10.5.05 -- First behind Calit2, then ahead of it in something akin to a horse race, the CSE building managed to beat Calit2's at UCSD in coming online and celebrating that event last Friday.
And what an event it was: It featured all the people key to realizing this building, backdropped by the Calit2 building (itself the subject of a celebration October 28!); "Bear," a 370,000-lb., natural-boulder sculpture adorning the plaza (becoming the 16th member of the UCSD Stuart collection); and “legacy walk” with commemorative statements to and about the significance of the Jacobs School and UCSD more generally.
Clearly, this was a lot to celebrate, especially coming off the heels of the spectacularly successful iGrid 2005 meeting last week.
It also celebrated some 180 alumni, among the 400 attending, who came back for an excited look at the old stomping grounds and were acknowledged during the ceremony.
UCSD chancellor Marye Anne Fox led the event, citing the “incredible quality” of the CSE faculty and the fact that their number has doubled in size since 1995. The department has also benefited from the UCSD entrepreneurial enterprises that have led to establishment of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (1985), Calit2 (2000), and the Center for Networked Systems (2004).
Dean of Engineering Frieder Seible described the event as the largest postgraduate gathering of engineering from UCSD. To celebrate this sense of community, the Jacobs school created “legacy walk” in the quad anchored by the CSE building, the Calit2 building, and the Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall – with more than 400 pavers sold that tell a “wonderful story about the experience at UCSD and how important it is to life in general.”
These pavers are not just an enduring symbol of community but they also are providing financial resources to improve engineering programs. A very diverse group has already bought in, including, my favorite, “EVL West” to commemorate a number of people that have been hired as researchers and staff at UCSD (Jacobs, Calit2, and SIO) in the last couple of years from the Electronic Visualization Lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago. More pavers are available in various sizes at various prices.
Joan Jacobs, co-chair of the “Friends of the Stuart Collection,” which arranged for installation of "Bear," talked about the “unique environment for the arts” at UCSD and was pleased that the CSE celebration included acknowledgment of such works of art. She cited Sheldon Brown, a professor of Visual Arts and a member of Calit2, as saying, “For today’s students, art and technology are the same.”
Artist/designer Tim Hawkinson found eight naturally occurring, granite stones weighing, in aggregate, 370,000 pounds. The rocks were digitally scanned, and SDSC created a computer model of the data. Using the model, Dean Seible engineered an earthquake-proof foundation for the sculpture, and the boulders were brought in by crane and lovingly put into place over a several-day period several months ago.
“Bear,” according to Seible, “stands for collaboration and integration between engineering and the arts. Our students also analyzed ‘bear’ data to study its ability to withstand earthquakes.”
Seible went on to acknowledge new strong groups of faculty in bioinformatics and in graphics and vision, including one member who recently received an Academy Award for his work. “We’re happy that we now have more appropriate facilities,” he said, “to accommodate the growth and vision of the CSE department.”
Irwin Jacobs, founder of QUALCOMM and after whom (with his wife, above) the Jacobs School of Engineering is named, related the research of the department to developments in cell phones. Jacobs, himself an early faculty member of the department, said, “The cell phone has become a very powerful computer with as much power as a desktop system of just a few years ago.” Communication now requires about 20% of the chip with the rest reserved for computing and GIS processing. Phones are also now capable of supporting 3-D graphics for games and beginning to support TV. “Just emerging is phones’ ability to support super high definition, such as we just saw at Calit2’s iGrid event earlier this week,” he said. “In general, these areas lend themselves to more research, which will help the department attract superior faculty and students, and have a major impact on society.”
Lindsay DeSalvo, recently graduated from the department, was the final speaker, declaring, “As students, we all lived and died in AP&M, and we deserve this new building.”
CSE Building Dedication Image Gallery