Faculty in Cryptography and Software Reliability Now ACM Fellows
Two CSE professors are among 50 members of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) elected Fellows of the organization for 2013. As announced on Dec. 10, Yuanyuan (YY) Zhou and Mihir Bellare were among the elite group of researchers hailing from leading universities, corporations and research labs.
CSE Prof. Mihir Bellare (far right) was cited for "contributions to provable security methods supporting high-quality, cost-effective cryptography." Bellare works in cryptography and security, particularly practical, proven-secure schemes. He co-designed the HMAC message encryption scheme that is used in many methods for ecrypting data over networks, including SSL, TLS, SSH, and IPSEC. Bellare previously received the ACM Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award, as well as the RSA Conference Award in Mathematics.
CSE Prof. YY Zhou (pictured near right) was recognized for her "contributions to software reliability and quality." Her research interests include operating systems, networking, reliability and large-data analysis. Zhou has focused on techniques for analyzing system data to improve software quality, manageability and reliability.
"We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of professors Bellare and Zhou," said Rajesh Gupta, Chair of the CSE Department. "They have had an outstanding impact on their respective fields, and the ACM Fellowship is a fitting recognition of the high regard in which they are held among their peers in the computer science and engineering community."
The 2013 inductees continue a trend averaging two UCSD CSE faculty members recognized as ACM Fellows every year since 2010. In that period, Andrew Kahng was recognized in 2012 for his contributions to physical design automation and to design for manufacturability of microelectronic systems. Keith Marzullo, Dean Tullsen and Amin Vahdat became ACM Fellows in 2011, with Pavel Pevzner and Stefan Savage elevated to Fellow status in 2010. Read the full news release.
CSE Students Report on Startup Progress in NSF I-Corps Program
The first quarter of the NSF I-Corps program at UCSD managed by the von Liebig Center is drawing to a close, and Dec. 16 is the deadline for new student groups to propose startups that, if selected, would get funding and mentoring support under the program.
The alternative route into the NSF I-Corps Program was to take ENG 201 Venture Mechanics, and the CSE students used that course to pursue a startup idea of their own. CSE M.S. students (pictured left to right) Yilun Zheng, Jin Wang and Germán Alfaro, with teammate Xin Liu, an M.S. student from NanoEngineering, developed a business plan for Box-Box and its first product, a Web service called Trusted-Bridge. The invention of teammate Jin Wang, Trusted-Bridge is a "secure online storage aggregator." The utility "unifies all the storage space that a user may have, while presenting it as a single pool of storage space in a secure, convenient way," says Alfaro, who is finishing his CS degree with a concentration in Computer Architecture, though for the team he is focusing on sales, marketing, and project management. "We are aiming to build the Web infrastructure, and we already have a demo running so we can start promoting the product." Trusted-Bridge would allow users to integrate their existing cloud storage accounts at services such as Dropbox, SkyDrive and Google Drive. Indeed, it would protect users' privacy from online cloud vendors. Although the actual files would remain on cloud vendors' servers, Trusted-Bridge would encrypt it, so vendors would only see fragmented file pieces that are encrypted using a key provided by users. "Worst-case scenario," explains Alfaro, "if the cloud vendor's server got hacked, exposing the user's files, the hacker would only see incomplete, fragmented and encrypted pieces of unknown files. So neither hackers nor cloud vendors know anything about the contents of a user's file." With an easy-to-use interface, Trusted-Bridge would also give users multi-platform access to all of their files, permitting them to upload or download files using smartphones, tablets, laptops, and so on.
Wang, Zheng, Alfaro and Liu recently presented a status report to the I-Corps selection committee, which must make the decision on which of the teams' startup ambitions it should continue to support in 2014. With Alfaro finishing up and his teammates all second-year M.S. students, they are hoping to get the green light in January to remain in the I-Corps program. If successful, they could eventually become eligible to compete for much larger funding, including $50,000 grants from I-Corps. Click here for more on I-Corps and submission guidelines.
CSE Students Participate in OASIS Crowd-funding Effort in Health Monitoring
CSE Ph.D. student Andrew Huynh (B.S. '10, Ph.D. '15) and undergraduate Geoffrey Bugaisky (B.S. '14) are part of an interdisciplinary team in the Distributed Health Labs of Calit2's Qualcomm Institute. The project is called OASIS, and on Dec. 12 it launched a six-week campaign to raise $50,000 for R&D, production and deployment of a target 1,000 'citizen-sensors' by mid-2015. The campaign on Indiegogo.com is the first-ever philanthropic campaign by UC San Diego on any crowd-funding website - and therefore a test case for future efforts by researchers and students who may want to solicit gift funds from the public at large for high-profile research projects.
Ph.D. student Huynh (at left) is the Lead Data Scientist on the OASIS project, and data science is critical to the personal and environmental health monitoring project. He has been part of DHLabs in Calit2 since October 2012, when the informal group of researchers received a Calit2 Strategic Research Opportunities (CSRO) grant to pursue the concept of a 'tricorder' - the sci-fi handheld device popularized by Star Trek for scanning, analyzing and recording health data. The concept of the tricorder is so powerful that the UCSD team will compete in 2014 for the $10-million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, a global competition to stimulate innovation and integration of precision diagnostic technologies in order to make valid health monitoring available directly to consumers in their homes. With institutional support from Calit2 and other sources, the team led by Qualcomm Institute research scientist Albert Yu-Min Lin (an occasional CSE instructor) and UC San Diego School of Medicine professor Eliah Aronoff-Spencer, has been developing the OASIS project to revolutionize health monitoring and treatment, especially in remote and undeveloped areas.
Huynh is leading development of the OASIS project's Open Health Stack, using cloud infrastructure, mobile apps, and sensors to collect and analyze data from individual users and the environment. The team has already built prototype optical and electrochemical sensors that are networked through a smartphone, and the system is "almost ready" for integrated testing. The sensor device, called SENSE, is the first layer of the Open Health Stack, and it will track vital signs and environmental contaminants such as heavy metals in water (and eventually infectious diseases such as cholera in streams). The MyOasis smartphone app will interact with the sensors and visualize the collected data. The final layer of the stack, called KEEP, is a secure data-storage and analysis platform for detecting large-scale trends such as flu outbreaks with the help of machine-learning algorithms.
Another member of the OASIS team is software engineer Geoffrey Bugaisky(at right). He is a fifth-year undergrad after starting out in Biology before becoming interested in the applications of computer science to the field of biology. So Bugaisky made the switch to Computer Science with a focus on Bioinformatics. Concurrently with his studies, Bugaisky is working primarily on the development and upkeep of the KEEP data-storage platform.
If the OASIS campaign on Indiegogo brings in the desired $50,000 from donors, Huynh, Bugaisky and their colleagues believe that they will be able to get the price of building each SENSE device down to below $50, a critical threshold. In addition to U.S. users, OASIS will distribute the devices at inaugural research sites in Mongolia (primarily to detect toxic heavy metals in ground water) as well as to health workers in Mozambique and Haiti. Read the full news release. Visit the OASIS project on Indiegogo.com. Learn more about Distributed Health Labs.
Hipster, Surfer or Biker? Computer Vision May Soon Tell the Difference
What is your 'urban tribe'? Your computer may soon be able to tell. CSE researchers are developing a computer-vision algorithm that uses group pictures to determine to which urban tribe an individual belongs. So far, on average, it's accurate 48% of the time (compared to 9% if left to chance). But the researchers, including CSE professors Serge Belongie and David Kriegman, would like the algorithm to perform at least as well as a human might. "This is a first step," said Belongie, a co-author of the study presented at the British Machine Vision Conference in the fall. "We are scratching the surface to figure out what the signals are."
For purposes of algorithm development, the researchers used eight of the most popular 'urban tribes': biker, country, Goth, heavy metal, hip hop, hipster, raver and surfer. While humans can generally recognize urban tribes at a glance, computers cannot. So the algorithm segments each person in six sections-face, head, top of the head (where a hat would be), neck, torso and arms - and the algorithm analyzes each segment for haircuts, hair color, jewelry, tattoos, etc. The researchers analyzed group photos in order to pick up on social cues such as clothing and hairdos that may be shared by members of a particular tribe. A by-product of the research was the development of an extensive dataset of urban tribe images, which they plan to make available to other research groups.
An algorithm able to identify a person's urban tribe could have a wide range of applications, from generating more relevant search results and ads, to allowing social networks to provide better recommendations and content. There also is a growing interest in analyzing footage from cameras installed in public spaces to identify groups rather than individuals. In addition to Belongie, Kriegman and CSE Ph.D. student Iljung Sam Kwak, co-authors of the research included Peter Belhumeur of Columbia University, UC Berkeley Ph.D. alumnus Lubomir Bourdev, and Ana C. Murillo from the University of Zaragoza in Spain. Read the full news release.
January 8, 2014 - 6pm - UCSD International Center Lounge
CSE undergraduates interested in cyberinfrastructure-related research and an opportunity to do research abroad next summer should attend the Information Session for the 2014 NSF Pacific Rim Experiences for Undergraduates (PRIME) program. PRIME offers a research internship and cultural experience in countries including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, and other Pacific Rim research institutions. For more information, visit the PRIME website.
CSE Prof. Ryan Kastner (at left) is one of the speakers slated for the 2014 Computer Science and Engineering Day. He will talk about embedded computer vision. CSE Day is for students and anyone interested in the CSE department and potential future opportunities in computer science and computer engineering. Special panels will focus on how to create a startup, how to get a tech career, views of CSE from grad students and alumni, plus talks on topics including cloud computing and mobility. CSE Day 2014 will also bring back its annual Jeopardy event. To participate and potentially win prizes, be sure to register ahead of time.
And looking ahead, the CSE Distinguished Lecture Series continues in January with talks by University of Michigan's HV Jagadish (Jan. 22), ETH Zurich's Donald Kossmann (Jan. 27), and Ravi Ramamoorthi of UC Berkeley (Feb. 3). And mark April 23-24 on your calendar for the Spring 2014 Center for Networked Systems (CNS) Research Review.
Barcelona Bound... Prof.Gary Cottrell is on sabbatical in Dijon, France, at the University of Burgundy. But he must be missing San Diego, because he and wife Joan Rich are headed to Barcelona for a 10-day vacation over the holiday break. Writes Cottrell: "It is about 20 degrees warmer than Dijon!" They won't be back in San Diego until June.
Learning at Scale... Today Dec. 16, Prof. Scott Klemmer is at UC Berkeley for a meeting of the program committee for the first annual meeting of the ACM Conference on Learning at Scale, to be held next March 4-5 in Atlanta. Inspired by the emergence of massive open online courses (MOOCs), the scholarly conference at the intersection of computer science and the learning sciences will focus on research into "how learning and teaching can change and improve when done at scale. On Dec. 23, the Learning at Scale (L@S) program committee will notify authors of full papers accepted for publication and presentation at the conference.
West Coast Leadership Dialogue... From Jan. 15-17 , Prof. Larry Smarr will be at Stanford in Palo Alto for the annual meeting of the Australian-American Leadership Dialogue (AALD) West Coast Leadership Dialogue. Established in 2007, the meeting focuses on foreign policy, innovation and technology, education, health and social inclusion. UCSD has hosted the meeting five times (most recently in January 2012). Stanford is hosting the meeting this January.
Have a notice about upcoming travel to conferences, etc., for the Faculty GPS column in our weekly CSE Newsletter? Be sure to let us know! Email Doug Ramsey at firstname.lastname@example.org.