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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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  • NSF CAREER Award to Fund Multiplane Data Center Network Research and Education

    University of California San Diego computer scientist George Porter is among the latest recipients of Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The funding agency has earmarked nearly $700,000 for a four-year project on the topic, "A Scalable Multiplane Data Center Network". Funding kicked off on May 15, 2016.

    Porter (at right) is the Co-Director of UC San Diego's Center for Networked Systems (CNS), in addition to being a professor in the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) department of the university’s Jacobs School of Engineering.

    NSF is committed to promoting the role of teacher-scholars, and the CAREER program is the funding agency’s most prestigious category of awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify excellence in both teaching and research.

    As Porter outlined in his proposal, "Supporting the ever-increasing data rates required between literally hundreds of thousands of servers is an extremely challenging problem... [and] solving this problem is critical to building and deploying compute clusters capable of meeting the exponentially growing requirements of users and developers building new applications."

    He noted that industrial data center operators such as Google and Microsoft are relying on scale-out designs that are prohibitive in cost and "power-hungry". As a result, said Porter, "inefficiencies due to network bottlenecks get magnified across hundreds of thousands of servers, resulting in huge costs." One way around this logjam is the design of hybrid networks based on reconfigurable physical optical circuits from one part of the network to another, because such circuits would not require expensive conversion of optical signals into electric signals and then back to optical. Nor do they require transceivers or intermediate packet switches.

    "However, due to technological and physical limitations, for next-generation data center bandwidths, we cannot simply 'speed up' existing hybrid designs," explained Porter. "We eschew the idea of designing a single network fabric that tries to both support next-generation bandwidths and scale to thousands of endpoints," explained Porter. "Instead, we propose a composite network fabric built from multiple, entirely physically independent sub-networks... that can each sale to thousands of nodes, yet are, by themselves, not able to meet the end-to-end bandwidth demands of the data center." To meet those bandwidth needs, he added, traffic can be rapidly switched between the sub-networks.

    Porter (pictured at left with fellow CNS co-director Stefan Savage) argues that using multiplane network nodes as the building blocks for end-to-end data center network topologies -- instead of using conventional switching -- can greatly reduce the number of switches, lower cost and power consumption, resulting in faster link rates. "A given set of sub-networks do not necessarily offer a circuit between each endpoint, meaning that some data must transit across a number of intermediate points until it reaches the ultimate destination," noted Porter. "This indirection approach, coupled with physically separate sub-networks, is a unique aspect of our proposed systems research."

    Education is a critical component of CAREER awards, and Porter says that he will translate the research of his project into new and existing courses based on hands-on projects and system-building experiences, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. For undergrads, he is planning a networking 'maker' course, and he'll continue to mentor teams of students in UC San Diego's Early Research Scholars Program (ESRP), which emphasizes underrepresented minority students and women getting involved in the research process. He also plans to create a series of videos for UCSD-TV to "provide the public and pre-college students with context for the challenges presented by powering the Internet and cloud computing, and highlighting the importance of the research in this area."

  • CSE Alumnus/Postdoc Accepts Faculty Position in North Carolina

    Hung-Wei Tseng is a postdoctoral researcher whose CSE bio online notes that he is "looking for a tenure-track faculty job." Well, now he has one. The CSE alumnus (Ph.D. '14) has just accepted a faculty position at North Carolina State University. According to his thesis advisor, CSE Prof. Dean Tullsen, Tseng (at left) is joining an already strong computer architecture group at NC State.

    While he was a doctoral student of Tullsen's, he did his thesis on data-triggered threads -- work that was highlighted by IEEE Micro among its top picks from computer architecture conferences in 2012. The journal singled out Tseng’s paper on eliminating redundant computation and exposing parallelism through data-triggered threads. He co-authored papers on data-triggered threads with Prof. Tullsen that were published in 2011 and 2014 at the International Symposium on High-Performance Computer Architecture (HPCA), and in 2012 at the ACM Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages and Applications (OOPSLA). Tseng also had the opportunity to apply data-triggered threads in the real world at Intel Labs in summer 2013, where he designed, developed and evaluated a prototype binary translator that can eliminate redundant computation.

    Tseng has also worked frequently with CSE Prof. Steven Swanson, who gave him a job in his Non-Volatile Systems Laboratory (NVSL) as a postdoc. He advises several Ph.D. students and two undergraduates in developing next-generation storage systems, applications and intelligent networked devices. In NVSL, Tseng worked on a project in heterogeneous computing for Big Data applications. This included designing an energy-efficient, high-performance heterogeneous computing platform that contains GPUs and programmable solid-state drives (SSDs) for data-intensive applications.  His latest work in NVSL is set to be published and presented this June at the 43rd International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA 2016). In addition to Swanson, his co-authors on the latest paper are all current or former students in Swanson’s lab, including Ph.D. student Mark Gahagan (B.S. '09), as well as undergraduates Qianchen Zhao and Yuxiao (Joe) Zhou (B.S. '15). 

    In the spring quarter, Tseng is teaching CSE 141, Introduction to Computer Architecture, a course he taught during summer sessions in 2012 and 2014 after having served as the course Teaching Assistant as far back as 2009 and 2010.  Prior to UC San Diego, Tseng earned his undergraduate and M.S. degrees in Computer Science at National Taiwan University in 2003 and 2005, respectively.

  • CSE Faculty Welcome White House National Microbiome Initiative

    The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), in collaboration with public- and private-sector stakeholders, rolled out a National Microbiome Initiative (NMI) on May 13. Its goal: to foster the integrated study of microbiomes — the communities of microorganisms that live on and in people, plants, oceans and the atmosphere — and to develop tools to protect and restore healthy microbiome function.

    On hand for the announcement was Rob Knight, a professor of Pediatrics and Computer Science and Engineering, who has been closely involved in the effort to create a national microbiome strategy since before he arrived at UC San Diego in early 2015. In announcing the NMI, the White House also noted that UC San Diego will invest $12 million in its newly-created Center for Microbiome Innovation (CMI) to “enable technology developers to connect with end users” of microbiome-related technology. CMI is directed by Knight and involves CSE faculty including Pavel Pevzner, Vineet Bafna, Nuno Bandeira, and Larry Smarr among its 150 faculty researchers. 

    “Microbes pervade all kinds of processes — from our bodies to our planet to industrial fermentation and drug synthesis,” said Knight (pictured at left with Smarr), who also directs the UC San Diego-based American Gut crowdsourcing project, which will expand its partnerships to improve public and academic understanding of the microbiome, as noted in the May 13 announcement. “Working closely with other researchers in the White House’s National Microbiome Initiative will help us unravel the fundamental science so we can understand how microbes do all these things, and help us improve the speed and accuracy in which we can ‘read out’ microbes.”

    Smarr, who also directs the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), recalls that the genesis of the institute’s research on microbiomes dates to January 2006 and a $24.5 million effort funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Called the Community Cyberinfrastructure for Advanced Marine Microbial Ecology Research and Analysis (CAMERA), the effort was led by Smarr and over seven years it built a computational resource at UC San Diego to help scientists understand how microbes function in their natural ecosystems, a field called metagenomics.

    (Smarr and Knight, pictured at left, appeared recently in a conversation on "Decoding the Microbiome", part of CSE's Computing Primetime series on UCSD-TV. Click here to watch the program online.)

    Even before the seven-year CAMERA project ran its course, Smarr made a major commitment to understanding the practical – and personal – applications of microbiome science as part of his Future Health project. The effort began with Smarr’s decision to study his own microbiome and the role it plays in controlling or exacerbating his Crohn’s disease. Smarr also collaborates with Rob Knight, including on a multidisciplinary CMI project to sequence the gut microbiomes of people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn’s disease, affecting Smarr and millions of Americans.

    According to Smarr, UC San Diego researchers "are providing new platforms for the study of microbiomes, notably through our advances in scientific visualization and ultra-broadband networking through the Pacific Research Platform." 

    Enabling the effort to build platforms, Knight and his team developed Quantitative Insights into Microbial Ecology, or QIIME (pronounced chime), a microbiome analysis platform distributed through Illumina’s BaseSpace app store. Both the American Gut Project and the NIH-led Human Microbiome Project now rely heavily on the open-source QIIME software, as does Calit2’s Smarr. “We look forward to using QIIME on BaseSpace for our upcoming deep dive into the differences in the human gut microbiome in healthy people compared to people with inflammatory bowel disease,” Smarr said when the partnership with Illumina and BaseSpace was announced.  

    Visit the website of UCSD's Center for Microbiome Innovation.

  • Milestone Reached by CSE Startup as Newspaper Features Mobile App

    The headline in the Union-Tribune newspaper says it all: "App makes it easier for geeks to socialize at events."  The headline sums up the latest startup of CSE Prof. Yuanyuan (YY) Zhou and former students, as the company reports a key milestone for the maker of an app to foster event engagement and networking.

    Zhou is the co-founder and CEO of Whova, a company that created an app for smartphones that can transform the way that researchers and other event-goers network with fellow attendees. In its first full year on the market, the Whova app has now been used at over 3,000 events in 80 countries. That means more than 350,000 conference attendees could use the app to network more effectively at trade meetings and academic conferences and events (including at CSE's 25th anniversary celebration earlier this year).

    In the article, updated on May 9, professor Zhou told reporter Mike Freeman that Whova is "using geeky ways to help geeks like us to know how to socialize." The newspaper also notes that Whova has raised $6 million in venture-capital firms and angel investors -- enough funding to support an operation that has grown to roughly 20 full-time employees, including CSE alumni Jiaqi Zhang (Ph.D. '14) and Zhuoer (Joel) Wang (Ph.D. '14). 

    Like other mobile apps serving the event market, Whova conveniently incorporates a conference agenda and maps of each conference or exhibition area, but Zhou is particularly proud of the advanced features, including analytics technology, that Whova pioneered. The service gets the names and email addresses of registered attendees from the conference organizer, then uses its data analytics technology to generate a networking profile for each person based on all existing information about him or her on the Internet. Whova "provides event attendees insights about each other so that they can plan in advance whom they want to meet at the event," Zhou told the newspaper, which notes that the app also allows attendees to chat and send instant messages, or use the camera function to gather and index the business cards of other attendees. 

    Freeman also spoke with Whova co-founder Weiwei Xiong (pictured second from left after Zhou), a former visiting student in Zhou's group in CSE who also worked for her at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where Zhou taught before joining the UC San Diego faculty in 2009. "We focused on event engagement and networking and created a lot of unique features that competitors never had," explained Xiong, "and it is hard for them to catch up." Xiong worked as a student in Zhou's San Diego group for three years starting in 2009 even as he was finishing his Ph.D. at UIUC in 2012. Zhou and Xiong began developing Whova the following year, but they didn't begin charging for the service until late 2014. Another co-founder of Whova, Soyeon Park (far right), was a postdoctoral researcher at UIUC who followed Zhou to UC San Diego in 2009 to work in her group prior to joining Whova full-time, as did another co-founder, Tianwei (Tim) Sheng (second from right), who was a postdoc in Zhou's CSE group until joining Whova in late 2013.

    Read the full article in the San Diego Union-Tribune.