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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…  

Kastner Underwater

Pacific Interlude

Four of the 10 UCSD undergraduates in the 2014 Pacific Rim Experiences for Undergraduates (PRIME) program are CSE majors. (L-r) Allen Nguyen and Lok Yi (Nicole) Wong did research in Japan, while Matthew Schwegler and Katerina Zorko spent the summer in Australia. Read more…


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…  

Girls Day Out

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...

Sneha Jayaprakash

Photo Finish

CSE alumna Brina Lee (M.S. ’13) was the first full-time female engineer hired at Instagram. Then Instagram was purchased by Facebook, and now Lee is spending much of her time talking to female students about opportunities in computer science. Read more… 

Brina Lee

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…

Internet of Things

Research Expo 2014

At the Jacobs School of Engineering’s Research Expo 2014, CSE Chair Rajesh Gupta (pictured) briefed industry and visitors, and Ph.D. student Matthew Jacobsen won best CSE poster for “Hardware-Accelerated Online Boosting for Tracking.” Read more…

Research Expo 2014


Ph.D. student Laura Pina won best paper with Microsoft colleagues at PervasiveHealth 2014 for developing ParentGuardian, a mobile app/sensor detecting stress in parents of children with ADHD. The system helps parents cope with stress in real time. Read more…  


New Faculty

Former UC Berkeley professor Ravi Ramamoorthi joined CSE’s visual computing faculty, and he is one of six new CSE faculty hires in 2014. Others include assistant teaching professors Mia Minnes and Leo Porter, and assistant professors George Porter, Daniel M. Kane and Julian McAuley. Read more…

Ravi Ramamoorthi

Fun and Functional

CSE 145 teaches students about embedded systems design, and they do capstone projects. For one team, that meant building Ruku, a robot and mobile app that solves a Rubik’s Cube in 30 seconds. (L-r): William Mutterspaugh, Daryl Stimm and Jonas Kabigting. Read more…

Ruku to solve Rubik's Cube

Overclocked Enthusiasts

CSE alumni, students, staff and faculty turned out in force to run, walk or just cheer on the Overclocked CSE Enthusiasts, the department's main team entered in the Chancellor’s 5K run in June. Prof. Christine Alvarado ranked #1 in her division. Read more…  

5K Race

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...

  • NSF Awards Database Grant to Improve Efficiency of Sensor Data Analytics

    September 1 was the start date of an important new project for two faculty members in Computer Science and Engineering. CSE Prof. Yannis Papakonstantinou (near right) is principal investigator on the $1.1 million, three-year project funded by the National Science Foundation to build Plato, a model-based database for compressed, spatiotemporal sensor data. Co-PI on the project is CSE Prof. Yoav Freund (far right).

    At it stands, analytics for sensor data is not as productive as tools for non-sensor business intelligence platforms. The reason? Database technology and sensor data processing currently don't mix, at least not very well, part because SQL databases of spatiotemporal sensor data fail due to the lack of critical abstractions (real-world models) that capture the stochastic processes which generate measurements. This is particularly true when dealing with many types of sensor data, or when mixing sensor data with metadata from conventional databases, or when many different types of analysis are required. Furthermore, anyone handling this type of data must be simultaneously an expert in signal processing, statistics, and the management of big data.

    So the Plato system will allow analysts to develop quickly declarative queries that can be automatically optimized. "By doing so, the project will deliver the envisioned productivity gains," says Papakonstantinou. "Plato will also lower the technical sophistication required of users, therefore enabling many scientists and domain specialists to work with sensor-data analytics." While Papakonstantinou focuses on designing a model-aware data model and query language features that combine conventional SQL querying with statistical signal processing, co-PI Yoav Freund will develop learning algorithms that learn the model components of reduced-noise, additive model representations. Other algorithmic work will involve query processing directly on compressed representations rather than the original data, and semiautomated algorithms to further compress the model representations in light of dependencies between the models.

    The researchers are also planning to use the CSE-built UC San Diego Energy Dashboard (pictured at left) and the Qualcomm Institute-based Data E-platform Leveraged for Patient Empowerment and Population Health Improvement (DELPHI) as primary use cases for the new database system as it develops.

  • CSE Alumna and Ph.D. Student Launch Kickstarter Campaign for Game to Teach Coding

    The team of CSE students and colleagues who set up a company to help teach kids how to code has turned to the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform to raise funds. On September 2, the startup company ThoughtSTEM launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $50,000 for further development of the CodeSpells educational videogame, and within a few hours, it had already topped $7,500. CodeSpells was originally built by recent CSE Ph.D. graduate Sarah Esper (far right) and CSE Ph.D. student Stephen Foster (near right) as a vehicle to teach software programming to young children. Foster and Esper later teamed with UCSD Ph.D. bioengineering student Lindsey Handler to create the company ThoughtSTEM to provide after-school programs and summer camps where they used an early prototype of CodeSpells to teach coding.w

    CodeSpells allows the player to craft their own magic spells in what ThoughtSTEM calls "the ultimate spellcrafting sandbox." The program uses an intuitive drag-and-drop language that even children can use. Students can learn to code, syntax-error free, using a Blockly spell-crafting interface that has all the tools available in Javascript. When they've learned all the programming concepts from Blockly, students can move on to typing Javascript code. If the Kickstarter campaign raises the minimum $50,000 by early October, ThoughtSTEM will undertake a makeover of CodeSpells' look and feel, gameplay, and coding interface. The game will eventually allow student wizards to master each of five elements -- earth, fire, water, air, and life -- but initially only with one element of gameplay, earth, is available (pictured at left). The Kickstarter funding would allow ThoughtSTEM to develop three more elements, and to enhance the overall game. The alpha version of CodeSpells will be released to anyone providing $80 or more in funding on Christmas Day of 2014, followed by the beta release in June 2014 to backers at the $30-and-up level. Feedback from those early users will help the team improve the gameplay, and if funding is available beyond 2015, ThoughtSTEM will release the life element of the game, featuring creatures, plants and non-player characters, in 2016.

    Visit the Kickstarter campaign for CodeSpells: Express Yourself with Magic.

  • Ph.D. Student Wins Science Policy Fellowship

    CSE graduate student Natalie Larson recently received a three-year Department of Defense SMART fellowship to finish her Ph.D. Now she has been selected as one of three inaugural IR/PS Science Policy Fellows, a program launched for the 2014-'15 academic year by the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. Applicants had to be graduate students enrolled in UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, or School of Medicine. In addition to a $1,000 stipend (which Larson will spend on policy-related research and travel), the fellowship gives awardees access to IR/PS personnel to explore the policy implications of their work. In Larson's case, her Ph.D. work is in the area of Internet measurement.  "It has a strong policy component because traffic management practices of network service providers, transit providers and content distributors can heavily influence Internet topology and performance.  Policymakers are still trying to learn enough about the Internet ecosystem to develop regulations regarding such entities that will protect consumers and innovation without hindering investment," explains Larson.  "The IR/PS Science Policy Fellows Program will allow me to work directly and closely with policy experts."

    Last week Larson also learned that she was selected to receive a Student Travel Grant to the 2014 Internet Measurement Conference, set to take place in Vancouver, Canada in November. While she doesn't have a paper at IMC, she expects to be working on topics that may come up at the conference, including tomographic techniques to localize Internet congestion and infer its causes.

    Read more about the IR/PS Science Policy Fellows Program.

  • CSE Professor Elected to Academia Europaea

    CSE Prof. Victor Vianu is one of only 16 new members elected to the Informatics section of the Academia Europaea, the Academy of Europe, which is their version of the combined U.S. National Academies. The Academy has 3000 members of which 229 elected this year across all areas. "It was indeed a nice surprise," says Vianu, "especially since very few non-Europeans are elected." In announcing the honor, the Academia noted Vianu's fields of scholarship in database systems and theory, computational logic, and automatic verification. While he has been a professor at UC San Diego since 1983, since then he has also taken sabbaticals at INRIA, France's public research institution dedicated to computater science. Through November 2018, Vianu also holds a five-year INRIA International Chair at INRIA-Saclay, just southwest of Paris. Vianu's past honors include being elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2013, the 2010 ACM PODS Alberto O. Mendelzon Test-of-Time Award, and being elected Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery in 2006.

by Dr. Radut