest member grade. At its meeting in November, the IEEE Board of Directors approved Fellow status for 300 researchers worldwide, effective January 1, 2015.

    Kriegman (far right) and Zhou (near right) join an elite contingent of CSE faculty to be named Fellows of IEEE. They will join seven current or emeritus professors including Walter Burkhard and CK Cheng (both in 2000), William Howden (2001), CSE chair Rajesh Gupta (2004), Jeanne Ferrante (2005), Dean Tullsen (2009) and Andrew Kahng (2010).  Former CSE professors also elevated to IEEE Fellow status included Francine Berman (2011), Andrew Chien (2007) and Larry Carter (2000).

    Professor Yuanyuan (YY) Zhou is one of only a handful of current CSE faculty who have achieved fellowship status in both IEEE and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). She became an ACM Fellow in 2013. Zhou is the inaugural holder of the Qualcomm Endowed Chair in Mobile Systems, which she assumed when she joined the CSE faculty in 2009. Prior to UC San Diego, she was on the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2002 to 2009. Zhou earned her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2000, after completing her M.A. in computer science (also at Princeton) in 1996, and B.S. in computer science from Beijing University in 1992. Zhou’s many past honors have included an Alfred Sloan Fellowship (in 2007), NSF Career Award (2004), CRA-W Anita Borg Early Career Award (2005), DOE Early Career Principal Investigator Award (2005), and IBM Faculty Awards (2004 and 2005). Prior to UIUC, Zhou worked at NEC Lab and co-founded a storage startup, Emphora. In 2006, she also co-founded and remains CTO of Pattern Insight (which sold its Log Insight business to VMware in 2012), and more recently launched her third startup, Whova, which developed a mobile app for large events (including, recently, TEDxSanDiego and the Trillion Sensors Summit).

    In addition to software dependability (for which she was cited by IEEE), Zhou’s current research includes mobile software reliability and data center configuration management. “As rapid advances in computing hardware have led to dramatic improvement in computer performance, the issues of reliability, availability, maintainability, and cost of ownership are becoming increasingly important,” says Zhou. “My research aims to address these challenge issues in designing the next generation of computing systems.” 

    Like Zhou, David Kriegman was teaching at UIUC prior to joining the UC San Diego faculty in September 2002. He received his Ph.D. in 1989 from Stanford University, taught at Yale University from 1990 to 1998 (when he also won a prestigious NSF Young Investigator Award in 1992), and was on the Computer Science faculty and the Beckman Institute at UIUC from 1998 to 2002. Kriegman was also a visiting professor at Caltech in the summers of 1993 and 1994. He was the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence from 2005 to 2008, the leading journal in his field.  Kriegman co-founded two companies, TAAZ Inc. and Kriegman-Belhumeur Vision Technologies (KBVT). KBVT was acquired by Dropbox this year and TAAZ received the CONNECT Most Innovative New Product Award in 2008. Dr. Kriegman is also involved with Sight Commerce, which generates hundreds of millions of images each month to help retailers inspire their consumers, understand their shopping preferences and increase sales by building confidence in the consumer's purchase decision.

    Professor Kriegman is one of the most widely cited experts on the subject of face recognition, a crucial component of vision-based security systems for human-computer interaction as well as homeland security purposes. For his research on recognizing objects under illumination extremes and for reconstructing surface shape from lighting variation, he won Best Paper awards in the U.S. and Europe. In turn, he has introduced new methods to render photorealistic images through image-based modeling of surface reflectance.  He has applied his research methods to understanding human perception, robotic perception and navigation, computer graphics, and electron microscopy.   With the significant decline of coral reefs due to global climate change, the Computer Vision Coral Ecology project with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography has developed CoralNet  to analyze photos of coral reefs automatically.

  • Smart Earplugs Make Noise on Kickstarter

    Hush, ironically, is making some loud noise with potential supporters. Hush Technology is a Moxie Center incubator startup founded by CSE senior Daniel Lee (below far left), who expects to graduate next spring, and two other students named Daniel: Daniel Synn, a senior in structural engineering; and a second Daniel Lee (same name, different person), getting his degree this year in mechanical and aerospace engineering. The three are making a splash with a Kickstarter launch to raise $100,000 in crowdfunding by the December 22 deadline. As of Nov. 24, the crowdfunding appeal had raised over $202,000 from over 1,650 supporters, and they still have 28 days left before the campaign ends. 

    What does Hush do? It is developing wireless noise-masking earplugs that let you block out the world while still letting you hear the things that matter most (as the Kickstarter appeal spells out). Hush combines sound eliminating foam with noise masking to isolate you from your surrounding environment. If you want to sleep you should be able to fall asleep and stay asleep regardless of the noise around you. Hush connects wirelessly with your smartphone so you can fully power off with the peace of mind knowing that you'll be awakened when you're needed. As a wireless miniature device that has to play sounds and stay connected to the phone for over 10 hours, battery life was one of the team's biggest concerns. To do this they designed everything with low power in mind. By using Bluetooth Low Energy and playing back locally stored audio files, Hush says its smart earplugs can surpass this requirement on a battery that other wireless in-ear products exhaust in two hours. The Hush Case is small and light, and has its own rechargeable batteries that can recharge Hush up to 10 times without plugging in. The developers also put an extra USB port on the case so that both the Hush earplugs and a smartphone can recharge at the same time.

    Learn more about the world's first smart earplug here on Kickstarter

  • Faculty-Affiliate Bioinformatics Expert Elected AAAS Fellow

    A bioinformatics expert affiliated with CSE is among three UC San Diego faculty newly awarded the distinction of Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Professor Trey Ideker has affiliated-adjunct status in CSE, and he is a Professor in the UC San Diego School of Medicine. He was cited by AAAS for “distinguished contributions to the fields of bioinformatics and computational biology, particularly in pioneering network research.” Ideker and two faculty from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography will be among the 401 honorees to be officially listed as new Fellows in the November 28 issue of the journal Science.

    Prof. Ideker's research seeks to comprehensively map connections between the many genes and proteins in a cell and how these connections trigger or prevent disease. His current work focuses on DNA mutations that cause cancer. Although each person’s cancer tumor may be caused by a nearly unique set of mutations, Ideker has shown that different sets of mutations often alter and hijack the same gene networks. The long-term goal of his research is to build a whole working model of a cancer cell that can be used in the clinical setting to interpret patients’ genomic data — both their inherited DNA and the mutations associated with their particular malignancy — to refine and tailor cancer diagnoses and treatments. Such analyses are in the early stages of being used to screen people who are unlikely to respond to certain types of chemotherapy.

    AAAS members are considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering group of their respective sections, by three existing Fellows, or by AAAS’s chief executive officer. Prof. Ideker and the other new Fellows will be recognized on Saturday, February 14, at the AAAS annual meeting in San Jose, Calif. 



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