Friday, December 7, 2007

Two ECE Profs, Two Spin-Outs, Two Product-Award Nominations…Just One Award

Products from two different companies spun out by electrical engineers at UC San Diego are finalists for CONNECT’s 2007 Most Innovative New Product “MIP” Award – in the Communications Technology & Hardware category.

CONNECT is a globally recognized public benefits organization that fosters entrepreneurship in San Diego. The winning product will be announced at a December 14, 2007 award ceremony.

The two UCSD spin-out companies are Mushroom Networks, Inc., founded by Rene Cruz, and Ortiva Wireless founded by Sujit Dey – both of whom are electrical engineers at the Jacobs School.

Mushroom Networks was nominated for its Broadband Bonding Network Appliance and Ortiva Wireless for Ortiva Mobile Content Delivery Network.

Mushroom Networks’ Broadband Bonding Network Appliance provides cost-effective accelerated Internet connectivity to entities within multi-tenant buildings who wish to aggregate multiple Internet access lines for increased performance and reliability. With the Broadband Bonding Network Appliance, up to five DSL, cable modem or T1 services can be combined.

The Ortiva Wireless Mobile Content Delivery Network gives content providers and aggregators an innovative, hosted means of managing and delivering content to mobile subscribers. It delivers smooth video, clear audio, and rich multimedia experience to mobile users under highly variable wireless network conditions. Ortiva’s mobile network operator solutions extend the coverage and expand the availability of rich media content.

Rene Cruz, an electrical engineer from UCSD, founded Mushroom Networks in 2004 with Dr. Cahit Akin. Cruz currently serves as Chief Science Officer. Cruz works in the area of performance analysis of communication networks and has developed traffic and service models for communication networks that have been widely adopted within the research community. He is an internationally recognized expert in the area of Quality of Service (QoS) guarantees in packet switched networks, and was elected to be a Fellow of the IEEE on the basis of these accomplishments.

Sujit Dey, an electrical engineer from UCSD, founded Ortiva Wireless in 2004 based on technologies developed at the Jacobs School. Dey heads the Mobile Systems Design and Test Laboratory within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Jacobs School. He has twenty years of experience in research, technology, and product development in wireless networks, wireless multimedia, systems, circuits, and design tools. He currently serves as the Chief Technologist for Ortiva Wireless.

In 2004, Dey won a grant of $50,000 from the Jacobs School's von Liebig Center for Entrepreneurism and Technology Advancement to build a first proof-of-concept for software that dynamically shapes data in applications as a function of network and device conditions and constraints.

Rene Cruz received commercialization advisory services and incubation space from the von Liebig Center.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Electrical Engineering Professor Pam Cosman Elected an IEEE Fellow

Electrical engineering professor Pam Cosman was recently elected an IEEE Fellow for for contributions to image and video compression and wireless communications.

Here are a couple of in-progress video interviews with Professor Cosman.

Watch a 4 minute video of Pam Cosman talking about her award, her research, where she sees electrical engineering going in the future and her advice for people thinking about studying engineering.

Here is a 5 minute video of Professor Cosman talking about some of her experiences when she was an electrical engineering student.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

3D Reconstruction: UCSD's Latest Contribution

Augmented reality walkthroughs of a building or a city, online alignment of a camera network and 3D navigation through a collection of photographs are just a few of the potential applications of an algorithm created in the computer science department at UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering.
For this work, UCSD computer scientists earned was one of three honorable mentions for the David Marr prize which is the best paper award at the world’s premier computer vision conferences, ICCV, the International Conference on Computer Vision which took place last month in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“The algorithm is very much practical. We have performed real-life 3D reconstructions. In fact, the significance of the paper lies in our approaches for designing a theoretically correct algorithm that also works well in practice,” explained Manmohan Chandraker, the first author on the award-winning ICCV paper and a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering.

A longer story on this research is still in the works. Check out this low-fidelity video that gives a taste of the research.
If you have trouble with the streaming file above, you can check out the video on You Tube.

Monday, November 19, 2007

From Voracious Savants to Media Stars

UCSD freshmen and twins Aaron (far left) and David Swartz (right), along with
Andrew Smith (front middle) and David Wong (back center), took top honors in the
Qualcomm Innovator Challenge for BookPal. Image credit: Nelvin Cepeda Union-Tribune

The four UCSD undergrads who won the QUALCOMM Innovator Challenge with their BookPal design were featured last week in a Today's Local News story by Triveni Sheshadri.

The UCSD Guardian ran a story as well. (You need to scroll down the page to get to it.)

Friday, November 16, 2007

UCSD takes 2nd and 5th in ACM SoCal Programming Contest

UC San Diego computer science students took 2nd and 5th at last weekend's ACM Southern California Regional Programming Contest.

The UCSD computer scientists made up 4 of the 63 teams and faced off against teams from schools like CalTech, Harvey Mudd, USC, UCLA, UCSB, UNLV, and UCI.

“We did extremely well. We placed second and fifth. UCSD was the only school to have two teams place in the top five,” said Michael Taylor, the UCSD computer science professor who served as the 2007 ACM Programming Team Faculty Coordinator.

A team from Caltech took first place. The results are available here and a whole bunch of pictures are posted here.

UCSD’s team “Canada” took second place.
Members below:
Aaron Barany (Aaron created the "underwater statue" image about half way down the page)
Timothy Bollman
Keliang Zhao

UCSD’s team “Paper” took fifth place.
Members below:
Andrew Chain
Eli Friedman
Kei Shun Ma

The other two UCSD teams:
Iman Sadeghi
Taurin Tan-atichat
James Whiteside

Erik Buchanan
Rene Claus
Elliott Slaughter

Professor Taylor thanks this year's student coaches: Michael Vrable, William Matthews, Nakul Verma, and Md. Kamruzzaman as well as UCSD’s sponsor, Mike Dini of the Dini Group.

Here is a fun link from Professor Taylor’s Web site. It’s a self-maintaining directory of people named Michael Taylor.

UCSD Entrepreneurship Conference Sat Nov 17

Here is info on VentureForth's 5th Annual Entrepreneurship Conference. It is tomorrow at UCSD from 9 AM to 4 PM. All the info is below and also here.

When and Where? Saturday, November 17, 2007 9 AM to 4 PM at UCSD Warren College, CALIT2 (Main Auditorium, Atkinson Hall)

The conference, along with breakfast and lunch, is provided free of charge.

For more information visit

What you'll get:

Learn how entrepreneurs take innovations to market.
Listen to senior executives, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs from various industries as they come together to share and discuss their insights on the hottest trends and opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Keynote speakers include:
* Blake Ross, Co-Founder of FireFox & Parakey, recently acquired by Facebook

Three Topic Panels and 1 Hands-on Workshop:
* Engineering Industry Panel
* Web 2.0 Industry Panel
* Intellectual Property/Financing Your Venture Panel
* Market Research Workshop
Also, meet Founders, CEO's, and key executives from:
* Intuit
* Blackbird Venture
* Trusonic
* Ortiva Wireless
* Netsift
* iChanneX Corporation

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tau Beta "Pie" Honored

With pie in their hair and pi in their name, a UC San Diego honor society took home the “most outstanding chapter” title for 2006-2007.

Flip through the 133 page record of the 2006-2007 activities of UCSD’s engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi, and you’ll see why.

Flip to event 24 to get to the pie-toss fundraiser – part of last year’s E-Games during Engineer’s Week at UCSD.

Tau Beta Pie Toss Special problems:
“More thought should have been given to the cleanup since whipped cream is oily and did not come off very well,” the students wrote in their annual report.

Overall Results:
“People were excited to get pie-d and other students liked the idea of throwing pies at other people.”

Tau Beta Pi has a lot more going on than pie.

Honor society members taught engineering and science fundamentals to 75 fifth grades at Spreckels elementary school last year and tutored extensively within UCSD.

The current tutoring schedule is available here.

The pie-throwing engineers also cleaned up local beaches, cooked a full Thanksgiving dinner for a local family in need, helped with trail restoration, walked in MS Walk 2007, helped run the Sally Ride TOYchallenge and participated in the Sally Ride Festival, which is an event that exposes 5th to 8th grade girls to opportunities for careers in science and engineering.

Education is not just about crunching numbers and potato chips in the library all by yourself. This honor society gets that. UCSD’s Tau Beta Pi chapter brings students together and encourages interactions with engineering professors and with other students.
Sometimes professional development is the goal of the events. Sometimes the goal is fun.

“We were selected not only because we hold many events throughout the year but also because of the quality of our events,” said Nadia Cheng, the 2006-2007 Tau Beta Pi president. Cheng graduated from UCSD in June with a degree in aerospace engineering and has started a Masters Degree program in mechanical engineering at MIT. She will be working on a robotic slug that can change shape and move through small holes.

Alex Lee (‘08 Bioengineering) served as last year’s tutoring coordinator and Matthew “Max” Gianas (‘07 Mechanical Engineering) was the outreach coordinator.

Tau Beta Pi is open to the top eighth of juniors and top fifth of seniors at the Jacobs School. To be initiated, you need to put in 15 hours of work for the honor society. Members are encouraged to continue participating in activities long after the minimum service requirement is met.

Madeline Chiu – (‘08 Bioengineering) – is the current president of UCSD’s Tau Beta Pi chapter.

“I think our department mixers are really great. They are open to any student and you get to interact with professors and other students in a relaxed environment,” said Chiu.

“We’re here for all Jacobs School students. Don’t be a stranger!” Chiu said.
Check out the 133-page annual report here.

Nov 15 Update: The UCSD student paper, The Guardian ran a story on this award. You can read the Guardian story here.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Rock Concert Raises Money for Fire Victims

Serge Belongie, a UCSD Jacobs School computer scientist (pictured above), and his rock band, SO3, held a benefit concert for fire evacuees at the 710 Beach Club in Pacific Beach.
His story (below) and other stories of how the UCSD community pitched in to help out during the recent wildfires was told by Ioana Patringenaru in her This Week @ UCSD Story.
Belongie told This Week @ UCSD that the performance made his band take a fresh look at some of their lyrics. “Look to the east and tell me what you see, that rising sun ain’t what it used to be,” one of their songs goes. While they rehearsed that song, they looked up and saw that the sun had turned into a bright-red disk, just like during the 2003 Cedar Fires. “There was something apocalyptic about that,” Belongie said.

The concert, which included another UCSD band --Audition Lab -- raised $165. Intuit, the employer of SO3 guitarist and UCSD alumnus Mike Artamonov, matched it, increasing the total amount raised to $330. SO3 and Audition Lab are now planning a benefit concert Nov. 10 in New York. Audtion Lab features UCSD computer science and electrical engineering graduate students Carolina Galleguillos, Luke Barrington and Antoni Chan, and two New York bands.
“There’s just so much support from New York, they’re really aware of what’s going on,” Belongie said.

Earlier in the week, he had taken in Artamonov, SO3’s guitarist, who had to evacuate his Rancho Bernardo home. Belongie himself had to leave his Sorrento Valley home for a few hours.
“It could have been us that lost our house,” he said. “It’s that simple. That’s the closest it’s ever been for us.”
SO3 and Audition Lab played a show on the UCSD campus at the end of the Spring 2007 quarter. You can read the stories about the show here and here.

Why Adam Came to Grad School

Adam Feist made rubber one summer in Lincoln, Nebraska and this experience led him to a PhD in bioengineering at UCSD. Along the way he won the 2007 Woolley Leadership Award. Click on the image below and listen to his story.

I found Adam's story especially interesting because it involves the Goodyear rubber plant in Lincoln, Nebraska. Like Adam, I also went to the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. A woman who I did several calculus group projects with at UNL worked full time at the rubber plant Adam worked at. She had burns all over her arms and hands to show for it...and such a great attitude about life's challenges. In fact, the named our calculus group "Positive Attitudes."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

hitting the radio waves

The next laptop you buy might be souped up with some gadgets inspired by top secret satellite systems. Engineers from UC San Diego are shrinking down the "phased array" chips that for years have been used on ships and airplanes to detect incoming ships, planes and missiles.

This is yet another transfer of military technology to the commercial world. Intel is funding a project here at UCSD to develop laptop gadgets capable of blazing fast data transfer over radio waves.

Check out the new press release from UC San Diego here. There is very little written in the popular media about phased array chips, but you can get a start at Wikipedia.

The UCSD student newspaper, The Guardian, ran a story on this research.

"According to Gabriel Rebeiz, the UCSD electrical engineering professor who proposed and oversaw the project, the chip breaks many world records in its intricacy and compact size. 'No one has ever been able to use silicon … to put 16 channels at this frequency range, with excellent amplitude and phase balance between the channels, and with phase control for each channel,' Rebeiz said in an e-mail. 'No one. Not even Raytheon, Boeing or Lockheed. No one. This is a first in every aspect.'

You can read the full UCSD Guardian story here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Metastasis Mystery Unravelling at UC San Diego

The diagrams above are networks of proteins that are involved in the spread of breast cancer.
This image is from a new paper from a UC San Diego bioengineering professor (Trey Ideker) that provides new insights into which patients with breast cancer need chemotherapy and which patients may not need this aggressive therapy.
Technology Review has a great description of this research project, written by journalist Katherine Bourzac.
This is how the Technology Review story starts:
Using Molecular Pathways to Assess Cancer Patients

The first complete map of protein interactions in human cells could lead to
better treatment for breast cancer.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have created a map of all known protein networks in human cells and shown that it can be used to better assess whether a patient's breast cancer will spread. Their work, though in its early stages, could lead to better diagnostic tests that spare patients toxic treatments, such as chemotherapy, if they are unnecessary. The researchers also expect that their approach will be widely applicable to other diseases, including other cancers and diabetes. Read more:

More info:
Read the press release from the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering.
Read the paper abstract and introduction at Molecular Systems Biology (MBS)
Check out the Ideker lab

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Context is Next

Looking at the photo above, you see a person on a tennis court, wielding a tennis racket and chasing a...lemon. Right?

Wrong. You don’t think it’s a lemon. You know it's a tennis ball.

A computer might not be so perceptive. A computer with the latest image labeling algorithms would have no problem making the following list of objects for the photo above: person, tennis racket, tennis court, lemon.

The only lemon I can imagine on this tennis court is in the water bottle of the line judge.

Computer scientists at UC San Diego and UCLA are looking to give automated image labeling systems a little more common sense. And that common sense comes in the form of context. And they are squeezing some of that common sense out of a little-known widget from Google Labs called Google Sets.

“We think our paper is the first to bring external semantic context to the problem of object recognition,” said computer science professor Serge Belongie from UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering.

Belongie and his students (including Carolina Galleguillos -- the lead singer for the band Audition Lab) are presenting their "lemon blaster" this week at ICCV 2007 – the 11th IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision in Rio de Janeiro. The computer scientists show that the Google Sets can be used to provide external contextual information to automated object identifiers. The context is added in a post-processing step that comes after the image is split up into parts and labeled by a computer.

A full press release will be available here, on the Jacobs School Web site.

A copy of the paper is available here

Check out the write up on the Wired Science blog

Monday, October 15, 2007

Qualcomm Innovator Challenge

The Voracious Savants: (L-R) David Wong, David Swartz, Andrew Smith, Aaron Swartz
photo credit: Chris Morrow

The biggest challenge for one of the four winners of last weekend's QUALCOMM Innovator Challenge came in a surprising moment: AFTER his team had won first prize and $5,000.

David Wong (far left) had to convince his parents to hand over his social security number so he could fill out the necessary tax-related paperwork to get his check. In the end, after a lot of convincing by the project manager at UCSD, the parents decided it was okay to share the sensitive information.

The first prize winners called themselves the Voracious Savants. They envisioned a portable device that lets you watch TV while you do your homework won first prize and $5,000 last night at the QUALCOMM Innovator Challenge. With BookPal you can also take digital notes, page through hundreds of pounds of text books and cruise the Internet. Turn BookPal on its side and you can start typing as if it were a laptop.

The Voracious Savants (majors: mechanical engineering (2), electrical engineering and undeclared) – was one of 17 teams that presented their designs for how you could use QUALCOMM’s new, ultra powerful Snapdragon platform. Three of the four winners were high school friends from Carlsbad.

The event was organized by the Jacobs School’s Corporate Affiliates Program and QUALCOMM.

Second prize and $3,000 went to another all-freshman team: Athena. The four bioengineering majors envisioned a portable electronic device with a screen that rolls up and fits in your pocket when you’re not using it. You unroll it when you want to watch Internet videos or do anything else you can do with today’s PDAs.

Athena had a
sweet video in their presentation. I think you need to be a member of facebook to see they about to roll-out (literally) their organic light emitting diode screen.

Team Athena rolls out its design concept. photo credit: Chris Morrow

Third prize and $2,000 went to the five seniors (four engineering majors and one Cog Sci major) who make up team Greek Fire. They designed “MediBoard.” This digital clipboard is supposed to help doctors and other health care professionals work together better – both within the same hospital and across the world. MediBoard will also help doctors share their medical expertise and provide better support to doctors working in areas with little or no medical infrastructure.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Which came first, the chicken genome or the egg genome?

Looks kinda like a chicken, right?

I thought so too. This is genomic duplication data from figure 2 from a Nature Genetics paper published online today.

The title of the press release is: "Which came first, the chicken genome or the egg genome?"

But the paper is really about a different "which came first" question facing scientists? and one that -- if answered fully -- will help to explain exactly how we modern humans came to be. And it will give us a whole lot of new insights on genomic disease as well. The human genome is full of duplicated chunks of DNA that have played important roles in evolution, and which are involved in disease. The new research provides tons of new data on which of the copies of thousands of DNA segmental duplications in the human genome are the originals and which are the copies.

“Identifying the original duplications is a prerequisite to understanding what makes the human genome unstable,” said Pavel Pevzner a UCSD computer science professor who modified an algorithmic genome assembly technique in order to deconstruct the mosaics of repeated stretches of DNA and identify the original sequences. “Maybe there is something special about the originals, some clue or insight into what causes this colonization of the human genome,” said Pevzner.

You can read the press release here. If you're a journalist and would like a PDF of the paper, send me an email at dbkane AT ucsd DOT edu

Below if the full figure 2 from the paper: This colorful image (figure 2 in the paper) illustrates the process of ancestral-state determination for one 750-kb duplication block on human chromosome 2p11. In this example, 15 of 16 ancestral loci were accurately predicted by the computational method.

Do you see the chicken? What shapes do you see?

Login for a greater good

When you want to post a comment to a blog or send an email from a relatively new email account, you have to type in a series of distorted letters and numbers (a CAPTCHA) to prove you're a person and not a computer looking to add comment spam to a blog.

What if – instead of wasting your time and energy on typing ‘SGO9DXG’ you could label an image that will help someone who is visually impaired go shopping?

That’s exactly what computer scientists from UC San Diego led by computer science professor Serge Belongie are working on. They are presenting this work at a computer vision conference in October in Rio (
ICCV 2007).
The image describes one of the many useful tasks that could be done by people who are proving that they are live humans and not computers trying to put spam comments on a blog. These kinds of labeling tasks are time consuming but important for Belongie's Grozi project -- which is an effort to create a grocery shopping assistant for the visually impaired (2006 press release).

You can download the PDF of the paper here.

Here is the press release.

Parlez-vour francais? Read the story in on the French tech site: L'Atelier

This work is related the work from Luis von Ahn that has been described by the BBC, TechCrunch and others.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Google for Music"

When engineers put the words "indie" and "Backstreet Boys" in the same sentence in an academic paper, you got to take notice.

"For example, a pre-teen girl might consider a Backstreet Boys song to be ‘touching and powerful’ whereas a dj at an indie radio station may consider it ‘abrasive and pathetic’."

-from Identifying Words that are Musically Meaningful, by David Torres, Doug Turnbull, Luke Barrington and Gert Lanckriet from UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering.

The UC San Diego electrical engineers and computer scientists used the Backstreet Boys to highlight the subjective nature of music. This subjectivity makes it tricky to teach a computer to label songs with words. Should the computer label a Backstreet Boys song as if it were a pre-teen girl? or a dj at an indie radio station? If you want to find out, check out the paper. It is one of three papers the UCSD group is presenting at a music information retrieval conference (ACM ISMIR) this week in Vienna.

Beyond the Backstreet Boys, the researchers are working on a music search engine that lets you type in words and get acutal songs in return. One of the main things they are reporting at the conference in Vienna is that their online game (it's called Listen Game) is good for collecting data that they need to train their computer system to automatically label songs (with no input from humans, except for the initial training.) Read the full press release here.

They are now working on new versions of the games. The original version, Listen Game, works well, but, as the authors told me, "it was made my a bunch of engineers." (Read: it looks like an old-school video game and it doesn't exactly measure up to today's coolest online games.)

You can check out the old version of Listen Game

If you want to get an email (no spam, I promise) when the new version of the game comes out, send an email to

Papers presented at ISMIR 2007:
A Game-Based Approach for Collecting Semantic Annotations of Music

Identifying Words that are Musically Meaningful

A Supervised Approach for Detecting Boundaries in Music using Difference Features and Boosting

Friday, September 21, 2007

UCSD at TechCrunch

App2You, a UCSD startup that spun out of the computer science department landed on the TechCrunch 40 list this week. I'm not suprised. Their Web 2.0 app is super cool. It lets you build a database driven Web site without doing any coding. I'm especially fond of this idea since I actually tried to learn all the client-server and Web coding necesseary to do this kind of thing -- back in 2001 -- right before the first Internet bubble burst. Anywhow, I wrote about App2You for the alumni magazine for UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering. I will probably put up a story on the Jacobs site about them being named to the TechCrunch list...but you heard it here first!
By the way, if you check out the app2you site, the two guys who are on the front cover are actually two of the computer science students who helped UCSD computer science professor Yannis Papakonstantinou develop the core technology behind this company.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Computer Graphics Research featured in Science

Henrik Wann Jensen, a computer science professor at UC San In the news section of the 17 August, 2007 issue of the journal Science.
If you have access to the content behind the Science wall, you can read the story here.

For visual-effects creators, rendering objects like the mist-emitting Pensieve in Harry Potter is no mean feat. Even creating a realistic glass of milk can take computer artists hours of tedious work. But a new image-generating technique may accurately replicate many substances given only the type and amount of their ingredients.

"If we know what it's made of, we can say what it looks like," says computer scientist Henrik Jensen of the University of California, San Diego, who outlined the technique last week at a computer-graphics conference in San Diego.

Jensen, who won a 2004 Academy Award for a novel method of rendering skin that was used to create The Lord of the Rings' Gollum, worked with colleagues from the Technical University of Denmark in Lyngby to broaden a 100-year-old model of optical scattering called Lorenz-Mie theory. The team extended it to include irregularly shaped particles like the constituents of milk, seawater, and other light-absorbing substances.

The technique can also be run in reverse to derive a substance's composition from digital photographs. Commercially, this could make it possible to spot spoiled or contaminated food. A Danish company, Danisco, is interested in using it to check the freshness of milk and ice cream.

Wireless Research Featured in Technology Review

The "taking the Why out of Wi-Fi" research (see post below) landed on the front of the Technlogy Review page this week. Check out the story here

Watching Wi-Fi: This schematic illustrates the Wi-Fi access points (in red) and the radios (in black) that monitor traffic in the computer-science building at UCSD. Below: two traffic-monitoring radios on a wall. Credit: University of California, San Diego

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Taking the Why out of Wireless

"People expect WiFi to work, but there is also a general understanding that it’s just kind of flakey,” said Stefan Savage, one of the UCSD computer science professors who led development of an automated, enterprise-scale WiFi troubleshooting system for UCSD’s computer science building. The system is described in a paper presented last week in Kyoto, Japan at ACM SIGCOMM, one of the world’s premier networking conferences.

“If you have a wireless problem in our building, our system automatically analyzes the behavior of your connection – each wireless protocol, each wired network service and the many interactions between them. In the end, we can say ‘it’s because of this that your wireless is slow or has stopped working’ – and we can tell you immediately,” said Savage.

"Our system is the ultimate laboratory for testing new wireless gadgets and new approaches to building wireless systems. We just started looking at WiFi-based Voice-Over-IP (VOIP) phones," Savage said.

You can read more about this here.

Stefan Savage is a UCSD computer science professorand one of the leaders of the UCSD wireless monitoring project.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Digital Dandelions Bloom in Japan

Digital dandelions are blooming at SIGCOMM 2007 in Kyoto, Japan. This paper is about creating random maps of the Internet that capture things like the interconnectivity characteristics of the actual Internet. One of the things they measure is "betweenness." Between you and me, I'm a big fan of "betweenness." You can read the press release or go to the actual SIGCOMM paper.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bandwidth on a Diet

Barath Raghavan, UCSD computer scientist getting his PhD, is looking to the clouds -- the place he hopes to tame the bandwidth buffet with a hefty dose of portion control.

Portion control. It means I'm not supposed to eat that second or third bowl of ice cream.

There is very little portion control on the Internet -- there is nothing to keep you from watching You Tube videos all day. This lack of portion control pops up on the Internet in lots of other ways as well. For example, Barath Raghavan (UCSD computer science PhD student) told me that bandwidth gets gobbled up in cloud-based environments as if it were one big all-you-can-eat bandwidth buffet. Why? Because there is no way to portion control, co-ordinate or otherwise dynamically manage the bandwidth that is used within computing clouds. You can control the bandwidth at any one location, but you can't say, "I want to spread by 50Mb/s of bandwidth across my mirrors, and I want the most bandwidth available where there is the most demand." Well, you CAN say it...but it won't happen.
This might change. Portion control might be coming to the big old bandwidth buffet eventually. I just posted a story about this exact issue on the Jacobs School's news page. Here is the link.
And as a random sidenote, Barath's band played in an all-UCSD-engineering concert last June. You can watch the video here.