Welcome to CSE Department Chair's Wiki

  • Latest blog posts.
  • CSE at Triton 5K: An Inspiring Image! CSE today was the third largest team with 63 participants and second highest funds raised. It was also a team that truly inspires: from Cheryl Hile's unbounded enthusiasm matched ...
    Posted Jun 7, 2014, 8:01 PM by Rajesh Gupta
  • Tracking Our Web Presence On the CSE Facebook page, we track statistics on how our posts are doing with respect to readership, what topics have good traction with the larger CSE community. Here is ...
    Posted May 30, 2014, 6:31 PM by Rajesh Gupta
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  • Latest posts from departmental committees
  • Impacted Status: Saga Continues...for a school that is not. Despite clear writings on the wall on what was to come, has come to pass and its negative effects re surging enrollments, the campus continues to move along at a ...
    Posted Jul 12, 2013, 3:30 PM by Rajesh Gupta
  • The "Fourth" Course As you know, our regular teaching load is three regular courses and a "fourth" course per year. The definition, meaning and purpose of fourth course has varied with the chairs ...
    Posted Nov 29, 2011, 9:10 AM by Rajesh Gupta
Showing posts 1 - 2 of 17. View more »

CSE at Triton 5K: An Inspiring Image!

posted Jun 7, 2014, 7:21 PM by Rajesh Gupta   [ updated Jun 7, 2014, 8:01 PM ]

CSE today was the third largest team with 63 participants and second highest funds raised. It was also a team that truly inspires: from Cheryl Hile's unbounded enthusiasm matched only by her thorough planning and team building to Lindsey Fowler's love of life at UCSD. Our team was full of inspirational images: faculty, students, staff and alumni running together, having fun, even dominating in their divisions and all the while setting trailblazing role models for others to follow!! I could fill pages with the inspiring stories behind each one of them, but here are a few pictures to get the message across.

Here is Christine posing with Jennifer Arguello. Christine ran to the #1 place in her division! Among the rest: Cheryl placed #7, Ryan Kastner #7, Vier Kier #4, Dave Wargo #5, Mihir Bellare #8, Dean Tullsen #15 and yours truly at #14. Brian Hile joined us and placed #2! 

So glad to be on a team like that!

Tracking Our Web Presence

posted May 30, 2014, 6:31 PM by Rajesh Gupta

On the CSE Facebook page, we track statistics on how our posts are doing with respect to readership, what topics have good traction with the larger CSE community. Here is some data:


* The CSE FB page has 564 likes. This compares to 1,798 likes for the JSOE FB page, and 119 likes for UCSD WIC. Here is a list of other FB pages

 FB Page   #likes    
 SIO: https://www.facebook.com/scrippsocean 10,172
 UCSD Life: https://www.facebook.com/UCSanDiegoLife 3,518
 TEDxUCSD: https://www.facebook.com/TEDxUCSD     2,371
 JSOE: https://www.facebook.com/UCSDJacobs 1,798
 WIC: https://www.facebook.com/UCSD.WIC 119

By comparison, here are the size of the FB Groups:

FB Group #members
 UCSD CSE 2,126
 CSES: Computer Science and Engineering Society     1,371        
 CSE Students and Alumni 1,550
 UCSD Tritons CS Bay Area     117


The reach of a post is the readership: number of individuals to which a post is shown. This reach can be enhanced by paid promotion (usually about $25). Thus, a reach has an organic as well as a paid component to it. Of course, not all posts are advertised.

Here is data on posts published in last 3 months:

Let us take a closer look at the top posts:
 Post Total Reach Paid Reach Type
 Brina Lee UCSD Story: https://www.facebook.com/UcsdCseDepartment/posts/714092761988995 20,952     12,271 Personality
 Tutors: https://www.facebook.com/UcsdCseDepartment/posts/587572901307649 17,416 16,944     Community
 Join Alumus: https://www.facebook.com/UcsdCseDepartment/posts/539257656139174 8,800 8,516 Fund Raising
 Ranjit Jhala: https://www.facebook.com/UcsdCseDepartment/posts/658702574194681  7,040    6,513     Personality
 CS Jobs: https://www.facebook.com/UcsdCseDepartment/posts/689708141094124 6,170 - Profession
 25th anniversary: https://www.facebook.com/UcsdCseDepartment/posts/586451764753096 2,377 1,994 Event
 CSE Enrollments: https://www.facebook.com/UcsdCseDepartment/posts/693981330666805 1,583 - Department
 Resume Workshop: https://www.facebook.com/UcsdCseDepartment/posts/442878552498699 1,227 - Event
 Welcome Mia: https://www.facebook.com/UcsdCseDepartment/posts/695113313886940 1,090 - Personality

UC Wakes up to Declining PhD Enrollments

posted Nov 28, 2013, 6:23 PM by Rajesh Gupta

Here is a communication from OP to CEP. Bottomline, we see the problem and will do something about it starting with organizing a system-wide meeting. 

Strengthening our UG courses

posted Sep 27, 2013, 10:21 AM by Rajesh Gupta

As a step towards strengthening and streamlining our instruction across UG courses, Christine started a survey of course expectations and prerequisites. Now, Yoav and Christine have put together this page specifically focusing on what we expect our students to know entering our upper-division courses. I strongly recommend everyone to look through it and enter information as appropriate.

Online Education in CSE

posted Sep 5, 2013, 11:27 AM by Yoav Freund   [ updated Sep 6, 2013, 8:44 AM ]

CSE now has it's own online education server. You can access this server here (You need an account to use this server, if you want to try it out without creating an account, see the MAA101 account below).

Webwork is an online homework system focused on Math. It has a large collection of problems in many areas of math, including discrete math and algorithms.

This fall, three courses will be using the system: 
  • "Discrete Math" CSE21 - Ron Graham and Mia Minnes
  • "Algorithms" CSE101 - Sanjoy Dasgupta
  • "Probability and Statistics" CSE103 - Yoav Freund

Adaptive Hints Using WebWork

If you are interested in learning more about webworks, I recommend reading this pdf, and then going to the MAA101 demo course here. (log in as guest)

I am also interested in making webwork more adapted to the particular students. Here
is video describing the current work in my group in this direction.

Drop me a line if you are interested

CSE "Spice" Program Launched Today

posted Aug 4, 2013, 11:53 PM by Rajesh Gupta

It was an exciting day today when all the effort by Mohan and his team for the last six months or so came to a full display, in the form of SPIS program launch. Mohan explains the program in attached PPT.

Computer Science in the News

posted Jun 9, 2013, 8:32 AM by Rajesh Gupta   [ updated Jun 9, 2013, 9:22 AM ]

YouTube Video

While I did not personally anticipate such a prominent coverage of our lead gift, it is good to see Computer Science (at UCSD) to be in the local press. It helps build our connection to the community. I am proud to be its face and mouthpiece (I have to work on my accent a bit more:), the real hero is, of course, the anonymous donor who choose specifically to stay in the background to make sure Computer Science department got the attention both inside and outside of UCSD!

That was by design and it is already working! While the explosive growth of recent years and attendant problems in a "business-as-usual" campus depressed me often, we seem to be getting past over it. Going by where our students are going this year, it is an exciting time for the word to spread about the academic strength of CSE@UCSD! Here is what I know today, and there may be more:

Yuvraj Agarwal  -> CMU
Cynthia Bailey  -> Stanford
Nadia Heninger  -> U Penn
Daniel Hsu      -> Columbia
Jack Sampson    -> Penn State
Zachary Tatlock -> U Washington
Kevin Webb      -> Swarthmore?

This is, of course, really tip of the iceberg for the phenomenal students we produce and supply to research labs (MSRs and Googles) and to the industry. Great job, everyone! Enjoy the news and the results from planning we already have in progress.

UT San Diego

Online Education and Distance Learning

posted Nov 15, 2012, 2:52 PM by Rajesh Gupta   [ updated Nov 15, 2012, 2:52 PM ]

You are used to hearing a lot about online education, MOOCs and the ongoing land grab to declare a presence in the area. Certainly, MIT, Harvard and Stanford have made high profile claims; and places like Berkeley and UT Austin have also joined in (even if their individual faculty don't know what they are going to be actually doing). Institutionally, it is not a bad bet to be in that company, the publicity alone coupled with optics of top-ranked school is already a ROI, without the $60M by MIT+Harvard or $16M from KPCB. A few percentage point uptick in their donations from increased attention is a good icing on the cake.

So, then you ask what are we doing at UCSD? We seem to be stuck in neutral. First, it is the campus leadership that has to make a decision, and that means EVC working with Academic Senate. Apparently the two are working on it while everyone has been put on hold. Good luck getting a decision through, save one that could actually have the force of individual passion and fire to make something happen. 

In the meantime, AS bodies sense this hesitation and they stall even on things that would be no brainer. Here is one: on JSOE's request to Graduate Council about teaching courses to four students in Alabama became a football that keeps kicking around a committee. Let us hope and pray that common sense prevails (over politics).  

Online Education

posted Sep 2, 2012, 11:15 AM by Rajesh Gupta   [ updated Sep 6, 2013, 9:02 AM by Rajesh Gupta ]

Given the currency of the issues brought on by Coursera, Udacity, Udemy and others, I am putting together a few key links from my explorations of the subject so far. We do have an opening in this regard: our MAS program has a provision for online offerings (for the obvious reasons that the local market for professional engineers is likely to tap out in a few years):

Reproduction of my notes from SNOWBIRD 2012 on this subject:

E-learning/Cyber-learning/CS Education:

·        This came in multiple sessions related to rise of online learning to CS education principles in college and earlier.

·        The session with Peter Norvig, Sal Khan and Spector was most illuminating:

o   Sal’s KA is looking to create basically a real private tutor via micro-lectures. In the longer term he sees this becoming a general knowledge resources with instructions customized to individual needs

o   There is, of course, a broader universe of Udacity, Udemy, Coursera, EdX that is approaching learning in ways beyond books and papers. Peter’s presentation focused on how he found paper limiting in explaining AI concepts and how online made it possible for him to share with the students a learning process that goes beyond traditional books.

o   The #1 issue facing such online (asynch/synch) learning is “credentialing”. Sal thinks it will be decoupled from instruction.

§  “While Udacity etc give a certificate of completion, the employers don’t know what a certificate means.”

o   The existing universities will be source “physical experience” that will move up the value chain

§  Corollary: there will be winners (presumably tier 1 universities) and losers in this shift.

o   There was quite a bit of discussion on Bloom’s 2-sigma observation that 1-1 tutoring improves student performance by 2 sigmas and how MOOC seek to do much better with astute observations such as “learning is what students do” which is affected by a number of factors some of which are related to social dynamics on a campus

o   The goal of teaching should be to enable students to be able to make predictions

§  That is given a problem, understanding a problem and then be able to make predictions. Rather than knowing right and wrong answers to given problems, problem solving requires this essential skill which is gained ironically by errors in the predictions.

o   Going back to the credentialing need, there is a need for better transcripts: rather than 48 bits devoted for learning outcome in a year (to describe course grades), the transcripts can be much richer that include details on class outcomes

o   Summary

§  Content for online instructions is exploding with varying quality (of content, presentation)

§  Personalization of this content is a hard problem

§  Testing and certification of learning outcome is a hard problem that demands significant infrastructure

§  Online learning is hampered by availability of interesting exercises that promote problem solving

§  Cheating in an (online) course is a function is the importance of grade as a result.

Dropping out of school and interdisciplinarity

posted Sep 2, 2012, 11:00 AM by Rajesh Gupta

This one is a bit personal: recent 60-minutes caught up with the phenomenon of Peter Thiel bashing university education as a waste of time and money and encouraging kids to drop out. The sixty minute piece captured the debate, including my son Anand presenting at the 20-under-20 forum; and, of course, dropping out of college, nee "stopping" out of Harvard.

My friend Vivek Wadhwa calls this greatest mislead of our times. Mislead or not, it is obviously clear that billionaires with press accolades have a bit more influence on college kids today than parents! Nevertheless, what did brighten my day was the essay my son wrote re overspecialization being pursued in colleges; why should, for instance, students be required to declare their major before entering school?

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