EBU3b (CSE) 4206
Computer Science and Engineering
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0404
I am an Associate Teaching Professor (LSOE) in the Computer Science and Engineering Department. At UC San Diego, I primarily teach discrete math for CS and introduction to computability, as well as the TA training class; I enjoy branching out to other subjects as well. My research interests lie in theory of computation (specifically resource-bounded computability theory and algorithmic randomness), designing and studying community- and cohort-building initiatives, and promoting and researching writing in the discipline. Prior to joining CSE in Summer 2014, I was an SE Warschawski Visiting Assistant Professor in the Mathematics Department here at UCSD. Before that, I was a CLE Moore Instructor at MIT. I earned my PhD in Mathematics at Cornell University in 2008, co-advised by Anil Nerode and Bakhadyr Khoussainov. I earned Master's degrees in Computer Science (2006) and Mathematics (2006) from Cornell and Bachelor's degrees in Mathematics and Engineering (2003) and Philosophy (2003) from Queen's University. (CV, publication list, and list of invited talks and seminars available on request.)
As part of student engagement efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, I hosted a "Procrastimaking with a Professor" session with a student team from the Jacobs School EnVision Arts and Engineering Maker Studio.
I teach a companion class for CS majors taking industry internships. This class offers an opportunity for students to identify and deepen the connections between their UCSD coursework and real-world problems presented in off-campus internships. Students reflect on the growth of their professional, problem-solving, and technical skills over the internship, as well as the ethical and societal impact of their work. At the culmination of this course, students prepare a poster highlighting a key achievement of their internship. These posters are presented at the Summer Internship Symposium early in the Fall Quarter. All CSE majors are invited to the Symposium, along with alumni and representatives from faculty, the Jacobs school, and industry. The Symposium celebrates our students' accomplishments and strengthens the ties between the CSE department and our alumni and industry colleagues.
The Summer Internship Symposium was featured in the UCTV CSE Channel.
I am conducting ongoing research on the impact of the internship experience and the additional reflective component on students' educational outcomes. For example, statistically significant improvement in students' demonstrated integrative learning can be observed between student writing early in the summer and near the end of the internship.
My role: Founder and CSE197/CSE191 Faculty Sponsor (2014-present); Class websites
Online tool to build, simulate, and test automata and other formal models of computation. This student-built product is being piloted for use by CSE105 students. Try out the app here.The project was kick-started with the CSE Undergraduate Summer Research program, featured on UC TV:
Joint work with Marco Carmosino, proposing a new framework for grading based on exploratory data analysis to mine insights on population statistics of learning outcome achievements across the class, along with efficient and consistent grading at scale.
My role: Co-author (2019-2020)
Several departments across campus are collaborating to offer resources and advising for students interested in career paths related to computing. Video interviews with current students, alumni, faculty, and advisers are available on ComputingPaths and there is an active Facebook group and Twitter feed with related announcements and news. Supported by an Advising Innovation grant from the Vice Chancellor-Student Affairs and Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of Undergraduate Education.
My role: PI (2015-present); website
A CDIIP-funded project to mine, edit, and refine effective snippets and worked examples from course podcasts. The resulting annotated video clips are available for future instructors of these courses to use in flipped offerings, and will also be available for students to self-study. Podcast highlights for CSE 12 and CSE 20 are available on podcast.ucsd.edu (Fall 2017 student team: Hasan Al-Jamaly, Julia Kapich, Alex Staninger, Yu Jessica Wu), and are being produced for use in CSE 8A and CSE 105 (Fall 2018 student team: Farhood Ensan, Nina Rothenhaus, Serena She, Anagha Subramanian, Jeffrey Yeung).
My role: PI (2017-present); Website
Related publication: SIGCSE 2019
An NSF-funded research project to emulate the community and academic support of small classes within a large lecture setting.
My role: co-PI (2014-2017)
Algorithmic randomness is an active part of computability theory which classifies and works to understand objects which look random to all effective processes. Ongoing work studies the interaction between notions of randomness and the underlying models of computation.
Related publications: Probabilistic algorithmic randomness (JSL 2013).
What is the descriptive and algorithmic power of restricted computational models? In particular, what are the mathematical consequences of encoding structures using finite automata, transducers, or other efficient machines? The study of automatic structures has its roots in complexity theory and computability theory.
In this four-course (plus a capstone project) sequence, we cover intermediate topics in software development, including object-oriented programming, data structures, algorithms and analysis, and testing, along with soft skills and technical communication. We launched the first course September 15, 2015.
My role: Co-creator and co-instructor; Specialization page on Coursera
The Center for Advancing Multi-disciplinary Scholarship for Excellence in Education is a university-wide community focussed on undergraduate education. With regular bi-weekly meetings, special visitors, and dedicated workgroups, we form cross-campus connections and work on projects that build on our shared experiences and multiple perspectives.
My role: Member of the Steering Committee (2015-present); Website
This student organization connects students interested in Computer Science for social activities, professional development, tech talks, networking opportunities, and outreach.
My role: Community faculty advisor (2017-present); Website
Activities: Girls' Day Out keynote speaker (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), Faculty Office Hour panelist (2016, 2017)
Activities: TritonPREP Faculty lunch (2017), SPACES Admit Day Panel (2015)
Girls' Angle is a club whose mission is to "foster and nurture girls' interest in mathematics and empower them to be able to tackle any field no matter the level of mathematical sophistication". Club members meet for regular problem solving meets, where they are mentored by undergraduate math majors, graduate students, and postdocs. The Women in Mathematics Video Series is intended for a wider audience. Each video explains of pieces of math accessible to students in middle and high school.
Activities: Advisory board member (2008-present), club mentor (2008-2009), video contributor (2011), Math Collaboration host (2018)
The National Center for Women and Information Technology provides resources and support for educators seeking to broaden representation of women in CS. UCSD CSE received a grant from NCWiT to study enrollment patterns of women in our undergraduate programs and to implement initiatives for recruiting and retention. I served on the committee for this project.
Activities: Envision Professor Panel (2018), MIT WiSE High School Outreach, Academic program speaker (2009)
Open ads at UCSD are available on the REAL portal and Handshake (formerly Port Triton). For CS research opportunities, check out Conquer with information on summer research opportunities and advice (both general and practical) on graduate school in CS. Videos describing career paths in CS after advanced graduate education are here.
Course website (Wi20)
Course website (Fa19)
Course website (Sp19)
Course website (Fa17)
Course website (Wi17)
Course website (Sp16)
Course website (Wi16)
Also taught: Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Fall 2014
Course website (Fa15)
Also taught: Fall 2013
Summer Academy serves incoming transfer students entering UC San Diego in the Fall quarter typcially from a community college. It is a five-week program where students take gateway courses for their major that are not typically offered at community colleges. The Academy also includes advising and other activities to help students smoothly transition to UC San Diego.
My role: Mentor training and CSE Seminar lead (2016)
SPIS (pronounced "spice") gives students college-level exposure to computer science, emphasizing problem-solving, communication skills, and mathematical modeling. It is a 5-week residential summer program on the UC San Diego campus for students accepted into CSE majors as well as for other UCSD admitted students who want to explore computer science as a career option. Students in the program interact with a wide range of CSE faculty and learn about computer science and engineering research. They also have opportunities to connect with engineers from the computer industry. SPIS provides an excellent student experience with individual meetings with faculty, tutoring from experienced CSE undergraduate students, collaborations with fellow students, individual advising to smooth the transition to UCSD, and living on campus.
My role: SPIS Faculty (2013-2016)
MathDL Mathematical Communication is a developing collection of resources for engaging students in writing and speaking about mathematics, whether for the purpose of learning mathematics or of learning to communicate as mathematicians. This site originated in the MIT Department of Mathematics, which offers about ten communication-intensive courses, many of which are led by a different instructor each semester. The department created a website to engage and support this community of instructors and to facilitate the archiving of course materials and the gleaning of “good practices” for these courses. In 2010 the NSF awarded an NSDL grant to make the site public, and it is now hosted by the Mathematical Association of America as part of MathDL.
My role: Site concept and design, contributor.
Writing a strong recommendation letter takes thought and time. At least one month before the deadline, send me an email or set up a meeting with me to discuss the letter, and provide the following information:
I am always happy to work with motivated, responsible, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable tutors and TAs. If you are interested in one of the courses I am teaching, I encourage you to apply to work with me.
Before you apply: you do not need to email me ahead of time expressing your interest. I will only consider what you have written in ASES (and any meaningful interactions we've had in academic contexts) when screening candidates. I do not accept CVs or other letters of intent through email.
Your availability during the quarter you are applying to tutor is extremely important. Do not apply to work with me if you are planning to take a very heavy course load or if you know you will be away for more than a week during the tutoring/TAing contract. If you know you will arrive in San Diego after the first day of the quarter (which is often before the first day of instruction) or if you know you will need to leave San Diego before the Tuesday after exam week, you must make this clear in your application.
To apply, use the centralized CSE ASES application system linked here (for tutors) and here (for TAs). The preference order you give to classes matters: I will often find my team among applicants who put my course as one of their top preference choices.
Filling out the ASES application questions carefully is the best way to convince me that you are serious about working on the course and have the necessary attributes, passion, and time to help make the course a success.
My office hour schedule varies from quarter to quarter, depending on my teaching schedule and other factors. Please check my current class' Google calendar (website(s) linked above) for this quarter's scheduled office hours.
In Fall 2020, drop-in office hours are through Zoom.