Volume 4, Issue 10, October 30, 2017
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UCLA Institute for Digital Research and Education
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Leave Nothing to the Imagination:
The Mathematics of Visual Effects


UCLA mathematics professor Dr. Joseph M. Teran has consulted on Disney animated projects, including “Frozen” and “Moana,” since 2007.

In show business, it’s all about who you know. But for UCLA Mathematics Professor and IDRE-related faculty Joseph Teran, it’s all about snow. His research into the mechanics of ice crystals that fall from the atmosphere aided the Walt Disney Company in the creation of animated snow sequences in its Oscar-winning film “Frozen.”

Teran has consulted on Disney animated projects, including “Frozen” and “Moana,” since 2007. His very first endeavor was creating a “destruction engine” for the film “Bolt,” which centers on a famous canine who thinks the powers he has on his television show are real. Read more.

News & Publications

UCLA community provides long-distance assist for Puerto Rico recovery

"...This feeling of helplessness was partially relieved when McSorley, who lived in Añasco during middle school, learned about a “mapathon” that was held Oct. 5 at the Charles E. Young Research Library. During the four-hour event, volunteers, who were not required to have any experience with mapping, added building locations to digital maps of Puerto Rico focusing on the municipality of Ponce, located in the southern part of Puerto Rico. The maps will be used to help aid workers on the island determine where resources are needed and how many are needed. Midway through the mapathon about 50 people had stopped by to assist..." Read more

New leader of Bunche Center at UCLA shines spotlight on justice, employment for African-Americans

"...The Bunche Center becomes home to Million Dollar Hoods, a project Lytle-Hernández launched last September. It is the first research project to map the cost of incarceration in Los Angeles. Originally launched tracking data from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and now with recently added Los Angeles Police Department and Long Beach Police Department data, the mapping project traces arrests based on where the arrested persons are from and on what charges as well as how much it costs to lock them up..." Read more

IDRE-related Lectures, Seminars & Colloquia

How Can We Make Technology Solve Big Problems? A Discussion of Energy Systems and Climate Change Migration

Thursday, November 2nd
3 p.m. to 4:30 .m.
Charles E. Young Research Library Conference Center

Technology is both the reason behind and a potential solution to several major threats to life on this planet. Climate change is one example, where energy technology largely created the problem and will also be required to address it. But there remain important gaps in the knowledge of how to measure and explain the drivers of technological progress, which limit the ability to develop technology solutions. Using examples from research on solar cells and electric vehicle batteries, Dr. Jessika Trancik will discuss how to begin to fill these gaps. Her insights can inform investments of time and money into developing technologies to help solve important problems like climate change.

RSVP is requested.

Speaker bio:
Jessika Trancik is an associate professor in the Institute of Data, Systems, and Society a the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is also an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. She received her BS in materials science and engineering from Cornell University and her Ph.D. in materials science from the University of Oxford. Before MIT she spent several years at the Santa Fe Institute as an Omidyar Fellow and at Columbia University as an Earth Institute Fellow. Her research focuses on evaluating the costs, environmental impacts, and scalability of low-carbon energy technologies again climate change mitigation targets.

A New Model for Startup Incubation at UCLA

Friday, November 3rd
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:
Brian Benson is the Director of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization at the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), responsible for all aspects of the CNSI Incubator and driving strategic initiatives that support the growth of entrepreneurship and industry alliances for the Institute. Prior to joining CNSI, Brian was the Portfolio and Alliance Manager at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles as well as the Program Manager of the Consortium for Technology and Innovation in Pediatrics, an FDA funded pediatric medical device accelerator. He also held positions as Crew Chief, Product Development Specialist, and Marketing Strategist with several automotive racing teams. He received his B.B.A. in Entrepreneurship from Loyola Marymount University.

Summation-by-parts methods, from structured to unstructured meshes: a brief introduction and survey of current research directions by Dr. David C. Del Rey Fernandez

Monday, November 6th
11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
38-138 Engineering IV, UCLA

Abstract: Matrix difference operators having the summation by parts (SBP) property have been around since the mid-seventies. The core feature of these operators is that they come equipped with a high-order approximation to integration by parts. In combination with appropriate procedures for weak inter-element coupling and imposition of boundary conditions, the resulting SBP discretization framework allows for a one-to-one correspondence between discrete and continuous stability proofs and thereby naturally guides the construction of robust algorithms. Recently, there have been a number of generalizations and extensions. It is now possible to cast a number of known methods within the SBP framework including discontinuous and continuous Galerkin methods, and the flux-reconstruction method. The SBP concept has been extended to non-tensor nodal distributions applicable to unstructured tetrahedral meshes. Nonlinearly robust schemes can be constructed by enforcing discrete entropy stability on conforming and nonconforming meshes, etc. In this talk, I will give a brief introduction to the SBP concept starting with classical finite-difference SBP operators. I will then show how these ideas can be generalized ending with SBP operators on non-tensor product nodal distributions. I will finish by discussing some ongoing research projects.

Biosketch: Dr. David Del Rey Fernández obtained his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies in 2015.  Currently, he is a Postdoctoral Fellow at NIA and NASA Langley Research Center in the Computational AeroScience Branch. His research is focused on the development of flexible and robust high-order numerical methods for the solution of partial differential equations.

UCLA Bioinformatics Program Seminars -- November 2017

Monday, November 6
Dr. Doris Bachtrog, Associate Professor, Integrative Biology
University of California, Berkeley
Monday, November 13
Dr. Kateryna Makova, Pentz Professor of Biology
Penn State University
Monday, November 20
Dr. Douglas A. Lauffenburger
Ford Professor of Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, and Biology
Head, Department of Biological Engineering
Monday, November 27
Dr. Ira Hall, Associate Director of McDonnell Genome Institute
Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine
Washington University

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

UCLA Engineering: The Ronald and Valerie Sugar Distinguished Speaker Series

Wednesday, November 15th
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA
570 Westwood Plaza

The Ronald and Valerie Sugar Distinguished Speaker Series invites international engineering and technology leaders to share their experiences with UCLA Engineering students, faculty and staff. These events – held exclusively for the UCLA Engineering community – include a moderated discussion with the guest, audience Q&A and a post-event reception for further idea sharing and networking.

Space is limited. Preregistration is required.

Speaker bio:
As president, CEO, and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., Mike Morhaime is dedicated to maintaining the high standard of quality that has propelled Blizzard Entertainment to the pinnacle of the gaming industry and positioned the company as an internationally recognized leader in interactive entertainment. In February 1991, Morhaime cofounded Blizzard Entertainment with Allen Adham and Frank Pearce. Under Morhaime’s direction—first as a company vice president and then as president since spring 1998—Blizzard has grown from a third-party development studio into a premier publisher of entertainment software, with a track record that includes nineteen #1 games and numerous Game of the Year awards. Over the past decade, Morhaime has also overseen Blizzard’s transformation into a global enterprise. The company now has multiple offices in North America, Asia, Europe, and Latin America, and thousands of employees worldwide. Beyond his leadership responsibilities, Morhaime has had a direct hand in the development of each of Blizzard’s blockbuster franchises. He worked as a programmer and/or producer on games in the critically acclaimed Warcraft®, Diablo®, and StarCraft® series, as well as on the company’s online gaming service,®, and served as executive producer on the world’s most popular subscription-based massively multiplayer online game, World of Warcraft®. Most recently, he has guided Blizzard’s expansion into new genres and franchises with Hearthstone®: Heroes of Warcraft™, Heroes of the Storm™, and Overwatch™.

Morhaime earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1990. In his free time, he plays bass for Blizzard’s in-house and in-game band, Elite Tauren Chieftain.

Civil & Environmental Engineering -- CEE 200 Sec 1 Seminar: William Lettis -- Seismic Hazard Analysis, Capturing Uncertainty in the Post-Truth Era

Tuesday, November 7th
4 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.
CS24 Young Hall

The earthquake engineering community and regulatory agencies are moving, at varying rates, toward risk-informed engineering decisions and design.  Risk-informed decision making, in turn, requires that probabilistic seismic hazard analyses explicitly and transparently incorporate uncertainty in hazard-significant seismic source and ground motion parameters. This uncertainty arises from limited data and from the existence of multiple alternative models that purport to explain these data. When uncertainty in the various inputs to the probabilistic analysis is high but is not properly captured, one may obtain misleading results; one also deprives the decision maker of useful context. Proper quantification of uncertainty also helps guide future research efforts. To read more.

Speaker bio:
William R. Lettis, Ph.D. CEG, was selected as the Joyner Lecturer for 2017.  Dr. Lettis founded William Lettis & Associates, Inc. in 1990 and Lettis Consultants International, Inc. in 2011 to provide consultancy at the interface of earthquake science and earthquake engineering. Dr. Lettis has characterized seismic sources for probabilistic seismic hazard analyses for high-risk facilities at over 100 locations within the United States and throughout the world, in a range of seismic environments.

IPAM -- Workshop IV Uncertainty Quantification for Stochastic Systems and Applications

Monday, November 13th to Friday, November 17th 
Institute for Pure & Applied Mathematics (IPAM)
460 Portola Plaza Building

This workshop aims at fostering more interaction between different communities with a particular focus on mathematical tools for uncertainty quantification, sensitivity analysis and modeling error in high-dimensional stochastic systems, the role of rare and extreme events, computational tools and uncertainties due to model reduction and coarse-graining. It will offer an opportunity to discuss future developments in computational and mathematical techniques and transfer of methodologies developed by different communities. Interaction between participating domain scientists and mathematicians will also help stimulate new mathematical research. Register here

IDRE-related Workshops & Events

National Leadership Class Computing Resources and Opportunities for UCLA Researchers

Wednesday, November 1st
2 to 3 p.m.
The Portal, 5628 Math Science Building

The Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and the National Aeronautical Space Agency support an ecosystem of “leadership class” computing facilities housing some of the world’s most advanced supercomputers and high-end visualization and data analysis resources. These facilities provide “free” computing cycles at scale and storage to researchers from academia. Access to these resources is obtained through an application process that is based on the merit of the research objectives, and demonstration of the efficacy and parallel scalability of the software.

The aim of this presentation is to explain the capabilities of various “leadership class” computing facilities. It will also describe the IDRE Pipeline program which helps transition UCLA researchers from local resources and take advantage of these “free” magnificent computing facilities. 
Register here


Wednesday, November 15th
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Outer Scholarly Innovation Lab, Young Research Library

IDRE GIS and UCLA Library present GIS Day at UCLA including a humanitarian map-a-thon competition against USC and short talks about mapping technologies, including drones and virtual reality.  

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 |

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