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Dean's Column

Engineering Advances in Networked Systems

Frieder Seible, Dean

Today, networked systems are increasingly prevalent in every facet of our daily life. Everything from our civil infrastructure (power distribution, traffic control and telecommunications) to the appliances in our homes can now be added to a networked structure, which must be made smarter and more efficient.

The Jacobs School is at the forefront of the "cyberinfrastructure revolution" that is enabling these ever-pervasive networks. Among the challenges our faculty and students are addressing with our industry and academic partners are: how to secure sensitive data that is distributed around the world; how to increase efficiency of the new data centers that are at the heart of cloud computing; and how to incorporate the speed of optics in the smallest chips and the massive Internet backbone.

Much of this work is done through three key UCSD research institutes: our Center for Networked Systems (CNS), which focuses on fundamental advances in the security, reliability and efficiency of networks; our San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), which specializes in enabling our researchers to fully exploit our cyberinfrastructure to advance research through production-level data storage, parallel computing and data analysis, and our California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), which is developing tomorrow's infrastructure and its application of technology to areas such as medicine, transportation, and even the arts. Together, these institutes represent a research and educational platform that is unparalleled at any research university in the country.

Our Center for Networked Systems, in particular, presents an ideal model for how industry and academia can work together to advance the field. CNS was largely championed by Hossein Eslambolchi, a Jacobs School alumnus and former president and CEO of AT&T Labs. Eslambolchi believed that industry needed theoretical research to achieve the next level of advances in networks, and more importantly a partnership to translate that theory to actionable results. Under the leadership of founding director Andrew Chien (now CTO at Intel); and current director Amin Vahdat, CNS has grown from its initial three industry partners to eight members including AT&T, HP, Google, Motorola, Qualcomm, NetApp, Sun Microsystems and Cisco. Nearly 20 research faculty and 70 graduate students are currently actively engaged in the Center. Through a constant dialogue with industry partners, faculty propose cutting-edge research initiatives, and our partners vote with their financial investment on the most relevant projects. Students work side-by-side with industry engineers, both in corporations and here on campus.

I invite you to learn more about the great work of our faculty and students in this issue of Pulse, and to explore even further on our website. We welcome your partnership as we continue to push the boundaries of the new cyberinfrastructure.

Frieder Seible

Frieder Seible

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