What's New: California Institute for
Telecommunications and Information Technology
Doug Ramsey | November 20, 2006
What’s new this academic year? This Week@UCSD is taking a quick look at what’s in store for different areas of campus. Here’s what is up for 2006-07 at the UCSD Division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).
- True to its interdisciplinary agenda, Calit2 has embarked on an initiative to bring the benefits of science and technology to the analysis and restoration of great works of art and historic monuments of world cultural heritage. UCSD bioengineering alum Maurizio Seracini, Class of ’73, joined the staff of Calit2 in October. He is the world’s top art diagnostician and one of the few real people mentioned in “The Da Vinci Code.” In early December, Calit2 will announce the creation of a new center of interdisciplinary science for art, architecture and archaeology. Initial projects will include work on a Da Vinci masterpiece, as well as a long-term project to scan and analyze one of the most important structures of the Renaissance. As director, Seracini will also lead efforts to develop a training program for UCSD students in collaboration with San Diego-based museums. Video: http://rpvss.ucsd.edu:8080/ramgen/calit2/seracini.rm
- Ever heard of Nano3? Now you will. Located on the first floor of Atkinson Hall, Nano3 is the most advanced clean-room facility on the UCSD campus—and one of the best in San Diego County. It opened in May, but is getting under full steam only now, as researchers develop new projects in nanoscience, nanoengineering, and nanomedicine (hence, Nano3). In addition to providing essential nanofabrication capabilities for research on electronic and optoelectronic materials and devices, the facility is intended to facilitate the pursuit of research in emerging, interdisciplinary, and rapidly growing fields such as biomedical and biochemical devices, heterogeneous integrated devices and circuits, and sensor technology. The “cleanest” rooms are Class 100, i.e., they must have fewer than 100 particles of dust in a cubic meter of air. The facility is open to users across campus. More
- TLC:BLAST. That’s the extended acronym for a new Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center (TLC) at UCSD that will be based in Calit2. The subtitle BLAST stands for “Better Learning through the Advancement of the Science of Time.” It’s the newest National Science Foundation-funded Science of Learning Center, and will explore our understanding of how humans learn, specifically by clarifying and harnessing the importance of time in learning. The research could lead to improved teaching techniques and, along the way, alter the trajectories of countless human lives. The $3.5 million NSF grant for the first two years could lead to an additional $32 million over the next decade. Computer scientist Gary Cottrell is the principal investigator on the project, and other participating UCSD faculty members include cognitive scientists Andrea Chiba and Javier Movellan, Scott Makeig (director of UCSD's Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience) and the Salk Institute’s Terry Sejnowski. New facilities in Calit2 will include a motion-capture studio. More
- On Nov. 30, Calit2 at UCSD will inaugurate a new Center for Algorithmic and Systems Biology (CASB). The research group brings together biologists with mathematicians and computer scientists, to study computational approaches in biological sciences. It will serve as a worldwide bioinformatics conference center and forum for researchers in algorithmic and systems biology. Computer science professor Pavel Pevzner will direct CASB, together with co-director Steve Briggs, a professor of biology, and other investigators. The official ceremony to mark the birth of CASB will occur during the first of three conferences, all of which will take place at Calit2, Nov. 30-Dec. 3. They include Algorithmic Biology 2006, and workshops in systems biology and computational proteomics. More
- Come January, one of the top researchers at Calit2’s UC Irvine division will travel south to set up his lab in the institute’s San Diego home. Atkinson Hall will host the lab of Falko Kuester, an expert in scientific visualization and virtual reality. At Irvine, he directs Calit2’s Center of GRAVITY (Graphics, Visualization and Imaging Technology) but will become a professor of structural engineering in the Jacobs School of Engineering (joining his wife, Tara Hutchinson, who joined the structural engineering faculty from UC Irvine this fall). At Irvine, Kuester developed the largest tiled computer display in the world, called the HIPerWall—stitching together 50 Apple 30” Cinema Displays to create a monolith sporting more than 200 million pixels. He hopes to build something even bigger at UCSD and felt that Calit2 would remain the logical partner, given its already-substantial investments in a variety of visualization technologies, including tiled displays and the country’s first 4K projection system, which delivers four times the resolution of high-definition TV to audiences in Calit2’s main auditorium.
- January will also mark the first anniversary of CAMERA, Calit2’s joint venture with human genome project pioneer (and UCSD alum) Craig Venter (Class of ’72, Ph.D. ’75). And in January 2007, CAMERA will release to scientists worldwide the first sets of DNA-sequenced genomes and related metadata associated with tiny ocean microbes. A special issue of a top biology journal will feature preliminary analyses of the data, including articles by UCSD faculty. The data infrastructure for CAMERA will be housed in the Calit2 first-floor server room, which will become the epicenter of a relatively new field of study called metagenomics. http://camera.calit2.net