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CSE News

  • Students, Faculty, Alumni and Industry Converge on CSE Day

    CSE Day 2016 took place Thursday, January 21, from 11am to 8pm, with most of the activities taking place in the CSE auditorium (Room 1202).The student-run event was organized by the Computer Science and Engineering Society (which held its first general meeting of the year on Jan. 14).

    CSE Day is an event dedicated to the passion and education of all who are interested in computer science or computer engineering, especially for more recent arrivals in the department who can learn about potential job or educational oppportunities in industry and academia.

    The event serves an important purpose in the computing community on campus by showing students what they can do with industry to maximize their opportunities after graduation. CSE Day sessions will help "demystify the pathways they can take to become successful, and show them the opportunities that their peers, the faculty and the attending companies can offer them," according to organizers, including CSES's co-chairs for CSE Day, Jacob Davis and Raghav Mehta (both Class of '18) (pictured below right).

    The schedule kicked off with an internship panel the CSE Auditorium, featuring students Mike Shi, Michael Chu, J Delaney and Jesse Gallaway, who have interned at Facebook, Hulu, MongoDB, Google and Qualcomm. The panel was followed by an open (and free) lunch catered by Subway served from noon to 12:45pm. Continuing in the afternoon, students had an opportunity to hear from a panel of recruiters -- including from Microsoft, Google, and other tech companies -- on what they look for in candidates with software skills.

    Following that panel, at 2:15pm representatives from student and professional clubs talked about how to get involved in CSE activities, including the recently formed Data Science Student Society, Women in Computing, as well as the Virtual Reality Club and Video Game Club.

    Later in the afternoon, students heard from a Google expert on machine learning, a field of growing interest to the tech world, and an area that is enhanced by CSE's collaboration with UC San Diego's Cognitive Science department. It started at 4pm, and was followed by a panel bringing together CSE alumni working at Facebook, ViaSat and other employers, to answer student questions about their own experiences following graduation.

    An industry dinner (catered by Buca di Beppo) provided a networking forum for students to socialize one-on-one with executives from industry. The dinner was followed by a popular CSE Day staple: a game of Jeopardy that pits students versus faculty members. Industry sponsors of CSE Day 2016 include Microsoft, Google, ViaSat, Facebook, Cubic, iBoss Cybersecurity, and Visa.

  • February 16 Cutoff for Undergrads to Apply for Alan Turing Memorial Scholarship

    The Center for Networked Systems (CNS) has announced a deadline of February 16,  2016, for interested students to apply for  the research center's $10,000 Alan Turing Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship program was established in 2015 through a philanthropic partnership between CNS and outside donors. The scholarship was named in honor of the British mathematician (at left) who is widely considered a key founder of the fields of both computer science and artificial intelligence. The inaugural, one-year scholarship will be awarded this spring.

    CNS created the scholarship to "affirm the importance of future LGBT computer scientists and engineers". Turing's codebreaking work contributed substantially to the Allied victory in World War II, but after the war, he was persecuted for being gay and later died by his own hand in 1954.

    Applications for the CNS-created scholarship are welcome from UC San Diego undergraduates majoring in computer science or computer engineering, as well as other programs related to networked systems, including electrical engineering, public policy, communication, and others. Applicants must be active in supporting the LGBT community, with preference given to students with demonstrated financial need.

    All applications must be submitted online through the UC San Diego Academic Works website.

  • Deadlines Loom for Undergraduate Scholarship Applications for 2016-2017

    The deadlines for CSE and other continuing undergraduate students to put in online applications are fast approaching. (Pictured: Recent CSE graduate Allen Nguyen on summer research internship in Osaka, Japan.)

    The application cycle for 2016 Summer Undergraduate Research Scholarships is now open. The deadline for all applications seeking the $5,000 research stipend is February 1, 2016 at 11:59pm. The online application is at

    Separately, the deadline to apply for continuing UC San Diego undergraduate scholarships in 2016-2017 is 11:59pm, February 16, 2016 (including the Alan Turing Memorial Scholarship mentioned above). Some scholarships are based exclusively on merit (academic achievement), but most other scholarships are “restricted”, i.e., based on academic merit and other possible criteria (financial need, leadership, field of interest and so on). Many of the scholarships are open to all majors, while others are more specific. For example, there is a Ken Bowles Scholarship for CSE, open only to computer-science seniors who have cumulative 3.0 GPA and can demonstrate financial need – but who also “may have knowledge or experience with the UCSD Pascal application.” (UCSD Pascal was developed by a large team of CSE students under Prof. Kenneth Bowles at the dawn of the personal computing era.)

    Other scholarships (which typically range from $1,000 to $2,000 for the academic year) are restricted to students from several disciplines. A scholarship set up by CSE Prof. CK Cheng and his wife Jenny is open exclusively to computer science, computer engineering or electrical engineering majors, while the James W. Barnes Scholarship is open to undergrads from the CSE, ECE, or Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering departments.

    Interested undergrads are invited to fill out an easy-to-complete online application after reading about each scholarship’s guidelines and other information here.  

    For more about all undergraduate scholarships for CSE students, click here.

  • CSE Undergrads Eligible to Compete for Proof of Concept; Deadline Friday, January 15

    Have an idea for a new app, gadget or other solution to a problem? Computer science and computer engineering students should be in a strong position to compete with other UC San Diego undergraduates in the university’s first Undergraduate Proof of Concept Competition.

    The deadline for submissions was postponed from mid-December to next Friday, January 15.  Applicants must submit a short proposal (maximum three pages) describing the project or product idea and how they plan to use the Proof of Concept (PoC) funds. Students are also welcome to include a video (no more than five minutes in length) in the proposal. The cash prize for the first round is up to $2,000, and winners who go on to the next round of competition can get up to $3,000 in additional funding.

    Students are invited to put a team together (up to four currently enrolled undergrads) to secure funding to get an idea off the ground. Winning teams will receive help for prototype development, as well as a presentation slot at The Basement Demo Day on April 28. Proposals will be evaluated based on the PoC’s innovation, commercial potential, competitive advantage, and use of available funds.

    The Undergraduate PoC Competition is jointly staged by the Office of Innovation and Commercialization and The Basement. Both organizations hope to challenge students “to be creative and engage in entrepreneurship to enhance their readiness for today’s global economy,” according to an announcement from the Office of Research Affairs.

    For more information and to submit proposals no later than 11pm on Friday, Jan. 15, go to

  • Magazine Honors CSE Alumna Among 30 Under 30 in Science

    Forbes magazine went looking for young science researchers who are already making waves as twenty-somethings, and the magazine’s editors included one recent CSE graduate on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the sciences: Sarah Guthals (Ph.D., ’14), pictured at left.

    The 27-year-old CSE alumna was cited for her role in co-founding ThoughtSTEM, “a company geared towards teaching kids how to program.” According to Forbes, Guthals – who is ThoughtSTEM’s chief technology officer – is also “an education researcher and has published several papers in the field, with a focus both on the best methods to teach computer science as well as methods for providing support for students when teachers can’t.” ThoughtSTEM develops courses, trainings, software and textbooks for children 8 to 18 to learn how to program. Guthals also co-developed the CodeSpells game, which is currently under development as a full-scale commercial product following a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that netted $164,000 from 5,500 backers. She and ThoughtSTEM co-founder Stephen Foster (Ph.D., ’15) also developed LearnToMod, a software program to help students learn how to program modifications (“mods”) in the popular Minecraft programming game.

    Guthals isn’t the only Forbes 30 Under 30 scientist from UC San Diego with a connection to CSE. Embriette Hyde (at right) is a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Rob Knight, a professor of pediatrics who has a joint appointment in CSE. Forbes cited Hyde’s work as project manager for the American Gut Project, which is led by Knight and is now based at UC San Diego. According to Forbes, the 28-year-old is now focused on “the microbiome – the bacteria residing in and on our bodies that serve important functions for our health.”

  • In Memoriam: CSE Chief Administrative Officer Donald Peters-Coville

    The Computer Science and Engineering department lost one of its key staff members with the passing on January 5 of its Management Service Officer, Donald Peters-Coville, after a prolonged battle with Sjögren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder. As MSO, he was the chief administrative officer of the department for the past decade. 

    “It is a day of loss and mourning for us,” says CSE Chair Rajesh Gupta, who recalls becoming Chair five years ago at a time of financial crisis on the campus. “Little did I know that Don was handling a difficult job of a sprawling department with extraordinary calm. He kept our spirits high and provided smooth sailing for the department through those times until his health started failing in recent years.”

    Don was devoted to and survived by his wife, the former Michele Peters (near right); they both adopted the double-barreled Peters-Coville family name when they wed. Don was also survived by Sadie and Sophie, the couple’s two Tibetan Terriers (pictured at right on Don's lap alongside wife Michele).

    Don Coville graduated in the Class of ’75 at McClintock High School in Tempe, AZ. He went on to receive a B.S. in Economics from Arizona State University (also in Tempe) in 1979. He was a property administrator at ASU in 1986-88, and later worked in the hospitality industry as a hotel controller. In December 2000, he joined UC San Diego, initially through Temporary Employment Services, but within months he became an Administrative Analyst in the Chemistry department, where he worked until 2003.

    His affiliation with the Computer Science and Engineering department began in September 2003, when he was promoted to Senior Administrative Analyst and Financial Manager of CSE. Don supervised the fiscal and human-resources staff and maintained all financial records for departmental and state funds.

  • CSE Alumnus Keynotes RoboUniverse Conference

    In mid-December, CSE alumnus Charles Bergan (right) delivered the opening keynote speech at RoboUniverse, a conference and expo in San Diego. The conference focused on robots, drones and the Internet of Everything, and Bergan's talk was titled "The Robotics Revolution." A VP of Engineering in Qualcomm's Research Software group, Bergan -- who earned his M.S. from CSE in 1989 -- shared insights  about the innovative technologies under development at Qualcomm in order to take robotics to the next level via smarter and safer robots that can be better positioned to help society. Topics during the Dec. 15 keynote included autonomous cars, superintelligence threats, and drone safety. 

    Other speakers at the three-day conference included CSE graduate student Zachary Chase Lipton (left), who expects to finish his Ph.D. on machine learning in 2017 in CSE Prof. Charles Elkan's Artifiicial Intelligence Group. In a panel discussion, Chase -- who earned his M.S. from CSE in 2015 -- explored cognitive reasoning platforms, with particular emphasis on "spinning social media interactions into gold." In his research, Chase has focused on the application of recurrent neural networks  to medical data, natural language datasets, computer vision and music information retrieval. For the past two summers, he did internships at both Microsoft Research (in Bangalore) and, in 2015, as a machine-learning scientist at Amazon.

  • CISA3 'Stands Out' for Research on Cultural Heritage Engineering at 2015 Digital Heritage Conference

    By Micah Siegel

    San Diego, Calif., Dec. 17, 2015 — The city of Granada, Spain is steeped in cultural heritage: home to the Alhambra and to world-famous Moorish and Morisco architecture, it is a perennial destination for tourists and sightseers. But for five days this past fall, the city also attracted culture seekers of another kind: researchers attending the 2015 Digital Heritage Conference, including a team from UC San Diego’s Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3).


    The 2015 Digital Heritage Conference in Granada, Spain.Organized by the Division of Arts & Humanities, the Jacobs School of Engineering and the Qualcomm Institute, the UC San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), CISA3 has made its name as a hub for cultural heritage engineering—writ broadly, the application of fields such as robotics, computer science and virtual reality to the study of cultural sites and artifacts. According to CISA3 Director Falko Kuester, the annual Digital Heritage Conference is “the top-tier event” within this area of study, and CISA3’s researchers “stood out” there for the quality, quantity and diversity of their accepted papers.

    Among the research papers emerging from UC San Diego and presented at the conference were those spanning robotics and unmanned aerial vehicles for remote imaging and digital preservation of endangered sites, as well as hyper-spectral imaging techniques for the analysis and preservation of paintings. Other papers focused on photogrammetry techniques for underwater cave documentation and investigation, digital and cyber-archaeology, cyber-infrastucture for open source data sharing and more. Two graduate students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), John Mangan and Vid Petrovic, co-authored four conference papers between them.

    “It is great to see that our students truly have become the domain experts in areas of inquiry that they present,” said Kuester.

  • Deadline Looms for Applications to Fill CSE Assistant Professor Positions

    A key deadline is looming for potential candidates interested in joining the Computer Science and Engineering faculty as Assistant Professors. The deadline is January 1, 2016 for "full consideration," although the jobs will remain open until filled, with a final deadline of June 6.

    According to current academic recruitment information, "exceptional candidates in all areas will be seriously considered." However, the focus of CSE hiring this year is on candidates who advance research in data sciences (including databases, data mining and machine learning), networking, systems, security, robotics, design and bioinformatics.

    The department has particular interest in candidates who have experience and interest in building real experimental artifacts in their research and/or otherwise advance the emerging areas of "design" in interdisciplinary areas across engineering and social sciences. Appointments in the robotics and design areas are jointly with the Department of Cognitive Science, according to CSE/CogSci professor Scott Klemmer (pictured at right).  

    Candidates with experience or willingness to engage in activities that contribute to diversity and inclusion are especially encouraged to apply. Successful applicants are expected to lead a vigorous research program and will be required to teach university students. A Ph.D. or advancement to candidacy in CSE or related disciplines is required at the time of application.

    The CSE Department is committed to building an excellent, diverse, and inclusive faculty, staff and student body. In addition to the highest standards of scholarship, teaching, and professional activity, the preferred candidates for any position will have potential or demonstrated contributions to a climate that supports equity, inclusion, and diversity. CSE is home to over 50 faculty and 500 graduate students who span a range of research areas in computer science, computer engineering and bioinformatics. 

    To learn more about the CSE positions, view the requirements or apply, go to:  For more on CSE Current Academic Recruitments, visit:

  • UC San Diego team takes 4th place in regional programming competition

    By Ioana Patringenaru

    2015 AMC Southern California Regional Programming Contest, UC San Diego team

    San Diego, Calif., Nov. 20, 2015 — A team of UC San Diego computer science students tied with seven other campuses for first place in the 2015 ACM Southern California Regional Programming Contest on Nov. 14.

    The tie was finally resolved based on the time it took to solve problems, with the UC San Diego team landing in fourth place, after Caltech, USC and UCLA. Fourth-ranked UC San Diego Team "Phuket" was comprised of Juliati Alafate, Chicheng Zhang and Lifan Wu.

    Hat tip to graduate student coaches Igors Stepanovs and Yuliang Li, as well as faculty coach Michael Taylor.