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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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  • CSE Sophomores Take VR Skills to Santa Barbara Hackathon

    UC San Diego computer science sophomores Connor Smith, Kristin Agcaoili and Anish Kannan were on hand April 22-24 when UC Santa Barbara hosted the second annual Santa Barbara Hackathon. The campus group SB Hacks hosted the 36-hour marathon coding competition, which was open to college students from around California, including community college students.

    CSE was represented by (pictured l-r) Smith, Agcaoili and Kannan, all members of the Virtual Reality Club at UC San Diego. The team created Chemistry Lab VR, an educational virtual-reality experience that teaches students lab procedure and safety. It could be used in chemistry classrooms to simulate real-life lab procedures to reduce the risks of working with potentially harmful chemicals. This was not the first time that the VR Club team developed a program to improve scientific instruction: at the HackingEDU hackathon in October 2015, Smith, Agcaoili and Kannan successfully coded a Cell VR program to teach cell biology and interact with a virtual human cell. They finished in third place at HackingEDU. The same team of three students also competed in November 2015 at HackSC in Los Angeles, where their application Diver -- to spread awareness about ocean pollution -- was awarded the Best VR/Game Hack of the USC-organized hackathon.

    As Smith told the UC Santa Barbara campus newspaper in an interview, the team traveled from San Diego to make a statement. "There are prizes, but we don't really do it competitively," he said. "We're just trying to do something that has impact beyond this space." The team arrived at UCSB with an HTC Vive system that Smith described as a "new, room-scale virtual reality, where you can actually walk, move and duck, all within the given boundaries."  Vive users are outfitted with a headset, headphones and two handheld controllers, and they interact with a programmable interface that allows "free movement between two lighthouse motion trackers that define a 16-square-foot space." (In 2015, Smith was an HTC Brand Ambassador, which paid him to demonstrate the VR system to fellow students.)

    Smith told the campus newspaper that he couldn't have asked for more support from hackathon organizers. "It's just a really supportive environment," he noted. "There are mentors, there's free food, great energy and just a lot of people working on something really cool. These events output so many cool projects as well, things that maybe people wouldn't have time to do otherwise.

  • Andrew Kahng's Best Paper at CDNLive Silicon Valley and Megatrends at Cadence Distinguished Speakers Series

    For the very first time, CDNLive Silicon Valley ran an academic track during its 2016 meeting, with a UC San Diego professor taking top honors. CDNLive is the Cadence User Conference, which attracts experts as well as users and developers of Cadence technologies and techniques for designing advanced silicon, systems, and systems-on-chip. The April 5-6 event took place in Santa Clara, CA, and drew a standing-room-only audience. According to a conference rapporteur, CSE and ECE Prof. Andrew Kahng "stole the show" with his talk on bridging the gap between academic research and commercial Electronic Design Automation (EDA)."  To noone's surprise, the presentation, "Toward New Synergies Between Academic Research and Commercial EDA",  received the Best Paper award for the Academic track, which included presentations by faculty from six other universities: USC, Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Purdue, Texas A&M, and the University of Calgary.

    On the day after he spoke at CDNLive, Kahng (at right) presented as part of Cadence's internal Distinguished Speakers Series. His talk focused on "PPAC Scaling at 7nm and Below."  PPAC stands for power-performance-area-cost. The industry has talked about PPA for a long time, with the A for area also being a surrogate for cost. But with different process choices, multiple patterning vs. EUV someday and other options, area alone is not the only parameter that feeds into cost. According to a review of Kahng's talk by Cadence's Paul McLellan, the UC San Diego professor sees two megatrends that are driving "all the issues" in this area. The first is the "race to the end of the roadmap", i.e., taking Moore's Law as far as possible on existing or foreseeable knowledge, which is expected to result in volume production of 7nm technology in 2018. The second megatrend involves keeping power under control by adopting more extreme approaches after having "done a lot of the easy stuff in previous process generations" to enable low power for markets ranging from mobile to big data to cloud. Kahng's final call to arms in his Cadence talk was for a massive "moonshot" to predict tool outcomes, find the sweet spot for different tools and flows, and thus design in specific tool and flow knobs to the overall methodology. The end-result: a fully predictive, one-pass flow with optimal tool usage. With modern massively parallel, big-data architectures, argued Kahng, who is a former member of the Cadence Technology Advisory Board, it is not unreasonable to use tens of thousands of machines if it could "get us to the moon" of a non-iterative flow.

  • Adjunct CSE Professor Named Interim Dean of Physical Sciences

    A professor of mathematics at UC San Diego who is also an adjunct professor in Computer Science and Engineering will take over on July 1 as the Interim Dean of Physical Sciences. Professor Jeffrey Remmel, who is currently the Associate Dean of the division, will take over temporarily for the outgoing Dean, Mark Thiemens. The campus has begun a national search for Thiemens' permanent successor, but the university tapped Remmel to serve as Interim Dean until his permanent replacement is appointed.

    Remmel is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Mathematics, and he has been on the UC San Diego faculty since 1974. In addition to CSE, he is also adjunct faculty in the Rady School of Management. His current research interests include combinatorics, logic, and theoretical computer science.  He has published over 300 papers in a variety of fields and has personally mentored and graduated 31 Ph.D. students. Remmel has been Associate Dean of Physical Sciences since 2001, and he chaired the Mathematics department from 1998 to 2002. Remmel is also co-director of the newly-created Center for Advancing Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education (CAMSEE), and serves on the UC Executive Committee for the California State Summer School in Mathematics and Science (COSMOS), for which CSE typically hosts at least one thrust for high-school students each summer on the UC San Diego campus.

    Remmel has worked with faculty from across disciplines to establish new programs and encourage interdisciplinary research and scholarship.  He served on the steering committees to establish the Ph.D. and undergraduate major in Bioinformatics, and spearheaded the effort to create new Ph.D. and M.S. programs in Computational Science, Mathematics and Engineering (CSME).

  • Former M.S. Student Seals $3 Million Deal for Drone Security Venture

    Grant Jordan was a student in the CSE Master's program because he wanted to focus on computer security and its potential, after earning his undergraduate degree in computer science at MIT and testing anti-drone technology at the Air Force Research Lab. While at UC San Diego, he and fellow student Paul Wicks (M.S. '14), both working in the security group of CSE Prof. Stefan Savage, co-founded an IT-security consulting firm called Somerset Recon. Then in 2015, Jordan and Wicks co-created a second, security-related startup: SkySafe. As CEO of SkySafe, Jordan made headlines on April 19 when one of the top venture-capital firms in Silicon Valley, Andreessen Horowitz, agreed to lead a $3 million investment in the fledgling company.

    "I think security is one of the most exciting and diverse areas of computer science," said Jordan in the wake of the announcement. "It cuts across all other research areas and every project is new. What other area lets you work on such diverse subjects as spam, underground economies, Bitcoin, Internet of Things devices, and drones, all in the course of just a few years?"

    In a nutshell, SkySafe has developed technology that will allow institutional users to disable drones flying in areas that are off-limits, or in areas that may be accessible but which are threatened by drones flying dangerously. The technology leverages radio waves to override the instructions from a drone owner's remote control unit, thus taking control of the airborne device.

    In an article posted on LinkedIn April 20, Jordan (at left) noted that there have been no effective tools to control airspace and protect people and places from drone threats. "Our goal is to help drones be a positive change in society by improving safety, management and coordination," said Jordan. "We're building the tools to let facilities properly control and protect their airspace. Our system detects, identifies, tracks and takes action when needed... to secure the area, allowing the safe operation of authorized drones and stopping dangerous ones."

    In an interview with TechCrunch, Jordan also noted that, "Between that security work and [my] drone work, we saw a growing threat in the drone space." He added that SkySafe is initially targeting organizations such as "airports, prisons, stadiums, other event venues, border proection, critical infrastructure."

    Added the SkySafe CEO: "The number of places that have seen incidents in the past year has grown tremendously."

    According to Jordan, being part of Stefan Savage's security research group was an important stepping stone to SkySafe. "Stefan Savage made an incredible impact on my interest in cyber security," he noted. "He's such an incredibly engaging, insightful, and creative thinker. I was incredibly lucky that he took an interest in me and invited me to work on his team; I couldn't have found a more awesome research group."

    SkySafe is currently inviting partnerships or test deployments of the drone security system, and the company has plans to launch SkySafe in the second half of 2016, initially to qualified public-safety customers.

    Visit the SkySafe website.