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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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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 Students, Alumni Prepare for SD Hacks 2016

    UC San Diego will host over 1,000 students for 36 hours of technological collaboration at SD Hacks 2016. The second annual hackathon in the series will take place Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 in RIMAC Arena on the UC San Diego campus. The student-led hackathon is one of the largest in California, along with those at UC Berkeley and UCLA. Organizers say that applications are already above the total 3,000 applications to participate in SD Hacks 2015. "We expect to get over 4,000 applications," says CSE junior Yacoub Oulad Daoud (at right), one of the organizers of this year's hackathon.

    One of the reasons so many students are drawn to SD Hacks is that companies like Qualcomm, ViaSat, Perkins Coie, SPAWAR and more will be present at the event to look for talent. Students know that San Diego is a dynamic, thriving innovation ecosystem, featuring many of the world’s smartest companies, a talented and loyal workforce, top-tier universities, and easy access to international markets.

    SD Hacks will provide extensive mentorship and resources in order to allow students to learn new skills that they can apply. For instance, the SD Hacks team is collaborating with the campus Virtual Reality Club to plan a workshop and to create a unique space reserved for virtual reality development. The space will feature HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets, high-performance computers, and mentors both from the VR Club and NanoVR, a UC San Diego student-led startup.

    “SD Hacks was a fantastic event for ViaSat," observes CSE alumnus Nik Devereaux, who works for ViaSat and serves on the CSE Alumni Board. "We were able to interact with over a thousand engineering students from all over the state.”

    SD Hacks 2015 finished with nearly 80 completed projects which competed for prizes in categories for complexity, functionality, innovation and design. The grand prize winners—then-computer science seniors Chris Zelazo (B.S. '16), who is now at Pinterest; Kesav Mulakaluri (B.S. '16), now at Apple; and Chet Lemon (B.S. '16)—created SNS Payments, a mobile application and phone accessory for making wireless payments. Current mobile phone payment systems like Apple Pay require the development of new infrastructure, whereas SNS Payments was able to utilize existing retail equipment.

  • Computer Scientist Participates in Cancer Genomes and Networks Program

    CSE and Pediatrics assistant professor Debashis Sahoo at UC San Diego has been selected as a participating member of the Cancer Genomes and Networks program in the university's Moores Cancer Center. Members of the Cancer Genomes and Networks research program focus upon three thematic areas: genome instability, human cancer genetics and systems biology. Sahoo, who will focus on the latter two, plans to develop computational models for human cancer and predict important biomarkers and therapeutic targets.

    "Working with the members of the Moores Cancer Center enables a computer scientist like me to develop lifesaving strategies for human cancer,” explained Sahoo (at left). “We have shown that Boolean analysis – a sophisticated data analysis method – provides a platform for such predictions. A part of this work is published in the New England Journal of Medicine. We will explore the application of this new method in many different types of human cancer. This appointment will provide me resources and numerous collaborative opportunities with cancer experts."

    Sahoo joined the UC San Diego School of Medicine in 2014 and received an additional appointment in CSE in 2016. His journey into the world of cancer genomics was borne from an initial curiosity not about cancer cells, but computers. He studied computer science as an undergraduate at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, initially focusing on theoretical computer science and, specifically, formal verification (FV), an area of computer science that has had a notable impact on hardware and software design. The goal of FV is to either prove or disprove, using formal methods of mathematics, whether or not an algorithm does exactly what it is supposed to do and nothing more, which can yield practical data with the hope of more efficiently solving problems in complex systems.

    Almost four years into his Ph.D. program at Stanford, Sahoo started doubting the real-world applicability of his work. "Deep into my Ph.D. program I decided to change my focus,” he said. “I wanted to focus on much more practical aspects. I was thinking, ‘How I can make an impact [on] society?’ If I just develop theories and no one implements them, it won’t work."

    Sahoo hoped to work on cancer biology, but as he knew nothing about cancer he needed to play some serious catch-up. Knowing it would be no small undertaking, he dove right in, enrolling in as many cancer-related courses as he could at Stanford, taking all of the undergraduate pre-medical requirements. He showed great promise in the field, even early on. “After one year, I taught cancer biology to undergrads,” he said. These experiences gave Sahoo the confidence to move forward with his goal of using computer science to more efficiently progress medical discovery. “Having both FV and cancer biology training gave me ideas about how to come up with algorithms.”

  • CSE Alumnus Gives Back to Student Success Initiative

    The Internet revolution had barely begun to spread when Bhavin Shah (pictured) enrolled in the Computer Science and Engineering program at UC San Diego in 1994. Nevertheless, it was clear to him that computer science was the place to be, and he picked UCSD over his father's alma mater, UC Berkeley, for one major reason: "I had friends that wne through four years of undergraduate at other schools with very little contact with their professors," he recalls. "Once I saw the intimacy between the students and the engineering professors at UC San Diego, I knew that was the place for me."

    The CSE alumnus (B.S. '99) also appreciated the ability to use computer science in activities outside of the classroom. He joined the Sally Ride EarthKAM project, a NASA educational outreach program that empowers middle school students, their teachers, and undergraduate mentors. “EarthKAM was like a real job,” says Shah. “We designed product, wrote code, and had our own customers. Those customers were middle school students. Like a real company, I was also able to see the direct impact of my effort. The deep impact we were having around the country was visceral every time we had a mission. But I also learned how much others depended on my work in a way that I never could have learned in the classroom."

    Shah's hands-on experience with the EarthKAM project made him particularly receptive to the Jacobs School of Engineering's initiatives to provide students with hands-on engineering experiences, mentorship and support. Shah's philanthropy began with support for the Jacobs School's Student Success Initiative, a comprehensive effort by the IDEA Student Center to support the academic success of undergraduate and graduate students to increase retention and diversity. Asked why he chose the Jacobs School, Shah responds: "There's a better signal-to-noise ratio here. If you want to see your contribution make a difference, give here. The leadership here will make sure it goes far. Every gift, no matter how small, makes an impact."

    After UC San Diego, Shah did a master's degree at Stanford combining education, computer science and business. Out of school he worked for Leapfrog developing innovative electronic and educational toys, before setting out on his own to do a startup that would bring "educational gameplay to the mass market... the idea was World of Warcraft meets education." He subsequently shifted gears and launched Refresh.io, a platform to help sales professionals learn about the people they are selling to. The company became a touchstone of the 'relationship management' trend in business, ultimately resulting in the company's acquisition by LinkedIn in April 2015.

    The buyout gave Shah the resources to take some time off and set about building his next big idea -- an enterprise software company that is still under wraps.

  • UC San Diego Names Computer Engineer to Fratamico Endowed Chair

    Tajana Rosing is among the latest faculty in the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) department rewarded with endowed chairs at the University of California San Diego. The campus named professor Rosing to the John J. and Susan M. Fratamico Endowed Chair in the Jacobs School of Engineering.

    Established in 2012 with a $750,000 gift from the Fratamicos, the endowed chair supports multidisciplinary research that includes engineering and the life sciences. Rosing is the inaugural holder of the chair.

    "This honor allows me the freedom to focus on new and challenging research questions over the summer with my best and brightest students," said Rosing, who joined the CSE faculty in 2005. "That kind of freedom wouldn’t be possible without the funding from the Fratamico chair." 

    The computer-engineering professor is affiliated with the Qualcomm Institute and Contextual Robotics Institute as well as the Center for Networked Systems. Rosing is also a member of the Centers for Wearable Sensors, Energy Research, Sustainable Power and Energy, as well as Wireless and Population Health Systems and the San Diego Supercomputer Center.

    The department and the campus are planning to honor Rosing at an event scheduled for January. “We are extremely thankful to longtime San Diegans John and Susan Fratamico for making it possible to bestow on Rosing a long-overdue honor in recognition of her ambitious research agenda and its real-world applications,” said CSE department chair Dean Tullsen. “Endowed chairs are often awarded to retain exceptional scholars, and in Professor Rosing’s case, her creativity and approach to research have had a deep impact on innovation in computer engineering.”

    On the research side, Rosing's System Energy Efficiency Lab (SEELab) focuses on energy efficiency in all kinds of systems, from sensor nodes to data centers, transport networks and power grids. In addition to energy-efficient computing, her primary research interests include context-aware computing, human-cyber-physical system design, embedded systems hardware and software design, resource management at the system level, and the design of approximate and highly efficient architectures. Going forward, Rosing will continue investigating efficient, distributed data collection, aggregation and processing of this data in the context of smart cities, wireless healthcare, the distributed Smart Grid for electricity, and Internet of Things applications.

    Rosing is a leading researcher in the area of using information present in wireless systems to achieve more efficient system operation. This information can come from sensors’ observations of human behavior and needs, and also from various other environmental sensing systems, both stationary and mobile.  Rosing’s recent work has focused on efficiently extracting knowledge about context from such sensing sources, and leveraging that knowledge to implement distributed control algorithms for large-scale Internet of Things applications underlying Smart Cities infrastructure.  A recent example includes using drones to detect areas of higher air pollution collaboratively and dynamically, and to provide this feedback in real time in emergencies (e.g., forest fires), and in normal daily life (such as air pollution due to recent fertilization of nearby fields, or due to higher than normal and localized smog conditions). 

    The computer engineer has also leveraged context to optimize the operation and design of embedded systems by maximizing energy efficiency in exchange for controllable and tolerable inaccuracies in computation.  According to Rosing, this research resulted in systems that are up to 1,000 times more energy efficient with less than a 10 percent error in computation.  “These systems are especially applicable to many Internet of Things applications where the data sources themselves are not completely accurate,” said Rosing, noting that sensors can often have around 10 percent inaccuracy. “The large scale of data that is analyzed requires the application of statistical machine learning to provide information needed for feedback to people (e.g., local air-quality problems) or for control of other devices (e.g., where drones need to fly).