News Release

UC San Diego teams earn four of 18 Qualcomm Innovation Fellowships in North America for 2023

Four teams at the University of California San Diego have been awarded prestigious Qualcomm Innovation Fellowships for North America in 2023. These UC San Diego netted 4 out of 18 awards in Qualcomm’s North America program, making UC San Diego the top recognized university for the second consecutive year.

The Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship program is focused on recognizing, rewarding, and mentoring innovative PhD students across a broad range of technical research areas, based on Qualcomm’s core values of innovation, execution and teamwork. The fellowship provides each team with $100,000 in funding to pursue cutting-edge research in their field. This year, winners were selected from 182 teams.

“A hearty congratulations to everyone on the UC San Diego teams that won Qualcomm Innovation Fellowships this year. I’m honored to celebrate the Jacobs School of Engineering’s sustained research engagement with Qualcomm Research through this Fellowship program," said Albert P. Pisano, Dean of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

The four UC San Diego projects are: 

Team 1: PhD students Kunal Gupta (MS ’20) and Ishit Mehta

Advisors:  Computer science professors Manmohan Chandraker and Ravi Ramamoorthi 

Project: Topology Methods for Neural Implicits 

Computer science PhD students Kunal Gupta and Ishit Mehta were awarded a QIF for their novel research in computer graphics that aims to improve geometric representations of complex shapes. They are developing methods and tools that offer explicit control over the topological configuration of neural implicits. While the work is theoretical, its application could potentially evolve smartphones into tools for 3D perception and interaction.

 "We are grateful to have Qualcomm's support for our long-term goal of building inverse graphics systems that are robust, scalable and accessible," said Mehta.

Building on the award-winning paper A Level Set Theory for Neural Implicit Evolution under Explicit Flows, the team’s research is through the UC San Diego Center for Visual Computing, which is directed by Ramamoorthi.


Team 2: PhD students Andres Meza and Colin Drewes (Stanford)

Advisor: Computer science professor Ryan Kastner

ProjectFacilitating Security Verification via Hyperflow Analysis

For this year’s fellowship, PhD student Andres Meza teamed up with his former UC San Diego lab mate Colin Drewes (MS ‘22, BS ‘21) to submit a research proposal in “Secure System Design,” one of eight areas of interest specified by Qualcomm. The team has a shared interest and background in hardware security research. 

“The funding and mentorship from the Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship will enable Andy and Colin to continue their research into automated methodologies for detecting, exploiting, and, ultimately, mitigating security vulnerabilities in hardware designs,” said Kastner, CSE professor and team advisor. 

Specifically, the fellowship will allow Meza and Drewes to work alongside engineers in large scale semiconductor companies to understand the demands and challenges encountered in daily operations. The team aims to facilitate hardware security verification via their innovative hyperflow analysis.

“The hyperflow research has the potential to transform the semiconductor design and verification process, eventually leading to safer chips in everyone's phone,” said Meza.

Recognizing Two Additional UC San Diego Teams

Team 3: PhD students Yang Fu and Yuzhe Qin (MS ’20, ECE)

Advisors: Computer science professors Hao Su and ECE Professor Xiaolong Wang 

Project: Learning Generalization Robot Manipulation from Human Videos

This cross-disciplinary research team is affiliated with both the UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Institute and with the UC San Diego Center for Visual Computing.


Team 4: Electrical engineering PhD students Mahmoud Hmada and Wenchin Liu

Advisor: Electrical engineering professor Patrick Mercier

Project: A novel adaptive voltage gate drivers for series-capacitor buck converters suited for wide conversion ratio and high output power applications with wide load current support

"Power management integrated circuits (PMICs) are in nearly every electronic device -- from computers, smartphones, wearables, Internet of Things gadgets, and beyond -- and as consumers demand better battery life and/or more power efficiency, they are becoming an increasingly important bottleneck. Our research aims to reduce the size and improve the efficiency of PMICs to enable continued improvements in these areas," said UC San Diego electrical engineering professor Patrick Mercier. He is the Site Director of the NSF IUCRC Power Management Integration Center (PMIC) and Co-Director of the UC San Diego Center for Wearable Sensors. He leads the Energy-Efficient Microsystems lab in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. 

Media Contacts

Daniel Kane
Jacobs School of Engineering

Kimberley Clementi