Two faculty members with appointments in the Computer Science and Engineering department were among those professors and university administrators making presentations to a delegation of senior IBM researchers who visited UC San Diego in mid-October. The delegation of five IBM executives was led by the company's senior vice-president for research, John Kelly, who expressed keen interest in the broad, diverse areas of research already underway on campus. Against the backdrop of the Qualcomm Institute's high-tech wizardry in Atkinson Hall, the IBM group received in-depth briefings on contextual robotics, microbiome research, and the university's Smart Cities collaboration with the City of San Diego.
In her introductory remarks, Vice Chancellor for Research Sandra Brown emphasized that UC San Diego is strongly positioned to lead and partner in large-scale projects -- especially those that are integrative in nature and require a 'deep dive' into research areas. Brown added that UC San Diego has become a 'living lab' to test technologies resulting from productive relationships with private industry, and an impressive record for creating spinoffs, startups and other drivers of economic growth.
CSE and Pediatrics professor Rob Knight, who directs the Center for Microbiome Innovation on campus, spoke to the value of medical and clinical 'big data' and associated insights as the basis for a possible partnership, citing existing partners Illumina as well as Jansson / Johnson & Johnson. Separately, CSE Prof. Larry Smarr, who directs the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), cited UC San Diego's prominent role in big data research associated with medicine, and suggested that the university could potentially apply IBM technology to 13 million patients.
In addition to computer scientists, IBM executives heard from social scientists and engineers. Jacobs School of Engineering Dean Al Pisano led the presentation on contextual robotics, stressing the campus’s “encompassing vision” of the technology’s possibilities and promise, and Social Sciences Dean Carol Padden emphasized the key role that cognitive science plays in the field of robotics. The conversation also turned to aging, deep learning, brain development, wearable sensors, big data and UC San Diego's multidisciplinary vision. Noted Vice Chancellor Brown: "UC San Diego does a great job of integrating the scientific research done here, and with our healthcare partners, into the community."