UCSD recently announced the awardees for its first offering of the Frontiers of Innovation Scholars Program. The program aims to enhance interdisciplinary research across four strategic research themes – 1) Understanding and Protecting the Planet, 2) Enriching Human Life and Society, 3) Exploring the Basis of Human Knowledge, Learning, and Creativity, and 4) Understanding Cultures and Addressing Disparities in Society. PhD students Quentin Gautier and Alexandria Shearer, and undergraduates Jorge Pacheco, Nathan Hui, Antonella Wilby and Dominique Meyer all received awards. Quentin will work on 3D modeling for underwater archaeology (the picture above shows an underwater cannon in Rockly Bay, Tobago – the site of a large conflict between the French and the Dutch to control Tobago. We created this model using data from collaborating archaeologists); Alex project aims to develop an aerial lidar system for topographic mapping large forested regions specifically to find Maya structures in the jungle; and the undergraduates will work on various projects related to the Engineers for Exploration program.
Congratulations to Dr. Janarbek Matai on the successful defense of his PhD thesis. His thesis focused on making the hardware design process easier to use, more accessible to programmers, while not sacrificing performance. As one of the foremost experts in high level synthesis, he aimed to automate the knowledge that he has learned by using these state of the art hardware design tools over the past five years. Janarbek will be missed, but is not going far. He will join the research group at Cognex along with former Kastner Group alumni Dr. Ali Irturk and MS alumni Isaac Phillips.
Our group has seven posters in the Jacobs School of Engineering Research Expo this year. The posters cover our research in underwater sensing, hardware acceleration for biomedical applications, real-time 3D reconstruction, and archaeological mapping. The research expo has been a great way for our group to connect with industry. Nik Devreaux from ViaSat provides some insight on this in a recent interview where he mentions his past experiences with our research group related to FPGAS and cyber-security, and the connections with ViaSat.
The Triton Magazine covered our research at the Maya archaeological site El Zotz. They focused on our aerial imaging and 3-D reconstructions of the masks and other artifacts both outside the temples and other structures at the site, and within the temples.
The picture shows a 3D model of one of the walls of a temple at El Zotz. This is underground, and has been carefully excavated. We created the model using a technique called “structure from motion”. The Maya would adorn the walls of the temple with masks depicting their gods.
Micro Top Picks are given to the best papers from across the best conferences in computer architecture (ISCA, Micro, ASPLOS, etc.). Our paper, “Sapper: A Language for Hardware-Level Security Policy Enforcement”, received an honorable mention. Congrats to all of the authors: Xun Li (Facebook), Vineeth Kashyap (UCSB), Jason Oberg (UCSD), Mohit Tiwari (UT Austin), Vasanth Ram (UCSB), Ryan Kastner (UCSD), Tim Sherwood (UCSB), Ben Hardekopf (UCSB), and Fred Chong (UCSB).
It may seem like science fiction, but we showed that it is possible to use sensors to monitor your brain waves and quickly detect underwater mines in sonar images. We combined techniques from computer vision with cutting edge classification of focal interest of human operators via electroencephalography (EEG) analysis, i.e., the recording of electrical activity along the scalp. This is the first approach for using EEG in this application.
These ideas are detailed in our upcoming journal paper, “A Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) for the Detection of Mine-Like Objects in Side Scan Sonar Imagery”, that has been accepted as a full article in the Journal of Oceanic Engineering. Congrats are in order to the authors: Christopher Barngrover, Alric Althoff, Paul DeGuzman, and Ryan Kastner. Special thanks to Neuromatters for the support with the EEG analysis tools and to Advanced Brain Monitoring for the use of the EEG sensors and hardware. The picture shows Dr. Chris Barngrover stylishly sporting the EEG cap at Neuromatters in New York City.
Ruku – a robotic Rubik’s Cube solver – started a Kickstarter campaign. They are aiming to raise funding to develop their robotic platform as a way to motivate K-12 students to participate in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The project was started by Daryl Stimm. He recruited Jonas Kabigting and Will Mutterspaugh to help him realize the project during Ryan’s CSE 145. They are aiming to raise $50,000 which will enable them to move this into larger production. We wish them the best of luck in their fundraising and future endeavors!
UCSD TV recently debuted the latest in the “Computing Primetime” series – 30 minute conversation between Ryan and Albert Lin. They discuss the Engineers for Exploration program, provide stories from field expeditions surveying Maya sites in Guatemala, and give opinions on the role of computing and engineering in understanding cultural heritage and the environment.
Our work on high speed cell sorting was one of three research projects discussed in a “Looking at Machine Vision” article recently published in the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine. This work is building a hardware accelerated system to classify cells as they pass through a microfluidic device. The image processing must handle 10,000+ frames/second, while accurately detecting the type of cell. We originally developed the algorithms based upon work in Prof. Dino DiCarlo’s lab at UCLA. We are now working with the startup Cytovale to develop a commercial system based upon our initial technology.
Janarbek was selected to attend and present a poster at Amazon’s Graduate Research Symposium. The symposium brings together graduate students from around the country to Amazon headquarters in Seattle, WA. Janarbek will present his research on easing the design process for building hardware accelerated applications.