Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Curiosity Engineer to Speak at UC San Diego

The engineer in charge of telecommunications during Curiosity's entry and descent into the Martian atmosphere is speaking from noon to 1 p.m. Nov. 2 at UC San Diego's new Structural and Materials Engineering building. 

Brian Schratz will give a first-hand account of what it was like to work in mission control the night Curiosity, also known as the Mars Science Laboratory, landed. He also will present an overview of the spacecraft's mission.

At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Schratz is responsible for ensuring that Curiosity's hardware and software is designed correctly to transmit critical entry, descent and landing data in real time. He also coordinates communications with the three Mars orbiters, and NASA and European Space Agency tracking stations on Earth.

Schartz joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time in 2009, after receiving his master's in electrical engineering from Penn State in 2008 and serving as a Fulbright fellow in Norway. He also was a fellow in NASA's graduate Student Research Program. As a student, he led and developed instruments used for several balloon, rocket and satellite projects.

The event is sponsored by The California Space Grant Consortium, headquartered at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego, and The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination. For more information, email  tlazzouni@ucsd.edu or call  (858) 822-1597.

Free Student Tickets / “What’s Past is Prologue: Creating the Life Sciences Industry in San Diego”

UC San Diego students who are interested in attending “What’s Past is Prologue:  Creating the Life Sciences Industry in San Diego” just might get free tickets. Keep reading to find out more about the event. For info on getting a hold of free tickets, contact Andy Newsham at anewsham@ucsd.edu

San Diego’s Biotech Industry Legends to Discuss Insights into Past & Future Nov. 7

Three legendary San Diego venture capitalists will discuss past lessons learned and thoughts about the future of local commercial biotech ventures during the first in a series of planned “conversations” Nov. 7 in Calit2’s Atkinson Hall at UC San Diego. The event is being billed as the first of its kind in San Diego.

“What’s Past is Prologue:  Creating the Life Sciences Industry in San Diego” is sponsored by the Life Sciences Foundation and the UC San Diego Library, and is co-sponsored by Connect and Sughrue, with community partners Biocom and San Diego Venture Group.  The panelists, who will offer their insights into the past and future of San Diego biotech, will include Jim Blair of Domain Associates, Kevin Kinsella of Avalon Ventures, and Tim Wollaeger of Sanderling Partners. Ivor Royston of Forward Ventures will serve as moderator. The 4 p.m. discussion will be followed by a reception at 5 p.m.

Blair, Kinsella and Wollaeger helped to create the San Diego life sciences industry more than 30 years ago, and remain active today. Creating such high profile companies as Dura Pharmaceuticals, Vertex and Pyxis, they will discuss the birth of San Diego’s life sciences cluster, current conditions, and their vision for the future.

Moderator Ivor Royston, M.D., is a founding managing partner of Forward Ventures. Dr. Royston has been involved in the biotechnology industry in San Diego from its inception in 1978 with the founding of Hybritech, Inc., later acquired by Eli Lilly, and with the founding of Idec Pharmaceuticals in 1986, which later merged with Biogen.

Jim Blair has been a partner of Domain Associates since its founding in 1985. Dr. Blair has over 40 years’ experience with venture and emerging growth companies. He has been involved in the creation and successful development at the board level of over 40 life sciences ventures, including Amgen, Aurora Biosciences, Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Applied Biosystems, Dura Pharmaceuticals, GeneOhm Sciences, Molecular Dynamics, NuVasive, Pharmion and Volcano.

Kevin Kinsella founded Avalon Ventures in 1983. He has specialized in the formation, financing and/or development of more than 100 early-stage companies. Kinsella was the founding chairman of Athena Neurosciences, Aurora Biosciences Corp., Landmark Graphics, NeoRx, Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Synaptics, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, X-Ceptor and Sequana Therapeutics.

Timothy Wollaeger has more than 30 years’ experience in the medical products and biotechnology fields in both corporate management and venture capital. Wollaeger joined Sanderling Ventures as a managing director in 2002, and opened the firm’s San Diego office. He founded Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Biosite, Columbia Hospital, Digirad Pyxis, Senomix, Sotera Wireless and Vical.

Over the last 20 years, San Diego has developed to become one of largest and most dense biotechnology hubs in the nation.  Regional clusters in telecommunications, information and software technology are also continuing to take grow and take shape. To increase scholarly and public understanding of San Diego’s culture of innovation, the UC San Diego Library has launched the San Diego Technology Archive (SDTA), an online, interactive archive documenting the history, development, and growth of the companies and entrepreneurial entities that make up San Diego’s technology clusters.  The archive focuses on San Diego’s life sciences and information technology clusters. For more information on the SDTA: http://libraries.ucsd.edu/sdta/

Tickets for the Nov. 7 event are $25. For more information and to register, please visit: lifesciencesfoundation.org/sandiego

The Life Sciences Foundation is dedicated to capturing the history, preserving the heritage, and sharing the stories of biotechnology. The foundation collects and organizes historical information to educate and inspire future innovators, to engage the general public, and to provide lay audiences with an understanding of life sciences and biotechnology.

The UC San Diego Library, ranked among the nation’s top public academic research libraries, provides access to more than 7 million digital and print volumes, journals, and multimedia materials to meet the knowledge and information needs of faculty, students, and members of the public.  For more information: http://libraries.ucsd.edu/

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Students Vie for Prizes-and Glory-at Programming Contest

Fifty UC San Diego computer science students took part in the Fall 2012 UCSD Programming Contest Saturday, Oct. 13. They were vying for cash prizes, including $1,000 for first-place.
During a pizza-fueled five hours, contestants had to solve eight programming problems. Finally, Julaiti Alafate come out on top, by solving six of the eight. James Mouradian placed second, Deepak Arulkannan third, Josh Tobin fourth and Manoj Mardithaya fifth.
The prizes, food and drink were provided by the Dini Group, a La Jolla-based hardware and software engineering firm specializing in high performance digital circuit design and application development.
Graduate student coaches Whitney Maguffee, Mohammad Moghimi, Do-Kyum Kim and David Michon and Faculty Coach Michael Taylor, from the computer science department, ran the contest.
More details and a list of the top 25 finishers can be found here.

Engineering Trade Publications

Here is a nice list of engineering trade publications on www.tradepub.com. I got this specific link from www.alltop.com on their engineering page.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Olympian and Jacobs School Alumna on Campus for UC Awareness Day

Jacobs School alumna and Olympian Christine Sonali Merrill was at UC San Diego today to sign autographs. Merrill, who earned a bacherlor's degree from the Jacobs School, represented her mother's native country, Sri Lanka, in the 400-meters hurdles at this year's London Olympics.Today, she graciously signed autographs and posed for pictures.

Her appearance was part of the Onward California Mobile Tour, a statewide roadshow hosted by the University of California to build awareness of the impact the university has on our everyday lives. The tour celebrates noteworthy UC individuals and innovations and encourages passionate supporters to share why they believe in UC.

Naia Bar Gelato, which has its roots at UC, served complimentary gelato with 10 flavors to choose from—one for each campus. UC San Diego’s flavor is green tea, in recognition of the campus' sustainability efforts. The interactive tour experience included a photo booth with UC props, an “I BELIEVE IN UC” art wall and a postcard station where guests can share their UC story.

IEEE Spark

I stumbled on IEEE Spark this morning, which was linked from Nano.gov (the URL for the National Nanotechnology Inititative)

IEEE Spark is an online publication intended to inspire students ages 14-18 to learn more about engineering, technology, and computing, and raise excitement about careers in these disciplines. IEEE Spark features articles on technological innovation, university preparation tips, professional career profiles, at-home activities, comics, and more! IEEE Spark is brought to you by IEEE with generous funding from the IEEE New Initiatives Committee.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

UC San Diego Mayoral Forum / Sat October 13

UC San Diego mayoral forum with Bob Filner & Carl Demaio.

Whey? Sat, Oct 13th, 2:45 - 4:00 pm
Where? Price Center East Ballroom, UC San Diego

Submit questions on SOVAC Facebook or SOVAC Twitter, for a chance to have them answered on the news.

SOVAC: Student Organized Voter Access Committee.

History of Bioengineering at UC San Diego / IEEE Pulse

Below is a link to an interesting article on the history of our bioengineering department, and some of the current, cutting-edge research happening in the bioengineering labs here at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. 

Shankar Subramaniam, professor and chair of the Department of Bioengineering, wrote the article, which appeared in  2012 Jul;3(4):49-55.

Article title: Evolution of bioengineering at UCSD: opening new vistas. (subscription required)

The PubMed abstract is here. Not sure if a full open-access PDF will be posted on PubMed, or not. 

First paragraph of the article is below: 

Bioengineering is a young albeit important discipline that is still in the process of evolution. Frequently, insightful and prospective students have asked me two important questions: 1) What is the field of bioengineering and where is it going? 2) Given the diversity of bioengineering and expertise in your department, what is the uniting factor? To answer these, let us ask, what do bio and biomedical engineers do? Engineers measure components of systems with existing techniques or develop new technologies, understand the design principles of the system, develop a quantitative model, and study the behavior of the system through the model by introducing perturbations. Thus, they are able to build similar systems that can provide similar and different input-response characteristics and lead to innovation. Bioengineers apply these principles to living systems. The end goal is societal and economic benefit, which goes beyond merely satisfying intellectual curiosity

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

MAE Undergrad Young Jin Kim Wins Library Research Award

Jacobs School undergrad Young Jin Kim won second prize in the Life Sciences / Physical Sciences category of the 2012 Undergraduate Library Research Prize here at UC San Diego. (Read the full story on the UC San Diego Library website.)

Young Jin Kim, who is affiliated with Sixth College, who was nominated for the Undergraduate Library Research Prize by Joanna McKittrick, a professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Young Jin's research project focused on designing and building a spray pyrolysis stem to produce luminescent powders for application in solid state lighting. McKittrick first hired Kim to work in her lab after he approached her with a proposal titled "I Want to Work in Your Lab," in which he explained his fascination with materials science. That initiative clearly made him stand out, as did his research subsequently.

"When Young Jin started this research, he knew nothing about solid state lighting or luminescent materials and I was impressed with his independent research into these topics," said McKittrick. "To develop this new method to synthesize particles, he needed to conduct some background research. He independently, and without my prodding, learned to use the vast library resources available to us on the campus. He has looked up papers on his research, read textbooks to understand the principles of spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction, and learned to use the JCPDS files in the library. I am truly astonished that he keyed onto the importance of using the library in this area of research; he has definitely surpassed some more senior graduate students in his research approach."

In selecting Young Jin for 2nd Prize, the jury was most influenced by the fact that he employed research methods not used before in McKittrick's lab, and as a result, he was able to set up experiments based on detailed descriptions he found in journal articles; previously, experiments were based on methods already in use in the lab. This demonstrates how critical the information resources he delved into were to his actual research, at every step of the process.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Is that really Jacobs Hall?

Jacobs Hall it is.

Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center / Newsletter

The Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center, directed by computer science professor Gary Cottrell, has a quarterly newsletter that keeps the research community and the public up to date on the goings on of this NSF Science of Learning Center.

The latest newsletter's "Ask the Scientist" section features computer science PhD student Jacob Whitehill.

Featured Scientist:
Jacob Whitehill, TDLC Graduate Student in
UC San Diego's Machine Preception Laboratory
Email: jake@mplab.ucsd.edu
What is Optimal Teaching, and what did the recent Optimal Teaching Workshop at UC San Diego entail?
The word "optimal" in "optimal teaching" is intended to underline how stochastic optimal control theory, as well as the related fields of machine learning and reinforcement learning, can contribute to the study of how humans teach as well as to the development of automated teaching systems.
The past decade has seen tremendous growth in the development of inexpensive sensors such as high-resolution cameras as well as computer vision and machine learning algorithms for mapping the sensor values into meaningful information about a student's state, such as whether he/she is frustrated, bored, engaged, etc.
In order to use these sensors to teach more effectively, however, it is useful to employ a principled mathematical framework such as control theory to integrate sensor inputs into the decision making process. For instance, if a student's performance drops suddenly, is it because the material was too difficult, or because the student stopped trying? If the student's face indicated that he had "disengaged" from the task, how should that sensor value affect the teacher's next action? Control theory provides a framework for using sensor inputs to both update the teacher's belief about how the student is doing, as well as to take actions to maximize the student's expected learning gains.
The purpose of the Optimal Control Workshop, which the TDLC hosted on May 4 of this year, was to bring together senior researchers from the intelligent tutoring systems, neuroscience, cognitive science, machine learning, and psychology communities to discuss the state-of-the-art and current challenges to automated teaching, including but not limited to the application of stochastic optimal control theory to teaching. For more information about the Optimal Teaching Workshop, please click here.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Interesting story on trends on how people get news / social media still on the rise

Here on the Jacobs School blog, we don't normally deviate from info specifically ABOUT the Jacobs School, but I thought this was interesting...and since the Jacobs School communications team (and many Jacobs School students, faculty and staff) are spending more and more time on social media sites, I thought this was appropriate and interesting.

For example, Catherine is tweeting live from Atlantic Meets the Pacific right now. (Ioana was there this morning.)

From the Pew Research Center for People & the Press

Trends in News Consumption: 1991-2012

The transformation of the nation’s news landscape has already taken a heavy toll on print news sources, particularly print newspapers. But there are now signs that television news – which so far has held onto its audience through the rise of the internet – also is increasingly vulnerable, as it may be losing its hold on the next generation of news consumers. (link to the full story)

VP of Product at Facebook Talks About Company's Vision, Technology

Chris Cox, the vice president of Product at Facebook, was in La Jolla today to talk about mapping the future of networks. In the process, he also talked about his company's vision, technology and products, including some hot-button issues, like the launch of the news feed feature.
Cox was being interviewed by Alexis Madrigal, a senior editor at The Atlantic magazine, as part of a three-day event co-sponsored by UC San Diego Extension. Other guests during The Atlantic Meets the Pacific event include UC San Diego alum and genome sequencing whiz J. Craig Venter, UC San Diego neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran, Larry Smarr, the director of Calit2, and Greg Lucier, CEO of Life Technologies. 
Here is our Twitter feed from this morning's session with Cox:

&middot; <a class="permalink-link js-permalink js-nav" href="/UCSDJacobs/status/255348118634254337" >Details</a> </span> </div> </div> " data-is-reply-to="" data-item-id="255348118634254337" data-name="UCSD Engineering" data-screen-name="UCSDJacobs" data-tweet-id="255348118634254337" data-user-id="41004033" style="background-color: whitesmoke; border-bottom-color: rgb(232, 232, 232); border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-width: 1px; cursor: pointer; min-height: 51px; padding: 9px 12px; position: relative; zoom: 1;">

UCSD Engineering @UCSDJacobs
The primary way Facebook thinks about monetizing is advertising. We want to provide a free service. VP Cox 
1hUCSD Engineering @UCSDJacobs
With news feed trying to predict what people will interact with and preserve a balance of content: Facebook VP Cox
Facebook is like publishing a live newspaper for a billion people every day. -- FB VP Cox 
Facebook worked with group at UC Berkeley to help users solve one on one problems caused by embarrassing pictures-millions of them. VP Cox
We think about Facebook as connective tissue to transport friends, favorite music, favorite restaurants across platforms. Facebook VP Cox
We want to turn travel, shopping, deciding where to eat into a multi-player experience. Facebook VP Cox 
We have a vote when post new terms of service. We decided not to have votes on new features early on. We talked about it. Facebook VP Cox
We look at phones as publishing tools. Billions of people will have a lens into the world that they can share with all of us Facebook VP Cox
Facebook was started from the idea that it should be a glass that's clear. -- Facebook VP of Product Cox 
The goal is to have medium that doesn't alter the message, but that's impossible--Facebook VP of Product Cox 
FB VP Cox: something like Facebook would have been built at some point in time if Zuckerberg hadn't built it. 
Facebook VP Cox: Products are the like button, the news feed and timeline. The product is building a container that moves around ideas.