Friday, May 28, 2010

Wireless Sensor Startup in $80K Entrepreneurship Challenge Finals

“Today you have to put sticky patches on your chest to record this information. It’s uncomfortable and messy,” said Jacobs School electrical engineering Yu Mike Chi, about the technology he and his startup are developing.

And speaking of sticky patches on your chest, sunblock-soaked Memorial Day weekend starts right now! (It's 5 PM on Friday). But on Wednesday June 2, when some of us are nursing sun burns (hopefully not me), Chi and his Cognionics team will be competing for the lions share of $80K in cash and services at the UC San Diego Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Wireless sensors that monitoring your heart or your brain even though they do not actually touch your skin are at the center of UC San Diego electrical engineering PhD student Yu Mike Chi’s dissertation (so sunburns won't be a problem). This technology – and the plan for commercializing it – earned Chi and his Cognionics team one of just five spots in the finals of the UC San Diego Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Read more on the Jacobs School news page.

UC San Diego Men's Baseball in College World Series Final Tomorrow

The UC San Diego men's baseball team plays for the national championship tomorrow, Saturday May 29, 2010 at 9 AM PT (noon eastern time). UCSD will play Southern Indiana in the Division II College World Series.

photo caption: UCSD shortstop Vance Albitz slides into home plate.
Photo/Willis Glassgow/WC Sports Photos

I'm trying to track down who from the Jacobs School of Engineering is on this year's baseball team. Anyone have any names?
UPDATE: One of the engineering students is Eric Abraham, a mechanical engineering major.

Chile Earthquake Discussioin on UCSD-TV

UC San Diego structural engineering professors Jose Restrepo and Tara Hutchinson share their insights on damage from the great Chilean earthquake of 2010 on the UCSD-TV program "On Beyond." The full program is 27 minutes and first aired on May 10, 2010.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jacobs School of Rock is Coming on June 4

Props to Alex Matthews from Calit2 (and the band CODE) for designing the flyer for the 2010 Jacobs School of Rock.
The video from Jacobs School of Rock 2009 is below:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Robots Roll onto the Front Page

A robot from Tom Bewley's lab at the Jacobs School rolled onto the front page of the San Diego Union Tribune today. Read the story here.
Some of these robot advances were presented at Research Expo 2010 at the Jacobs School.

Map the Sun from the Ground

Environmental engineers from UC San Diego are mapping the sun from the ground, in order to dertmine how much sun actually hits different parts of the earth.

“This map is important for the state of California because it provides residents, the industry, and policy makers with a simple yet accurate way to evaluate the ‘solar resource’ at a specific geographic location,” said Anders Nottrott (top photo), a Jacobs School of Engineering Ph.D. student working on the project with professor Jan Kleissl (bottom photo), from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE).

“This map can also be used to help determine the best place to build new solar photovoltaic energy collectors and perform long-term economic analysis for those systems,” said Norttrott.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Spring 2010 UC San Diego Computer Programming Contest

On May 22, 2010, over 50 UC San Diego students competed head-to-head during the Spring 2010 UCSD Programming Contest, pumping out code over the course of five hours.

The contest, which was led by computer science (CSE) professor Michael Taylor, consisted of a snowball fight with contestants writing the AI to control a team of 4 children on the field of battle. The teams watched their computer players compete on a 2-D projected screen, while the final battle for first place was enacted with slow-motion 3-D rendering (see photo above).

Top honors and $400 go to Andrew Lee and Kihyun Moon.
Second place and $200 went to Yixin Zhou and Mohammad Zohour
Third place and $150 went to Mohamed Mirza and Chris Louie.

The organizers heartily thank Houman Ghajari (ECE MS '03) and Scott Ricketts (CSE MS '10) of MaXentric Technology's Manycore Group, located in San Diego, for providing the prizes and t-shirts.

UCSD's CSES provided the pizza. Special mention goes to undergraduate computer science and engineering society (CSES) Officer Elliott Slaughter and Graduate Student Michael Vrable, who jointly organized the contest.

More details, and photos, are available at

Friday, May 21, 2010

Junkyard Derby 2010 Videos Embedded Below

Robot Unicorn Attacks Junkyard Derby 2010

Mad Max wins Junkard Derby 2010

Geisel Library Rolls into Junkyard Derby 2010

Junkyard Derby: Freshman, Super Seniors and a Dragon Belly

Junkyard Derby Videos in the News!

I put four Junkyard Derby 2010 videos on YouTube. The Mad Max video is running on the San Diego Union Tribune science blog Science Quest.

I'll embed all four videos below in a bit, but the links are here:

Mad Max wins Junkard Derby 2010

Robot Unicorn Attacks Junkyard Derby 2010

Geisel Library Rolls into Junkyard DErby 2010

Junkyard Derby: Freshman, Super Seniors and a Dragon Belly

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Learning to Detect Malicous URLs

Computer science (CSE) PhD student Justin Ma gave a Google Tech Talk on May 10, highlighting his work on using machine learning to detect malicious URLs. The YouTube video is embedded below.

Dancing with the Starts College Dance Championship: UC San Diego Samba

If you haven't seen the UC San Diego Dancesport Team dancing a Samba on ABC's Dancing with the Stars (on national TV), check out the embedded video below. The UC San Diego student newspaper, The Guardian, has a nice story and provides some background on the Dancesport team at UCSD. Get more background in a UC San Diego news story by Christine Clark here.

Antwon Trink is one of the students who competed (and who is interviewed in the embedded video below). He is a structural engineering major at the Jacobs School of Engineering.

Does anyone know the names of the other Jacobs School of Engineering students who are on the UCSD Dancesport team? I know there is at least one bioengineering major...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Calit2 UCSD Undergraduate Summer Research Scholars

The list of Calit2 UCSD Undergraduate Summer Research Scholars is out, and many of the students are Jacobs School of Engineering undergraduates.

Avinash Ananthakrishnan, Junior, Computer Engineering (minor: Cognitive Science)
advisor: Zhongren (Arnold) Cao, Calit2
Scalable and Energy Efficient Embedded Digital Signal Processing Implementation for High Order MIMO-OFDM Systems

Thomas Chew, Freshman, Bioengineering: Biotechnology
advisor: Shu Chien, Bioengineering
Effects of Shear Stress and Chemical Environment on Stem Cell Differentiation

Ronnie Fang, Junior, Chemical Physics / Engineering Physics (minor: Biology)
advisor: Liangfang Zhang, NanoEngineering
Scaling Up of Lipid-Polymer Hybrid NanoParticles for Drug Delivery

Roger Huang, Junior, Aerospace Engineering
advisor: Jan Kleissl, Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering
Application of Total Sky Imagery to control energy storage on the UCSD campus

Suraj Kedarisetty, Junior, Bioengineering (minor: Chemistry)
advisor: Nathan Delson, Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering
Improve Patient Safety through the Development of Intelligent Medical Simulators

Daniel Lew, Junior, Bioengineering: Premed
advisor: Martin Haas, Cancer Center and Biology
BMI-1 Promotes Cellular Invasion and Drug Resistance in Head and Neck Cancer Stem Cells

Nicole Lim, Freshman, Bioengineering: Biotechnology (minor: Law & Society)
advisor: Joseph Wang, NanoEngineering
Smart NanoScale Devices

Kristian Madsen, Junior, Electrical Engineering
advisor: Deli Wang, Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)
Vertical Nanowires and Heterostructures for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting

Emi Nakayama, Junior, Chemical Engineering
advisor: Jennifer Cha, NanoEngineering
A Mechanism Control the Size of Microbubbles for Ultrasound Imaging and Drug Delivery

Perry Naughton, Sophomore, Electrical Engineering
advisor: Deli Wang, Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)
Low Cost Solar Cells using Simple and Inexpensive Spray Pyrolysis Technique (SPT)

Bryan Ransil, Freshman, Computer Science
advisor: Falko Kuester, Structural Engineering
Human-Data Interaction

Arvind Satyanarayan, Junior, Computer Science
advisor: Jim Hollan, Cognitive Science
Interaction Techniques for Large Wall Displays

Emily Schoenhoff, Sophomore, Bioengineering
advisor: Robert Sah, Bioengineering
Cartilage Degradation in Aging Humans - Collagen Network

Justin Tse, Junior, Bioengineering: Biotechnology
advisor: Adam Engler, Bioengineering
Directing Mesenchymal Stem Cell Migration with Matrix Elasticity

Alan Turchik, Junior, Mechanical Engineering
advisor: Tom Levy, Anthropology, Calit2
Camera Stablization for Aerial Photogrammetric Systems

Grant Van Horn, Sophomore, Computer Science
advisor: Serge Belongie, Computer Science and Engineering (CSE)
GroZi and Visipedia

Christopher Wei, Sophomore, Bioengineering: Biotechnology
advisor: Kun Zhang, Bioengineering
De Novo Assembly of the Microbial Genome

David Yi, Junior, double major: Bioengineering: Premed and Biochemistry/Cell Biology
advisor: Weg Mendoza Ongkeko, Surgery
Identification of a Distinct Subpopulation of Cancer Stem Cells Critical for Metastasis and Tumor Growth in Human Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer

Anything but "hackadaisical"

Below is the "code like a girl" photo that includes five hard-core programmers from UC San Diego. The photo I used on the Jacobs School news page didn't include Janet Barrientos...nothing's just that the lighting was so much better in the photo with four students. Not pictured...the 6th teammate: Ashley McGuire.

(BTW, the hackadaisical headline will make sense when you read the paragraph below)

Computer programming students from the University of California, San Diego were anything but “hackadaisical” when a week-long Web programming extravaganza – Yahoo! Hack U – came to campus. In a 24-hour computer programming marathon that spanned an entire Thursday night, UC San Diego student teams hacked together a concert finder, a tool that adds favorite movies from friends’ Facebook profiles to your Netflix queue, a date-scheduling application, an early-morning multitasking program, and many other new online applications. Students created each app by combining tools, resources and data already available on the Web.

The camaraderie and energy generated by the overnight coding event inspired Gabriela Ponce and the rest of her all-female, all-freshman computer programming team to ask Yahoo! to track down their famed “code like a girl” tee-shirts. Four from the team wore their stereotype-breaking shirts the following week to their data structures midterm (CSE12).

Monday, May 17, 2010

Larry Smarr is the mystery photo in UT Science Quest

From Science Quest in the San Diego Union Tribune:

In the print edition of Monday's Quest section, we ran a photo with the headline, "Who is it?" Were you able to guess who it was? No? You're looking a Larry Smarr of UC San Diego, who is considered to be among the world's most influential computer scientists.

Luke Barrington and Brian McFee have been awarded the 2010 Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship

Congratulations to electrical engineering (ECE) PhD student Luke Barrington and computer science (CSE) PhD student Brian McFee. Luke and Brian have been awarded a 2010 Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship (QIF), for their proposal, "Location-, Demographic-, Preference- and Content-Based Music Search and Recommendation," with their advisor Gert Lanckriet (ECE professor). Lawrence Saul (CSE professor) supported the proposal as secondary mentor.

The Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship selective is very selective and provides $100,000. In 2o10, it was awarded to six out of 80 submissions from five universities (Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, USC, and UCSD).

Luke and Brian's project proposes advances in signal processing and machine learning to provide personalized, mobile music search and discovery.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Car Computer Systems Vulnerability / FAQ

Check out the extensive FAQ for the new research results on automotive security led by computer science professor Stefan Savage from UC San Diego and computer science professor Tadayoshi Kohno from the University of Washington.

The FAQ is at More info below.

This research is tied to The Center for Automotive Embedded Systems Security (CAESS), which is a partnership between researchers, including Savage and Kohno, at the University of California San Diego and the University of Washington.

Our research mission is to help ensure the security, privacy, and safety of future automotive embedded systems.

May 14, 2010: We'll be presenting our paper "Experimental Security Analysis of a Modern Automobile" at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy in Oakland, CA on May 19th.

Check out related stories in the media:

New York Times: "Cars’ Computer Systems Called at Risk to Hackers"

New Scientist: "Modern cars vulnerable to malicious hacks"

Where did the week go? / Junkyard Derby is Friday May 14!!!

How is it already Thursday afternoon?

Well, I was out of the office on Monday and Tuesday for jury duty. I ran into an electrical engineering professor who was also called in for jury duty that day...small world.

Jacobs School undergrads were on TV last night and this morning (San Diego NBC station)...their "mad dash for trash"...which is the exciting start to Junkyard Derby took place on Wednesday night.

NBC also embedded our Junkyard Derby video from 2009...also embedded below.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Learn about Nanoscience at UCSD! / Nano: Too Small To Ignore

Michael Sailor will be giving a talk "Too Small to Ignore: Why is Nano Different?" at the Science & Engineering library on Thursday May 20 (a week from this Thursday).

All the details are on the Science & Engineering library blog.

When? Thursday, May 20, 2010 from 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Where? Science & Engineering Library, which is in UCSD Geisel Library on the UCSD campus.

This sounds like a really interesting talk, especially since it's going to be geared to a general audience. BTW, CNN recently covered some research from the Sailor Lab in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UC San Diego. He is also affiliated with two engineering departments here in the Jacobs School: Bioengineering and NanoEngineering.

Below is the first paragraph from the promo materials for this lecture.

An increasing number of the products we encounter in our daily lives contain nanomaterials, and even more “conventional” products are made using nanotechnology. What is it about a nanomaterial that makes it different, what is the promise of the emerging field of nanotechnology, and what are the dangers? Professor Sailor, a world-renowned expert in nanotechnology, will provide a general lecture on these issues, providing examples from the fields of medicine, consumer products, and environmental sciences. (photo: Michael Sailor)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Think Twice, Code Once

Earlier this week, I was interviewing a freshman math major who participated in Yahoo! Hack Week at the Jacobs School in April (stay tuned for full story). She mentioned a saying that one of her computer programming teammates told her during the 24-hour coding session:

Think twice, code once.

This reminds me of the saying one of my farmer uncles like to say: "Measure twice, cut once."

Junkyard Derby is Next Week! (400th blog post)

Junkyard Derby is a most worthy subject for my 400th post on this blog about all things Jacobs School.

The best way to get a taste of Junkyard Derby is to see it for yourself. You'll have to wait till next Friday, but in the meantime, there are a couple of options.

First option: Watch the video from last year's Junkyard Derby.

Second option: Check out the "Mad Dash for Trash" next Wednesday evening. That's the official beginning of Junkyard Derby. At the sound of the whistle, all the teams rush into a mountain of scavenged junk (abandoned furniture and old bikes are always popular). They grab the raw materials (aka Junk) that they will fashion into lean, mean, racing machines in the following 36 hours.

If I remember right, last year they even had folks out there with welding tools to help the teams transform junk into race cars.

Learn all about Junkyard Derby at the official TESC site:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Computer Science Undergrad Kayvon Ghaffari Helps Create Winning Software for Detecting Vascular Diseases Early Among Children in Developing Regions

Kayvon Ghaffari is a computer science undergraduate who is headed to Warsaw, Poland this summer. Why? It’s not (just) for the Perogi. Ghaffari is part of a UCSD team that won the 2010 Imagine Cup in software design. The team’s winning software design helps field doctors use mobile technology to detect vascular diseases early among children in developing regions. The team, called Mobilife, won the eighth annual competition sponsored by Microsoft Corp. They beat out 22,000 other U.S. students, all trying to solve the world’s toughest problems using technology.

The team will compete in July against hundreds of other student teams from other countries and regions in the worldwide finals in Warsaw, Poland.
Read the full story on the news site of the UCSD Rady School of Management.

Kayvon...if you read this, tell us a little more about the software...either in the comments section or via an email to me at: dbkane AT ucsd DOT edu.

Admit Day Video: Jacobs School of Engineering

Admit Day for incoming UCSD undergrads came and went, but anyone interested in learning more about undergraduate life at the Jacobs School can check out the 2010 Admit Day video from the Jacobs School of Engineering. In addition to the school-wide talk (see embedded video), a professor from each of the six departments gave a presentation. All these videos are also online. Bioengineering, Computer Science & Engineering (CSE), Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE), Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (MAE), NanoEngineering, and Structural Engineering.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Interested in building remote imaging tools for National Geographic Society expeditions?

UCSD and National Geographic Society (NGS) are seeking motivated UCSD students to work with UCSD faculty/staff, NGS engineers and Explorers to build innovative remote imaging tools that will be deployed on real National Geographic Society expeditions.

For More Info:

Find out more at a lecture tomorrow May 5th, 12:30-1:30pm, Atkinson Hall Auditorium. UCSD's Albert Lin (of abalone and Genghis Khan fame) is one of the presenters.

Abstract below:

Exploration and engineering have gone hand-in-hand through time, allowing humans to explore the deepest oceans, highest mountains and farthest galaxies through the lens of science and technology. The National Geographic Society has been one of the world's leading engines of exploration for over 100 years, inspiring others to care about the world. Combining world-class exploration with the top engineering minds is the goal of this multi-institutional program.UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering and the National Geographic Society are embarking on a new partnership with the UCSD-NGS Engineers for Exploration program. Located within the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) and as part of its Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture, and Archaeology (CISA3), this program provides a multi-disciplinary platform for students to engage and contribute directly to National Geographic exploration.

Shake Test Movie on Union Tribune Blog

Thirty seconds of footage from last week's shake test of a metal building out at the Englekirk Structural Engineering Center is playing on the new science/technology/defense blog at the Union Tribune called Science Quest.

Stay tuned for more video and more into on the shake.

From the media advisory:

"Metal building systems make up a large portion of new low-rise, non-residential construction today. These systems are designed to be extremely efficient and their performance in earthquakes has been excellent over the years because they are strong, flexible and light in weight."

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chile 2010 Earthquake Seminar Tonight

Structural engineering professor Tara Hutchinson, Department of Structural Engineering UC San Diego will give a talk tonight about the magnitute 8.8 earthquake that struck central Chile on February 27.

The talk title: “Ground Failure Impacts on Infrastructure during the 2010 Maule, Chile Earthquake”

When? Monday May 3, 6 PM to 7 PM

Where? UCSD, Center Hall, Room 109

The talk is aimed at an undergraduate level you'll have to think, but it should be (mostly) understandable.

The 2010 Maule, Chile Earthquake impacted a region 600 km by 100 km and 80% of the population. A tsunami was initiated by the rupture, devastating portions of the coastline and resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives. Over 500,000 homes were destroyed and economic estimates are on the order of 15-20Billion USD (10-15% of Chile’s GDP).

This earthquake tested numerous modern structures and was therefore the subject of several post-earthquake reconnaissance efforts. Geotechnical impacts on structures during this event were manifested through strong ground shaking and site effects, liquefaction and lateral spreading, and slope instability. Where severe ground failure occurred, the impact on infrastructure such as buildings, transportation, and port structures was significant. This presentation will provide an overview of the engineering seismology and ground motion characteristics for this event and resulting damage patterns, with particular focus on the impacts of ground failure on the built environment. Liquefaction significantly impacted a number of buildings, while liquefaction-induced lateral spreading resulted in significant structural damage to bridges and waterfront structures. Important case histories from this event will be described in the discussion.

Cell Phone / Pollution Monitoring Project in North County Times

The CitiSense project led by computer scientists at the Jacobs School is in the news. Brad Fikes from the North County Times covered the CitiSense project on April 26, which is supposed to provide up-to-the-minute information on outdoor and indoor air quality, based on environmental information collected by hundreds, and eventually thousands, of sensors attached to the backpacks, purses, jackets and board shorts of San Diegans going about daily life.

Cell phones will serve as info-shuttlers that move info from the sensors to centralized computing centers, and then back out to individuals.

In the North County Times story, computer science professor Ingolf Krueger says that the system will probably first be set up to monitor pollution relevant for people with asthma.

New Blog in Town / Science Quest from SD Union Tribune

Gary Robbins is the new science/technology journalist at the San Diego Union Tribune, and he has started a new science blog called "Science Quest". Check it out here.

Car Electronics Expert / Computer Science Professor on NPR's Science Friday

Car electronics / car software / computer science professor Ingolf Krueger picked up the Science Friday microphone on April 30 and shared his knowledge with Ira Flatow and with the world.

Listen to the NPR Science Friday show here:

Two computer science graduate students working in Krueger's lab presented related work recently at the Jacobs School Research Expo 2010. A summary of their poster presentation is below:
Diagnostic Systems for Cars
Computer science Ph.D. students Massimiliano Menarini and Filippo Seracini are analyzing automotive diagnostics with an eye toward improving them. The modern car is a heterogeneous system made up of components from many different suppliers, and implementation of the diagnostic system is often treated as a byproduct of the software implementation. Menarini and Seracini are part of a team looking to remedy this situation. Their service-oriented software architecture approach, which offers solutions for integrating heterogeneous systems, is already being used in disaster response and environmental monitoring projects. One challenge: deploying just enough computer code to identify and report all failures to the driver — while still enabling repair centers to connect testing equipment to the vehicle and identify all details of the failure.

Back from Vacation / Nature Photonics paper is out

I'm back from vacation and have a bunch of updates to Jacobs School blog. The first thing on my to-do list is to post the story about Jacobs School / Calit2 research in the journal Nature Photonics.

Below is the first paragraph of the story by Doug Ramsey of Calit2:

Imagine packing 4 billion nanolasers on a three-inch semiconductor wafer. That is now nearer to reality, thanks to researchers at the University of California, San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering, who have demonstrated a micron-sized laser – less than one-thousandth of a millimeter on each side – that can operate at room temperature.