Volume 4, Issue 11, November 30, 2017
View this email in your browser
UCLA Institute for Digital Research and Education
Contact Us

Baymax, Stretchable Phones, and Fundamentals
of Soft Materials


UCLA engineering professor Dr. Lihua Jin won the American Society of Mechanical Engineers – Applied Mechanics Division’s 2016 Haythornthwaite Young Investigator Award for her work involving photo-responsive hydrogels, which respond to light by swelling or de-swelling.

In the animated Disney film Big Hero 6, the character Baymax is a loveable, squishy robot that resembles the Michelin Man and is programmed to be a sidekick and protector of the main character Hiro Hamada, a teen robotics engineer. Baymax is filled with air, which makes him exceptionally huggable and a hit with kids and adults alike.
According to UCLA researcher Dr. Lihua Jin, a real-life robot like Baymax would be a feat of soft materials mechanical engineering, which is one of her areas of study. Jin joined the Bruin community last year as an assistant professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, where she researches the mechanics of soft materials as well as the behavior of stimuli-responsive materials, soft robotics, nanomechanics, and multiscale modeling. Read more.

IDRE-related Lectures, Seminars & Colloquia

UCLA Ventures: Fostering Entrepreneurship both On- and Off-Campus

Friday, December 1st
9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
UCLA Technology Development Group Offices
10889 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 820-20

UCLA Technology Development Group (TDG) hosts a monthly educational series and mixer called UCLA TDG FirstFridays. The continental breakfast event will occur on the first Friday of every month from 9:00-10:30 in TDG's conference room Suite 820-20, 10889 Wilshire Blvd. The purpose of the event is to provide an opportunity for the campus and local communities to come and meet with our staff and interns, to hear a brief presentation on a variety of topics relevant to intellectual property and entrepreneurship at UCLA and to ask questions and network.

Space is limited. RSVP is recommended.

Speaker bio:
Brandon Eicher (’07) serves as the Director of UCLA Ventures, a community-built venture portfolio that supports UCLA and its entrepreneurial ecosystem. Since he returned to the university in early 2016, UCLA Ventures has grown rapidly, adding some of UCLA’s most prominent entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to the group’s already vibrant membership base. Under his leadership, this cohort of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, which is committed to building and sustaining UCLA’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, has pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity in their respective venture-backed companies to UCLA Ventures. This support will have a lasting impact on the university, its students, and its alumni.

Materials Science and Engineering Seminar: Blue Light Hazards and a Resolution Based on Candlelight OLED

Friday, December 1st
10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
2101 Engineering V

Abstract: Blue light appears in our daily life either via the use of smart phones, tablets and computers or general lighting. Over exposure to blue light or blue light enriched white light might cause retina damage. Extensive use of electric light at night might also cause other health issues, including sleep disorder, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers of breast and prostate. We will demonstrate that blue light hazards from general lighting can be minimized by the introduction of candlelight OLED, which is presumably 10 times safer from retina protection perspective and 5 times better from melatonin generation perspective, as comparing with the cold white CFL, LED and OLED counterparts. To read more.

Speaker bio:
Prof. Jwohuei Jou has been working on OLED for more than 25 years. He invented the first sunlight-style OLED in 2009 and the first candlelight OLED in 2012. The latter invention has been given many awards lately, including the 2015 Lighting Design Award from the International Dark-Sky Association; the 2016 Outstanding Award of Excellent Paper from Taiwan Light-ing Association; and the 2016 Golden Technology Award from Lite-On. 

CEE 1: Measuring, Monitoring and Evaluating Community Resilience Using Remote Sensing Technologies -- 2017 Distinguished Alumnus

Friday, December 1st
2 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
3400 Boelter Hall

Abstract: One technology which has had an enormous impact on disaster management has been remote sensing.  In the past several decades, this technology has been used extensively to explain the extent of impacts caused by earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, wildfires and terrorist attacks.  Through high-resolution optical imagery and active sensors (e.g., synthetic aperture radar, or more commonly known as SAR, and light detection and ranging or In-situ and airborne LIDAR), remote sensing technologies have demonstrated significant efficacies in quantifying post-disaster damage, monitoring recovery and reconstruction progress after significant disasters, and more recently, in developing important exposure information on our urban infrastructure. To read more.

Speaker bio:
Mr. Ronald T. Eguchi is President and CEO of ImageCat, Inc., a risk management company specializing in the development and use of advanced technologies for risk assessment and reduction.  Mr. Eguchi has over 30 years of experience in risk analysis and risk management studies.  He has directed major research and application studies in these areas for government agencies and private industry.  He currently serves or has served on several Editorial Boards including the Natural Hazards Review published by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center, University of Colorado; the Journal on Uncertainties in Engineering Mechanics published by Resonance Publications, Inc.; and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute’s Journal SPECTRA. 

UCLA Bioinformatics Program Seminars -- December 2017

Monday, December 4
Dr. George Tseng, Professor, Department of Biostatistics
Department of Human Genetics
Department of Computational & Systems Biology
University of Pittsburgh

All seminars from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 159 Boyer Hall, UCLA

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Seminar: Investigating the Impact of Microstructure through Large Data Experimental & Analytical Approaches

Tuesday, December 5th
11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
38-138 Engineering IV

Abstract: The accurate measurement of deformation in response to thermo-mechanical loads is a fundamental requirement in the characterization of materials and structures. Of particular interest is the connection between the macroscopic and microscopic length scales, where strain localization at the grain or constituent level can play critical roles in overall material deformation and ultimate failure of the material. The identification of specific microstructural characteristics that lead to local damage accumulation and accelerated failure, and their mitigation, is key for the informed development and optimization of materials. This talk will present our recent work on exploring these connections using a combination of distortion-corrected digital image correlation and automated scanning electron microscopy to measure deformation fields at small length scales, including a new use of functionalized nanoparticles for microscale deformation tracking. To read more.

Speaker bio:
Samantha Daly is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UCSB. Her interests lie at the intersection of experimental mechanics and materials science, with an emphasis on using novel methods of experimentation coupled closely with theoretical and computational modeling. Group research focuses on the statistical quantification of microstructural features of materials and their effect on meso- and macro-scale properties.

CS 201: Distributed Data Science for Connected and Autonomous Cars: From Research to Best Seller Products

Tuesday, December 5th
4:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
3400 Boelter Hall

Abstract: Many essential things of our everyday life such as the cars, homes, phones, and watches are now getting connected over wireless networks and acquiring some degree of autonomy. As a result, we have access to an unprecedented amount of data and ability to delegate tasks to such devices. Data analytics is therefore becoming an increasingly important part of most connected car, IoT, and autonomous vehicle applications. The field of distributed data science deals with the problem of analyzing and modeling data from such interconnected and often mobile sources. This talk will focus on the evolution of this research area from the academia to commercial products in the context of connected and autonomous cars. To read more.

Speaker bio:
Hillol Kargupta is a co-founder and the President of Agnik, a distributed data science company for connected cars and devices. Agnik is the owner of popular consumer brands like Vyncs. He has more than 20 years of experience in computing and business leadership. Dr. Kargupta is an IEEE Fellow. He published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles.

Applied Math Colloquium: Randomized Primal-Dual Block Coordinate Algorithms for Asynchronous Distributed Optimization

Wednesday, December 6th
4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
6229 Math Sciences

Abstract: Machine learning with big data often involves very large optimization models. For distributed optimization over a cluster of machines, frequent communication and synchronization of all model parameters (optimization variables) can be very costly. A promising solution is to use parameter servers to store different subsets of the model parameters, and update them asynchronously at different machines using local datasets. In this talk, we focus on distributed optimization of large linear models with convex loss functions, and present a family of randomized primal-dual block coordinate algorithms that are especially suitable for asynchronous distributed implementation with parameter servers. In particular, we work with the saddle-point formulation of such problems which allows simultaneous data and model partitioning, and exploit its structure by doubly stochastic coordinate optimization with variance reduction (DSCOVR). Compared with other first-order distributed algorithms, we show that DSCOVR may require less amount of overall computation and communication, and less or no synchronization. We discuss their implementation details, and present numerical experiments on an industrial distributed computing system. This is joint work with Adams Wei Yu, Qihang Lin, and Weizhu Chen.

Dr. Lin Xiao is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research, located in Redmond, WA. His current research interests include theory and algorithms for large-scale optimization, stochastic and online algorithms for machine learning, and parallel and distributed computing.

CS 201: Mosaics: Stratosphere, Flink and Beyond

Thursday, December 7th
4:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
3400 Boelter Hall

Abstract: The global database research community has greatly impacted the functionality and performance of data storage and processing systems along the dimensions that define “big data”, i.e., volume, velocity, variety, and veracity. Locally, over the past five years, we have also been working on varying fronts. Among our contributions are: (1) establishing a vision for a database-inspired big data analytics system, which unifies the best of database and distributed systems technologies, and augments it with concepts drawn from compilers (e.g., iterations) and data stream processing, as well as (2) forming a community of researchers and institutions to create the Stratosphere platform to realize our vision. One major result from these activities was Apache Flink, an open-source big data analytics platform and its thriving global community of developers and production users. Although much progress has been made, when looking at the overall big data stack, a major challenge for database research community still remains. To read more.

Speaker bio:
Volker Markl is a Full Professor and Chair of the Database Systems and Information Management (DIMA) Group at the Technische Universitat (TU) Berlin, Director of the Intelligent Analytics for Massive Data Research Group at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), and Director of the Berlin Big Data Center (BBDC). He has published numerous research papers on indexing, query optimization, lightweight information integration, and scalable data processing.

IDRE-related Workshops & Events

XSEDE HPC Workshop: Big Data

Tuesday, December 5th and Wednesday, December 6th 
8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Portal, 5628 Math Science Building

UCLA-IDRE along with XSEDE and Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is pleased to announce a two day Big Data workshop. This workshop will focus on topics such as Hadoop and Spark and will be presented using the Wide Area Classroom (WAC) training platform. Register here

ProductivITy: A Vendor and Networking Fair

Thursday, December 7th
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
Bruin Reception Room, Ackerman Union, Second Floor

Join us at the Bruin Reception Room on Ackerman 2nd Floor for a whole day of engaging with technology companies, campus services, and researchers. ProductivITy will be creative, engaging, and impactful. This will be a space to showcase the latest tech product or research initiative. ProductivITy promotes collaboration, ideation, and research.
Current participants include:
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Barracuda
  • F5 Networks
  • Laserfiche
  • Microsoft
  • MR2
  • Sceptre
  • Tableau
  • Techmedics
  • Associated Students UCLA (ASUCLA)
  • UCLA Center for Digital Humanities (CDH)
  • UCLA Extension
  • UCLA Institute for Digital Research and Education (IDRE)
  • UCLA IT Services
  • UCLA Office of IT
Register online to access food, giveaways, and to meet with tech professionals.

IDRE Stat Consulting Group

The goal of the UCLA IDRE Statistical Consulting Group is to help UCLA faculty, staff, and graduate students perform top-notch research, with the greatest emphasis on data analysis related to grants and publications, but also including dissertation research. We provide advice and resources to enable you to develop and/or extend your statistical computing skills, helping you to independently use common statistical packages for the analysis of your research. Current hours for walk-in consulting are Monday-Thursday 12-3 PM. 

Walk-in consulting is in Math Sciences 4919. See our online schedule for days and hours.

Grant & Funding Opportunities

UCLA Office of Information Technology
Institute for Digital Research and Education
310-825-6635 |
5308 Math Sciences
Box 951557, Mail Code 155705
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1557

Barbara Woltag, Editor, IDRE Newsletter
310-794-5169 |

If you do not wish to receive announcements from IDRE, you may unsubscribe yourself from this list. If you need assistance, please email