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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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  • Machine Learning Method Differentiates Healthy Male, Female Microbiomes

    The week-long International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) ended June 24, and the last day included the 2016 ICML Workshop on Computational Biology.  CSE professors Larry Smarr and Rob Knight as well as Qualcomm Institute data scientist Mehrdad Yazdani were represented in a poster presentation and paper on "Using Topological Data Analysis to find discrimination between microbial states in human microbiome data." Borrowing a statistical method originally from topology, the co-authors applied Topological Data Analysis (TDA) as an "unsupervised learning and data exploration tool to identify changes in microbial states."

    "Since the human microbiome ecology differs dramatically in different body sites [parts] and individuals," said Yazdani, "understanding how and what changes in the ecology are of crucial importance."

    Yazdani works closely with Smarr and Knight -- whose appointments are in Pediatrics and CSE -- on analyzing colonies of species in the human microbiome in healthy and sick subjects, notably for Smarr's Future Patient project. To test the TDA method, they used a previously published dataset of high-resolution time series of the microbiome from three diļ¬€erent sites (mouth, hands, and gut) and from two healthy subjects (one female, one male). Previous studies have shown that microbial communities of a healthy subject are highly stable over time, so TDA and other methods should have been able to identify six total microbial communities - three for the male subject based on his different body sites, and three for the female subject's three sites.

    The scientists wanted to see how TDA compared to other well-established methods, PCA and MDS*. The older methods did identify the clusters for three sites, but did not detect a difference based on the subject's gender. "These methods [PCA and MDS] do not discriminate samples based on the subjects," they noted in the paper. On the other hand, the TDA method identified distinct clusters that discriminated between the female and male gut samples, and based on the skin and tongue body sites. Concluded Yazdani: "This suggests that TDA is able to identify groups of clusters that other methods may potentially miss."

    The ICML Workshop on Computational Biology brought together researchers applying machine learning to challenging biological questions, especially given the development of high-throughput technologies such as next-generation sequencing, mass cytometry (CyTOF), and single-cell sequencing, all of which can now generate vast amounts of data from the biological systems in question.
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    *PCA stands for Principal Component Analysis; MDS refers to Multi-Dimensional Scaling (also known as Principal Coordinate Analysis).

  • Computer Science at UC San Diego #4 in Ranking

    According to a ranking of U.S. computer science undergraduate programs serving international students, UC San Diego ranks #4 nationwide. The website College Values Online used data published separately by the Institute of Education Studies and Payscale.com to factor into the ranking, and the computer science program at UC San Diego was the highest-performing UC campus on the list -- eking out a win over the #5-ranked UC Berkeley program.

    "UCSD has a very large international student population and a top-notch computer science program," according to the website. The ranking considered tuition rates, return on investment, percentage of international students, and accreditations or other 'distinguishing characteristics'.  One key reason why UC San Diego outperformed UC Berkeley is that 20 percent of its students are international -- compared to only 14 percent UC Berkeley. The #1 university in the ranking was the Florida Institute of Technology, in part because 33 percent of its enrollment are international students. "Students in the B.S. program can choose to specialize in bioinformatics," according to the report, citing other computer science research areas including artificial intelligence, security and cryptography, human-computer interaction, and embedded systems and software.

  • CSE Professor and Alumnus Win Bloomberg Data Science Grant

    The Bloomberg Data Science Research Grant Program, run by the financial giant created by billionaire former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, is a relatively new source of support for computer-science research. It began in 2015. Specifically, faculty can apply for unrestricted gifts to support research in data science, including natural-language processing, machine learning, and data mining. The latest round of grants drew hundreds of applications. Only eight projects were selected for funding, and only six of the winning teams were based at U.S. universities.

    Despite the odds, one of the winning teams consisted of computer science professors at Columbia University and UC San Diego -- one a CSE alumnus, the other a former CSE postdoctoral researcher..

    CSE Prof. Kamalika Chaudhuri (far left) was a postdoc in Calit2's Information Theory and Applications Center (2007-2009) and in CSE (2009-2010), before joining the department faculty. She teamed with CSE alumnus Daniel Hsu (Ph.D. '10), an assistant professor at Columbia, on a project titled "Spectral Learning with Prior Information with Applications to Topic Models." According to Chaudhuri, the goal of this project is to design algorithms and statistical tools to build complex probabilistic models from massive quantities of data in a computationally-efficient manner. "Recent advances in machine learning have led to the development of spectral learning, an efficient method for learning probabilistic graphical models, that can work with such massive quantities of data," said Chaudhuri. "But existing spectral-learning methods cannot utilize auxiliary information that the modeler may have, which limits their applicability."

    In their winning proposal, Hsu -- who did his Ph.D. under CSE Prof. Sanjoy Dasgupta -- and Chaudhuri proposed to address this limitation by designing a framework and algorithms for injecting prior knowledge into spectral learning through constrained optimization.

    As outlined by Bloomberg in announcing the winning projects, "Complex statistical models are challenging to fit to large, high-dimensional data sets. Although several recent developments in machine learning have led to scalable fitting methods based on simple algebraic techniques, they are unable to incorporate prior knowledge constraints into the model fitting. Professors Chaudhuri and Hsu will develop new extensions of these scalable methods that can handle such constraints, and they will apply these methods to perform comparative analyses of large document corpora."

    Columbia's Hsu is a pioneer of spectral learning for natural-language processing (NLP) applications, and he is PI on the project. Co-PI Chaudhuri has also published on spectral learning, including preliminary work on using constrained spectral learning to compare epigenetic sequences from related cell types. The two computer scientists have co-authored six publications over the past seven years. The $60,000 Bloomberg grant will fund two Ph.D. students (one at UCSD, one at Columbia) for one semester each, in addition to some summer support for Chaudhuri.

  • Director of Student Affairs Heads into Retirement

    After four-and-a-half years in CSE, and a total of 34 years of outstanding service to UC San Diego overall, Lynne Keith-McMullin is retiring as Director of Student Affairs in the department. Her last official day will be Wednesday, June 29, so two days before that, we'll celebrate her with a Happy Hour. Mark the date and time on your calendar:

    Date: Monday, June 27
    Time: 3pm - 4pm
    Location: Room 4262, CSE Building

    Lynne Keith-McMullin has become an indispensable member of our department staff leadership, recently serving as interim MSO and department business officer pending the arrival of Samira Khazai, who is now in place.  Keith-McMullin has been a true champion of CSE students, and a tireless advocate for the Student Affairs unit. "During this time, Lynne has helped guide the department through some of its most difficult challenges, including the largest growth in student population in our department's history," said CSE chair Rajesh Gupta. "She has been at the helm of managing the complex impact of this explosive growth on Student Affairs advising, enrollment management, course scheduling, and student support, among other areas.

    In addition, Keith-McMullin has provided invaluable insight and direction during the growth and restructuring of the Master's program and was instrumental in developing the Data Sciences undergraduate major (and minor), a program that was recently approved and is expected to launch as early as this fall.

    "It is with truly mixed feelings that I announce that Lynne is retiring from UC San Diego and CSE," added Gupta in an announcement. "While we are very sad to say goodbye to Lynne, we are happy that she is embarking on her well-deserved retirement."