Volume 4, Issue 3, March 29, 2017
View this email in your browser
UCLA Institute for Digital Research and Education
Contact Us
Professor's Pioneering Research Aims to Democratize Circuit Design

Dr. Jason Cong strives to make circuit design as easy as doing a spreadsheet. 

You probably don't want a doctor who is a general practitioner to perform your open heart surgery. While both a general practitioner and a cardiothoracic surgeon have extensive medical training, each doctor has specific skill sets. To choose the former is just not the most efficient use of resources. 

A similar line of thinking exists in the research of UCLA Chancellor's Professor of Computer Science Dr. Jason Cong, a longtime Institute for Digital Research and Education collaborator and one of 84 U.S. recipients offered admission to the National Academy of Engineering last month. Cong received his membership to the prestigious organization for his "pioneering contributions to application-specific programmable logic via innovations in field programmable gate array (FPGA) synthesis." Read more here

News & Publications

UCLA Is Now an Amazon Web Service (AWS) Educate Institution

As of February 2017, UCLA is now an Amazon Web Service (AWS) Educate Institution. Faculty who sign up for an AWS Educator account or students who sign up for a Student account should do so under the UCLA Institution account to receive free/discounted services and training. Details on how to sign up and use the UCLA Institution account. For general questions on the program please contact Heather Matson at

UCLA Single Sign-on Now Available for

Current users of the NSF system may now use their UCLA Logon ID to access Use of the UCLA Logon ID requires a one-time activation process with your current NSF ID and password. To activate your UCLA Logon ID with
  • Navigate to
  • Click the "Log in" button at the top top right
  • Under the "Organizational Credentials" on the right of the screen select "University of California-Los Angeles" in the drop-down menu. 
  • Click "Log In" under Organization Credentials." This will take you to the UCLA Login Screen.
  • Enter your UCLA Login ID and password and login. 
  • Click the "Activate" button
  • Enter your last name, NSF ID, and password
Once the activation process has been completed, users may login using either their NSF ID and password, or their UCLA Logon ID and password. New user accounts will still require set-up by the OCCGA eRA Help Desk before the UCLA Logon ID can be activated with Note that use of the UCLA Logon ID is not available with the NSF FastLane system. Please share this information with NSF researchers and administrators in your department. If you have questions, please contact the OCGA eRA Help Desk

BruinTech Needs Input on Spring Conference!

BruinTech is working on a new concept for its conference this Spring, something different than has been offered before. It is being called "Human Interface Devices: Soft Skills for BruinTechs" and as the name implies it's a conference about developing some of the lesser-known skills we need as technicians. BruinTech would like to know the top 10 things you'd like to learn about at YOUR conference. Please take a moment to review the list of potential topics and respond with your favorites here.

UCCSC -- Call for Participation -- Deadline April 30th

This year's University of California Computing Services Conference (UCCSC) will be held at the beautiful UC San Diego. The conference will open Monday, August 7th with a welcome reception event at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps and closing after dinner on Wednesday, August 9th. Visit the UCCSC website for updates.

Proposal submissions are now open! The theme is Working for the Greater Good. Working for the UCs is unique! We don't just do IT, we do IT with a purpose of improving the world at large. If your proposal highlights how your particular IT benefited the mission of the UC system by supporting students, faculty, or research, it will take priority over other proposals. We invite you to review the tracks and submit a proposal.

The proposal submission deadline is April 30th. The primary speakers for each session will get free registration to the conference. Curious about the proposal process? We have a cross-campus ambassador committee made up of hardworking volunteers representing a variety of experience levels. Our first round of review is blind, meaning reviewers will not see your name or biographical information. They will see the title, short description, and pitch.

UCLA IT Services -- Manager, Technology Integration Group

The Information Management Services unit has posted a great opportunity for a dynamic, motivated technologist to lead its newly formed Technology Integration Group. The Manager, Technology Integration Group (Computing Resource Manager 2), will oversee a cross-functional team of business analysts, developers, and engineers to deliver best in class solutions for the IT Services organization. Ideal candidates will have outstanding project management skills coupled with broad exposure to modern and emerging technologies and a passion for partnering with technical and functional stakeholders to deploy innovative solutions for our business. For a full list of qualifications and to apply, see job posting.

Position Summary: Working as a member of IT Services' Information Management Services team, the Manager, Technology Information Group leads a diverse team of application developers, system engineers, project coordinators, and analysts to evaluate, design, develop, integrate, and manage complex applications and tools to support the business operations of a 70-million-dollar enterprise IT organization. The incumbent works closely with IT Services' Administration and service line teams and external vendors to create integrated, streamlined, cost effective, and user-centric solutions using a blend of university enterprise applications, vendor systems, and custom-develop solutions. Together, these solutions support IT Services' finance, human resource, bulling, inventory, service management, application life cycle management, and other major business functions. The Manager will oversee the development of multiple concurrent projects, develop project cost estimates, define resource needs, assign staff, and ensure the delivery within agreed upon timelines and budget. Additionally, the Manager will instill the use of modern, agile application development and life-cycle management techniques. The person in this role will partner will partner with business units and leadership to architect, design, and deliver best-in-class technical solutions while ensuring proper application of information security techniques and practices. The Manger will also seek out opportunities to leverage emerging technologies through continual education and research.


Volunteer at Upcoming First Fridays

First Fridays is coming up on Friday, April 7th from 10 am to 12 pm in YRL Research Commons (first floor of the library). We have many retirees signed up, so please Davida Johnson an email if you are available to volunteer.

First Fridays is a program in which volunteers work one-on-one with retired UCLA staff and faculty to help them with technology. Retirees often need help using their smartphones, downloading an app from the app store, setting up email or navigating social media. If you own a smartphone and/or laptop, chances are you will be able to help answer their questions! This is a great, easy opportunity to give back to the UCLA community!

IDRE-related Lectures, Seminars & Colloquia

Accelerating Next-Generation DNA Sequencing

Wednesday, April 12
11:45 am - 1 pm
5628 Math Science -- The Portal

Modern medical research is being transformed with the advance of next-generation sequencing technologies that dramatically reduce the cost of sequencing an individual human genome from $10M to $1,000 in the past decade. This sequencing technology is widely utilized in research and is transitioning into the clinic for application such as sequencing cancer tumors. To be more cost-effective, genome sequencers obtain the sequence of billions of small fragments in the range of a few hundred nucleotides (called short reads) of a whole genome. Therefore, we have to reconstruct all these short reads back into a whole human genome for genome variant calling and cancer discovery. This poses great computational challenges: state-of-the-art DNA sequencing pipeline takes around a week on a 12-core CPU server.

In this talk, I will present various ways to accelerate the next generation DNA sequencing pipeline done in our Center for Domain-Specific Computing (CDSC), with the final goal to reduce the computation time to a few hours. First, we scale out the computation by leveraging the power of a CPU cluster/datacenter. Second, we scale up the computation by developing hardware accelerators on commodity energy-efficient FPGAs that can be plugged into the CPU server. Moreover, we combine these two techniques and address the new challenges in FPGA-enabled datacenters. I will talk about our current status in accelerating the DNA sequencing pipeline and show some promising results we have achieved using the aforementioned techniques [FCCM 2015, HotCloud 2016, ACM SOCC 2016]. Register here.

Dr. Zhenman Fang is an IDRE scholar and postdoc in the Computer Science Department, UCLA, working with Prof. Jason Cong and Prof. Glenn Reinman. He is a member of the NSF/Intel funded multi-university Center for Domain-Specific Computing (CDSC) and the SRC/DARPA funded multi-university Center for Future Architectures Research (C-FAR). Zhenman received his PhD in June 2014 from Fudan University, China and spent the last 15 months of his PhD program visiting University of Minnesota at Twin Cities. Zhenman's research lies at the boundary of big data workloads and systems, heterogeneous and energy-efficient accelerator-rich architectures and systems, and system-level design automation. He has published 10+ papers in top venues that span across computer architecture (HPCA, TACO, ICS), design automation (DAC, ICCAD, FCCM), and cloud computing (ACM SOCC). He received several awards, including a best paper nominee of HPCA 2017, a best demo award (3rd place) at the C-FAR center annual review. More details can be found in his personal website:

IDRE-related Workshops & Events

Workshop I: Multiphysics, Multiscale, and Coupled Problems in Subsurface Physics

Monday, April 3 through Friday, April 7
460 Portola Plaza
Institute for Pure & Applied Mathematics (IPAM)

In the past decades computing power has made possible simulations of unprecedented sophistication and detail, and allowed the resolution of coupled phenomena that occur on many different spatial and temporal scales. Paradoxically, as computational power increases, we become aware of finer scale effects and the consequent limits of our physical models. Moreover, we are more sensitive to the propagation of errors and uncertainties. Therefore, in spite of vastly expanded limits on computational power, we will continue into the foreseeable future to be thwarted in our efforts to understand the most complex coupled Multiphysics and multiscale phenomena. To this end, mathematical and computational modeling will remain a key enabling technology that must be developed and exploited.

A primary challenge in the modeling of complex systems is to determine the scale, accuracy, and model complexity that are necessary to achieve acceptable predictive capabilities, and to reflect these requirements in a stable, efficient computational framework. In this workshop we will discuss these problems on several interrelated topics:
  • Physics-preserving discretizations leading to numerical models that preserve basic physical principles, such as conservation, on and across appropriate scales.
  • Multiscale modeling techniques for handling multiscale systems in both time and space and provide high-fidelity and fine-scale detail by either describing the system by a macromodel based on theoretical or numerical upscaling from a physically correct, but overtly detailed model; or by incorporating into the numerical model a reduced physics, coarse-grain approximation.
  • Multiphysics couplings of phenomena occurring on multiple temporal and spatial scales. Some algorithms that combine existing codes through software often fail to adequately address the coupling physics as one code may violate basic physical principles assumed to hold by the other code, and other algorithms suffer from issues related to disparate temporal and/or spatial scales between coupled physical processes
  • Approximation of continuum and discrete models. Continuum systems may contain discrete components such as a well or fault in a porous geological formation and on fine scales, some systems are naturally diverse, such as interacting molecules or biological cells. These systems require special techniques such as microsturcture models and networks and other techniques for their simulation.
  • Additional topics will include estimational and control of errors and mesh generation. 
This workshop will include a poster session; a request for posters will be sent to registered participants in advance of the workshop. Register here.

Survey Data Analysis in SAS

Monday, April 10
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
5628 Math Science -- The Portal 

This workshop covers descriptive analyses, both numerical and graphical, with both continuous and categorical variables. Subpopulation analysis will be discussed, and then examples of OLS regression and logistic regression will be considered. Register here

Introduction to Mplus

Monday, April 24
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
5628 Math Science -- The Portal 

Mplus is a powerful statisticsl package used for the analysis of both observed and latent variables. Among the kinds of analysis it can perform are exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, latent class analysis, latent growth curve modeling, structural equation modeling and multilevel modeling. This workshop is designed for people who are just getting started using Mplus. Our aim is to orient participants to the basic structure, syntax, data and output associated with this package. Mplus version 7.4 will be used for this workshop. Register here

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

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