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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...

  • Society Honors Computer Scientist and Mathematician Fan Chung Graham

    CSE Prof. Fan Chung Graham and 30 others worldwide have been named as the Class of 2015 Fellows of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). She was cited for her contributions to “combinatorics, graph theory and their applications,” and those applications have included Internet computing, communication networks, software reliability and more.

    The Distinguished Professor has joint appointments in CSE and the Department of Mathematics, where she holds the Paul Erdös Chair in Combinatorics. In the early 1990s, Chung Graham served on the council of SIAM.

    She is not the only Graham to be honored by SIAM – not even in the Graham household. That’s because her husband and fellow CSE professor, Ronald Graham, was honored in 2009 to be included in the inaugural class of SIAM Fellows. Ron Graham is also Chief Scientist in the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).

    In 2013, Chung Graham and her husband were recruited to the inaugural class of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society. Both are experts in theoretical computer science and combinatorics.  Among her other honors, Chung Graham received the Allendoerfer Award from the Mathematical Association of America in 1990, and she is one of three CSE professors awarded membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. (The others? Larry Smarr and... Ron Graham).

    Chung Graham earned her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1974. She went on to work at Bell Labs in its Mathematical Foundations of Computing department.

  • Disaggregating Data Centers

    CSE Prof. George Porter is back from the big annual Optical Fiber Conference (OFC) and expo, which took place in Los Angeles this year. The associate director of UC San Diego’s Center for Networked Systems (CNS) and two colleagues from the ECE department – Shaya Fainman and George Papen – were on the organizing/steering committee of a day-long industry workshop March 22. The topic: “Photonics for Disaggregated Data Centers.” The workshop – funded by NSF's Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN) and the Optical Society's Industry Development Associates trade group – explored the intersection of two relatively new research areas: data center networking, and disaggregated server design. 

    Large-scale Internet data centers host tens or hundreds of thousands of servers, powering sites such as search engines, social networks, streaming video services, shopping and healthcare.  The cost and energy demands of such facilities depend heavily on how efficiently the servers can work together, which in turn depends on the quality of the network interconnecting them.  “As servers get faster and faster, the demands placed on the data center network get increasingly hard to meet,” says Porter. “Industry is increasingly moving to fiber optics and photonics as a technology that can meet these incredible bandwidth requirements.  A major topic of our workshop involved understanding how to develop next-generation photonics to power the requirements of data center networks.”

    The workshop (left) also grappled with understanding the networking requirements for building disaggregated data centers – which, according to Porter, “re-evaluates” the entire concept of what a server is.  “Today a server represents a fixed combination of compute, memory, storage, and IO,” he explains. “As we look at the requirements for next-generation data centers, we see that the applications run in them have very dynamic requirements.” Porter cites the case of  Facebook, which may need servers with tons of memory that can be used to analyze billion-node graphs.  Alternatively, they may need servers with significant amounts of network IO that can power a caching layer. “Rather than build these as separate systems, with a disaggregated design, the individual components making up a server can be put directly on the network itself,” notes Porter. “Then a ‘server’ is simply a temporary binding of these resources together to work together for a specific purpose.  When those requirements change, different combinations of resources can be formed.  This vision is very powerful, but puts incredible strain on the network.” 

  • Cyber Privacy App Gets Boost from CSE Alumnus, Research Scientist Now Teaching at Carnegie Mellon

    CSE got a plug from one of its alumni and former research scientist in an article about how most apps don't care about privacy. CSE alumnus Yuvraj Agarwal (Ph.D. '09) left UC San Diego in 2013 to be an assistant professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, where he founded that university's Systems Networking and Energy Efficiency Lab. But when interviewed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for a piece on privacy and apps, Agarwal noted that his team at UCSD had developed an app called Protect My Privacy in 2012, at a time when Apple had not yet offered its AppOpps rival. "Protect My Privacy sends user notifications when an app attempts to access location data, contacts or other information with the phone,"  noted Agarwal (pictured at UCSD demonstrating the app). Protect My Privacy, however, goes beyond what AppOpps can do, by intercepting communication between the app and the phone before any information is lost.

    On the downside, Protect My Privacy can only work on iPhones that have been modified to allow customization, or that have been 'jailbroken.'  Even so, Agarwal confirmed that an iOS 8 version of Protect My Privacy was released in late March, and since its launch, the app has been downloaded more than 200,000 times. However, as people load more and more apps on their smartphones, they can generated potentially hundreds of alerts per day that may require the user to say yes or no to a request for information. Agarwal is quoted admitting that, "it can get overwhelming pretty quickly."

  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowships to CSE Students

    Two current CSE students are among the 2,000 nationwide to be offered 2015 Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Graduate student Alexandria Shearer and graduating senior Max Shen were selected from among roughly 16,500 applicants this year. In addition, CSE undergraduate Antonella Wilby was a runner-up in the national competition, receiving an Honorable Mention for work in the field of robotics and computer vision. Shearer and Wilby are both in CSE Prof. Ryan Kastner's research group, which is already home to three NSF graduate fellows: Dustin Richmond, Perry Naughton, and Alric Althoff. Max Shen works in the bioinformatics group of CSE Prof. Pavel Pevzner.

    With its emphasis on support of individuals, the NSF program offers fellowship awards directly to graduate students selected through a national competition. If accepted, the award provides three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period ($34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution) for graduate study that leads to a research-based master's or doctoral degree in science or engineering.

    Alexandria Shearer (right) is a Ph.D. student working on applications in heterogeneous computing. Less than two weeks ago, she was selected to receive a one-year UC San Diego Frontiers of Innovation Scholarship to continue her work on aerial LiDAR scanning of Mayan ruins. The FISP fellowship will cover Shearer over the summer and partially cover some equipment and travel costs related to her research, while the NSF stipend covers her primary expenses during the school year and the tuition allowance is paid directly to UCSD. Shearer arrived at UC San Diego in 2013 after getting her B.S. in computer science and engineering from Santa Clara University's School of Engineering, where she graduated as the top senior in computer engineering. Shearer expects to complete her Ph.D. in 2018. Among past honors, she was a SWE ViaSat Scholar in 2012, and a Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholar in 2011, the same year she won an NSF Grace Hopper Celebration Scholarship.

    Max Shen (left) will graduate this June with a B.S. in computer science and a specialization in bioinformatics. He is a research assistant in the group of CSE Prof. Pavel Pevzner, and for the past year has been a content contributor to Pevzner's Rosalind platform for learning bioinformatics and programming through problem-solving. For Rosalind, Shen designs and implements bioinformatics programming assignments onto a live website with randomized input generation and scoring. Rosalind is used in undergraduate bioinformatics courses, and also by students enrolled in Pevzner's massive open online courses on Coursera, including courses on bioinformatics algorithms. In addition to being a research assistant, Shen has also been a TA and tutor in CSE, a software engineering intern at Qualcomm, and a software engineer at Illumina. He was also a research assistant in the UC San Diego School of Medicine's Radiology Imaging Laboratory, thanks to which Shen may be the only computer science student who is also certified to operate a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine.    

    Honorable Mention recipient Antonella Wilby is a graduating senior. She has been active for over two years in the Engineers for Exploration program co-directed by CSE's Kastner. Wilby graduates in June and will start grad school in CSE this fall, having just accepted an invitation to join Shearer in Kastner's research group. She also recently received a National Geographic Young Explorer grant for her work to document the endangered vaquita, a rare species of porpoise found primarily in the Gulf of California.

by Dr. Radut