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News Release

Two UC San Diego Engineers to Speak at Founders Celebration Nov. 13

San Diego, Calif., Nov. 5, 2014 -- Two professors at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego will be speaking at the campus’s Founders Celebration, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. Eugene Pawlak, a professor of mechanical engineering and alumnus of UC San Diego, will speak about “Turbulence: chicken soup for the coral reef soul.” Bill Griswold, a professor of computer science, will talk about “Pervasive air-quality monitoring via the crowd.”

The talks are part of the Founders Symposium, which is designed to showcase how UC San Diego research translates into real-world benefits. In all, six faculty members will describe the collaborative approach used to understand and address complex issues within the broad research themes of understanding and protecting the planet, and enriching human life and society. The talks will be followed by an interactive, moderated Q&A session.

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Bill Griswold, a professor of computer science, will talk about air quality monitoring via the crowd.

Griswold’s research interests include software engineering and ubiquitous computing, specializing in the construction of large, complex software systems; software design; aspect-oriented software development; mobile applications; and educational technology. He built ActiveCampus, one of the early mobile location-aware systems, and his CitiSense project has been investigating technologies for low-cost universal real-time air-quality sensing. Griswold is a pioneer in the area of software refactoring.

Griswold’s talk

Recent revelations about the impact of air pollution on our health are troubling, yet air pollution and the risks it poses to us are largely invisible because federally mandated monitoring stations are sparse. Griswold will explain the CitiSense system, developed at UC San Diego, which brings together the proliferation of smartphones and the advent of cheap, compact sensors to enable real-time monitoring of air quality. By sharing all users’ data through the cloud, CitiSense can create a regional air-quality map and predict air pollution for those not carrying a sensor.

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Geno Pawlak, a professor of mechanical engineering, will talk about turbulence and its role and impact on coral reefs. 

Pawlak’s research focuses on mixing and dispersion in coastal and estuarine systems. He aims to understand the fundamental processes that lead to the exchange between the coast and the open ocean by focusing on resolving the role of topography and roughness in the context of tropical reef environments.

Pawlak’s talk

Reef-building corals are generally located in low-nutrient environments. Their growth and health are strongly influenced by ocean turbulence, which facilitates the exchange of nutrients and larvae between the coastal region and the open ocean. Changes in climate also affect how contaminants are flushed from the coast and can have important implications for wave-induced storm surge as well as tsunami inundation. Focusing on coral reefs, Pawlak will discuss the role of hydrodynamic processes, including internal waves and turbulence, in coastal environments.

They will speak from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 13 in the East Ballroom at the Price Center at UC San Diego.

The other speakers at the event will be

  • Matthew Alford, from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, on Chasing Waves: Measuring Skyscraper-High Waves Beneath the Sea and Their Importance for Submarines, Coastal Ecosystems and Climate
  • Richard Carson, from the department of economics, on China: Consumption, CO2, and Climate Change
  • Dr. Razelle Kurzrock, from the UC San Diego School of Medicine, on Personalized Cancer Therapy: Promise and Challenge
  • Dr. Lucila Ohno-Machado on Big Data: What It Means to You

Before the symposium, a reception will take place at The Loft, featuring undergraduate social innovators who are addressing issues such as poverty, health, education and the environment.


Media Contacts

Ioana Patringenaru
Jacobs School of Engineering