Entries with tag university of california san diego.

Robots Assist Firefighters by Creating 3D Thermal Maps

University of California, San Diego, researchers created several new image processing techniques that enable robots to quickly create 3D thermal images of fires, which can assist rescuers. The Segway-like mobile robots created by the Coordinated Robotics Lab are equipped with an infrared camera and software that take thermal data captured as it moves through a burning structure, then maps it onto a 3D scene that it produces from a pair of stereo RGB cameras. This information creates a 3D map with temperature data the first responders can use instantly. Other sensors can gather information to determine factors such as the building’s structural integrity and whether gasses are present. The robot can also search for anyone trapped in the fire. The robot is designed to be used as part of a team of scouting robots for residential and commercial fires. Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department as well as from ATA Engineering, L-P3, and Brain Corporation collaborated on the project. The researchers plan to present their work at the 2014 International Conference on Robotics and Automation. (redOrbit)(University of California, San Diego, Jacobs School of Engineering) 

Game Teaches Java Programming

University of California, San Diego, researchers have developed a 3D first-person video game to teach children Java programming. CodeSpells targets elementary- to high school-aged students. In the game, a wizard in a land of gnomes has no spells to help them. The player assists by writing spells in Java and performing quests that teach concepts such as conditional and loop statements. The game was tested with 40 girls, aged 10 to 12, with no programming experience. The researchers said the girls mastered basic Java concepts within an hour of game play. They are making the game freely available by request to any educational institution and are doing further testing in San Diego-area elementary schools. They presented their findings at the recent 2013 SIGCSE Technical Symposium, sponsored by ACM’s Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education. (SlashDot)(Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego)
 

Techniques Enable Efficient Cloud Computing

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, and Google have developed techniques that let hardware running cloud-computing resources operate more efficiently. Their approach uses data collected in real time on server clusters and works with non-uniform memory access (NUMA) technology, a memory approach for multiprocessing in which processors can access their own local memory faster than nonlocal memory. To make their technique work, the researchers apply a NUMA score to a process – in their experiments, they used Gmail backend server jobs -- to see how RAM is allocated in warehouse-scale computers and analyze performance impact. Optimizing the NUMA score, which can be accomplished by techniques such as clustering threads close to memory nodes, for example, could increase efficiency 15 to 20 percent. Google has already implemented the approach. The researchers presented their findings at the recent IEEE International Symposium on High Performance Computer Architecture in Shenzhen, China. (PhysOrg)(University of California, San Diego)(“Optimizing Google’s Warehouse Scale Computers: The NUMA Experience” @ University of California, San Diego) 

Researchers Create Human-Metabolism Model

An international consortium of researchers are using the power of supercomputing to produce what they say is the most comprehensive virtual reconstruction of human metabolism available, which could help identify and create individualized treatments for a wide range of diseases. Recon 2 is based on work by University of California, San Diego, researchers and could help study and treat of cancer and diabetes, as well as psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Metabolism is the conversion of food sources into energy. Metabolic imbalances can play a role in disease. In turn, genetics, environment, and nutrition play a role in metabolism. High-powered computing has enabled scientists to construct huge interactive databases of biological data regarding metabolic pathways and analyze the information they contain. UC San Diego researchers built Recon 1 in 2007, basing it on more than 3,300 known biochemical reactions documented in more than 50 years of metabolic research. Recon 2, by contrast, includes information on about 7,400 reactions contributed by researchers worldwide. The researchers presented Recon 2 in a paper published online this month in the journal Nature Biotechnology. (EurekAlert)(University of California, San Diego @ EurekAlert)(Recon 2)

Researchers Design Secure Browser


University of California, San Diego, computer scientists have developed a secure browser design that uses a new security verification approach. Typically, browser security is based on a model or abstraction and not the actual browser. Hackers can exploit the gap or difference between how the browser functions in the abstraction and actual browser. The researchers’ formal shim verification technique corrects this by formally proving that the browser implementation itself is correct by using a proof assistant to determine if the code meets the specifications. The researchers tested their approach on a browser they created called Quark. Verification is typically time-consuming and requires a great deal of code; however, formal shim verification creates a small browser kernel. It is only this part of the code in their browser – the portion most vulnerable to attack -- that is verified. The researchers presented their work at the 21st Usenix Security Symposium. (PhysOrg)(University of California, San Diego – news release)(University of California, San Diego – paper)

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