Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Center for Visual Computing Faculty and Students to Present 8 papers at the European Conference on Computer Vision

Faculty and students from the Center for Visual Computing will present eight papers at ECCV, the European Conference on Computer Vision, Oct. 8-16, 2016 the premier international forum for computer vision research this year, held in Amsterdam. 

Center for Visual Computing papers at ECCV 2016:

1. Top-down Learning for Structured Labeling with Convolutional Pseudoprior 
Saining Xie, Xun Huang, Zhuowen Tu

2. A Unified Multi-scale Deep Convolutional Neural Network for Fast Object Detection
Zhaowei Cai, Quanfu Fan, Rogerio Feris, Nuno Vasconcelos

3. Semantic Clustering for Robust Fine-Grained Scene Recognition 
MarianGeorge, Dixit Mandar, Gábor Zogg, Nuno Vasconcelos

4. Peak-Piloted Deep Network for Facial Expression Recognition
Xiangyun Zhao, Xiaodan Liang, Luoqi Liu, Teng Li, Yugang Han, Nuno Vasconcelos, Shuicheng Yan

5. HFS: Hierarchical Feature Selection for Efficient Image Segmentation
Ming-Ming Cheng, Yun Liu, Qibin Hou, Jiawang Bian, Philip Torr, Shimin Hu, Zhuowen Tu

6. Linear depth estimation from an uncalibrated, monocular polarisation image
William Smith, Ravi Ramamoorthi, Silvia Tozza

7. A 4D Light-Field Dataset and CNN Architectures for Material Recognition
Ting-Chun Wang, Jun-Yan Zhu, Hiroaki Ebi, Manmohan Chandraker, Alexei Efros, Ravi Ramamoorthi

8. Deep Deformation Network for Object Landmark Localization
Xiang Yu, Feng Zhou, Manmohan Chandraker

Visual Computing Center Faculty and students will also present three papers at the SIGGRAPH Asia 2016 computer graphics conference, held in Macao in early December.

Center for Visual Computing papers at SIGGRAPH Asia 2016:

1. Minimal BRDF Sampling for Two-Shot Near-Field Reflectance
Acquisition, Zexiang Xu, Jannik Boll Nielsen, Jiyang Yu, Henrik Wann Jensen, Ravi Ramamoorthi

2. Downsampling Scattering Parameters for Rendering Anisotropic Media
Shuang Zhao, Lifan Wu, Fredo Durand, Ravi Ramamoorthi

3. Learning-Based View Synthesis for Light Field Cameras
Nima Khademi Kalantari, Ting-Chun Wang, Ravi Ramamoorthi

Engineers on the Green Sep 26, 2016

Did you miss the student org showcase, Engineers on the Green on Monday, Sep 26? From video game development to making rockets, there's a student org at the Jacobs School for everyone. Many of them gathered to showcase their projects and recruit new members at the event! For a full list of student orgs, visit this page.

Check out these pictures:

Friday, September 23, 2016

First Day of School Instagram Takeover

Yesterday was the first day of the new school year. Bioengineering junior Julie Yip took over the Jacobs School of Engineering Instagram. Check out her day going around campus to classes, browsing Library Walk, and meeting with her friends!

Visited the ECE Open House and had some free coffee and pastries. Yum! #ucsdece #instagramtakeover #firstdayofschool

A photo posted by UC San Diego Engineering (@ucsandiegoengineering) on

Medical, Educational Missions and Outreach (MEMO) had the cutest bear! Love them! @memo_ucsd #instagramtakeover #firstdayofschool

A photo posted by UC San Diego Engineering (@ucsandiegoengineering) on

Grabbing lunch with friends! #instagramtakeover #firstdayofschool

A photo posted by UC San Diego Engineering (@ucsandiegoengineering) on

Pikachu says to go to First Friday. Save the date! #instagramtakeover #firstdayofschool

A photo posted by UC San Diego Engineering (@ucsandiegoengineering) on

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Academic Connections Leads High School Students to Success

Omid Hedayatnia, high school participant of the Academic Connections Program. 

UC San Diego always has plenty of opportunities for young minds to thrive and grow year-round. One very important program that helps youth explore their academic potential is the UC San Diego Academic Connections (AC) pre-college program.

Gifted high school students from around the world choose UCSD’s pre-college programs, like Academic Connections, to prepare for success, and experience college-level academics. During this year’s AC graduation ceremony, Dr. Ebonee Williams, Executive Director of the Gordon Center, gave a passionate speech about the potential of the students at AC, and how they will have a challenging but successful future ahead.

AC connects high achieving high school students with college-level subjects of their choices. Courses are led and designed by exceptional graduate students as well as world-renowned UCSD faculty researchers from a wide array of academic disciplines, all of whom are experts in their respective fields.

Academic Connections is unique for providing high-school students a thorough glimpse of the academically rigorous college experience at UCSD. Students choose one of approximately 25 courses offered, and accumulate vast knowledge during the three-week class of their choice. Classes meet five hours a day, capping off at about 22 students per class. The small enrollment was specifically chosen to drive quality interaction with instructors.

“Academic Connections was an extraordinary experience for me,” said Omid Hedayatnia, one of the students from AC’s Summer 2016 program. “I want to continue pursuing computer science and artificial intelligence, so I chose the Cognitive Science program.” Omid, who is now the president of his high school’s computer club, enjoyed learning about the different facets of cognitive science, considering that it is a highly multidisciplinary field involving psychology, neuroscience, computer science, linguistics, anthropology, and philosophy, with a central focus on the mind’s processes.

Students also were able to experience residential life at UCSD, giving them an eye-opening glance about what college living will be like. AC students had the opportunity to participate in recreational activities all day, as well as on the weekends. “There were all kinds of programs, like sports, art, and dancing,” said Omid.

Robin Wittman, program manager of Academic Connections, fully believes in the impact the program makes in preparing bright young minds for college. “We stressed that by working hard and pursuing their passions through education, students could do anything they wanted to do in life,” she said. “There’s nothing more fulfilling to me than helping spread the word about Academic Connections. We have the opportunity to help these bright and promising students chart a positive life course by giving them the skills to thrive.”

Life Science Startups in Chile Get Commercialization Training and Mentoring

Members of winning team X'Plant and judges from the Life Science Challenge, from left to right: Anil Sadarangani, Bernardita Araya, Astrid Borgna, Constanza Jimenez, Ziyad Haidar, Elmer Torres, Patricia Dauelsberg, and Steve Kanzer
UC San Diego knows that start-ups and collaborations pave the way towards the future, so the UANDES Life Tech Challenge reflects a thriving partnership between UANDES, a private nonprofit university in Chile, and the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center.  

Through the efforts of Anil Sandarangani, MBA graduate from UC San Diego, a thriving partnership between our university and the University de los Andes (UANDES) now exists.  UANDES is a private, non-profit university in Santiago, Chile renowned for research and innovation. Its business and engineering courses are taught completely in English.

The partnership, achieved through the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center, was created to bridge the gap between idea formation and the start-up launch process through training and mentoring. Personalized tactics and mentorship create more successful technology companies and attract additional talent and resources to the life sciences industries in Chile.

Partnerships like these help to foster new inventions and creations, while encouraging cross-cultural learning and understanding from different cultures. von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center looks forward to continuing programs like these and expanding with other projects in the future, to promote global entrepreneurialism and cultivate the startup environment in the STEM field.

Winning team X'Plant from the Life Tech challenge, from left to right: Cesar Trigo, PhD; Constanza Jimenez, DDS; Ziyad Haidar, DDS; Paula Ibarra, PhD; Javier Campos .
von Liebig Mentor, Michael Krupp, PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Rochester, tied together his knowledge of life science and business to conduct a two-day seminar at UANDES on innovation and entrepreneurism in the life science industry. Dr. Krupp’s experience from serving as an executive at Pfizer and Chugai Pharma, as well as an advisor to several biotech startups, helped him captivate and educate the students. He watched as 12 teams made presentations on their startup companies in a wide range of life science technologies, such as biotech, healthcare, food technologies and medical therapies.  Dr. Krupp selected the top 6 teams that have the best chance for commercialization into the market.

The top six teams received mentorship from August through September from four von Liebig business and technology advisors with expertise in life sciences. The mentoring was essential in helping these teams stay on track through the commercialization process. On September 13 at the final pitch presentation, X’Plant was selected as the winner of the Life Tech Challenge. 

About the Teams

The X’PLANT team is led by a team of dentists.  The presentation was made by Constanza Jimenez, DDS.  As a practicing dentist, Dr. Jimenez and her colleagues have developed a set of tools for the non-invasive removal of failed dental implants. The team’s mentor is Garrett Smith, who holds a PhD in Bioengineering at UC San Diego, and is also a co-founder of three life-tech startups.

Maria Eliana Manquez, MD led the MD EyeCare team. As a practicing physician, Dr. Manquez has developed an online application for the early detection of eye disorders in children. John York, who holds a Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of Michigan and has his own biotech consulting company, is the mentor to this team.

Mentoring two teams in the medical diagnostics space, Richard Garber, PhD, has a degree in Biology from Yale and is currently a drug development consultant. One of the teams he mentors is Neurogos, led by CEO Alejandro Bisquertt. The team has developed a diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia using blood biomarkers.  The test provides key information for more effective treatment.

Dr. Garber also mentored Pregnostica, led by Alejandra Chapparro DDS.  As a dental surgeon and UANDES faculty member, Dr. Chapparro uses saliva biomarkers to predict gestational diabetes and preeclampsia early in pregnancy.
Green Biofactory, led by Daniela Fuentes PhD, develops proteins using algae to serve as a food supplement for pork. The team’s mentor is Karl Francis, PhD, holding a PhD in Bioengineering from UC San Diego and serving as Principal Scientist at Accriva Diagnostics.

Dr. Francis also mentored the Blood Vessels team led by Camila Wilkens, PhD. This team uses mesenchymal stem cells and biomaterials to create small blood vessels with the mechanical and biological properties of real blood vessels.    

Hacking 4 Defense Solves National Security Issues

 On August 18, the Hacking 4 Defense (H4D) program held its very first information session in the basement classroom of the Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall, bringing together students and faculty alike.

Hacking 4 Defense is a class that was originally established at Stanford, but is now expanding to universities like UC San Diego, per Dean Albert Pisano’s desire to establish a strong relationship between UC San Diego and the military. Hacking 4 Defense will prepare  graduate students, post-docs, as well as select undergraduates to become fast-paced thinkers with unique entrepreneurial mindsets. Student teams will work to find a solution out of a myriad of real national security problems pointed out by the Department of Defense (DoD) as well as the Intelligence Community. Real professionals in a variety of fields will serve as mentors to student teams in the program.

Michael Krupp, Ph.D, program director of H4D, believes the class is perfect for students who want to participate in public service and get the realistic environment of a startup business, while also having the privilege to not need to rearrange their whole lives for it, unlike many of professionals who do change their careers later on. “Entrepreneurship and the processes involved can actually help tackle our nation’s national security issues efficiently,” he said. “The Lean Startup Method, which is what we will be using in this course, can help groups get to feasible and efficient solutions. Taking this to the real world, we see that diplomacy can be improved through innovation.”

The Lean Startup Theory is a method that favors experimentation over strategic and excessive planning, emphasizing the importance of jumping in, making the guesses, and filling in the blanks of factual information later. Harvard Business Review claims this method will change “everything” for start-ups. H4D will combine this theory with a plethora of hands-on experience, requiring groups to get their “hands dirty” by constantly communicating with not only each other, but resources outside the classroom to find a solution to their projects.

Instructors Ellen Chang and Travis DeMeester both have extensive experience in innovation and business. Chang was in the Navy for eight years and remains active, worked at Northrop Grunman for 12 years, and is an Angel investor. DeMeester was a former Marine captain with a colorful background in Aerospace, and is currently a principal at BMNT Partners.

Both spoke on the opportunities available to students through this unique class, and DeMeester believes that it’s great training for learning to present in front of a board. “Because the groups will have to present once a week, it’s literally like you are practicing to present to a board of Directors on a regular basis,” said DeMeester. He also added how the experience will help transition a student’s abilities from the classroom to a real-life startup. “The gap between going straight from school towards entrepreneurship is a difficult one. This class helps to close that gap.”


H4D will have a second informational session on October 7, once the school year begins. To stay updated on the event, visit the program’s website for more information and announcements:

For the rest of this article about the instructors of the class, see our blog.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

These fish weren't just made for swimming

There's something fishy going on in the Department of NanoEngineering at UC San Diego. Last summer, 3D-printed microfish made a big splash in the news. Now, researchers have created "nanofish" -- tiny metallic fish 100 times smaller than a grain of sand -- that could be used to deliver drugs to particular places in the body.

The nanofish are made of gold and magnetic nickel segments, which enable the fish to move and be guided by an external magnet.

"We believe they could be useful for medicine delivery, non-invasive surgery and single cell manipulation," said Jinxing Li, a PhD student in the lab of nanoengineering professor Joseph Wang who led the research.

See a video of the nanofish featured in New Scientist: