Programmed to Fold: RNA Origami


Paul Rothemund, Senior Research Associate in Bioengineering, Computer Science, and Computation and Neural Systems, and colleagues have fabricated complicated shapes from DNA's close chemical cousin, RNA. "RNA origami is still in its infancy," says Rothemund. "Nevertheless, I believe that RNA origami, because of their potential to be manufactured by cells, and because of the extra functionality possible with RNA, will have at least as big an impact as DNA origami." [Caltech Release]

Tags: EE research highlights health CMS Paul Rothemund

Sink or Swim: Students Prticipate in RoboSub Competition


For the past year, a team of Caltech students, advised by Professor Joel Burdick, met at the campus pool on Sunday afternoons to prepare for the 17th Annual International RoboSub Competition. These members of the Caltech Robotics Team carefully crafted and optimized their robotic submarine named Bruce. Bruce was programmed to perform tasks such as pulling a lever, parking between two poles, and shooting little torpedoes at a target without the help of a human operator. At the competition the Caltech team received the judges' award for Best New Entry. [Caltech release]

Tags: MCE CMS Joel Burdick

Highly Cited


The Thomson Reuters compilation of the most highly cited researchers— those in the top 1%—from the period 2002–2012 include EAS professors Harry Atwater, Richard Murray, Joel Tropp, John Seinfeld, Kerry Vahala, and Paul Wennberg. Other Caltech professors were also among the top 1%—including Colin Camerer, Mark Davis, Richard Ellis, William Goddard, Robert Grubbs, Hiroo Kanamori, Jeff Kimble, John O’Doherty, and Charles Steidel. This compilation aims to identify researchers with exceptional impact on their respective fields.  [Detailed information on the methodology]

Tags: APhMS honors MCE Harry Atwater CMS ESE Paul Wennberg John Seinfeld Joel Tropp Kerry Vahala Richard Murray

Celebration of Undergraduate Research


The Computing and Mathematical Sciences (CMS) Department hosted its first Celebration of Undergraduate Research on Friday, May 30th, 2014. Fifteen students/teams participated by presenting their research via a poster and/or demo, and prizes were awarded to the top three teams, as voted by event attendees: First Place: Social Math, presented by Jianchi Chen, Ying Yu Ho, Timothy Holland, and Kexin Rong; Second Place: The Tweet Rises, presented by Aleksander Bello, Alexandru Cioc, Victor Duan, Archan Luhar, and Louis O'Bryan; Third Place: Team Ouroboroy, presented by Moya Chen and James Macdonald.

In addition the following students were recognized for their outstanding academic excellence and/or services to CMS: Erika DeBenedictis, Kevin Chen, David Ding, Angela Gong, Max Hirschhorn, Josie Kishi, Jesse Salomon, Ben Yuan, and Mike Yurko.

Many members of the CMS community attended to learn more about the research projects, and a large numbers of undergrads came to support and celebrate their classmates' hard work. On the heels of this event's success, it has been decided that the Celebration of Undergraduate Research will henceforth be an annual occurrence in CMS."

Tags: honors CMS

Iris Z. Liu Wins 2014 Bhansali Prize


Iris Z. Liu, a senior student in Computer Science advised by Mathieu Desbrun and conducting research with Adam Wierman, is the recipient of the 2014 Bhansali Prize. The Bhansali Prize is awarded to an undergraduate student for outstanding research in Computer Science in the current academic year.

With increased incorporation of renewable energy in the energy grid, energy supply becomes more intermittent. As energy demands increase, demand peak periods become more problematic for energy providers. These problems of fluctuating supply and demand necessitate demand response programs. Iris’ research with Professor Adam Wierman focuses on data centers as a particularly promising industry for demand response. Through a series of simulations, she has shown that data centers provide as much (or even more) flexibility as large-scale storage when incentivized correctly. She has compared the voltage violations and generation costs of data centers versus large-scale storage, given a particular network, demands, and loads. Through this research, she was able to highlight the potential for using data centers as demand response resources.

Tags: honors CMS Mathieu Desbrun Adam Wierman Iris Liu

Dae Hyun Kim Receives 2014 Henry Ford II Scholar Award


Undergraduate student Dae Hyun Kim, working with Professor Adam Wierman, is the recipient of the 2014 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. Dae Hyun is studying computer science with broad interests including computer graphics and machine learning, as well as mathematics and neuroscience. This summer, he plans to work with Professor Shinsuke Shimojo in applying a novel eigenvector based method of analyzing brain dynamics to study inter-brain dynamics in social interaction. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to the engineering student with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Tags: honors CMS Henry Ford II Scholar Award Adam Wierman Dae Hyun Kim

Maria I. Lopez Wins Schmitt Staff Prize


Maria I. Lopez, Lead Options Administrator in Computing & Mathematical Sciences, has won the Caltech Thomas W. Schmitt Annual Staff Prize. The prize is given to a staff member whose contributions embody the values and spirit that enables Caltech to achieve excellence in research and education. "Lopez is in charge of the organization of annual classes taken by more than 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students," says one of the anonymous individuals who nominated Lopez for the prize. "Maria gets thanked in every thesis defense that I attend. Her positive attitude has been quite contagious among her peers: she literally invigorated her colleagues to play as a team . . . I do not think it is an exaggeration to state that she is the energy source of the whole department." [Caltech Release]

Tags: CMS honor Maria Lopez

Professor Chandy's Paper Wins Edsger W. Dijkstra Prize in Distributed Computing


Mani Chandy, Simon Ramo Professor of Computer Science, Emeritus, and Leslie Lamport's paper entitled “Distributed Snapshots: Determining Global States of a Distributed System” has received the 2014 Edsger W. Dijkstra Prize in Distributed Computing. This prize is awarded for an outstanding paper on the principles of distributed computing, whose significance and impact on the theory and/or practice of distributed computing has been evident for at least a decade.

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Tags: CMS Mani Chandy honor

Coding Breakthrough Could Accelerate Mobile Network Speeds


Tracey C. Ho, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and colleagues’ research on stateless data transmission using Random Linear Network Coding (RLNC) promises higher network speeds with an elegant mathematical approach to data error correction and redundancy. They have shown that data could be transmitted without link layer flow control bogging down throughput with retransmission requests, and also the size of the transmission can be optimized for network efficiency and application latency constraints. [Networkworld Blog]

Tags: CMS Tracey Ho research highlight

Celebrating with Professor Carver Mead


Carver Mead, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus, celebrated his 80th birthday on May 1, 2014. Professor Mead is best known for his pioneering work on VLSI (very-large-scale integration) circuit technology in the 1970s and 1980s, which made it possible to greatly increase the number of transistors placed on a single semiconductor chip. It is no exaggeration to say that the computer era we live in would not have been possible without VLSI technology. He remains as passionate today about science and engineering as he ever was. "There isn't really a time when you're too old to have new ideas," Mead says. [Caltech interview] [Share Your Memories] [ENGenious article]

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Tags: EE CMS Carver Mead research highlight