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."