Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Green Art / Sustainable Gallery

Calit2's new art exhibit for their gallery here in UCSD's Atkinson Hall opens this Friday, April 2, 2010.

An excerpt is below. Read and see all about sustainability, art and UCSD here on the Calit2 site.

The goes green this spring with an exhibition by Chicago-based artist Sabrina Raaf, whose custom-built robotic sculptures and site specific installations include a series of experiments that address issues of sustainable practice, the construction of social spaces, and prototyping for modular green architecture.

Curated by Steve Dietz, "A Light Green Light: Toward Sustainability in Practice" opens Friday, April 2, 2010, with a 6 p.m. panel discussion moderated by UC San Diego visual arts professor Jordan Crandall, followed by a reception.

Cryptographer/ Computer Scientist Honored

Congrats to computer science professor Mihir Bellare. He and Phillip Rogaway won the ACM Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award , for their development of practice-oriented provable security. Their contribution resulted in high quality, cost-effective cryptography, a key component for Internet security in an era of explosive growth in online transactions. (Who doesn't shop online!?)

Check out the ACM Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award Web page here. BTW, ACM stands for Association for Computing Machinery.

I interviewed Bellare in 2007 regarding a TR35 award that one of his students, Tadayoshi (Yoshi) Kohno, won.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sleep Talking All Over Campus: Energy Dashboard

It's the first monday of the Spring Quarter at the Jacobs School, and any students (or professors or staff) who feel like they are "sleep-talking" through parts of their day in order to conserve energy are in good company. With Energy Dashboard, the entire UCSD campus has the opportunity to "sleep-talk" and save energy...the kind of energy the comes from the outlet and is generated by UCSD's solar installations and natural gas co-generation plant.

Energy Dashboard is an online tool that lets anyone track the energy consumption of buildings all across campus. The next phase, which has already begun, is to begin monitoring energy usage at the workspace level, so that people can track their energy use in order to find ways to conserve. One of the big energy conservation opportunities comes out of the "Sleep-talking" breakthrough from computer science PhD Yuvraj Agarwal (who is now a full-time research scientist at UCSD, working on Energy Dashbaord). The great thing about the "sleep talking" approach is that it offers a way for computers to be asleep (and thus barely using any energy) but at the same time available to be kicked into full operation if necessary. This means that people don't need to leave their computers on all weekend, just in case they need to connect remotely for 10 minutes on Sunday afternoon.

Part of this Energy Dashboard work will be presented at the Jacobs School Research Expo on April 15, 2010. The poster is "THE ENERGY DASHBOARD: IMPROVING THE VISIBILITY OF ENERGY CONSUMPTION AT A CAMPUS-WIDE SCALE ". It's poster #55 (of more than 240). Thomas Lee Weng is the computer science graduate student whose name appears first on the poster.

Sungho Jin is giving a Bioengineering talk on April 2

Professor Sungho Jin from MAE Dept here at the Jacobs School will give a talk in the Bioengineering Department on Friday April 2 at PM. More info here:

Talk title: "Biomaterials Nanogeometry for Tissue Engineering and Stem Cell Control"

Abstract: Proper control of nanostructures can produce a very large surface area and topographical features suitable for cell adhesion and growth. Vertically aligned yet laterally spaced TiO2 nanotubes have been utilized to significantly enhance osteoblast cell and bone growth in vitro and in vivo with strong osseointegration. Enhanced activities of cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells and chondrocytes have also been achieved, and guided osteogenic differentiation of stem cells has been demonstrated using substrate nanotopography alone without differentiation-inducing chemical agents.

Construction of various biomaterials configurations with nanotubes, nanowires, and networked nanofibers of metallic, ceramic or polymer materials will be described, and the implications of 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional architecturing on cell culture, tissue engineering, neural stimulation, stem cell control and drug delivery will be discussed.

Keep up to date on all the Jacobs School Bioengineering seminars here.

It's Spring Quarter 2010 at the Jacobs School!

It's the first day of Spring Quarter 2010 at the Jacobs School. Bye bye spring break!

One good way to keep tabs on the happenings of the Jacobs School is through the RSS feed maintained by Engineering Student Services (ESS). Check it out here:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Shu Chien interview

Below is an excerpt of an interview with Shu Chien, University professor of Bioengineering and Medicine at UC San Diego and Director of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine at UCSD. The interview is with the english language service of China Radio International (CRI).

CRI is owned and operated by the state in the People's Republic of China.

Chien said advances in science, technology and medicine are closely coupled with society, economy, and culture.

"Novel developments in science and technology can lead to new medical advances, which improve the economy, benefit the society, and help to advance culture," said Chien.

He said a great society with a strong economy can provide the resources needed to further develop science, technology and health care, thus constituting a positive feedback system for the good of the people.

"The reverse of this is a vicious cycle that leads to poor science, sick people, weak economy, unstable society, and disintegrated culture," said the bioengineering expert.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I'm working on a story about ENSPIRE, part of E-Week for the next issue of Pulse, the Jacobs School alumni magazine.

Maria Cardona, one of the 2010 Pulse organizers and a chemical engineering undergrad just sent me a link to a blog that the organizers of ENSPIRE 2008 kept, documenting all the hard work that went into the event.

Check it even has photos of students buying huge volumens of food and drink at Costco to feed the 400 8th graders that they inspired that day. Pretty cool.

Jacobs School of Rock

Watch the Jacobs School of Rock 2009 video below (on the Jacobs School YouTube channel or the Jacobs School video server).

And while you're rocking out to Jacobs School of Rock 2009, think ahead to JSOR 2010. It's coming. June will be here soon! If you are in San Diego, come out to the show. And for all the UCSD folks out there, if you want to get involved, check out the Jacobs School of Rock 2010 volunteer flyer here.

If you are into the intersection of music and engineering, be sure to check out the new search engine for music being developed by electrical engineers here at the Jacobs School.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spammers survive botnet shutdowns: CSE in BBC

Computer science Stefan Savage is quoted in a BBC story about how work to shut down spam networks has not reduced spam levels. A bit of the BBC spam story is below.
(The cover story of the last issue of Pulse features two grad students who work on cybersecurity in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at UC San Diego.)
Hi-tech criminals persist with spam despite evidence that response rates are plummeting. Only 28 responses were recorded from a spam campaign of 350 million e-mails found a study carried out by Professor Stefan Savage and colleagues at the University of California, San Diego.

Of those 350 million, only 23.8% made it through spam filters to e-mail inboxes and resulted in more than 10,000 visits to site peddling cheap pills.

Professor Savage said it was difficult to draw conclusions based on its limited data but said even with response rates of 0.00001%, the most prolific spammers could potentially make millions of dollars per year.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Solar Story in the Union Tribune

Onell Soto from the San Diego Union Tribune covered the new UCSD solar story about the new MAE project to predict electric ouput from solar installations based on cloud cover.

Read the UT story here.

Read the UCSD story here.

A few sentences from the UT story is below:

Unexpected dips and spikes are difficult to deal with. For example, say all the solar-power systems in a neighborhood get shaded. Somewhere, a power plant has to kick out more juice. Transmission lines have to carry more power.

These things can be done smoothly, imperceptibly even, but it takes planning. That’s where Jan Kleissl’s sky-tracker comes in. The UCSD professor’s camera takes a picture every 30 seconds of a 25-square-mile circle of sky surrounding the university.

Kleissl plans to use $550,000 collected from California electricity customers — along with $137,000 from other sources — to, among other things, build a computer model for predicting where clouds will be up to three hours into the future.

Friday, March 12, 2010

When Solar Meets Shade

Large-scale integration of solar into the power grid will requrire solutions to the complications that arise when clouds pass over solar panels and trigger transint drops in generated electricity.

Environmental engineering professor Jan Kleissl from the MAE Department at the Jacobs School recently won an approximately $500,000 grant to address related issues. In particular, he is working on models for predicting when these cloud-triggered power drops will occur.

“Once a cloud arrives, the power output from our photovoltaic panels can decrease 40 to 80 percent within a few seconds, and when the cloud leaves the power output increases just as dramatically,” said Kleissl. “Utilities and operators of large power plants want to be able to predict the timing of these transitions so that they can charge up energy storage systems in advance to ‘smooth’ the clear-cloudy transition or prepare other generation to make up for the lost solar power.”

Read all about the new grant, the new project, and a wealth of background information in the story "How to Manage California’s Alternative Energy Grid When the Sun Doesn’t Shine" by Rex Graham, linked from the UC San Diego sustainability Web site.

Update: An LA Times story today highlights this work: "State regulators approve $9 million in solar research grants, PG&E solar contract"

NanoEngineering Tidbits and Twitter

I just updated the research profiles of three faculty members affiliated with the Department of NanoEngineering at the Jacobs School. Also, NanoEngineering at UCSD is on Twitter. I wonder if they will keep their updates to 140 nanometers, rather than 140 characters...

Below are the updates I just added to the Jacobs School faculty profiles database.

Sadik Esener: Research expertise: Photonics and opto-electronics, including biophotonics, cancer nanotechnology, optical data storage, and optical interconnects.

Liangfang Zhang: Research expertise: Synthesis and engineering of lipid- and polymer-based nanomaterials for biomedical applications.

Rich Herz: Research expertise: Dynamics of diffusion, adsorption and reaction in porous solid media including heterogeneous catalysts. He also simulates and analyzes processes for conversion of biomass to power and fuels.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ingolf Krueger / Car Software / San Diego Union Tribune

Ingolf Krueger, a computer science and engineering professor at the Jacobs School, is quoted in a story today about the runaway Prius in the San Diego Union Tribune. Read the full story by Mike Lee here.

Krueger directs the "Service-Oriented Software and Systems Engineering Laboratory" (S3EL) in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. He also directs the "Software & Systems Architecture & Integration" (SAINT) functional area within the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).

KPBS recently tapped Krueger's expertise in automotive software, for a piece called "Are Car Electronics Too Complex?"

Some links to Krueger's work with car software is below:

This past fall, Krueger co-organized the Symposium on Automotive/Avionics
Systems Engineering (SAASE) 2009

In 2008, Krueger co-organized the Automotive Systems Track at the
International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE):

Krueger also co-organized the 2004 and 2006 Automotive Software Workshops.

Two of Krueger's grad students are presenting research on improving the diagnostic systems of cars at Research Expo 2010, the graduate student research showcase of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

Calit2 researchers at UC San Diego honored for innovations in networking

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego participated in two of the four groundbreaking projects that today were named recipients of the 2010 Innovations in Networking Awards. The awards are given annually by the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) for the innovative use and expansion of high-performance networking.

For the third year in a row, the award for Experimental/Developmental Applications went to researchers affiliated with the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering electrical and computer engineering professor George Papen picked up the award on behalf of his colleagues on the Scalable Energy Efficient Datacenters (SEED) project.

In 2009, Calit2's GreenLight project – which also focuses on energy efficiency in computing -- picked up the same award, and in 2008, the award in the same category went to CineGrid, the digital cinema consortium incubated in the UCSD division of Calit2.

Calit2 was also honored indirectly in the High Performance Networking Applications category, for its joint project with Australia's Monash University. Monash professor David Abramson accepted the award on behalf of the two institutions.

Read the full story by Doug Ramsey at Calit2 here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

KPBS: S.D. Colleges Undergo Green Renovation

Here is a story that KPBS did at the end of February about "how San Diego's colleges and universities are stepping up with their own green construction projects."

S.D. Colleges Undergo Green Renovation Be sure to check out the video that is embedded on the KPBS page as well.
The video highlights that UC San Diego has reduced energy consumption by 20 percent, thanks in large part, to a series of energy efficiency projects.

Learn more about sustainability at UC San Diego at:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Structural Engineers Quoted in LaFee Story

Last week, Scott LaFee wrote an interesting story in the San Diego Union Tribune that looked at some of the similarities between Chile and California, both in terms of earthquakes and building codes.

Frieder Seible, Dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering and professor of structural engineering, provided insights, as did structural engineering professor Jose Restrepo.

The deeper, stronger temblors in Chile often last for up to two minutes, while California quakes typically persist for 10 to 15 seconds, said Frieder Seible, dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California San Diego and an international expert on bridge and highway seismic safety.

Still, researchers such as Seible said every strong quake is potentially devastating and that most offer new insights. Both the magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta temblor in 1989, which killed 63 people and caused $6 billion in damage, and the 6.7 Northridge quake in 1994, which killed 72 people and caused $20 billion in damage, resulted in significant revisions to seismic standards and building codes.

Read the full story here.

Context in Computer Vision

MIT news quoted computer science professor Serge Belongie last week on a story about context within object identification / computer vision systems. Belongie and a variety of his students have been working on the context issue for a while now.

For related work from Belongie's UCSD Computer Vision Lab check out:


Fuel Cell FYI

UC San Diego's fuel-cell project is mentioned in a fuel-cell overview piece in the San Diego Union Tribune by Onell R. Soto.

The city of San Diego and the University of California San Diego are cooperating on a fuel-cell project. They plan to trap methane that is now being burned off at the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant and clean it up.

It looks like part of the reason the fuel-cell story ran in Sunday's paper is that there are a couple of fuel-cell workshops today.

Fuel-cell workshops
When: Monday March 8, 1 p.m. for businesses and institutions; 6 p.m. for homeowners.

Where: California Center for Sustainable Energy, 8690 Balboa Ave., San Diego.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

Jacobs School at the La Jolla Research and Innovation Summit

A number of different engineering faculty from the Jacobs School presented this week at the La Jolla Research and Innovation Summit. According to the event organizers, the summit is:

" invitation only program where San Diego’s leading scientists and engineers describe their innovative research to more than 100 venture capitalists in a closed meeting was developed to bring together our leading scientists with active venture capitalists from across the U.S. In this unique setting, VCs have the opportunity to learn from and build relationships with researchers working
on advances five and ten years into the future."

Jacobs School professors who presented are below:

Joseph Ford, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, UC San Diego (Bruce Lieberman from Xconomy included Ford's solar concentrator technology in Xconomy summit his write up. Graduate student Jason Karp will present related solar concentrator work on April 15 at the Jacobs School of Engineering Research Expo 2010. It's THE place to connect with the engineering innovators and leaders of today (and tomorrow).

William Gerwick, Professor, Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, UC San Diego (Computer science professor Pavel Pevzner works with Gerwick on related projects. Read more about the collaboration aimed at discovering drug targets from natural compounds here.)

The High Tech/IT Panel Presentation was a Jacobs School sweep:

Sadik Esner, Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UC San Diego

Rajesh Gupta, Professor and Qualcomm Endowed Chair, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, UC San Diego

Stefan Savage, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, UC San

(Graduate students from the labs of Esner, Gupta and Savage are all presenting at Research Expo 2010.)

The afteroon session included a political scientist from UC San Diego who is affiliated with Calit2...yes, you guessed the name right: James Fowler, Author, Connected; Associate Professor, Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems, CALIT2, and Department of Political Science, UC San Diego.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Non-volatile Memories Workshop 2010

Non-volatile Memories Workshop 2010

What: Non-volatile Memories Workshop 2010
Where: University of California, San Diego
When: April 11-13, 2010

The Center for Magnetic Recording Research, the Non-Volatile Systems Laboratory, and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology at UCSD will be hosting the first UCSD Non-Volatile Memories Workshop on April 11-13, 2010.

The workshop will bring together scientists and engineers from industry and academia who are working on advanced non-volatile storage devices and systems. The goal is to facilitate the exchange of ideas, insights, and knowledge within this broad community of practitioners and researchers, and to foster the establishment of new collaborations that can propel future progress in the design and application of non-volatile memories.

The program will take a “vertical” approach, with technical sessions that encompass solid-state and magnetic storage technologies; coding techniques for data integrity, preservation, and security; system-level storage architectures; and new applications enabled by advances in these areas.

Related: Check out this flash paper (below) from the Jacobs School:

Grupp, L., Caulfield, A.M., Coburn, J., Yaakobi, E., Swanson, S., Siegel, P., "Characterizing Flash Memory: Anomalies, Observations, and Applications" To appear in MICRO'09. (pdf) (Flash memory summit slides) (More information about our flash characterization project is available here.)

2010 Distinguished Educator Award of the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society

Congratulations to electrical and computer engineering (ECE) professor Gabriel Rebeiz. He received recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Educator Award of the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTT-S).

This award is given to a distinguished educator in the field of microwave engineering and science who exemplifies the special human qualities of the late Fred J. Rosenbaum who considered teaching a high calling and demonstrated his dedication to the MTT-S through tireless service.

Prof. Rebeiz has been cited for his "Outstanding Achievements as an Educator, Mentor And Role Model of Microwave Engineers and Engineering Students".

The award will be conferred at the annual Society Awards Banquet to be held during the International Microwave Symposium the week of May 23 to 28, 2010 in Anaheim, California.
Read more about professor Rebeiz's work in press releases linked below:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Serge Belongie's Top Ten TPAMI List

"We still don't know what a "part" is, but that philosophical sticking point didn't stop this paper from making a big impact in object category detection."

That's what computer science professor Serge Belongie said about paper #9 in the Serge Belongie list of all-time Top 10 IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (TPAMI) papers. (This is part of an on-going TPAMI 30th anniversary celebration organized by the IEEE Computer Society’s Publishing Services Department .)
Serge's paper # case you were not sure based on his description is: "Learning to Detect Objects in Images via a Sparse, Part-Based Representation by Shivani Agarwal, Aatif Awan, and Dan Roth," IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, vol. 26, no. 11, pp. 1475-1490, Nov. 2004, doi:10.1109/TPAMI.2004.108

Jose Restrepo Offers Insights on Building Codes in Chile

In a Q&A by the Voice of San Diego, structural engineering professor Jose Restrepo provides insights on the building codes in Chile as well as some thoughts on readiness of California's buildings for an earthquake.

Restrepo is one of the structural engineering professors at the Jacobs School who builds and tests large-scale and full-scale models of buildings and other structures and then tests them on the world's largest outdoor shake table out at the UCSD Englekirk Structural Engineering Center.

One of Claire Trageser's quiestions and Jose Restrepo's answers are below. Read the full Q&A here.

UPDATE #1: Restrepo is also in this Univision story (you may need to get the latest version of Flash for the video to play).

So then these building codes in Chile helped them avert some of the

Absolutely. Chile has an earthquake every 20 to 30 years, so they were very well aware that they were going be hit by a big earthquake. In Chile, they have a tradition in their building codes to be very strong. They also have a very good education system, where they go to universities for six years, so when they're finished they are very well trained. The training of architects and contractors, when it goes hand in hand with the building codes, gives a very good result.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Undergrads on Solar Power Demonstration Project in Kenya: finalists in national competition

Congratulations to the Global TIES team "Kenya Solar Power." The team, which is building a prototype for a solar electric installation for a computer training center in Mbita, Kenya, won a spot as a finalist in the National Idea to Product Competition for Social Entrepreneurship.

Senior, Priya Raval wrote the proposal. Clarke Guest is the faculty advisor and Zach Salin is the TA.

We'll be following this story and this worthy project.

Serge Belongie Lab in Wired

Kristin Branson earned her computer science PhD in Serge Belongie's UCSD Computer Vision lab here at the Jacobs School. Now, a fellow at Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus, Branson and her work is highlighted in a Wired magazine web story by Alexis Madrigal on the Wired Science blog.

Kristin is leading an effort to track the behavior of fruit flies using video. Software takes that video data and provides behavioral information...what fruit flies do, and when.

Branson, and her former PhD advisor Serge Belongie, are both quoted in the story.

Some of Branson's publications from her time at UCSD are below. A quick look at the list, and you see that Branson is not new to the intersection of computer science and animal behavior. She was part of the Monitoring Animal Behavior project.

Babenko B., Branson S., Belongie S., "Similarity Functions for Categorization: from Monolithic to Category Specific ", International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), Kyoto, Japan, 2009. [BibTex][pdf]

Agarwal S., Branson K., Belongie S., "Higher-Order Learning with Graphs", International Conference On Machine Learning (ICML), Pittsburgh, PA, 2006. [BibTex][pdf]

Branson K., Belongie S., "Tracking Multiple Mouse Contours (Without Too Many Samples)", IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), San Diego, CA, June, 2005. [BibTex]

Belongie S., Branson K., Dollár P., Rabaud V., "Monitoring Animal Behavior in the Smart Vivarium", Measuring Behavior, Wageningen, NL, pp. 70-72, 2005. [BibTex][pdf]

Branson K., Rabaud V., Belongie S., "Three Brown Mice: See How They Run", IEEE International Workshop on Performance Evaluation of Tracking and Surveillance (PETS), Nice, France, October, 2003. [BibTex][pdf]