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Award for Computer Systems Research

In November 2013 CSE Prof. Stefan Savage received the ACM SIGOPS Mark Weiser Award during the Symposium on Operating Systems Principles. The award is given to an individual no more than 20 years into his or her career, and Savage was singled out for his contributions to computer systems research in general, and cyber security in particular. Read more…


Students As Oracles

Ph.D. students David Vanoni (far right) and Vid Petrovic (second from left) were in Europe for most of the fall quarter, doing research and taking part in excavations in Calabria and Greece.  They were part of UCSD’s interdisciplinary NSF IGERT project on engineering for culture heritage diagnostics. Vanoni and Petrovic  delivered talks in three countries, starting in Delphi, Greece. Read more… 


Analyzing Network Failures

There is no single way to measure network failures or learn from them. Recent alumnus Daniel Turner (Ph.D. ’13) presented results of a new CSE study at the ACM International Measurement Conference in Barcelona, comparing two standard methods (syslog vs. IS-IS). Conclusion: the syslog approach fell short in identifying failures lasting more than 24 hours. Read paper…


A Knack for Making Apps

CSE undergrad  Dexin Qi produced Triton Pass, a virtual discount card, mainly for Price Center eateries. CSE junior Daniel Brim developed the iPhone app SimpleCard, a 21st-century version of flash cards. A team including junior Shayan Mahdavi created an app for ViaSat installers. Now junior Jesus Rios has coded an Android app for visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. Read more…


The Incredible Shrinking Data Center

Are racks-on-chip the future of data centers? According to an article in the journal Science co-authored by CNS research scientist George Porter (pictured), shrinking racks of servers, and eventually data centers, to fit on a chip will be critical to delivering increased density of computing, storage and networking. And to do so, says Porter, will require a radically new network design for data centers. Read more…


Countering Click Spam

When is a click not a click? How can advertisers be sure that a click on an online banner represents a real consumer, not a deceptive malware program? Click-spam has become a way of life on the Internet, and at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security in Berlin in November, CSE postdoctoral researcher Vacha Dave (pictured) spelled out a new approach to attacking click-spam. Read more…


Event App Debuts at CSE25

A team of students and alumni led by CSE Prof. YY Zhou used the department’s 25th anniversary to do a ‘stress test’ for their brand-new mobile app. It’s the centerpiece of their startup company, Whova, a spinout from CSE’s Systems and Networking group. Over 280 attendees downloaded the app for iPhone or Android, and by all accounts, the app’s debut went off flawlessly. See web page…


New Frontier for Learning Bioinformatics

Prof. Pavel Pevzner dresses up as a cowboy to promote his new online course on Bioinformatics Algorithms (Part I). In a video on the sign-up page for the Coursera massive open online course, he calls bioinformatics a new frontier like the Wild West, and urges students from math, computer science and biology to take the course that begins Oct. 21. Read more...


Bitcoins: Not So Anonymous, After All

Ph.D. student Sarah Meiklejohn will present "A Fistful of Bitcoins" Oct. 24, which has already caused a stir in cryto-currency circles. Investigating the Bitcoin market and the anonymity of users, she and colleagues found a way to link transactions to Bitcoin merchants and services, potentially undermining a major use of Bitcoin – for online purchases of illegal products. Read more...


Finding a Silver Lining in the Sometimes Dark 'Cloud'

The Center for Networked Systems (CNS) held its summer research review, demonstrated its role as a major player in the cloud, and in designing, managing and improving data center and wide-area networks. Read more...


Decoding the Genetic Basis of Chronic Mountain Sickness

Using whole genome sequencing, CSE researchers dissected the genetic mechanisms underlying high-altitude adaptation based on variations in the genes of Peruvians from the Andes who suffer from chronic mountain sickness, and those who don't. Read more...


Nice Threads!

A new computer model developed by a CSE alumnus and Prof. Henrik Wann Jensen simulates with unprecedented accuracy the way light and cloth interact, with implications for animated movies and video games. Read more...


Family Reunion

In June 2013, roughly 170 former CSE tutors held their second-ever reunion in San Diego. The department also launched the CSE Tutor Challenge with a $25,000 inaugural gift from alumnus Taner Halicioglu (BS '96). Read more...


The Gift That Will Keep on Giving

CSE capped the 2012-'13 academic year with the announcement of an anonymous $18.5 million gift from an alumnus – making it the largest-ever alumni gift to UC San Diego. Read more...

  • Minnes Joins CSE Teaching Faculty

    In a note to the CSE community today, Chair Rajesh Gupta said he is "thrilled to announce that Dr. Mia Minnes has accepted position of a lecturer in the LPSOE series."  Minnes received a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Cornell in 2008, and she was a CLE Moore Instructor at MIT. In 2010 she joined as SE Warschawski Visiting Assistant Professor in the department of mathematics at UC San Diego, where she has worked on automata theory and algorithmic randomness. Yet her teaching load has primarily involved math in the Computer Science and Engineering department (e.g., in Fall 2013, when she taught Intro to Discrete Mathematics CSE 20, and Mathematics for Algorithm and Systems Analysis CSE 21). Also last year, Minnes was a key instructor and mentor to high school students participating in CSE's Summer Program for Incoming Students (SPIS). (She is pictured at right with one of the SPIS students and UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.) Minnes now formally moves from Math to CSE. "Mia joins our fantastic team of professors in teaching, Beth Simon and Christine Alvarado," said Gupta. Prof. Mia Minnes can be reached at and in CSE 4206.

    Visit Mia Minnes' Math website.  
    Read more about the SPIS program.

  • 'Poster Boys' for Computer Science and Engineering

    The Jacobs School of Engineering Research Expo 2014 is now history, including heavy turnout of visitors eager to stroll through the crowded aisles between roughly 200 research posters. Graduate students provided commentary on their respective posters, and in the end, a panel of judges awarded first prizes and honorable mentions for each of the six Jacobs School departments. CSE's Best Poster award went to Matthew Jacobsen (at left), who works in the lab of Prof. Ryan Kastner. Jacobsen's topic: "Hardware-Accelerated Online Boosting for Tracking." Tracking gestures or autonomous cars require input from tracking systems, and it gets harder if there is simultaneous, real-time tracking of multiple targets. Jacobsen tested two hardware-accelerated architectures (GPU vs FPGA) against how software only performs. The GPU design did better than software only, but the FPGA design was able to track a single target at 1,160 frames per second -- a 68-time speed-up compared to software only.

    The CSE student earning an Honorable Mention was Nima Nizad (at right), who works with Prof. Bill Griswold on continuous, wireless health and exposure monitoring systems and the challanges that arise when building such systems. Nikzad's poster focused on "APE", an annotation language and middleware for energy-efficient mobile application development. The grad student did a case study using APE annotations in a real mobile-sensing application, which showed that "annotations can cleanly specify a power management policy and reduce the complexity of their implementation." A paper by the same name has been accepted to the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2014), slated for Hyderabad, India at the beginning of June.

    Read Matthew Jacobsen's poster abstract.   
    View the abstract for Nima Nikzad's poster.

  • CSE Professor Has Role in State Assembly Resolution

    It's not often that computer science professors get involved with government resolutions, but that's what happened April 21. CSE Prof. Ronald Graham (pictured at left with Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski) was in Sacramento at a reception to mark April as Mathematics Awareness Month in California. The State Assembly approved the resolution authored by Wieckowski (D-Fremont) and sponsored by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and publicly supported by UC San Diego's Graham, a former president of the American Mathematical Society. Graham was one of the guests introduced on the Assembly floor. Later Graham attended a reception co-hosted by Assembly member Cristina Garcia, a self-avowed "math enthusiast," and by Wieckowski, who gave Graham a certificate of recognition for his support. "By shining a spotlight on Mathematics Awareness Month, we are supporting the increased awareness and importance of mathematics in our society," said Wieckowski. "We are also advocating for more outreach and recruitment of girls and women into STEM -- Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics -- fields." The Assembly resolution notes that "although women fill close to half the jobs in the United States economy, they make up only 24 percent of the STEM workforce." Prof. Graham is chief scientist of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), Irwin and Joan Jacobs Professor in CSE, and is cited in the Guinness Book of Records for creating the largest number ever used in a mathematical proof. 


  • Graduate Students Honor Voelker with Teaching Award

    CSE Prof. Geoffrey Voelker is being honored on Tuesday, April 22 from 5-7pm at The Loft in the Price Center. That's when Voelker (at left) accepts the Faculty Teaching Award as part of the 2014 UC San Diego Graduate Student Association (GSA) Community Awards.  The awards honor individuals for their outstanding contributions to the graduate student community at UCSD. Voelker is no stranger to best-teaching awards at the departmental level, and this all-campus award adds a campus-wide feather to his cap. Among the nominations, a student in CSE 221 (Graduate Operating Systems) last quarter "found professor Voelker to be an exceptional teacher," citing his "ownership of the material" and willingness to "share his knowledge freely to enable us to appreciate how things tie into the larger scheme." "He is very courteous and respectful of every student and question which gives us confidence." "He likes students to think about advanced topics and encourages their curiosity by raising some open-ended questions as well... Voelker's treatment of the course sets a standard for other courses and instructors." 

  • CSE Students Win Moxie Center PitchFest Award

    You don't have to be in grad school or even an upper-division undergrad to win a business pitch competition. Take the winning team of CSE freshmen who won the Audience Choice Award on April 14 in the Moxie Center's PitchFest. Computer science major Rajiv Pasricha (pictured at center, flanked by Moxie Center director Jay Kunin at left, and teammate, computer engineering major Ganesh Datta) and Datta won over the audience with their 60-second pitch for "Study Groups," a web service that lets students form ad-hoc study groups. A panel of judges provided feedback on the contestants' presentation style, business pitch, and technology plausibility. Students from across campus attended and competed in the quarterly event, and awards were given for both the audience choice and the pick of a judging panel (which went to a Ph.D. student from ECE, Jason Juang).

    Pasricha is one of less than a dozen students who arrived at UC San Diego this academic year as Jacobs Scholars. They were selected based on academic achievement, leadership potential and commitment to community service, and recipients get a free ride in the form of full tuition and living expenses, invitations to cultural and other social events, and access to a network of current and former Jacobs Scholars. The scholarships were funded by Irwin and Joan Jacobs to attract world-class students who are highly likely to contribute to engineering innovation -- and who are also likely to encourage and inspire other students to do the same. "My current plan is to pursue a graduate degree in computer science," said Pasricha in the fall. "I felt that an undergraduate program that emphasizes research experience is essential in preparing for this goal."

    Datta's long-term goal is to be an entrepreneur in the general field of computer science. Despite only being a freshman, he has specific research interests, including cryptography, distributed computing, and big data. This year he plans to develop an array of web applications, including WordPress plug-ins and Python web applications. Judging from their success in the PitchFest competition, it's not impossible that Pasricha and Datta will end up establishing startups before they even finish their undergraduate education.

    Visit the Moxie Center website.

by Dr. Radut