June 2009 Newsletter

CITRIS "shortens the pipeline" between world-class laboratory research in science and engineering and the creation of startups, companies, and whole industries. By engaging business, economics, law, and public policy at the outset of projects, we accelerate and amplify the impact of research that addresses California's most pressing challenges.

Dear Friends of CITRIS,

As summer arrives, we are preparing for the full occupation of our new headquarters building, Sutardja Dai Hall. By the start of fall term, the building’s labs should be up and running and the hallways filled with researchers and students. We had a successful spring semester, ending on a high note with our Big Ideas competition awarding $30,000 to promising student-led initiatives, with first place going to a proposal to implement educational computer centers in San Quentin and study the ability of information technology to reduce the overcrowding crisis in California’s prisons.

The stories in this edition of the newsletter illustrate the wide range of CITRIS-affiliated research. On the virtual end of the spectrum, UC Davis computer science professor Kwan-Liu Ma’s lab is finding new ways to convert vast oceans of data into useful rivers of information that astronomers, materials scientists, or medical researchers can clearly visualize and work with. On the other, more concrete end of the spectrum, UC Santa Cruz researcher Chris Wilmers and his colleagues are using innovations in networking and sensing to track the movements and behaviors of large mammals, including the elusive pumas, some of which make the Santa Cruz Mountains their home. To track and analyze the movement of pumas, the Santa Cruz researchers are fitting them with collars equipped with GPS tracking devices and accelerometers that can indicate not only where the cats go but also what they are doing along the way. Understanding how these magnificent but extremely shy animals use the terrain, so that we can respect that use, is important not only for protecting them, but for self-protection as well.

As with Kwan-Liu Ma’s efforts to help scientists to clearly visualize their own data, and with virtually all of CITRIS’s projects, seeing what’s what in the world is a key first step toward effectively engaging it.

Thanks and keep up the good work.

Paul K. Wright
Director, Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society

San Quentin computer project wins 2009 Big Ideas
This year's Big Ideas first prize of $13,000 went to the San Quentin All-access computer center project. Read more about it and the other prize winners.

CITRIS to host two workshops in June
The BSN 2009 workshop (June 4-6) will address the fast-growing body sensor network (BSN) research field, and the Symposium on Energy Efficient Electronic Systems (June 11-12) will focus on ways of building future electronic information processing systems,
with major improvements in energy efficiency.

Opinion Space is Launched

Opinion Space, an experimental system for visualizing opinions and exchanging ideas, encourages people to express their opinions and lets them visualize where they stand relative to the diversity of other viewpoints.

CITRIS UCSC and Cisco find mutual benefit in networking partnership
Cisco has provided funding and equipment–and challenging real-world problems–for teaching and research laboratories at the engineering school, enabling UCSC students to work directly with Cisco engineers on networking projects.

France’s Secretary for Education and Research, Valerie Pecresse, visits CITRIS museum

Secretary Pecresse visited the new CITRIS Tech Museum in Sutardja Dai Hall, where Ph.D. students demonstrated the Mobile Millennium technology for her.