Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sleep Talking Slashdotted

Yuvraj Agarwal's sleep-talking, energy-saving technology landed on Slashdot yesterday.

USB-Based NIC Torrents While Your PC Sleeps

Posted by kdawson on Monday April 27, @09:47PM
from the talking-in-your-sleep dept.
jangel sends us to for news on a prototype device created by researchers from Microsoft and UC San Diego. It's a USB-based NIC that includes its own ARM processor and flash storage, and can download files or torrent while a host PC is sleeping. As a result, its inventors say, the "Somniloquy" device slashes power usage by up to 50x. The device requires a few tweaks on the host OS side save state before sleeping. The prototype works with a Vista host but the hardware comprising the NIC is based on a Linux stack. Here is the research paper (PDF).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dino-Might? The T. rex question

Computer science professor Pavel Pevzer has been one of the voices in an ongoing scientific debate over T. rex fossils and whether soft issue is really from T. rex.

Last October, Scott LaFee covered the (then) latest dinoMight details for the San Diego Union Tribune. I never did link to that story, so here it is...

Update May 5:
National Geographic quoted Pavel Pevzner in a related story that ran on May 1, 2009.

MapLink - The UC San Diego Google Map Service....Finally

Campus recently launched MapLink 1.0, a modern interactive campus map based on the Google maps technology.

>>I just clicked around a bit, and the satellite view is far better than the map view. Also, some of the road names around the engineering buildings don't seem right...but I'll to do a little more checking.

>>According to the email announcement of MapLink:

"MapLink is a web-based tool that allows you to find not only campus buildings but also relevant services like parking, restaurants, and shuttle stops, for both campus and the Hillcrest Medical Center.

Initially released in beta form in 2007, MapLink 1.0 now includes new features such as driving directions and better search capabilities, plus enhancements to make it more versatile, easier to maintain, and more responsive to users' feedback and questions. Another new feature allows users to link to specific map pages within MapLink, a refinement requested by many users."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sleep Talking Saves Energy

Skyping while your computer sleeps.

IM'ing while your laptop snoozes.

Remote access to a sleeping desktop.

A new energy saving gadget will let you do all of this. The common thread? Your computer is "sleep talking." Really. It's asleep...but it appears awake to the network. And if you suddenly need all your computer's computational strength, the prototype, called Somniloquy (which means "talking in your sleep"), will wake up your computer via the USB bus.

Read the full press release here on sleep talking to save energy.

Or jump to the paper, presented on April 23 at USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI 2009) by UC San Diego computer science Ph.D. student Yuvraj Agarwal.

Yuvraj Agarwal worked on this project when he was an intern at Microsoft Research, Cambridge in the summer of 2007, and continued afterwards at UC San Diego. Steve Hodges, Ranveer Chandra, James Scott, and Victor Bahl from Microsoft Research are Somniloquy co-inventors and authors on the NSDI 2009 paper. Agarwal’s Ph.D. advisor and paper-coauthor is computer science professor Rajesh Gupta from UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering.

Sleep Talking around the web
Fast Company by Ariel Schwartz
Tech Radar UK
EcoGeek picked up the story via TreeHugger via PhysOrg via EurekAlert via UC San Diego via me.
Engadget picked up the story on April 25.
Gizmodo too...via Engadget via PhysOrg via EurekAlert via UC San Diego
A nice story on
Slashdot picked up the story
UPI ran the sleep talking story
the LA Times technology blog linked to the story on the UC San Diego news site

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Swine Flu Blog from Science Magazine

The journalists in the news department of Science Magazine, published by AAAS, are covering the science behind the swine flu well as the breaking news from the story itself.

Check it out here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How Cells Change Gears

It's Friday night and do you know what your transcription network is doing?
I didn't think so. Neither do I. But there are bioengineers here at UC San Diego who know how to figure out what a network of transcription factors is doing at any given time point. They published this work in Nature Genetics.
This is great, because it means you can track the activity of transcription factors and see what parts of the network are active when...and then use that information to try to figure out the role that networks of transcription factors play in important cellular tasks like "changing gears"...switching from proliferation mode to specialization/maturation mode. Figure this out, and you might get your head around a lot of interesting questions...including how some cancers arise, and how tissues and organs form.
My colleague Andrea Siedsma wrote a release this week about a different group of bioengineers who recently published in Nature Biotechnology. Read on: "New Method Developed by UC San Diego Bioengineers Gives Regenerative Medicine a Boost".

Monday, April 20, 2009

DECaF gets Caffeinated UK Style

Katherine Lee, the bioengineering undergrad who served as one of the key organizers of DECaF 2009, the crazy-successful student-run job fair at the Jacobs School of Engineering, is quoted at the very beginning of a news story in the Financial Times (FT) today. The story "Students put more work into getting a job," is by Emma Jacobs.

Remember Katherine? She is one of the narrators of the DECaF 2009 video, which you can watch below:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Music Search Engine in Voice of San Diego

Science and technology journalist David Washburn recently wrote a story about the music search engine invented here at the Jacobs School of Engineering. See the blog post below this one for more info.

The photo (above) of Luke Barrington, Gert Lanckriet, and Damien O'Malley (l to r) that accompanies the Voice of San Diego story is super cool because it makes them look like they are in a band...and in fact, Luke is a musician. If you take the tutorial for their new music discovery Facebook game, the song that you hear is from his band, Audition Laboratory. Photo credit: Sam Hodgson (Voice of San Diego)
The same story was also featured by Channel 6 News.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Solar Collaborative

San Diego, CA, April 15, 2009 -- The University of California, San Diego, in collaboration with UC Davis will use a two-year, $700,000 grant from the California Energy Commission to expand the development and use of solar energy in the state.

quote from the story below:
The Jacobs School of Engineering continues to be a leader in developing
sustainable solutions for society," said Jacobs School Dean Frieder Seible. "The
Solar Energy Collaborative is another example of our commitment to accelerate
the creation and use of renewable energies. The Jacobs School was instrumental
in installing the first set of photovoltaic arrays on campus. As a constant
reminder that our campus is actively engaged in developing green technologies,
we installed a public LED display by the Charles Lee Powell Structural
Engineering Laboratory to make students, faculty, staff, and other passersby
aware of the daily generation and consumption of energy on campus. With
about 1 megawatt of photovoltaic capacity, and 1.4 more megawatts coming online
later this year, the UC San Diego campus currently generates and manages more
photovoltaic energy than any other campus in the UC system."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Music Search Engine Facebook Game Launch

The Facebook game is live! Players have fun learning new music and testing their musical knowledge with other players in real time. The UC San Diego computer scientists and electrical engineers (which hail from UC San Diego's Computer Audition Laboratory) will use the data collected (anonymously) from these games to improve their new breed of music search engine. Read about the project in this music search engine press release, and in this Jacobs School alumni magazine (Pulse) article on the experimental music search engine.

There are several Jacobs School of Engineering band's that could benefit, once their songs are added to the Facebook games.

Computer science Ph.D. candidate Carolina Galleguillos is the vocalist and star of Juna. (Juna is playing a gig this Friday night in San Diego at Beauty Bar. You must be 21 to enter.)

Her Ph.D. faculty advisor, Serge Belongie, is the front man for the band SO3. They have a new album out "Lose the Girl". Get all your SO3 updates here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Earthquake-Safe Buildings

Structural engineers at the Jacobs School are dedicated to figuring out how to build the safest buildings possible...buildings that will both protect the people in and around tham...and buildings that will withstand seismic events so that they can be used afterward.

Out at UC San Diego's Englekirk Structural Engineernig Center, there is always something new happening related to learning how to build earthquake-safe infrastructure. Recently, structural engineering professor Benson Shing was out at the table shaking a masonry structure. Read the story here...and if you haven't already, click on the video above and see what is going on.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Life Sticks: UCSD paper in Science this week

While Benjamin Franklin said “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” a UC San Diego bioengineer has something to add to this list: “the stickiness of life.”

In a “Review” article published this week in the prestigious journal Science, Adam Engler highlighted a recurring theme in all corners of biology: life sticks. Cells need to stick together. No matter what kind of cells they are. Cells within bacteria, fungi, sponges, nematodes and humans, for example, all need to stick together; but they do not use exactly the same proteins to do the sticking together.

According to Adam Engler from UC San Diego, there is something inherent in the nature of the ever-present sticking together task that cause common form and function to emerge.

The new article connects a wide range of seemingly different disciplines, and Engler hopes publishing the study in Science will encourage more scientists to look beyond their specific disciplines and ask and answer bigger questions.

Read the full press release here:

Robert C. Cowen from the Christian Science Monitor covered the story.
Check it out here.

Adam Engler lab Web page:

Science Paper:

“Multiscale Modeling of Form and Function,” by Adam J. Engler from the
University of California, San Diego; Patrick O. Humbert from Peter MacCallum Cancer Center; Bernhard Wehrle-Haller from Centre Medical Universitaire; and Valerie M. Weaver from University of California, San Francisco; appears in the 10 April 2009 issue of the journal Science, published by AAAS.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Taaz Technology Updates

Thanks to UC San Diego alumnus turned entrepreneur Satya Mallick for sending me a couple of updates on his Jacobs School spin out company, Mallick started the company with computer science professor David Kriegman.

You can watch the original video below (part of our new video portal)

Read about here.

Satya informed me of two recent updates:

1. The virtual makeover technology is now integrated into the Web site. Check it out...and put yourself, or your favorite celebrity, on the cover of InStyle.

2. Now, when you are working on a virtual makeover at, if you find some makeup that you like, you can click "buy it" and immediately purchase the products you have just been trying out online.

Have fun with your online makeovers!