Computing and Mathematical Sciences (CMS) students and faculty celebrated TechFest last Friday. This CMS Partners Program event brought representatives from startups and companies to campus to demonstrate their latest technologies and provide one-on-one career advice to CMS students. Some of the highlights from the day were the Tech Vignettes, outdoor drone demo, and the Young Alum Founders Panel.
Professor Pierce Elected Eastman Visiting Professor at Oxford
Niles A. Pierce, Professor of Applied & Computational Mathematics and Bioengineering, has been elected to the 74th Eastman Visiting Professorship at the University of Oxford. Professor Pierce is working to engineer molecular instruments capable of reading out and regulating the state of endogenous biological circuitry from within intact organisms. The Eastman Professorship is one of the world's most respected visiting professorships, bringing a distinguished American scholar to Oxford each year. It was established in 1929 from an endowment established by George Eastman, the founder of the Eastman Kodak Company. The Eastman Professorship has previously been held by four Caltech professors: Linus Pauling (1948), George Beadle (1958-59), J.F. Bonner (1963-64), and Harry Gray (1997-98).
CMS Welcomes Middle and High School Students for iDtech
As part of their commitment to diversifying the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) workforce, the CMS department and the Center for Teaching, Learning & Outreach have partnered with iD Tech Camps to provide 10-17 year old students the opportunity to gain a competitive edge for school, college, and a future career in STEM. This year’s eight Caltech summer sessions hosted 576 students who participated in project based courses in a variety of topics including: programming in Java, C++, C#, Python, Scratch, and Tynker as well as app development, electrical engineering, robotics, game design, 3D modeling and filmmaking. Fifteen year old Ravi Buentiempo described, “I enjoyed attending iD Tech because I got the type of help I could not get from youtube videos or programming forums.” Saya Desai, who is fourteen, explained, “I had to be responsible for all my problems and by making mistakes I learned a lot.” Finally eleven year old Maya Horii remarked, “I could bring ideas to life, whether creating a game or 3D printing figments of my imagination.” [CMS Local Outreach]
Richard Murray Named to DOD Panel on Innovation
Richard M. Murray, Thomas E. and Doris Everhart Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems and Bioengineering, has been named to the Defense Innovation Advisory Board by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Professor Murray joins 14 other scholars and innovators who will focus on new technologies and organizational behavior and culture. Secretary Carter has asked them to identify technology and practices from the private sector that could be used by the Department of Defense (DOD). [Caltech story]
Improving Computer Graphics with Quantum Mechanics
The Schrödinger equation, the basic description of quantum mechanical behavior, can be used to describe the motion of superfluids—fluids, supercooled to temperatures near absolute zero, that behave as though they are without viscosity. Professor Peter Schröder and his colleagues realized that the same equation with some small modifications can also be used to describe vorticity dominated phenomena of fluids at the macroscopic level--from smoke gently rising from a flame to the concentrated vorticity of a twister. [Caltech story & video]
Counting L.A.’s Trees
Professor Pietro Perona, has developed a method using Google Earth and Google Street View to count the trees in the city of Los Angeles. The process of counting the trees using human tree counters is very expensive and would cost about $3 million today. The last time the city did such counting was more than two decades ago and at the time there were 700,000 street trees. Perona has tested the methodology in a section of Pasadena where the city recently commissioned a sidewalk survey. By comparing the results to the known inventory, he determined that the computer was about 80% accurate. [LA Times story] [KPCC story]