Wednesday, June 30, 2010

SleepServer in Technology Review

The SleepServer project is profiled in a Technology Review story by Duncan Graham-Rowe.

Check it out...this is a follow up to the SleepServer team's presentation last week at the 2010 USENIX Annual Technical Conference in Boston. Check out a short summary on the Jacobs School blog, and the full press release here.

When a colleague saw the Jacobs School retweet of the Technology Review tweet of the story, she wrote: "wish i could work while I slept!"

Monday, June 28, 2010

Video Interview with Biological Dynamics CEO Raj Krishnan

Embedded is a two minute video with Biological Dynamics CEO Raj Krishnan. Read about Biological Dynamics and Raj here

Von Liebig Center in New York Times

The Von Liebig Center here at the Jacobs School is highlighted in a great story in the New York Times with the headline "The Idea Incubator Goes to Campus" by Bob Tedeschi.

The story is about how universities are supporting the commercialization of the early-state inventions that stream out of universities every year.

From the New York Times story:

In the jargon of academia, the locations of such matchmaking are known as “proof-of-concept centers,” and they’re among a number of new approaches to commercializing university research in more efficient and purposeful ways — and to preventing good ideas from dying quietly. The first proof-of-concept center, the William J. von Liebig Center, was established in 2001 at the University of California, San Diego.

The story mentions by name Mushroom Networks and Biological Dynamics -- two of the 26 companies that the von Liebig Center has helped through seed funding, advisory services and entrepreneurship classes. Those startups have created more than 180 jobs and attracted more than $87 million in financing.

Mushroom Networks is a UC San Diego startup founded by electrical engineering professor Rene Cruz in 2004. Mushroom Networks provides innovative networking solutions. On their Web site Mushroom Networks writes, "Our products and services are focused on a range of networking solutions for Internet access for the broadband industry and networking solutions for the digital living room."

Biological Dynamics was founded in 2009 by then UC San Diego bioengineering Ph.D. student (now alumnus) Raj Krishnan. Biological Dynamics is developing early-stage cancer diagnostics that identify and separate secondary cancer biomarkers directly from blood, such as cell-free circulating high molecular weight DNA.
Watch a two minute video of Raj Krishnan talking about his startup and entrepreneurship at UC San Diego on the Jacobs School video portal. The video is embedded below. (Also, check out the Jacobs School of Engineering YouTube Channel.)

Update: This video is now linked from a comment on the New York Times story.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Follow us on Twitter

On Twitter? Follow us!

Gizmag Glances at SleepServer

Gizmag has a SleepServer story up on their super-high-traffic tech blog today.

Check it out...and the easy-to-read summary from the Jacobs School of Engineering is here, and a longer, more technical summary is here.


Xconomy Highlights Electrical Engineering Startup: Mushroom Networks

Mushroom Networks, the startup founded by electrical and computer engineering (ECE) professor Rene Cruz is profiled today in a story by Bruce Bigelow on the business/technology Web site Xconomy.

Read the story "Mushroom Networks Uses “Bonding” Technology to Pump More Data Through Bottlenecks"

from the Xconomy story:

"The technology was developed by Rene Cruz, a Mushroom Networks co-founder and professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC San Diego. Cruz is known for his pioneering research in a field called network calculus, which is used to characterize the flow of data through the Internet and other packet-switching networks."

The San Diego Union Tribune ran the story too.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Stout: An Adaptive Interface to Scalable Cloud Storage

I just noticed that SleepServer is not the only UC San Diego computer science paper being presented this week at the 2010 USENIX Annual Technical Conference in Boston.

"Stout: An Adaptive Interface to Scalable Cloud Storage," John C. McCullough, University of California, San Diego; John Dunagan and Alec Wolman, Microsoft Research, Redmond; Alex C. Snoeren, University of California, San Diego.

The abstract is below:

Many of today's applications are delivered as scalable, multi-tier services deployed in large data centers. These services frequently leverage shared, scale-out, key-value storage layers that can deliver low latency under light workloads, but may exhibit significant queuing delay and even dropped requests under high load. Stout is a system that helps these applications adapt to variation in storage-layer performance by treating scalable key-value storage as a shared resource requiring congestion control. Under light workloads, applications using Stout send requests to the store immediately, minimizing delay. Under heavy workloads, Stout automatically batches the application's requests together before sending them to the store, resulting in higher throughput and preventing queuing delay. We show experimentally that Stout's adaptation algorithm converges to an appropriate batch size for workloads that require the batch size to vary by over two orders of magnitude. Compared to a non-adaptive strategy optimized for throughput, Stout delivers over 34x lower latency under light workloads; compared to a non-adaptive strategy optimized for latency, Stout can scale to over 3x as many requests.

PCs Sleep (and Work) Through the Night with SleepServer

Leaving your computer on all night/weekend/break just in case you need to connect remotely…that’s SO last decade. UC San Diego computer scientists created software that lets you put your computer to sleep without worrying that you’ll have to schlep your way to campus on Saturday night just because you suddenly need to access your computer connected to an enterprise network. SleepServer wakes up your sleeping PC remotely when you need it…but it won’t wake up the PC if the PC’s alter ego – a lightweight virtual image – can handle the job.

That’s the simplest example of how SleepServer helps UC San Diego cut its carbon footprint. But SleepServer does much more. That sleeping computer of yours also remains active on voice over IP/IM/peer-to-peer networks as well thanks to SleepServer.

How is this possible? When you put your computer to sleep, the software activates a lightweight virtual image of your PC which runs on a commodity server, along with hundreds of images of other PCs on your network. That virtual image can do a number of basic things that would otherwise require the actual PC to be awake.

SleepServer reduces energy consumption on enterprise PCs previously running 24/7 by an average of 60 percent, according to a new study presented today at the 2010 USENIX Annual Technical Conference.

Yuvraj Agarwal from UC San Diego is presenting this work TOMORROW June 25 in Boston at the 2010 USENIX Annual Technical Conference.

Read the story here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wake Up! SleepServer is Here

UC San Diego computer scientists are presenting a new “green computing” paper on Thursday June 24 in Boston at the 2010 USENIX Annual Technical Conference. (read the full story here and check out photos here)

The paper presents the latest on a UC San Diego technology that enables people who usually keep their work computers on all night and over the weekend to put them in low-power sleep mode before they go home. Also, SleepServer allows people to maintain an active presence on voice over IP, IM and peer to peer networks.

Over a two week period last September, 30 people in the computer science building at UC San Diego saved 60 percent energy, on average, compared to leaving the computer on 24/7 (which is what many of the people were doing).

UC San Diego Research Scientist Yuvraj Agarwal from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering developed SleepServer, and its technological predecessor Somniloquy. (Agarwal earned his PhD in computer science from UC San Diego in 2009).

There are related solutions out there, but according to Agarwal, none of the other solutions are able to run pared down versions of applications such as Skype in order to maintain network presence even when the computer is in sleep mode.

“SleepServer: A Software-Only Approach for Reducing the Energy Consumption of PCs within Enterprise Environments” by Yuvraj Agarwal, Stefan Savage and Rajesh Gupta from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

In Proceedings of the USENIX Annual Technical Conference (USENIX ATC '10), June 2010.

Yuvraj Agarwal Photos

Photos below for the new story:
Enterprise PCs Work While They Sleep, Saving Energy and Money

Caption info for the graphs is available in the PDF of the SleepServer paper. The photo credit for any of the portraits of Yuvraj Agarwal is: UC San Diego / Erik Jepsen

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Robot Swarms on DC Airwaves

Last November, Jorge Cortes became the PI on an NSF grant entitled “Distributed Ocean Monitoring via Integrated Data Analysis of Coordinated Buoyancy Drogues.”

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is one of the kinds of situations this technlogy would be used in, when it's ready to move from the lab to the ocean.

This technology was recently featured in the weekly radio segment produced by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). You can listen to the very short piece here: WTOP, which is a huge news-only radio station in the Washington DC area.

The first paragraph of the 2009 press release from the Jacobs School of Engineering is below.
To develop control systems for “swarms” of miniature robotic ocean explorers that could one day help predict where ocean currents will carry oil spills, engineers at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering recently won a nearly $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The engineers are leading the development of the control systems for swarms of small, inexpensive, underwater robotic ocean drifters that researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego are designing, building and deploying.

"Wireless Sensors Win" in the News

Yu "Mike" Chi and his winning wireless sensor startup, Cognionics, made their way into Xconomy last week, complete with the photo of Mike trying to hold three oversized checks.

Too Much or Too Little Sun?

"Are San Diegans Getting Too Much Or Too Little Sun?" This KPBS segment covers an issue in San Diego...lots of sun. Even in our "June Gloom" month it's sunny.

Transcript and audio are on the KPBS Web site for this story.

Music Search Researchers in New Scientist

A NewScientist story called "Computerised critics could find the music you'll like," highlights the music annotation and related music-meets-machine-learning research being done here at the Jacobs School.

The reporter, MacGregor Campbell, talks to electrical engineering (ECE) graduate student Luke Barrington about the research described in the From a Queen Song to a Better Music Search Engine story from last year.

From the NewScientist story:
Barrington is building software that can analyse a piece of music and distil information about it that may be useful for software trying to compile a playlist. With this information, the software can assign the music a genre or even give it descriptions which may appear more subjective, such as whether or not a track is "funky", he says.
This work is being done in the Computer Audition Laboratory, which is led by ECE professor Gert Lanckriet.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Photos and Video: NanoEngineers Print and Test Chemical Sensors on Elastic Waistbands of Underwear

There is a YouTube video of one a UC San Diego chemcial engineering undergraduate who worked on printing the electrodes onto underwear waistbands.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jeff Mounzer on KSDT in 15 minutes

Jacobs School alumnus (current PhD student at Stanford studying electrical engineering) and fabled TESC President Jeff Mounzer just stopped in my office...but just for a moment because he was off to be interviewed on the UCSD campus radio station:

Jeff Mounzer is going to be interviewed at 4 PM on Friday June 11 (15 minutes from now). Check it out at: and click on listen

Joseph Wang Textile-Based Sensors in the News

"Textile-based sensors" or "smart underpants"? Both....and two different ways to think about the same research project led by NanoEngineering professor Joseph Wang from the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Reuters recently filed a story taking the smart underpants angle...which is true...but there is more. The story was triggered by a peer-reviewed paper in the British journal, Analyst. Also, here is the Reuters story with a funnier headline.

The paper investigates the viability biological sensors printed on the inside of the elastic waistband of underwear, where there is constant close contact with skin and sweat. These sensors could eventually be used as early warning sensors on the battlefiled, telling doctors that something is going wrong with someone out in the field, based on biomarkers recorded in the sweat. The U.S. Office of Naval Research is funding this research. It's part of the "field hospital on a chip" grant that I wrote about in 2008.

I'm working on a story with more details of the new paper. Thick-film textile-based amperometric sensors and biosensors. Stay tuned.

Update: Yahoo!News also picked up the Reuters story.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

NSF Reviews CIAN's Efforts to Create Transformative Optical Technologies

"CIAN is focused on the innovations that are necessary to reframe the problems of access networks and determine if there's a common protocol for optics,” explained CIAN Deputy Director Shaya Fainman, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC San Diego. “Our vision is to develop novel optical networking architectures, create low-cost optoelectronic technologies, test them through our unique testbed infrastructure, prove their relevance and commercialize them through entrepreneurs and industrial partners."

CSE168: Rending Algorithms First, Second and Honorable Menions...Grand Prize Winner to Come

Update July 2: here is the grand prize image for CSE168. The 2010 CSE 168 Rendering Algorithms press release is here. The first, second and some of the honorable mention images are below. These are all images that computer science students created using rendering algorithms and C++ (not photoshop/illustrator/etc)

(Photos from the competiton are here.)

Update Friday June 11: last two images are new.

First Place: William George and Robert Gross

Second Place: Jason Obenberger

Honorable Mention: Jennifer Chandler

Honorable Mention: Steven Upham

Honorable Mention: Tim Etler

Honorable Mention: Oleg Bisker

Update Friday June 11: Two new honorable mention images below.

Honorable Mention: Joel Chelliah

Honorable Mention: Sid Vijay

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

200 fly or rendering algorithms of water?

Is it harder to swim 200 fly or write the C++ code to render algorithms for swimming pool water? That's the question I hope to get answered tomorrow by a computer science senior on the UCSD women's swim team. I'm waiting on the winning images from the CSE 168 rendering algorithms competition for spring 2010.

Laser Looks for Rail Line Cracks

Structural engineering professor Francesco Lanza di Scalea is in the news today. He is leading a project to use lasers and microphones to detect cracks in railroad tracks. Gary Robbins from the San Diego Union Tribune covered the story. Check it out here.

The crack-detecting prototype is out at the UC San Diego Englekirk Structural Engineering Center.

Making Graphics with Rendering Algorithms: Class and Contest

I popped into the final presentations for CSE 168 (Rendering Algorithms) taught by computer science professor Henrik Wann Jensen. I'm waiting for the final results, but in the meantime, here are some of the photos from the class. Above: UC San Diego senior Nick Echols shows off a "behind the scenes" graphic tied to his CSE 168 project.

The C++ computer code in the image (below) highlights the fact that these images are created by computer science students who write and manipulate lines of C++ code. This is not about using software that has already been created. It's much more involved than learning Photoshop, Illustrator and 3D graphics programs.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Photos of Winner of UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge

Congratulations to Yu Mike Chi, the electrical engineering PhD student who leads the startup that won the 2009-2010 UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge. Below are photos of Chi, Chi and his advisor, bioengineering professor Gert Cauwenberghs, and the wireless sensors (and some wired versions for contrast).