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  • CSE-Built App Gets High Marks from Anniversary Attendees

    Anyone with a smartphone attending the 25th Anniversary celebration had the opportunity to use a brand-new mobile app designed by CSE students and professor YY Zhou. The app, Whova Event - CSE25, was custom-designed by Whova, a startup and spinoff from CSE's Systems and Networking group. In the end, over 280 attendees downloaded the app and also actively used it during the event. Of those, 151 people downloaded the iPhone app, and 131 the app for Android smartphones. Users responded to survey questions about the app, and were asked which features they liked most. Over 38% liked having access to profiles of other attendees based on a large body of data culled from the Internet. Their second-favorite feature was the convenience in accessing agenda and location information about the day-long event. Meanwhile, 23% most appreciated the ability to exchange contact information and bios with other attendees. Users also made heavy use of the feature that allowed them to pose questions via the app to speakers during the various panel sessions. Indeed, the feature was so useful that only a fraction of the questions could be tackled by the speakers in the available time. To help attendees check-in at the event, student volunteers roamed through the crowd at registration in Atkinson Hall, helping visitors download the app, or answering questions from attendees about how to use the app. One-hundred percent of survey respondents said they would like to attend the next CSE event, and 61% indicated they would like to join the alumni association. For more information and screenshots from the Whova Event - CSE25 app, visit the web page for the iPhone app, or the page on Google Play for the Android version.

  • Hundreds Flock to CSE 25th Anniversary Celebration

    Approximately 400 people attended all or part of CSE's celebration marking the 25th anniversary of its becoming a standalone department. In 1987, the department, led by first CSE Chair Walter Burkhard, broke away from the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department, with 18 faculty members and approximately 200 graduate students. CSE's "birth" came a full six years after former faculty member Irwin Jacobs donated one of UCSD's two first endowed chairs, with the stipulation that the chair could only be filled by a professor in a future Department of Computer Science. That first endowed chair lured Christos Papadimitriou from Stanford, and he was back at UCSD (having left CSE in 1996 for UC Berkeley) on Oct. 11 to give a keynote on emerging computational insights into the theory of evolution. Other speakers invited to talk about the future of computer science were: former CSE professor and SDSC director Fran Berman, now at Rensselaer Polytechnic, who talked about building a sustainable environment for data-driven innovation; and current CSE Prof. Yoav Freund, whose talk on "artificial intelligence vs. intelligence amplification" led Freund to rephrase the question,"Can computers be intelligent?" He said the real question to ask is: "Can machines be conscious?" Streaming videos of the talks and panel discussions will be posted shortly on YouTube, and photos of the 25th Anniversary proceedings on Flickr. CSE also developed a super-sized graphic timeline and video charting the period 1965 to 2013, which together with a panel of CSE chairs (all except one!) constituted the "past" portion of the celebration's theme. A poster session showcased the broad sweep of "present" activities in the department. 

  • CSE's Alvarado Honored as Large CSE Contingent Attends Grace Hopper Celebration

    The turnout of CSE and UC San Diego students at this year's Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing put the campus among the top 10 schools registered for the Minneapolis. The students had an extra reason to go this year: to cheer on CSE professor Christine Alvarado. A leader of the Jacobs School of Engineering delegation, Alvarado received an award for the innovative teaching practices she pioneered first at Harvey Mudd College, and now in CSE. She was presented with the A. Richard Newton Education Award for her success in attracting girls and women to computing as well as math and engineering. According to a post on the Jacobs School blog, as a result of Alvarado's innovations, more than 40 percent of Harvey Mudd computer science students are women--the highest percentage in the nation. For more on the story and photos of the Jacobs School contingent in Minneapolis, check out the blog post here.

  • PRIME Summer Experiences for CSE Undergraduates

    CSE students who spent the summer doing cyberinfrastructure research at institutions in Asia and Australia are back in San Diego, most of them starting their senior year. The Pacific Rim Experiences for Undergraduates (PRIME) program turned 10 years old this year, and the class of ’13 included four computer science majors. They included (in bottom row at a re-entry party): Jesus Rios (far left), who worked in the VisLab at Osaka University to develop an Android smart-phone application that uses a new location-based technology, PlaceSticker, to serve as an interactive guide eventually for deployment in the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park; another student in Osaka was Kittinan Ponkaew (third from left), who developed informatics tools for biodiversity data conversion; Fabian Lema Gutierrez (second from right) did a project at the University of Queensland on remote monitoring of Android devices; and Thinh Nguyen (not pictured) worked at Osaka University, on virtual sculpting using Leap Motion, a 3D motion-control technology.  Other PRIME students spent the summer at institutions in Taiwan, New Zealand, and Nara, Japan. The students filed weekly reports on their professional and cultural experiences abroad. PRIME Student Voices 2013

  • Anonymous Gift from CSE Alumnus Highlight of Giving to UC San Diego

    For fiscal 2012-13, a total of 30,289 donors gave to UC San Diego, raising more than $150 million in private support — a 15% increase compared to the previous year. Half of all private support given in the latest year was designated for research to support the next invention, cure or breakthrough to continue UC San Diego’s impact on the community and the world. Meanwhile, giving by UC San Diego alumni jumped to a record 15% of the total funds raised. A highlight was the anonymous $18.5 million given to CSE by a department alumnus, making it the largest gift ever from a UCSD alum. “I made this gift to recognize the wonderful education I received and to assist the department in its efforts to reach even higher levels of excellence,” the donor said at the time. The funds will be used for new endowed chairs, student support, and upgrades to the CSE building's facilities (click on image to see visualization on the Qualcomm Institute's TourCAVE virtual reality environment). Among other donations to UCSD that could benefit CSE faculty and students: $4.5 million from Joan and Irwin Jacobs to benefit the Jacobs Scholars and other programs; $2.4 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to Calit2's Qualcomm Institute and Integrative Oceanography; and $2 million to the Qualcomm Institute and other areas from the Qualcomm Foundation. Read the news release.

  • New Approach to Sort Cells Up to 38 Times Faster

    Mixing computer vision and hardware optimization, CSE Prof. Ryan Kastner (pictured) and colleagues from UC San Diego and UCLA have come up with a new way to sort cells up to 38 times faster than previously possible. The approach could be used for clinical diagnostics, stem cell characterization, and other applications. “This has the potential to lead to a number of clinical breakthroughs," says Kastner. The new approach improves on a technique known as imaging flow cytometry, which uses a camera mounted on a microscope to capture the morphological features of hundreds to thousands of cells per second ,while the cells are suspended in a solution moving at approximately four meters per second. The technique sorts cells into different categories, for example benign or malignant cells, based on their shape and structure. If these features can be calculated fast enough, the cells can be sorted in real time. To do so, the sorting decision must be made in less than 10 milliseconds. The new approach gets very close to that, with a peak speed of just under 12 milliseconds.That speed was achieved with a custom hardware solution using a field-programmable gate array, or FPGA, which speeds up the process considerably compared to what was possible with graphics processing units, or GPUs. The findings were reported in September at the International Conference on Field Programmable Logic and Applications in Portugal.  Read full news release.

  • Prof. Pavel Pevzner Launches Online Course on Bioinformatics Algorithms

    He's wearing cowboy duds in a promotional video to reinforce how bioinformatics is like the Wild West: CSE Prof. Pavel Pevzner says his upcoming online course, "Bioinformatics Algorithms (Part I)", will introduce students worldwide to a new frontier for students from math, computer science and biology. The course opened for registrations Sept. 30 on Coursera, the global online learning network. The course breaks ground on several fronts. It incorporates a substantial research component for the first time. Another unique feature of the online course: Pevzner and Ph.D. student Phillip Compeau have developed a book for supporting the course that will soon be available in e-book form, while Pevzner’s colleague in Russia, Nikolay Vyahhi, developed a content delivery system that integrates the e-book with hundreds of quizzes and dozens of homework problems that the team already developed for Rosalind, a free, online resource for learning bioinformatics through problem solving. The automated service will grade students' solutions 24/7, seven days a week, and as a sign of how populat Rosalind has become, it already has over 10,000 active users worldwide. The course will run for eight weeks starting October 21, and students can already sign up and download some of the course materials. Most of the course is being recorded in Calit2's Qualcomm Institute.
  • CSE Prof. Scott Klemmer Kicks Off "Design at Large" Lecture Series

    CSE Prof. Scott Klemmer launches a new lecture series on "Design at Large" every Thursday this quarter in Room 4004 of Atkinson Hall. He will kick off the series on Sept. 26, from 5-6pm, with an introductory talk covering some of his group's recent forays in this area and his interpretation of broader trends and opportunities.  On subsequent Thursdays throughout the quarter, an interdisciplinary mix of invited speakers will share their research on design that engages the world, often leveraging scale in new and exciting ways. Topics will include online learning, social computing, civic engagement, crowdsourcing, and more. Prof. Klemmer is nailing down the final details on the schedule and will post it soon to and on Twitter @DesignAtLarge. All are welcome to attend: students, faculty, coaches, robots... Students also have the option to sign up for one unit of credit (cogs260/cse290).
  • CSE Professor Contributes to Fighting Wildfires with Cyberinfrastructure

    A group of researchers from UC San Diego and the University of Maryland have embarked on a three-year project to build an end-to-end cyberinfrastructure to perform real-time, data-driven assessment, simulation, prediction and visualization of the behavior of wildfires. CSE Prof. Larry Smarr is a co-PI on the $2.65 million grant just awarded for the WIFIRE project by the NSF, with Ilkay Altintas of SDSC leading the effort as PI. Other co-PIs include Hans-Werner Braun, who leads the High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN), and Jacobs School of Engineering mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Raymond de Callafon. According to CSE's Smarr, WIFIRE is the next logical progression in the fight against wildfires. "We are based in southern California and wildfires represent one of the most intractable environmental threats we face on a regular basis," said Smarr, who went on to say that Calit2, the institute he leads, "has helped deploy cyberinfrastures to benefit other communities of researchers and first responders, so I am convinced that the technology we deploy for WIFIRE will make a substantial difference in our ability to detect, track and respond to wildfires going forward." Click here for the full news release.

  • Bellare, Pevzner Among Top Computer Science Authors

    There is some good news in the Microsoft Academic Search Beta rankings, which are based on the number of publications in major journals and conferences. Among the top organizations in computer science for 1985 through 2012, UC San Diego ranks #11, with Stanford, MIT and Berkeley in the top three positions in that order. That's for all fields of computer science. CSE faculty are in leadership positions in two of the fields tracked individually: Mihir Bellare is the #1 author in "security and privacy," with 227 publications and over 16,000 citations; and Pavel Pevzner is #2 worldwide among top authors in bioinformatics and computational biology, with 232 publications and over 10,000 citations. It is unclear whether Microsoft will ever convert its index of scholarly content to a commercial service. The last release was early in 2013, and the competition with Google Scholar, CiteSeer, Elsevier and other services is intense.

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