Friday, October 30, 2009

Jacobs School Grad Students Helped San Diego Region Win $154.6 Million in Bonds to Install Solar Panels

Under the guidance of environmental engineering professor Jan Kleissl, a group of Jacobs School graduate students, including Michael Gollner (bottom photo) and Karl Olney (middle photo) helped schools and other San Diego public institutions win more than $154 M in bonds for installing rooftop solar. (Prof. Kleissl is in the shades in the top photo with Gollner and Olney.)
The San Diego Union Tribune's Onell Soto covered this story. Reach Soto's story here:
The first sentence of the Union Tribune story:
San Diego County has snagged 20 percent of $800 million in federal stimulus-backed financing for government solar projects nationwide, thanks to a team effort by city officials, school leaders, engineers and college students.
Stay tuned for video from the three guys in the photos above.
The video is embedded below, via both YouTube and the Jacobs School video portal.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Luke Barrington in Atlantic Wire's "5 Predictions for the Future of Music"

Carl Frazen included Luke Barrington's research into iTunes Genius (and how the UC San Diego homegrown algorithms can create equally good playlists by just analying audio content and not using any collaborative filtering).

Watch the related video on how the same music-tagging algorithms create at UC San Diego are being used to create a new kind of music search engine.

UC San Diego Ranks 6th in Nation for R&D Dollars

The University of California, San Diego again ranks sixth among top U.S. universities in federal research and development expenditures for fiscal-year 2008, with $491 million in federal R&D money and $842 million in total R&D expenditures. The numbers were announced by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Johns Hopkins University led the survey, followed by UC San Francisco, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Michigan (all campuses combined), UCLA, UC San Diego, Duke University, the University of Washington, the University of Pennsylvania, and Ohio State University. UC Davis and UC Berkeley ranked 16th and 18th, respectively.

UC San Diego’s faculty and alumni have created nearly 200 start-up companies, including many regional biotech companies. According to a recent study of the university’s economic impact, UC San Diego contributes more than $7.2 billion in direct and indirect spending and personal income each year to the California economy, generating more than 39,000 jobs. Read the full press release, written by UC San Diego’s Paul K. Mueller.

The North County Times covered this story, and included a nice graph.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Music Search Engine on the Way

New Music Search Technologies: Video

Electrical engineers at UC San Diego have created a new breed of search engine for music (as well as Facebook games that provide researchers with the information needed to improve the new search engine). This video highlights the capabilities of the new music search engine (, which will be available for beta testing next week. Register for the music search engine beta test at:

Watch the same video on YouTube:

Help Luke Barrington out: Play his music discovery games on Facebook:

If you only have 15 seconds, watch the video below:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Digital Signs for Emergencies, Environmental Monitoring and Much More

Researchers from the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) are installing a number of LED digital signs in classrooms throughout UC San Diego, with the eventual goal of outfitting the entire campus with the notification system. Not only are the scrolling signs capable of broadcasting tailor-made information specific to certain classrooms via embedded computers, they will eventually alert faculty, staff and students during emergency situations. The sensor-equipped signs will also collect data pertaining to the classroom environment, such as light, temperature, humidity, particle concentration, and even carbon dioxide levels.

The digital signs project is a partnership between Calit2's Circuits Lab, the Jacobs School of Engineering's Teams in Engineering Service (TIES) program and UCSD's DEMROES group, or Decision Making Using Real-Time Observations for Environmental Sustainability, which operates a sophisticated network of wireless meteorological sensors to collect a variety of atmospheric data.

Calit2's Tiffany Fox wrote this article. Read the full story here.

Photo caption (above): A student listens to a lecture in Center Hall, where four of the LED digital signs have been installed. The signs are capable of broadcasting tailor-made information specific to certain classrooms and will eventually alert faculty, staff and students during emergency situations.

TV Refresh Rate Research

"Now, a recent study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) claims that 240Hz televisions could indeed be a smarter buy than previously thought."

This is a quote from a recent news story in the Korea Times entitled "Samsung, LG Debate on TV Refresh Rate," by Kim Yoo-chul. The story describes research that Electrical engineering professor Truong Nguyen and electrical engineering graduate student Stanley Chan have submitted to the IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing ICASSP 2010.

Read the full Korea Times story here.

Programming Contest Preliminaries

On October 17, 2009, UCSD students competed head-to-head during the Fall 2009 UCSD Programming Contest, pumping out code over the course of five hours.

Top honors and $1000 go to first-year CSE Graduate Student Do-Kyum Kim for solving 4 problems with a combined time of 616 minutes. Sophomore David Michon placed second, also solving 4 problems. Haoxi Fang, Jason Obenberger and Eric Levine rounded out the top 5.

The following are the top finishers:

>> 1 Do-Kyum Kim
>> 2 Dave Michon
>> 3 Haoxi Fang
>> 4 Jason Obenberger
>> 5 Eric Levine
>> 6 James Lintern
>> 7 Eric Slaughter
>> 8 Jeffrey Lu
>> 9 Van Lam
>> 10 Justin Huang
>> 11 Brian McMahon
>> 12 Cassidy Queen
>> 13 Timothy Martin
>> 14 Christopher Rebert
>> 15 David Lluncor
>> 16 Allan Souza
>> 17 Avinash Ananthakrishnan
>> 18 Scott Baar
>> 19 Norberto Salazar
>> 20 Virginia Tice

Thanks go to Mike Dini and The Dini Group for providing the prizes, pizza and soda. Michael Vrable and Michael Taylor ran the contest, with help from undergraduate Jesse Weinstein. UCSD Programming Team Captain Elliott Slaughter and UCSD Programming Team Setup Czar Justin Huang created the score-boarding infrastructure.

The top students will go on to compete in the ACM Southern California
on November 7.

More details, and photos, are available at

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cyberlink October 2009

Stay in touch with CI-related news & events with UC San Diego CyberLink!

UC San Diego CyberLink is a monthly digest of news and events related to cyberinfrastructure from San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), Jacobs School of Engineering, UC San Diego Libraries, Administrative Computing & Telecommunications (ACT) and Center for Research in Biological Structures (CRBS). If you have news to share about cyberinfrastructure-related research, applications or activities on the UC San Diego campus, please send them to
Neuroscience Information Framework Releases Version 2.0
At the 39th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), a national collaboration led by UC San Diego – the Neuroscience Information Framework (NIF) – unveiled its second iteration as a resource to improve information retrieval in the neurosciences. Apart from a redesigned site, NIF 2.0 makes Framework resources available as open access data, and it marks the start of a transition for SfN's Neuroscience Database Gateway to the NIF platform.

Waitt Family Foundation Project Develops Whole Brain Catalog
Researchers in UCSD's Center for Research in Biological Systems (CRBS) will demo a beta version of this cyberinfrastructure-connected resource at Neuroscience 2009 starting Oct. 18 in Chicago. In time, the resource “may constitute the largest single gateway to brain science research data,” says Ted Waitt, whose Waitt Family Foundation is funding the effort. The Catalog™ will integrate diverse brain data sets, at many different scales, and give researchers everywhere access to the data via 3D, high-resolution visualization tools.

Encrypted Wireless Required Starting November 9
ACT is nearing completion of a broad upgrade to the campus wireless networking services. The final phase involves the use of the encrypted wireless network, UCSD-PROTECTED. All faculty, staff, and students who use WiFi on campus and need access to restricted UCSD resources are required to configure their computers to use UCSD-PROTECTED by Nov. 9. The old "UCSD" unencrypted wireless network, which doesn't protect communications, is expected to be turned off on that date. Visitors can use the UCSD-GUEST network, which provides general Internet access (but no access to restricted campus resources). The ACT Help Desk will offer support sessions on different areas of the campus the week of November 2.

Online 'Museum' Compares Humans with Our Closest Evolutionary Relatives
The cyberinfrastructure experts at SDSC and Calit2 have helped create an online Museum of Comparative Anthropogeny. It's the online presence of a joint UC San Diego and Salk Institute Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA), linking researchers and the public to a web-based collection of comparisons between humans and our closest evolutionary relatives, including chimps and gorillas.

National LambdaRail Turns Six and Celebrates Calit2, Other Early Adopters
To celebrate the sixth anniversary of its backbone going operational, NLR published an online report about early adopters, including Calit2 and its partner in the OptIPuter project, EVL at the University of Illinois at Chicago. EVL and Calit2 leased a dedicated 10 Gbps circuit between San Diego and Chicago in September 2004, and it was extended to NASA Goddard and J. Craig Venter Institute in Maryland, and last year another switch was installed by CENIC/NLR to hook up HP Labs to the EVL/Calit2 “CAVEwave” at 10 Gbps for joint research.

SDSC Part of $15 Million Project to Create 'FutureGrid' Network
SDSC is part of a team chosen by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to build and run an experimental high-performance grid test-bed, allowing researchers to collaboratively develop and test new approaches to parallel, grid and cloud computing.

HPWREN Enhances Situational Awareness for First Responders
Emergency responders are typically hampered by a lack of real-time situational awareness when making critical decisions in response to rapidly changing conditions and life-threatening situations. In order to provide enhanced situational awareness to responders on the ground, MIT Lincoln Laboratory -- with the assistance of the High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN) -- has installed a camera system with real-time video downlink capability on a Cal Fire emergency-response aircraft.

New Saudi University Opens Its Doors -- and Stunning Visualization Facilities
Half a dozen advanced visualization facilities prototyped at UCSD by Calit2 before being built in Saudi Arabia were on display when the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) officially opened its doors on Sept. 23. Highlights included the CORNEA VR environment (with the world's highest resolution “CAVE” environment), which also sports the most advanced spatial/surround sound system in the world.

Calit2 Researchers Model Ancient Maya City in Google SketchUp
Archaeologists affiliated with Calit2's Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3) used an open-source Google download to create detailed, 3D visualizations of the Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá. The ultimate goal of the project: a Web-based interactive research environment, or “virtual city,” accessible via cyberinfrastructure from anywhere in the world.

Netflix Turned to Computer Science Professor for Million Dollar Competition
Data mining expert and computer science professor Charles Elkan served as a contest designer, consultant and judge for the Netflix Prize. Elkan runs his own annual data mining contest.

Fast and Accurate Analog-to-Digital Converters
Analog-to-digital pioneer and electrical engineering professor Ian Galton is the featured innovator in the September 2009 newsletter from the UC San Diego Technology Transfer Office.

Cyberinfrastructure Is Part of $105 Million NSF Earthquake Engineering Center
Jacob s School structural engineers are part of a $105 million grant from the National Science Foundation to create a headquarters —including extensive cyberinfrastructure—for the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES).

MARK YOUR CALENDAR…… for these upcoming cyberinfrastructure-connected events and training sessions. All events will be held at UC San Diego (except where noted otherwise).

October 14, 2009 – 1:00-3:00pm – Weaver Center, Institute of the Americas, UC San Diego
3rd Annual SysAdmin Expo – Part One UCSD systems administrators and department network managers are encouraged to attend the annual SysAdmin Expo. Part One offers the opportunity to meet the people who provide many of the technical services on campus, including: ACMS and ACT Help Desks; Campus Web Office; Hostmaster; SDSC; Security; and UCSD Network. See below for more on Part Two, scheduled for Nov. 18.

October 22, 2009 – 5-7pm – SDSC Auditorium, San Diego Supercomputer Center
Newton's Laws of Gravity: From the Celestial to the Terrestrial
The basic ideas worked out by Galileo, Newton and others will be explored and made accessible with a combination of in-class experiments, “thought experiments” realized by animations, and selected video clips for our recent but rich history of space exploration.

October 24, 2009 – 9am-Noon – SDSC Auditorium, San Diego Supercomputer Center
Students Modeling A Research Topic
The San Diego-based SMART Team program, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute-supported pre-college science outreach program to introduce high school students to basic concepts in protein structure, will focus during this session on “Using RasMol for Protein Visualization.”

November 6, 2009 – 11am-Noon – Auditorium, Room 1202, CSE Building, UC San Diego Powering Future System Innovations
Intel Labs VP Wen-Hann Wang, who also directs Intel's Circuits and System Research, will talk about the need for “revolutionary” thinking in research on the building blocks of systems. Wang will focus on five key sub-system vectors: security and trust; resiliency; memory hierarchy, I/O, and energy efficiency. This talk is part of the 2009-10 UCSD Center for Networked Systems (CNS) Lecture Series.

November 18, 2009 – 1:00-3:00pm – Weaver Center, Institute of the Americas, UC San Diego 3rd Annual SysAdmin Expo – Part Two
UCSD systems administrators and department network managers are encouraged to attend the annual SysAdmin Expo. Part Two of the SysAdmin Expo (Part One took place on Oct. 14) features an update on ACT activities – a review of the past year and what's in store for the 2009-‘10 academic year.

January 20-21, 2010 – CSE Building, UC San Diego
Center for Networked Systems Winter Research Review
The agenda will include talks by CNS's industry affiliates on current research challenges and concerns, progress reports from UCSD researchers conducting CNS-sponsored projects, a graduate student research poster session, and numerous opportunities for information interactions with CNS faculty, researchers and graduate students. Attendance is limited to industry sponsors and invited guests. For more information, contact Kathy Krane at mailto:kkrane@ucsd.eduor call 858-822-5964.

Jan. 25 - 28, 2010 – Calit2 Auditorium, Atkinson Hall, UC San Diego
8th International Conference on Creating, Connecting & Collaborating through Computing
The C5 conference focuses on ways to transform computer-based human activities for creating and collaborating as a knowledge society emerges from now-pervasive computers, networks and other technologies. Talks will focus on visualization; collaboration and communication; technology-human interaction; virtual worlds; social networks; learning and much more. Paper submission deadline: Oct. 23.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bioengineering Grad Student Wins Quick Pitch Competition for Entrepreneurs

Bioengineering Ph.D. student and cancer diagnostics pioneer Raj Krishnan won the “Best Pitch” award at the 3rd Annual Tech Coast Angel (TCA) Quick Pitch Competition.

Competition participants had a maximum of 2 minutes and 5 slides to sell their company story to the approximately 300 attendees, including potential investors.

“There were 3 prizes, Best Pitch, Best Content and Best Overall. We won the Best Pitch prize for the best presentation they had seen at the competition,” wrote Krishnan in an email. Krishnan is the founder of Biological Dynamics, an early stage startup with its sights set on the early cancer diagnosis market.

The technology behind Krishnan’s quick pitch may eventually lead to early stage cancer diagnostics through better ways to identify and separate secondary cancer biomarkers directly from blood, such as cell-free circulating high molecular weight DNA. For this research, Krishnan won the top prize at the 2009 Jacobs School Research Expo. Read more about the technology and Krishnan’s winning streak here.

“Winning the competition gives us the opportunity to get our name out there further, and gives us another award as recognition for our capabilities. We hope to use the competition as a way to attract further investment into our company so that we can begin development on our early cancer screening device,” wrote Krishnan.

At the Tech Coast Angels Quick Pitch event, the Best Content award went to ecoATM
which produces eCcycling stations for automated electronics recycling. The Best Overall award went to Radical Therapeutix, which is developing a new heart disease drug.

Facetime with Facebook

UC San Diego students and faculty got some quality “face time” with Facebook last Thursday. At a morning lecture in the Calit2 auditorium, Jeff Rothschild (photo, right), Facebook's vice president of technology, spoke about scaling, or how a growing company addresses technological and organizational challenges. Watch the video of Rothschild at:

Facebook’s Taner Halicioglu (photo, left) also came to campus. Halicioglu earned some of his computer science “street cred” here at the Jacobs School. He graduated from Revelle College in 1996, and joined Facebook as the company’s first outside hire, in 2004.

Below are a few more details from Halicioglu’s talk, as reported in Roxana Popescu’s “@ UCSD” story.

“He [Halicioglu] recalled how he ‘pretty much lived in the data center’ in his first months with the company and summarized some of the company’s core principals with playful alliterations. Simplicity is sublime. Abstraction is awesome. Data is delicious.”

Facebook representatives also participated in a series of technical meetings with UCSD faculty and students, hosted by Amin Vahdat, a professor of computer science and engineering and director of the Center for Networked Systems at the Jacobs School of Engineering.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tijuana River photographs by Founding Dean of Jacobs School on Display at Calit2

Lea Rudee—the founding dean of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering—is an accomplished photographer whose work Tijuana River is part of a seven-artist show focused on hot-button issues tied to the border dividing San Diego and Tijuana.

Tijuana River documents the river’s meandering path across the border and its many roles as drainage creek, city water supply, border crossing obstacle, and preserved salt marsh. “In less than 100 miles, the Tijuana River has many identities,” said Rudee in an interview with Calit2’s Doug Ramsey. (Read the full Calit2 press release here.)

Tijuana/San Diego: Cooperation and Confrontation at the Interface” opens officially on Oct. 15 in the gallery@calit2 on the first floor of Atkinson Hall on the University of California, San Diego campus. The gallery is part of the UC San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).

Rudee noted that on the U.S. side, most of the water becomes part of San Diego’s water supply. “On the Mexican side, some of the water serves Tijuana, but occasional floods produce damage to downstream development, causing resentment by the local inhabitants.” It took Rudee over four years to document on film every stretch of the Tijuana River.

Rudee is a professor emeritus in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and former trustee and president of San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Arts.

Tijuana River is part of the Calit2 exhibition “Tijuana/San Diego: Cooperation and Confrontation at the Interface” that deals head-on with politics, immigration, the environment and other hot-button issues - through the lens and sensibility of artists working in multiple media.
Exhibition Hours
October 5-November 25, 2009 Monday-Friday, 11am-5pm* gallery @ calit2 Atkinson Hall University of California, San Diego 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093 Map & Directions: * [Note: Closed Nov. 11 in observance of Veterans Day]

Panel Discussion*
October 15, 2009, 4-5pm
Calit2 Theater, Atkinson Hall, UC San Diego
Gallery Reception*
October 15, 2009 5-7pm
Lobby and Gallery, Atkinson Hall, UC San Diego

* Note: Panel discussion and gallery reception open to the public; RSVP requested to Trish Stone, Gallery Coordinator, or (858) 336-6456 .

Friday, October 9, 2009

Stem Cell Techniques Advance Liver Research

UC San Diego researchers are using stem cell technologies in order to do the basic research necessary to develop treatments for liver fibrosis—which according to information on PubMed is “the excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins including collagen that occurs in most types of chronic liver diseases.”

Put another way, liver fibrosis is the formation of scar tissue in response to liver damage. Hepatic stellate cells--the major cell type involved in liver fibrosis--are responsible for secreting collagen that produces a fibrous scar, which can lead to cirrhosis.

The high-throughput cellular array technology developed by UCSD researchers systematically assesses and probes the complex relationships between hepatic stellate cells and components of their microenvironment. The scientists found that certain proteins are critical in regulating activation of hepatic stellate cells and that the proteins influence one another’s actions on the cells. The findings were published in a paper entitled “Investigating the role of the extracellular environment in modulating hepatic stellate cell biology with array combinatorial microenvironments” in the September 2009 issue of Integrative Biology. Authors: David A. Brafman, Samuele de Minicis, Ekihiro Seki, Kevan D. Shah, Dayu Teng, David Brenner , Karl Willert and Shu Chien.
Read more here:

This interdisciplinary research project involved both Dr. Shu Chien, Jacobs School bioengineering professor and Director of the Institute of Engineering Medicine at UCSD; and Dr. David Brenner, Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and the Dean of the UCSD School of Medicine.

Computer Science Alum "Building" Rome in a Day

Computer scientists around the world are working on various projects that involve automated reconstruction of 3-D images from photos pulled off the Web. One of the researchers working in this area is Sameer Agarwal, who earned his computer science PhD here at the Jacobs School of Engineering. Agarwal is now Acting Assistant Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington.

National Geographic recently profiled Agarwal's "building-Rome-in-a-day" work. Read the story at

Sameer Agarwal earned his PhD in the Computer Vision Laboratory at UC San Diego, where Serge Belongie was his advisor. At UCSD, Agarwal worked on a similar project--from pictures to three dimensions--with Department of Computer Science and Engineering PhD student Manmohan Chandrakar (who just started a post-doc at UC Berkeley with Prof. Ravi Ramamoorthi). Excerpt from that 2008 story below:

Your pictures of the Grand Canyon, Times Square or other destinations may be pretty good, but wouldn’t it be nice to show them off in three dimensions? An award-winning 3D reconstruction algorithm designed by a team of computer science researchers from UC San Diego brings this dream within the grasp of reality.

This research gets at the heart of “autocalibration,” a well-studied, fundamental problem in computer vision. Autocalibration aims to recover the three dimensional structure of a scene using only its images, acquired from cameras whose internal settings and spatial orientations are unknown.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cybersecurity Expert and Computer Science Professor Stefan Savage Giving Lecture

Inside the Mind of an Internet Criminal: How Economics Impact Cyber Security

Presented by: Stefan Savage, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering University of California, San Diego

Program Overview

When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton famously responded, "Because that's where the money is." Today, the same sentiment is widely applied to the Internet as well. The tremendous growth of on-line commerce has made Internet users, their computers and their data a valuable target for criminal actors. Compounding this raw opportunity, the Internet itself provides a uniquely efficient capability for perpetrating these crimes at scale. Indeed, over the last decade, the ability to easily compromise large numbers of Internet hosts has emerged as the backbone of a vibrant criminal economy encompassing unsolicited bulk-email, denial-of-service extortion, piracy, phishing and identity theft. Both the underlying platform (botnets) and the vertical applications built upon it (e.g., Spam, credit card theft, etc.) are themselves market commodities, bought and sold on the underground, and under constant pressure to innovate. However, in spite of the fact that virtually all on-line crime is economically motivated, the underlying economics are poorly understood and even more poorly quantified. Absent such knowledge, today's computer security efforts are inherently unfocused -- all the more so due to our inability to evaluate improvements to security on any quantitative basis. In this talk, Dr. Savage will survey this landscape and what is known about the criminal ecosystem underlying it, describe the fundamental asymmetries that have emerged between attacker and defender, and suggest a way forward for the security community.

Who Should Attend

Scientists, engineers, physicians, healthcare leaders, venture capitalists, technology and life sciences professionals, services providers, and business leaders.

About the presenter

Stefan Savage is an associate professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Washington and a B.S. in Applied History from Carnegie-Mellon University. Savage's research interests lie at the intersection of operating systems, networking and computer security and he currently serves as director of the Cooperative Center for Internet Epidemiology and Defenses (CCIED), a joint effort between UCSD and the International Computer Science Institute. Savage is a fairly down-to-earth guy and only writes about himself in the third person when asked.

To attend this event » Register Now!


Please contact Bethany Kraynack at 858.964.1312 or

Structural Engineering Professor and von Liebig Center Featured in San Diego Business Journal

Jacobs School of Engineering structural engineering professor Yu Qiao (pictured above), his startup AgileNano and the UCSD William J. von Liebig Center are featured in a recent San Diego Business Journal story by Ned Randolph.

The subject: Agile Nano--the start-up company that crystalized around the nanotechnology based compressible energy absorbing liquid that Qiao and his team developed.

The material absorbs energy on a near molecular scale instead of relying on the mechanical properties of solid materials. One of the first applications the researchers are looking at: military helmets that better protect against brain trauma. Learn more about AgileNano's technology here.

“San Diego is a very unique community,” says Rosibel Ochoa, von Liebig Center executive director. “We all know each other, and everyone contributes. You can leverage a lot of resources for companies to get started and grow.”

Read the full story here: "Startups Connect With Investors on Their Way to Market"

Read a story in the Jacobs School alumni magazine Pulse about professor Yu Qiao's work in energy conservation and clean tech.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Create Critters. Learn Java. (Help Me Identify the Winning Student)

The UC San Diego undergraduate who created the toughest CSE8B Java critter is name-less. Do you know the winner's name? The needs-to-be-named person speaks at 1 min 40 seconds. Leave the person's name in the comments section of this post, or email me at dbkane AT ucsd DOT edu.

Check out the two minute video that tries to capture the energy and excitement exuding from CSE8B, which Beth Simon taught during the 2009 Winter Quarter. Any other comments on the class? Leave comments!

I shot video on the final lecture, when the students held a tournament in which their "critters" battled each other. To create critters, the students had to understand "inheritance" in the computer science/Java sense of the word. Each student extend the critter class in a unique way, and then the various critters battled.

Materials Science Professor Wins International Award

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) professor Marc A. Meyers won the 2009 Rinehart Award, given at the 9th Congress of the DYMAT Association on the Dynamic Mechanical and Physical Behavior of Materials Subjected to Dynamic Loading, held in Brussels, Belgium, from September 7 to 11.

The 2009 award was given to professor Meyers (UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering Materials Science and Engineering) and to Prof. Field (U. Cambridge, UK). Meyers is affiliated with UC San Diego's Materials Science and Engineering program, which is concerned with the structure, properties and applications of materials. This university-wide program aims to provide fundamental knowledge for understanding of materials with the objective of predicting, modifying, and tailoring the properties of materials to yield enhanced material performance.

Meyers was one of the Jacobs School professors recently profiled in an NSF video. Watch the video here. Read the transcript and learn more here.

Three hundred researchers from 29 countries attended the DYMAT congress, which was held at the Royal Military Academy. DYMAT is a European based global association coordinating activities in the domain of dynamic behavior of materials.

The citation in the plaque received by Prof. Meyers reads: For outstanding achievements to the understanding and modeling of the structure/ property and damage behavior of materials subjected to high-strain-rate and shock-wave loading. The award was given at the inaugural session of the meeting, after keynote lectures by Profs. Field and Meyers , by General Major Harry Vindervogel, commander of the Royal Military Academy, and by Dr. Richard Dormeval (CEA-France), president of DYMAT. The DYMAT award, established in 1990, is a global recognition, and past recipients are from the USA (4), Russia (1), Japan (1), Germany (1), and China (1).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Undergrad Research Portal Launched

UC San Diego just launched an undergraduate research portal which will serve as the entry point for all students in all disciplines who wish to explore the rewards and challenges of participating in undergraduate research. Check out the quick reference guide below, and get started!

Friday, October 2, 2009

From Concrete Canoe to Capitol Intern: Mark Galvan Makes Waves

Mark Galvan (center) stands with Congresswoman Susan Davis
(CA-53) and the Capitol’s chief administrative officer, Dan Beard

Jacobs School undergraduate Mark Galvan builds concrete canoes, instals solar panels, ensures LEED certification for UCSD campus buildings...and now he is the first "green intern" at the United States Capitol in Washington D.C.

UC San Diego senior Mark Galvan recently began working three days a week in the Office of the Architect of the Capitol and “Green the Capitol” offices, and two days a week in the office of Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53).

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Retaining Wall Earthquake Shake Test Oct 2 at UC San Diego

Structural engineering researchers expect severe damage to a retaining wall they will shake on October 2 at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

Media interested in attending the shake test (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) or obtaining footage from the shake test should contact Andrea Siedsma at or 858-822-0899

WHERE: UCSD Englekirk Structural Engineering Center at Camp Elliot

The public may view the live tests via the Englekirk Center web cams at

Southwest view:

Northwest view:

The researcher leading this test is Dawn Cheng, Civil Engineering Professor, UC Davis. Cheng earned her PhD in structural engineering at UC San Diego in 2005.

The media advisory is pasted below:

WHAT: Witness a series of dramatic simulated earthquakes that will shake a retaining wall at the UC San Diego Englekirk Structural Engineering Center, which has the largest outdoor shake table in the United States. Hundreds of miles of retaining wall systems exist in the western United States. Their routine design for static applications has been practiced by many public and private sectors. However, the seismic design of these retaining walls has not been extensively developed and there are no accurate and reliable guidelines in the existing design codes and specifications.

This will be a second in a series of simulated shake tests on retaining wall systems by researchers at the Englekirk Center. During the first set of tests, performed in early September, researchers investigated the seismic response of a semi-gravity reinforced concrete cantilever wall. Researchers will now test the seismic response of a semi-gravity reinforced concrete cantilever wall with a sound barrier. The walls will be backfilled with typical Caltrans soil and supported on flexible foundation in a soil box. The outcome of this research, funded by Caltrans, will ensure that future retaining wall systems are designed to a higher performance standard and existing systems are upgraded and retrofit to offer satisfactory performance to provide a safe and mobile transportation system in California.

*During the tests, researchers will simulate ground motions based on the 1994 Northridge earthquake (6.7 magnitude); 1999 Kocaeli, Turkey quake (7.4 magnitude); and the 1995 Takatori, Japan quake (6.9 magnitude). Engineers will increase the ground motions for each test until the wall suffers major damage.